Great style, light weight and plenty of cushion in the fit—that is what the Vemar helmet offers for the price.
Vemar isn’t one of the big-name helmet companies in the U.S. yet, but it will be soon if their products continue to impress, like the VRX9 off-road helmet. In the U.S., Vemar is imported by Motonation, the Sidi boot guys. You know how great Sidi boots are, and if you look around at the pros riding with them, you know the company knows how to get a product out there in view of the customers. Like many European helmets, the Italian Vemar brand hasn’t had a look that resonates with American buyers—at least until the release of the VRX9. The first time we planned a photo shoot at the track with a VRX9, though, even California cool boys stopped and took notice. Not that we buy helmets for looks. Okay, we do in part, but mostly we are looking for fit, comfort and safety. Fit is vital. If a helmet isn’t comfortable, you may be tempted to leave it on the shelf when it belongs on your head. Many of us ride for long sessions, and a helmet that has pinch points or hot spots is going to be miserable.
The VRX9 is constructed with a mid-oval shell shape that offers a generous fit front to back and a more snug fit side to side. The sizing is pretty close, with a nod toward generous. If you are on the edge between two sizes on some helmets, you will certainly want to try one on before you buy. Our test helmet is an XL, and the rider could have gone for a size large racing motocross, but the XL is pleasantly roomy without being too lose for riding off-road. Two additional factors affecting the comfort are superbly light weight and fantastic venting. This truly is a light lid, and that is great for neck fatigue on a full-day ride. Vents abound on the helmet. It isn’t like your head freezes on a cold day, but you feel the breeze when the temps are higher. We rarely ended up with hair that we even had to damp after a day of riding.
The eyeport easily housed any goggles we threw on. The shell is formed to work well with neck braces. We wore it with a Leatt, and it certainly caused no problems. For racers, it is good to note that the Vemar has a cheek-pad removal system that some racing organizations are now requiring. Small loops under the helmet allow the cheek pads to pull out, which makes it much easier for medical professionals to remove the helmet. The vent foam in the front of the helmet can be cleaned like an air cleaner.
We had a single, minor complaint: When we went to remove a sticker we had put on the chin bar, the factory graphics came up as well. We should have used a little heat on it. For those stickers required at races, like helmet bar codes and such, we put duct tape down and put the sticker over the tape. End of problem. Otherwise, the graphics and helmet surface have proven very tough fending off brush, branches and roost.
These tabs attached to the cheek pads allow the cheek pads to be pulled out while the helmet is still on. Many racing organizations require this feature.
For $495, you get a great-fitting, lightweight and well-ventilated helmet. It meets the European ECE standard for motorcycle helmets, as well as the DOT standard. Both of those standards are considered a good choice for off-road riders by helmet-testing experts. The helmet has a five-year warranty, and current thinking is that no helmet should be used for more than five years. We love the helmet and feel confident and safe wearing it. For more information, go to www.motonation.com or call (619) 401-4100.