The first thing I noticed with the new 2010 Thor Force Composite helmet is that the visor is integrated into the main shell with a flush-mount groove. Without screws on either side, this looks very sleek, but even though Thor says it’s fully adjustable, the visor hardly moves at all, and the effective change is negligible. I constantly fiddle with visor adjustment during a ride, even on the fly, to manage protection from debris and sunlight. The semi-fixed position works as a standard placement, but I must have the option of tucking it down when the sun drops or the brush closes in, and raising it when the hills get steep and I need to look farther ahead. Thor designers dictate visor placement and had absolutely no consideration for function with this critical feature.
Once I put the helmet on it was a better experience – partly. The fiberglass/Dyneema/Kevlar shell was spot-on for my size Medium, and the interior liner surpassed my expectations for comfort. The antibacterial, moisture-wicking liner is soft and removable/washable (except for the chinstrap slips which are sewn on). Thor says it meets all AMA and FIM professional racing standards and it has a DOT-certified sticker on the back. However, there is no Snell rating.
These Scott goggles had the smallest frames of the ones we tested and fit best inside the tight eyeport.
An integrated roost guard is unobtrusive, but the eyeport is too small. I tried four different goggle models (including Thor’s Hero) and none of them fit securely against my face, usually with a gap along the forehead. Thor helmets have developed a unique, recognizable look with the thick chin bar, but the hand-laid composite shell needs to be reshaped to allow more room for eye protection. The forehead portion rests comfortably and correctly, so I think the chin bars need to shortened top-to-bottom, signature look be damned.
Thor hit some things on the head in terms of a mid-price helmet – the styling is great, comfort high, price reasonable and weight unnoticeable. However, goggles must seal against a rider’s face. Plus, I’ve had people tell me where to stick all kinds of things, but don’t tell me where to put my visor – that’s just rude.