MOOSE AIR INTAKE HELMET: PRODUCT EVALUATION

MOOSE AIR INTAKE HELMET

Low-cost, high-performance SxS helmet By the staff of Dirt Wheels

When most owners trick their UTVs out, they install a clean-air pumper to avoid breathing dust and blowing sand. Desert racers have long relied on Parker Pumpers or those from PCI Radios and Rugged Radios in their trucks and buggies and later UTVs. While the filtered pumpers are relatively inexpensive, pump-ready racing helmets have traditionally had prices that would send prospective customers into sticker shock. When UTV Action tested the Bell Eliminator (August 2019), the price was $460 a pop, but we now see them on the internet for $250. PCI’s Pumper helmets are in the $200s as well. So, when Moose Racing and Moose Utilities Division introduced their Air Intake helmet, we jumped at the chance to test it.

The Moose Air Intake helmet is designed to keep the dust out and clean air in, and the shell is injection-molded ABS and compliant with DOT and ECE 22.06 helmet safety standards. Inside are plushly padded chin pads and a fully removable moisture-wicking liner. There is also a removable chin seal, but there are no ear pockets for radio speakers. Cain installed speakers in his Air Intake, and they didn’t hit his ears. There is an air-intake vent on the chin that can be closed and an exhaust vent that can’t be closed. The pumper port for the hose (not included) is on top for use in the driver’s or passenger’s seat. The shield is scratch-resistant polycarbonate, and it has tool-less removal and installation and an anti-fog coating. There is a rubber seal around the eye-port, and the hose receptacle threads into the top port.

Sizes are XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL. Lumpy got an XXL, and the fit was perfect, with slight pressure on the cheeks and an overall snug fit, which is what Moose recommends. The Air Intake has a high-end quick-release ratcheting security system that eliminates the usual D-rings. Insert the metal tab into the ratchet and adjust, and there is adjustment in the nylon strap as well. The red ratchet release has a strap, and you pull it to release it. It’s super trick and easy, even with one hand, and it’s a quick-release for EMTs or race safety workers. The Air Intake also comes with a dust skirt, and Velcro is installed along the bottom rim of the shell for easy skirt installation.

COLD-WEATHER ALL-AROUND TESTING

Lumpy wore the Air Intake helmet every day for a month, starting with Thanksgiving in the Mojave Desert. The UTV rides were very dusty and windy, and the shield seal worked very well and kept out the dust and wind noise. The shield pivots are spring-loaded and have detents to keep it where the wearer wants it when up. However, dust got in the pivots and fouled the mechanisms, making it harder to open and close the face shield. He removed the shield and cleaned the pivot mechanisms, but it didn’t completely free up the pivots.

Lumpy commutes daily to the palatial Dirt Wheels offices, and the helmet is comfortable to wear for long periods and seals well with the shield closed. Without air being pumped into the helmet, the shield would temporarily fog when he exhaled on really cold nights, but it cleared quickly. To keep fog at bay, crack open the shield. On night rides with air being pumped in, there was no fogging at all. The retention system is excellent, and Lumpy learned that he could release it with one hand, grabbing the red strap with his thumb and forefinger and pulling the tab out with the pinky.

The Air Intake only comes in black. Moose warns owners never to use chemicals or harsh solvents to clean the shield, only soft clothes or micro-fiber towels. Bugs splattered on the shield should be softened with warm water before wiping off. Even detergents can damage the anti-fog coating. Moose also warns that after any crash impacts, the helmet should be retired and not worn again. Since the Air Intake has an MSRP of $149.95, it’s a bargain and delivers a lot of comfort, clean air and performance for the price. Other than the shield’s pivot system getting fouled by dust, we have no complaints. We don’t mind having to use tools to change shields, like with the Bell Eliminator. The pivot mechanisms bolt to the sides of the shell, so we think Moose should maybe offer optional pivots that convert to Allen-head bolts for pivots.

As is, the Moose Air Intake is the least-expensive pump-ready helmet on the market, and SxS enthusiasts can outfit the whole family with clean air on dusty rides or in fine dune sand. Defeat dust!

PRICE: $149.95

RATING: 5 stars

CONTACT: (800) 369-1000

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