We know that while protection and comfort are the primary considerations when choosing any motorcycle gear, from helmets to boots, somewhere along the line, the right look and feel will also come into play.
For example, you probably wouldn’t wear a full carbon sports helmet for commuting on your 125cc urban cruiser. Similarly, if you ride an adventure-style bike, you probably want an adventure helmet that not only protects you and is comfortable but will also allow the odd off-road foray.
While arguably any helmet will work off-road, the best ones are those designed to do so. Generally, they have a large aperture in front of the face and a peak to help keep debris and sunlight out of the riders’ eyes. However, that can mean they are cold and noisy on the road, particularly at cruising or motorway speeds.
1. Caberg Tourmax Helmet
The Tourmax from Caberg seeks to address this by combining touring and off-road aspirations in the same helmet.
The Tourmax appears to be the Duke II flip-front helmet with a peak added, though, for an extra £35, we’d like to think there’s more to it than that. However, even if that is the case, the Duke II gets five SHARP stars for safety so I’ll take it…
Like the Duke II, the Tourmax is a dual-homologated flip-front, meaning that the flip can be locked in the open position safely and it ridden in like this. It’s ungainly and all a bit top-heavy but it’s safe and legal if that’s your thing.
What it does mean is that it can form a good seal around your neck when closed and offer the convenience of a flip-front lid when you want it – the ability to open it to chat, eat, drink or simply cool off a little.
The flip mechanism is easy to operate – a large, front-mounted button releases the chin-bar and it pushes up and locks with a reassuring action. Closing it is similarly easy though you do need to be aware that when it’s open, with the peak, it’s quite tall.
The visor aperture is pretty large, with a great view – essential for touring. Vision through the visor itself is excellent and its action up is nice though it’s a bit notchy on the way back down again – a squirt of silicon spray helps. It ratchets in several positions including one where it is just cracked slightly, which can help to bring in a little airflow without letting bugs or too much rain in.
There is a drop-down sun visor that is activated by a slider on top of the helmet – a bit tricky to find the first couple of times but dead easy to use after that. It’s a neutral colour and is a good tint though it stops short and leave a gap at the bottom, which can be annoying sometimes.
There’s a main, central vent on top of the helmet which is effective but it really tricky to activate, even with no gloves, as it is so close to the rear of the central spine of the peak. The chin vent is pretty good, as long as you get actual airflow to it – one of the issues I had was that both the bikes I rode wearing the Tourmax had large screens, so airflow was a bit of an issue.
Not for demisting but for cooling – off-road can be pretty tiring and hot work and while you can open the visor or flip the chin bar up, if you’re riding through overgrown narrow lanes like we were, you can easily get too much flora and fauna in the lid with you. You also can’t close the chin vents – possibly a bit of an issue in the rain though it didn’t cause a problem in the short amount of rain I’ve experienced.
But almost all of the limitations pale once you put it on. The interior is really plush – not expected for a helmet towards the lower end of the price scale and I found it genuinely all-day comfortable.
I wore it for five hours on a cross country and motorway blast, following by a full day the following day; eight hours around narrow lanes and off-road followed by the return motorway blast and had no problems whatsoever. There were no pressure points, nothing digging in and other than a little moisture, it was as comfortable at the end of the day as the beginning.
It is slightly noisier than a comparable non-peaked helmet by virtue of the big bit of plastic sticking out of the front but I didn’t find it overly so. The peak itself is a little flimsy – it only fixes at each end and nothing in the centre like other off-road helmets, so if the screen on your bike causes any vibration or turbulence or you are in very turbulent traffic, then it can cause vibrations that do become annoying after a while.
It’s possible to remove the peak and use it as a normal road helmet – the screws holding the peak on also hold the chin bar on though so it’s a bit of a process and you have to change screws once you’re removed the peak so it’s generally easier to live with the vibrations a bit.
This is a really nice touring helmet that has some off-road and adventure attitude thanks to the addition of the peak. It has its limitations – venting could be better and the peak is a bit flimsy but the base helmet is superbly confutable, not too noisy and, most importantly, gets five SHARP stars.
Add to that the flexibility of dual-homologated flip front and it’s a lot of helmet for the money. I really like it.
Dual-homologated for chin bar open or closed
Exceptionally – all-day - comfortable
Peak removable for high-speed road use
Peak a bit flimsy at high speed
More adventure bike kit:
2. RST Adventure X Jacket
3. Forma Adventure Boots
4. RST Adventure X Trousers
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