HJC Helmets: Product Eval
Like the rest of the mechanical components of the ATV world, things are evolving in head and neck protection as well. HJC is staying one step ahead of this evolution, both on the ATV side, as well as offering the right type of helmets for the popular high-performance UTV segment. This month we are going to look at a pair of helmets that not only offer the comfort and style we expect, but the proper protection we need too.
We have used HJC helmets for riding off-road for years. They are always keeping up with current style and safety trends. The $179 Snelland DOT-approved FG-X is no different. It’s constructed with a fiberglass/ composite shell with a removable, padded liner and cheek pads. The inner shell is channeled throughout to direct air in the one top and three forehead intake vents to the three exit vents in back. In addition, the chin bar has three intake vents to keep the front of your face cool. The vents are not closeable. The goggle port is large and worked well with multiple-brand goggles we tried, including Oakley, X Brand and Thor.
With the helmet on your head, the padding feels cool and soft with no wrinkles or pinching. The comfort level of the FG-X is on par with $400– $500 helmets. If we had to gripe about anything, it’s that the gloss black paint shows scratches quickly when you wash it after a day of riding. If we were into black, we would opt for the matte black version, which is only $5 more.
On the trails we loved the comfort of this product. It totally surrounds your head and gives you a solid feeling of security. The padding around the ears is well placed and fits well. The cheek pads are tight but not squished. We washed the liner after our first two rides, and the colors and stitching are holding up well. A handful of color options are available to suit your style that run $20 more than the solid black or white. If you are really price-conscious, you can also get the Fulcrum helmet with Snell certification for $139 in adult sizes only. The FG-X weighs in at a respectable 3.1 pounds.
Sure, you can wear a motocross helmet when you drive a UTV. For now, most racing organizations allow them. However, for the ultimate protection, a helmet made for auto racing is what you need. The car helmets are built and tested to withstand a much heavier impact than a dirt helmet. If you look at the Snell certification of the higher-end helmets, the sticker under the padding will have a designated letter (M equals bike and SA equals auto) next to a date to show that it’s built as a car or bike helmet. For the auto helmet we have been using, HJC uses a composite-weave outside shell wrapped over the inner shell. That shell is channeled above the padding to allow a forced air system to cool the driver even better than a vented MX helmet. The forced air system on this helmet gets connected through a hose to the top of the helmet, and the port twists, facilitating a rear, right or left entry.
The lower portion of the Fi-10 has pre-drilled holes that accept any head- and neck-restraint system, like the Leatt MRX system we use. You provide your own posts and install them yourself only if needed. Inside the helmet, HJC developed a removable earpiece that is specially designed with help from PCI Radios (www.pciraceradios.com) to accept speakers. This not only cuts down the time it takes to wire up a helmet, it always kept the speaker secure and in the right location. The medium weighs in at a very light 3.9 pounds with the restraint posts and a wiring kit that includes speakers and a microphone. You can get the $650 Fi-10 in small through XXL. HJC does carry other lower-cost car helmets between $300 and $500.
Sure, you can buy a helmet for a cheaper price, but if you’re serious about racing, you need to have the best protection, and HJC can deliver that. To find a dealer close to you, call or visit www.hjchelmets.com for the MX helmets and www.hjc-motorsports.com for the automobile line.