One of the advantages of wearing the Reevu FSX1 full-face helmet with the revolutionary rear-view mirror system is that it is a great conversation-starter with complete strangers.
It seems everyone is interested in this innovative technology.
I’ve been wearing the full-face helmet for more than a year now and have been pulled aside on many occasions by riders interested in how it works and whether it’s effective.
Apart from being a conversation-starter it’s also my favourite all-purpose helmet, not just because of the rearview system, but because it’s comfortable and snug, even though it’s a bit heavy and hot in summer. Read my review here.
The innovative British helmet company released a flip-up FSX1 version (known in some countries as a modular helmet) last year and after a lengthy Australian certification process it will be released in March at the Troy Bayliss Moto Expo in Brisbane. Read my story here.
I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on an Australian-approved FSX1 and have been testing it throughout the sweaty summer months in Queensland.
The first thing I noticed when I picked it up was that it is surprisingly light. I say surprising because most flip-up helmets are heavier than similar full-face helmets because of the hinge system.
However, this is one of the lightest flip-up helmets I’ve tried. At 1.45kg it’s about 0.33kg lighter than the full-face version, according to my wife’s accurate kitchen scales.
The second observation is that it has much better airflow than the previous model. The vents are also easier to use and it comes with a zip-off neck roll which allows even more air to circulate around your chin and neck. In the sweaty summer weather, it feels quite cool and you can always flip up the chin bar in slow traffic for even better ventilation and peripheral vision.
Riding with the chin bar up is not an offence as far as I can see as the helmet is still secured to your head by the chin strap. Besides, many police do it. However, it’s not advisable and certainly not comfortable at speeds above 60km/h where the aero pulls at your head.
Compared with the ultra-quiet full-face, the flip-up version is a bit noisy. It’s actually quieter than other flip-ups I’ve tried, but with the neck roll zipped off it’s very noisy.
Pulling on the helmet requires you to grab both straps in your hands and use your thumbs to pull back the neck roll as well. However, you can pull it on without having to flip up the chin bar.
If you do flip up the chin bar first by pushing down on the front latch it goes on and off very easily, even with your glasses on.
The chin bar latch system feels a little clunky, but I never had any problems in getting it to shut properly. The chin straps have a convenient click-lock clasp rather than a double-D fastener. It has a short red tag that you pull for instant release.
There is a recess on each side for big ears like mine and there is somewhere to stick speakers for an intercom. However, the wires have to go over the neck roll, which is a bit messy. Also, you won’t be able to use the clamp system on a Bluetooth unit or camera, so you will have to stick it on with the supplied fittings. (Never drill hole in a helmet to fit any device. Read my story here about the legality of helmet cams and read here about the safety of these devices.)
This helmet has exactly the same rearview mirror system as the full-face version. For those who aren’t familiar with the system, it is composed of a small mirror on the forehead area which can be angled and lowered via a supplied allen key to get the right position.
You will then be able to see a shallow but wide vision of the area behind you so (together with your mirrors) you don’t need to turn your head to do a head check, although it’s always advisable to do so anyway.
Doing a head check is a little easier with this helmet, not because it’s slightly lighter, but because the visor area seems a little wider.
The visor is pinlock-ready but it doesn’t come with them. The previous helmet has an anti-mist clear visor which works as well as any pinlock system, but I’ve not been able to test the anti-fog qualities of this one yet. There is also a nose cover on the chin bar to prevent breath misting up the visor.
It is a bit tricky getting the visor off and on which is a shame because it was very easy on the previous model.
Internal comfort is just as good as the previous model with a very high quality removable and washable liner. Removing and replacing the liner is now easier thanks to velcro fittings rather than snap-in buttons.
Helmet construction uses tri-composite carbon fibreglass, Kevlar and synthetic hi-tenacity advanced fibre shell and dual-density EPS.
What does that mean? Well, it’s passed all the tests and must be safe, but a flip-up helmet may not be as safe as a full-face which is why they are not recommended in some motorsport categories.
However, I wore this helmet in the low-speed Le Minz 24-Hour Scooterthon and felt secure and well-ventilated which was a blessing in the oppressive heat. Read my story here.
As for styling, the Reevu helmets have a bit of an egg shape to cater for the mirror system across the top, but it has contours that disguise the extra size.
Most flip-ups are quite wide because of the hinge system, but this is relatively narrow.
It seems quite aerodynamic at high speed with no buffeting, although there is a bit of noise around the hinges.
Flip-up helmets are very convenient for touring because you can also stop and talk to people or take photos without having to remove your helmet.
Some friendly service stations even allow you to fill up without having to take off your helmet so long as you have the chin bar up.
I can see this is going to become my next all-purpose helmet.