Icon Airframe Motorcycle Helmet Review

Bart Madson | January 20, 2009
Motorcycle helmets can be the difference between life and death. Lucky for me, helmet manufacturers ply the Motorcycle USA office with the latest innovative helmet designs for our testing purposes. This past year I’ve had the opportunity to test one such design – the Icon Airframe Helmet.

Icon Airframe Helmet
The Icon Airframe Helmet is a solid pick for head protection, with the full-face design well ventilated.

The Icon lid delivers comfort and safety, with our Airframe Solid Rubatone Helmet meeting DOT, Snell and M2005 standards. A fiberglass/Dyneema/carbon fiber composite shell encases the life-saving dual-density EPS (expanded polystryrene) foam.

Sliding the helmet on, the first impression for me was extreme comfort. Some helmets fit better than others, of course, but the cushy removable cheek pads, soft chin curtain (also removable) and padded chin strap provided me with a snug fit sans pressure points. Riders can dial in fit further by trying different sized pad inserts.

Air-flow is excellent on the Airframe, even at moderate speed. Credit air intakes – two on top, one under nose and two at jaw – for the cooling ventilation. With increased air there is some noise too, but nothing excessive and certainly more than bearable with earplugs in place.

Even with the excellent airflow, I did sweat on occasion. One particular ride, through the blistering humidity of the Mississippi Delta, venting helped but couldn’t keep the sweat at bay. I didn’t fault the helmet, however, as every pore in my body opened the floodgates. How bad was it? Let’s just say squeezing out my earplugs yielded about a tablespoon of sweat… Gross, I know.

The point of this story? Let’s just say when I got home the helmet was in thorough need of a de-funky odor cleansing. So, I popped out the conveniently removable cheek and scalp pads for a wash.The helmet was back to normal sweet, not sweat,-smelling bliss. Snapping the pads back in place was easy enough.

Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Attractive design, with comfortable fit
  • Good airflow and ventilation in most riding climes
Lows
  • Frustrating blind shield removal not the easiest
  • Lots of airflow equals some noise

My only major complaint with the Airframe is swapping the shield. Removal is simple, open the shield slightly and push the release lever to “open” position. Getting it back on is the hard part, as sideplates (which conceal the unsightly release mechanisms) make it impossible to see if the shield is in correctly. Once the visor is in the right position, you need to squeeze your finger in and pull like crazy from open to close. Eventually it snaps right into place, but for us it was always after a couple of muttered profanities and failed attempts.

The Icon Proshield, once it is in place, is quite good. Fogging wasn’t an issue and the front lock clicks secure, so over-the-shoulder glances never result in the shield flipping open. The concealing Icon Sideplates redeem themselves by extending the graphic canvas. This tester liked the solid black color scheme of the Solid Rubatone design, but many colorful alternative Airframe schemes are available, which should improve rider visibility.

Bottom line verdict. I rode with the Airframe more than any other helmet during the 2008 riding season, choosing to take it on a number of press intros and long-distance rides. Comfort, good looks, light weight, adequate ventilation – the Icon Airframe is a solid buy in my book.

The Icon Airframe Helmet is available at Motorcycle Superstore.

Buy It Now: Icon Airframe Helmet
MSRP: $250 (Solid Rubatone), $300-320 (Graphics)

Check out more Icon Helmets and Motorcycle Helmets at Motorcycle Superstore.

 

Bart Madson

MotoUSA Editor | Articles | Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for 10 years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to motorcycle racing reports and industry news features.