(Above) Vega’s Phantom helmet at the 2013 AIMExpo. (Middle) Shark’s Raw helmet has a number of configurations thanks to detachable goggles and chin piece. (Below) Inside one of Kali Protectives’ helmets, which utilizes Composite Fusion technology to bind EPS foam directly to the shell.
Helmets abounded. Vega had a prominent display of economically priced lids ranging from full face to half-shell, putting particular emphasis on its new Phantom helmet which comes with a drop-down built-in visor and detachable chin guard. There were also a number of vintage-styled three-quarter lids, new designs for women and a carbon fiber off-road helmet priced under $300 dollars.
Shark’s Raw Helmet was particularly striking, looking like something a fighter pilot might wear. The detachable goggle system and chin guard made it one of the more versatile options on the floor. Shark will bring its full lineup back to the US this year, one example of a popular European brand introducing its new wares to the American ridership.
Kali helmets featured its lids built with Composite Fusion technology, a process that forms the EPS foam to the contours of the outer shell, removing the potential for slight gaps between the two that is often found in other helmets. The EPS fuses to the shell as it expands during a steaming process, removing the need for glues or other binding agents, and Kali claims it more effectively diffuses impact energy than other helmets on the market. The off-road helmet on display was also one of the lightest I’ve ever held.
Finally, Scorpion had its MotoGP spec EXO-R2000 on display, a lid developed recently through testing with various riders in the World Championship such as Alvaro Bautista and Moto2 rider Mika Kallio. The deceptively simple looking helmet comes with an AirFit Linter Inflation System, Thermodynamic Composite Technology outer shell, multiple position ventilation ports in the front and 10 exhaust vents out back. An EverClear No Fog face shield and an Ellip-Tec Ratchet system which pulls the shield back against the eye-port gasket while closed to ensure the visor is flush and completely sealed when closed.
REV’IT featured its Gore-Tex Poseidon jacket for men and a newly designed version for women that features repositioned side venting, VCS aquadefense waterproof vent system with FidLock fasteners and adjustable fit options to suit different body types. Matching pants also feature the waterproof venting system.
TCX boots had a full range of options in its booth, from the R-S2 Evo which has an air-fit system built in as well an internal fastening system that looks like a little bootie inside the boot. Women’s X-Square Lady and Lady Aura Waterproof selections are designed to fit a women’s foot and come with a narrower heel, slimmer tip and more accentuated instep. For the Urban rider, the Urban Trend/X-Rap Waterproof or X-Street Black options will likely be appealing.
Forcefield Body Armor featured four new products: the Pro L2K Evo back protector, the Blade back protector, the Airo Vest chest and back protector and the Elite chest protector. All but the Elite come with CE2 rated armor (the Elite chest protector is rated to CE1 standards). The Airo Vest was awesome in that it comes as a front-zip style vest that looks good enough to wear off the bike. The chest and back protection are subtle in the Airo Vest and the light, breathable material will likely ensure a cool, comfortable fit even on hot days.
Twisted Core featured a collection of base layers that have been created using gradient compression to help improve circulation. They’ve also used melt-resistant fabrics in areas that have been known to melt or burn when exposed to extreme heat and abrasion. The company offers summer and winter versions of the base layers and has flat-lock seams to ensure there’s no irritation while riding.
SW Motech highlighted its Blaze Panniers Set, a ballistic nylon material saddlebag option for riders with bikes that don’t have attachment points on the tail end of the motorcycle. The bags attach via two quick-lock frame mounts that slide onto a slim metal bar that’s also detachable. The bags are held steady by a sturdy Velcro strap that extends across the pillion seat and come equipped with zipper expand options. It’s an oldie perhaps, but still a goodie.
Products for the Honda Grom were on prominent display in a number of booths, with Two Brothers Racing and Yoshimura displaying exhaust systems for the miniature machine. Ohlins also has a new Grom shock that features a piggyback reservoir, compression and preload adjustment capability as well as the choice of three spring rates.
Pro Moto Billet had a test station where attendees could feel the immediate difference its Fastway Steering Stabilizer made by a simple turn of the knob. Adjustments can be made on the fly to suit the terrain and the system is designed to help reduce impact over chop as well as lessen headshake and arm-pump.