In the world of off-road helmets there is a lot to choose from right now. It’s great news for consumers because the choices are greater than ever. While there have always been plenty of entry level brands to choose from, the high-end market was claimed long ago by Arai and Shoei. Recently there have been a few brave companies aiming for a piece of that premium division.
The Italian-made Vemar is relatively new to America and imported by Motonation, the same folks responsible for bringing us the class-leading line of Sidi boots, so they know a thing or two about quality products. My test helmet is the DOT/ECE-rated VFX7 in a black and white pattern called “Snake.” Like many of the Euro brands, it does not carry a Snell rating.
The first thing I notice is the obvious light weight. The exterior shell is constructed of a “lightweight yet incredibly strong carbon fiber – aramidic- fiberglass blend.” Weighing in at a svelte 3.1 pounds the lightness is noticeable when putting the helmet on for the first time, although I would be hard pressed to say I notice much one way or the other once I
start riding. The other nice surprise in the packaging was the inclusion of a complete spare liner and a solid black colored spare visor. The stock visor has graphics on the underside that give it a very finished look, but might be distracting to some riders.
As for the liner, Vemar claims it is “manufactured from a technical fiber that provides life-long treatment against odor, fungus and bacteria, and extraordinary wicking capabilities that result in enhanced rider comfort.” After a number of hard rides it still smells like new. The liner is easy to install and remove with cheek pads that are easy to clean, plastic-backed, one-piece affair. The chin strap is padded and has a snap to secure the end.
Ultimately the value of any helmet comes down to the quality of fit. The medium size suits me perfectly. I find the interior shape to be very similar to the Arai “intermediate oval” with no pressure points, just a snug, comfy fit all the way around. The chin bar provides good coverage, and the eye port is wide enough to accommodate any of the goggles I tried. Venting is anon-adjustable configuration with intakes above the brow and on top. I would rate the air flow as average, but the liner does seem to stay fairly dry and comfortable.
A roomy eye port allowed our tester to easily fit all of his different goggles, but the straps line up on an annoying ridge along the rear.
I do have a couple of minor complaints. There is a horizontal ridge across the back of the helmet that runs exactly where the goggle strap wants to lie. Also, the VFX7 features the white molding around the eye port and neck that is so popular right now. In the long haul there is just no way to keep this white looking good, it starts to show wear and dirt immediately. Personally I think the graphics are a bit dated, particularly in some of the bolder colors.
Of the variety helmets in my garage, I keep reaching for the VFX7 to take riding, so I must be enjoying it. Overall the Vemar is a strong class challenger. It’s close on overall fit and finish and certainly leads the way in weight savings.