Choosing that perfect helmet is a process… definitely not something I was expecting before I purchased one of my first helmets, the Scorpion EXO-GT3000. At first, you’d think that you checkout out a few online stores and then picking the one you like the most is all it takes. But lo-and-behold, choosing the right one becomes much more than just about looks. Safety ratings, head shapes, features, price and style are all factors that the product manufacturers are constantly working on. This made my choice much, much, harder than expected.
First, I’d find a few that I thought were really the best of the best, but then would find that they were either for different head shapes, were really out of my budget, or suspiciously underpriced. That old saying, ‘a 10$ helmet for a 10$ brain’ stuck with me throughout my helmet buying journey, annoyingly so. And when I say journey, I mean freaking journey. Like the Odyssey, except with more swearing and shameful man-tears. I’m sure some of you will sympathize with my almost obsessive comparison shopping, watching tons of review videos, reading loads of comparison tables, and many sleepless nights. Trying to hit that sweet spot within my budget was tougher than expected.
After all was said and done, I ended up deciding on the helmet subspecies called modular helmets; being such a gadget lover, the features and ‘benefits’ of a flip-up front really appealed to me. I’m a relatively new rider, so I didn’t have much helmet history behind me to help narrow the field. With a modular helmet, I thought I could function as a normal human with a swing of the front release lever, without needing to remove the helmet entirely. Thus I ended up looking for a simple, understated modular helmet with modern features, a good safety rating, and a decent price – the ‘smart’ choice. All of these factors came into play when choosing the Scorpion EXO-GT3000 helmet; even though it has a Harry Potter lightning bolt for a logo.
[Scorpion, is that you?]
The Scorpion EXO-GT3000 has tons of modern features: modular construction, internal speaker cutouts, removable lining, decent adjustable venting, air bladder to customize fit, etc. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the most comfortable lids I’ve ever had cradling my brain. As is standard practice at the gear shop, I tried on the helmet and kept it on for a good while to make sure there weren’t any particularly sore spots around my head and checked out visibility from the front-end design. I also didn’t have to squeeze my head into it, like a tight pair of jeans after producing a food-baby. Everything was great, and with the helmet on sale (from the $380 MSRP), I jumped on the chance to buy!
[Pictured: Has not yet conceived food-baby]
Fast-forward months of constant riding with the Scorpion EXO-GT3000 helmet (I’m a daily commuter on my bike) and I’ve got a pretty good handle on my likes and dislikes of this helmet.
First let’s start with the ‘likes.’ This helmet is DOT rated, has a removable comfort lining (with air bladder for custom fit), and looks great in matte black. It’s still comfortable, without any pressure headaches or sore spots around the head and temples. The inner lining has broken in with a good imprint of my head-shape – or maybe I just have a really standard-shaped melon? I’ve also since installed a bluetooth comm unit (Sena 10R) with speakers – no noticeable change in interior space thanks to the speaker cut-outs. Unlike some other reviews, my helmet’s front hinge has stayed tight and still holds the front up, when swung in the open position – this helps with taking on and off the helmet. It’s been the easiest lid to take on and off so far, since I can use the front opening to slide out of it if needed. I’ve got some long hair so that was a plus. Noise levels aren’t too bad (maybe a 7 out of 10) and visibility from the stock, clear visor is solid. Aerodynamics are average with the helmet catching a bit of lift between 50-60mph. All other speeds, it’s not noticeable; and I ride a naked bike. It’s been used during the summer season and the venting keeps my head cool and dry once I’m riding at speed. It’s seriously an all-around solid performer. For long trips and consistent comfort, the EXO-GT3000 definitely earns its GT (Grand Touring) title.
[Did I leave the oven on?]
Now for the dislikes… I really wanted to like this helmet more than I do. It’s comfortable and easy for a rider to integrate into the daily commute. But honestly, I wanted it to look good on me too. Hell, all my gear and even my bike choices started out with how they look! Maybe my body-to-head proportions are out of whack, but I know I’m not the only human constructed this way. It’s near impossible with our current generation of materials to produce a super low-profile helmet with as much safety and protection as is needed, but this helmet looks pretty big on my fleshy frame. It’s bulbous and the shape just isn’t flattering (not as bulbous as your average Arai or Shoei – haters gonna hate for that statement). From all angles, the head shape is just too wide for my frame (5′ 10″ and 150lbs wet). It makes me look like a sharpie jammed into a honeydew melon. If the bottom surface of the helmet wasn’t so flat, and was instead tapered a bit more, it would be a noticeably better… at least for my self-conscious idiocy. As for the ‘custom-fit’ air bladder with the pump up ball on the underside; the 1980’s want their sneakers back. I’ve yet to use it. The integrated flip-down tinted visor is a handy feature, but I rarely use the thing; it makes me feel like a helicopter pilot – which would be wicked cool, if I were riding a helicopter. I opt for sunglasses; aviators thank you very much.
[This isn’t a motorcycle?]
