Yes, they have a high-tech, fighter pilot look, but can they take a flogging year round?
Tested by Gary Ilminen, Motor Cycle Monthly’s US contributor
Roof Helmets offer a pair of modular helmets that bring high-tech versatility to fit a variety of riding needs. A feature common to the two models is the way the chin bar can move from the full-face position all the way around to the back of the helmet shell, in contrast to how many modular helmets work, with the range of motion of the chin bar limited to directly overhead. This enables them to function as true open-face helmets with minimal wind buffeting effect, even at high speed.
The operation of the chin bar is a bit different from one model to the other. With the Roof Boxer V8 model ( www.boxer-helmets.com ) there are two tabs, one on each side of the helmet where a red button must be pushed up and the locking tab lifted away from the locking pins to release the chin bar. It works well, but requires both hands.
In contrast, the Roof Desmo ( www.boxer-helmets.com/roof-desmo-helmets) has a single button beneath the mid-point of the chin bar, which activates a feature called the Desmolock. Pushing the button in releases both locking pins simultaneously, allowing the chin bar to be raised with one hand. Similarly, the chin bar can be lowered and simply pulled down until it clicks into the locking position with one hand to go to full-face mode.
If the helmet is being operated in open-face mode with the visor down, a clever hinge design causes the visor to raise automatically when the chin bar is being lowered—necessary because the visor mates with a gasket on the top edge of the chin bar, so the chin bar cannot be fully lowered unless the visor is raised. The Boxer does not have this smart hinge feature.
Both helmets come with visors that have scratch and fog-resistant treatments. The anti-fogging treatment appeared effective on both helmets, as I used them both on chilly winter days of riding at around 40° F. There are seven visor options for the Boxer and three for the Desmo.
Each also has excellent ventilation into the face area of the helmet by closable vents in the chin bar and a crown vent atop the helmet.
The Boxer V8 and Desmo share the dynamic chin bar design and some other features, but do have some differences, as well. The Desmo is a bit heavier weighing in at a claimed 1.9 kg (about 4.1 lb.), while the Boxer has a claimed weight of 1,650 g (about 3.6 lb.). The Desmo has a “micrometric” retention strap buckle, which has a positive ratchet-style closure that allows precise fit each time without further strap adjustment. The buckle opens instantly with a tug on the red strap provided; and opening and closing can be done with gloves on. The Boxer has a seat belt style buckle which opens with one button, but which may require initial adjustment of the nylon retention strap.
The Desmo shell and chin bar are made of thermoplastic composite, while the Boxer V8 shell and chin bar are made of fiberglass. Each helmet carries ECE 22.05 J certification for open face an ECE 22.05 P certification for full-face use.
In use, both helmets function reliably and well, with all the mechanisms working as designed. Having used them in relatively cold riding conditions including snowmobiling, the effectiveness of opening the vents—as well as closing them and sealing the visor into the chin bar—was easy to assess. Crown ventilation works with a single hand on each helmet; on the Boxer, sliding a single button back opens both inlet and outlet vents simultaneously. On the Desmo, the crown vents can be opened by pushing the trap-door openings down until they lock open with a click. Closing both is done by sliding a single button till they snap back shut. Operating the outlet vents is done by two separate buttons on the back.
So, how do these high-tech, complex helmets hold up after more than year-round use? Literally the only thing that went off-script with either helmet was one of the pivot screws on the chin bar of the Roof Boxer V8 fell out. Reinstalling both pivot screws with a drop of thread locker was the easy fix.
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