GEAR GRINDER: GMAX MX86 OFF-ROAD & GM11 ADV HELMETS
Nice helmets at great prices By the staff of Dirt Wheels
GMAX Helmet was started by a group of enthusiasts about 15 years ago. The company makes quality helmets at excellent price points. We recently put two different GMAX helmets to the test. The first is the DOT- and ECE-approved GMAX MX86 off-road helmet. The model that we received is the Pink Ribbon Riders edition. GMAX gives $5 of each helmet sale to the breast cancer awareness fund. There will only be 4000 of these helmets available. The second is the DOT-approved GMAX GM11 ADV helmet intended for motorcycle adventure riding, riding ATVs or piloting UTVs. It can be worn with goggles but comes standard with a flip-up, scratch-resistant, hard-coated face shield. Adventure-style helmets with face shields are very nice when piloting today’s high-performance sport UTVs. Both helmets run an amazing $119.95 in solid colors and a most impressive $129.95 in graphic color schemes.
Both helmets employ a tough, lightweight, ABS shell lined with energy-absorbing molded EPS that has cooling vent channels in it. The MX86 features 13 venting areas, a removable SpaSoft DuPont Coolmax interior that wicks away moisture and a roost guard for your nose. We may have missed some, but we counted 19 vents on the GM11 ADV helmet, and six of those can be closed off if you choose.
GMAX chose DuPont Coolmax for the GM11 interior, and it does keep you dry and comfortable as advertised until you are really working in warm temperatures. That comfort liner is removable for washing, and if you need it, there are available options for customizing the fit. The visor is designed to shade your eyes but has large openings between the shell and the visor to keep the helmet from lifting at speed. The 100-percent UV400-resistant, anti-scratch face shield ratchets to stop at multiple partially open positions. It can open fully and tuck almost invisibly under the visor or seal tightly against the eyeport.
Goggles fit inside the eyeport with the shield mounted. We didn’t attempt it, but GMAX claims you can wear goggles even with the shield down. If you don’t need the visor peak (in a UTV with a full roof for example) the helmet comes with covers that allow removal of the visor. The helmet even has integrated speaker pockets in the ear holes, but for our Dumbo-ish ears the pockets weren’t deep enough for true comfort with the speakers we tried.
LIFE AT SPEED
The light weight (2.9 lb.) was the first thing we noticed about the GMAX MX86. We couldn’t believe it was a $130 helmet when we put it on. The SpaSoft liner is very comfortable; we imagine it’s the type of feeling you would expect at a spa. It does feel a little tight until it’s in the correct position on your head. The ear ports are large, which makes it nice for comfort. The exterior of the helmet reminded us of a much more expensive helmet. It’s DOT and ECE approved, which are both big deals, as they are two out of the three most notable safety standards in the world. The eyeport is large for easy goggle fit and excellent peripheral vision.
The DOT-approved GM11 ADV is a more complicated design with more moving parts, so it isn’t especially light at 3.8 lb., but it is comfortable. With the shield closed tightly, there is very little wind noise, and in a UTV, that is very nice. We did experience a little shield fogging in the cold, but opening the shield one notch always took care of the problem immediately.
We happily wear both of these helmets. We prefer the GMAX MX86 for sport quads and lean toward the GM11 ADV for UTVs. Both have the comfort and the features we desire. Both helmets come in a variety of solid colors and graphic designs and colorways. The MX86 comes in XS through XXXL and the GM11 ADV in XS through XXL. If you are looking for a budget-friendly helmet that is fully featured, these models from GMAX fit the bill. See www.gmaxhelmetsusa.com or (800) 999-3388.