Now for my main gripe: the modular flip-up feature, one of the main reasons why i got this helmet. I’m sure a lot of the touring and cruiser riders out there will beg to differ, and everyone is entitled to their opinion and tastes, but when it’s flipped up, I just feel kinda dumb. Actually really dumb. When I’m gearing up outside, I subconsciously (or consciously?) turn away from people passing by – I just can’t finish gearing up and flipping it back down fast enough. I know, I know… it’s a big selling point of the modular helmets, but this one just looks so bulky that it makes me feel awkward as all hell. I’m sure I’ve heard some snickering in my periphs, which I pretend to ignore. It’s like I’m back in middle school, after an uncontrollable laugh, that made me squeeze out a small fart in the middle of class… around other humans. I just want to go home. On top of all that, the bluetooth communicators require a little finesse with the modular helmets. You can’t mount the wired mic in the normal spot – you’ll need to either use the boom mic (which pops out in front and can get in the way of the flip-up action) or side-mount the wired mic somewhere else making it pretty janky (which is the way I have it, of course).
With all that being said, the Scorpion EXO-GT3000 helmet really is damn comfortable. This helmet has all of the modern amenities you’d want in a motorcycle helmet. But that’s just the thing, most modern helmets have the same modern comforts. There’s nothing particularly special about this helmet except comfort and lower road noise (for a modular). I have a complicated relationship with this helmet, but at the end of the day, I’m still crawling back (in)to it so I can hit up those open roads and long trips.
[Top speed challenge! Uh, I mean… safety!]
I know I did have some not-so-nice things to say about the helmet (see above, lol); but after all is said and done, I strap it on and ride my bike home… and riding a motorcycle is the single greatest feeling on God’s green Earth. I swear to you, I’m in love with riding and I want to be buried with my bike. Wife be damned! Sprockets and O-rings are all I need… right?
I’ll admit that even for all my complaining, the fact that I can ride my bike on the twisties, is enough reason for me to strap any ridiculous contraption to my head modular or whatever (helmets are required by law in my state, psh). It feels safe and the interior design leaves your vision unobstructed. Cheek pads are comfy-snug, it all breaks in relatively quickly, and the quick removable lining (and shield) makes cleaning and maintenance quick and easy.
If I were to do it all over again… wait for it… I’d still buy the Scorpion EXO-GT3000 helmet. I know, pump the brakes, right? But hear me out – it’s a safe choice. Well, it’s definitely the ‘safe’ choice: safe and reliable in a way a pair of old sweatpants are – really, really safe and they’re always there for you. The stock pictures make it look just as cool as the rest of ’em, but those are taken by professional photographers and marketers. Those sorcerers can make anything and anyone look cool… even a hobbit like me. Just look at the stock picture in this article! It looks decent. But I’m stressing the safety here, if you haven’t noticed already.
[If only they were wearing a helmet]
For the newer riders out there, you’ll want, no need, a safe helmet. Buy this helmet (or something like it), get some solid road time down, and once you know what you want and what you can do without, move on to your next set of gear – better looking gear! Budget is definitely something to keep in mind so it’s not like you’ll be buying a new helmet every month (especially since they can get so damn expensive), but motorcycle helmets come with expiration dates, so you won’t be riding with the same one forever anyway. Get a good season or two in with this first lid, and then keep it as a touring helmet, backup, spare, or rainy day friend. You’ll want to get your skills down until it’s muscle memory, and then you fine-tune your street fighting equipment. In the meantime, you’ll have a safe and reliable helmet that won’t let you down with its consistent performance.
[Definitely past expiration… maybe?]
For the touring crowd, this is definitely a solid helmet that you wont mind keeping on all day. The Scorpion EXO-GT3000 has all of the amenities you’d come to expect from a modern, tech, helmet. It’s easy to interchange face shields and maintenance on it is just easy. The flip down shade is also a nice touch when you’re on the road for extended periods of time throughout the day – no extra sunglasses required. It’s a comfortable fit with some decent color choices. Font visibility is rock solid, the anti-fog layer has held up pretty good, and maybe it’ll look better on you if you’re not as dainty as I am?
[Pictured: Not me]
I don’t know about you, but I just can’t have a helmet that I’ll have to fight with to take on/off, or one that I’ll be re-positioning every 5 minutes because it’s uncomfortable (or painful). Anything that will take your eyes and attention off the road, no matter how minuscule, is just too big of a risk when you’re on the road. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer not to have a busted up pelvis and lasagna arms because I was messing with my helmet going 80mph and skid across the pavement.
[Do you even lift bro?]
Really though, the Scorpion EXO-GT3000 doesn’t look bad once you’re all strapped in and geared up (lid = down, for me obviously), I’m just particularly vain. It’s a solid contender and will keep you riding, which is the most important part… keeping you open for riding season! When I take a long trip, I’ll probably be taking my EXO-GT3000 along with me; but to/from work, I’ll be wearing something a bit more my speed. I live in the Northeast, so I don’t get all 4 seasons like some of you might in your stupid, awesome, all-4 riding seasoned cities (I’m jealous, if you haven’t noticed). Snowmobiles maybe?
[I wanna ride…]
Riding keeps a smile on my face (again, the best feeling on this blue marble called Earth). A smile that no one will see of course, until I flip up that ridiculous looking front of my modular, which you won’t see anyway since I’ll be turned away pretending to look at something in the distance.