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AFX FX-120 Review Redux

AFX FX-120 Review
wBW Quick Look: AFX FX-120 Updates
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
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Editor's Note

We first reviewed the AFX FX-120 (review) in March of 2013. The FX-120 is the company's top-of-the-line helmet, with a list price of $149.95 for solid colors and $159.95 for graphics.

While overall we rated the FX-120 as a pretty good value, the original version of the helmet had a few issues with the quality of the clear face shield, the internal sun visor and the eye port gasket.

The general consensus from owner reviews posted on the retailer websites agreed with our conclusions.

The FX-120 has been updated recently with running production changes to address these issues, so we decided to take another look.

AFX FX-120 Helmet
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2014 Updates to the FX-120

AFX heard the complaints and made some running changes that are reflected in the FX-120 helmets now being shipped.

According to AFX, they have updated the liner and cheek pad systems and improved the quality of the face shield and sun visor.

They also said that they redesigned the way the cheek pads attach to the helmet and added a new chin curtain that is installed as standard.

They also have an optional winter breath guard system that attaches on the inside of the chin bar.

So we thought we'd take a "Quick Look" of the FX-120; this time in the very bright high-viz Safety Orange "Multi" graphics.

In 2015, there will be a lot of pressure on that upper end with new helmet releases, such as the upcoming Scorpion EXO-410 (Preview) coming soon, with a list price starting at $129.95. Will the FX-120 remain competitive in that price range?

Until we review the EXO-410, the question remains unanswered.

The prototype helmets looked pretty good at AIMExpo, but it remains to be seen if any corners will be cut once it gets into production.

The FX-120 has a few tricks of its own, however, with an internal air pump system, an internal sun visor and the helmet meets both ECE and DOT standards with its special "Conehead" dual-density EPS liner system.

AFX helmets are now distributed and sold in Europe and most or all of their helmets meet the ECE specs.

AFX FX-120 Helmet Liner
Big chin curtain and revised cheek pad length are the most noticeable improvements on the new FX-120.
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AFX FX-120 Riding Impressions

This is not a full webBikeWorld review but a quick update. The FX-120 overall specifications haven't changed and we just happened to still have the original FX-120 on hand for comparison.

Face Shield
The three changes are noticeable on the helmet. First, the quality of the clear face shield has improved and we tried to take some photos you can see below to illustrate the differences.

The original face shield molding had some inclusions and overall waviness, while the new version is much better. When inspected up close, the differences are noticeable, with no inclusions, artifacts or waviness in the new version and this makes for a much better riding experience.

Sun Visor
The quality of the internal sun visor molding also seems better, although not perfect. There are still a few irregularities, but you have to be looking pretty close to see them.

The sun visor has excellent coverage when engaged, which is a real plus compared to other helmets with this feature.

Cheek Pads
The liner has been modified, either through a different manufacturing process or by holding tighter tolerances.

The cheek pads now continue over the rear part of the liner, which improves the sealing and lowers the noise levels noticed on the original helmet that were generated in the split between the cheek pads and liner.

The liner feels more comfortable somehow, although the FX-120 has a "Narrow" internal shape and the size large should fit "Narrow" to "Neutral" heads of 59-60 cm max.

Chin Curtain
The FX-120 now comes with a large mesh chin curtain installed and it works well.

Eye Port Gasket
The other problem with the original FX-120 was the design of the eye port gasket and the seal between the face shield and the helmet.

Both have been improved on the new version, with a slightly different eye port gasket design that is noticeable along the top, where small molded bars have been added to improve the seal.

We ran the same water test on the new FX-120 by pouring water along the top of the closed face shield and not a drop leaked through, a quite different result from the original.

The entire face shield fits much closer to the helmet on the new version also and the operation of the face shield has a solid feel with defined "clicks" or detents.

The face shield rotating mechanism also allows a large first opening for defogging or city riding; it's a larger opening than most and just at the borderline of opening too wide, but it works well, especially when riding behind a windscreen.

Photos

Here are some photos to illustrate the differences, along with the narrative:

Old Liner
Here's the old FX-120. Note the absence of a chin curtain and the gaps in the liner.
New Liner
Another look: The latest version of the FX-120 has the chin curtain and the gaps, while not perfect, are better.
Also, note overlap of cheek pads on rear padding.
Old Face Shield
Owners had lots of complaints about the poor quality of the face shield in the older FX-120.
Old Face Shield
Waviness and artifacts in older-style face shield.
Old Face Shield
More inclusions and waviness in older face shield.
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New Face Shield
New face shield is much better.
New Face Shield
New version of the FX-120 face shield is "normal" (disregard the dust particles!).
Old Eye Port Gasket
Owners also complained about the poor fit of the face shield to the eye port gasket in the old version.
New Eye Port Gasket
New eye port gasket is different across the top, with standoffs molded in the groove. It seals perfectly on our helmet.
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AFX FX-120 Air Pump System
The internal air bladder system works better in the new version. Located at the lower rear part of the helmet, the pump requires long, strong and firm pushes to activate it and then the cheek pads inflate with a definite feel. Note the air release on the left-hand side in the chin bar and the snaps for the winter breath guard. The standard breath guard on the new helmet is angled towards the rider's nose rather than straight up, so we removed it.
2014 AFX FX-120 Slide Show
  • afx_fx120_air_pump
  • afx_fx120_chin_strap
  • afx_fx120_chin_vent
  • afx_fx120_exhaust_vent
  • afx_fx120_face_shield
  • afx_fx120_front_quarter_left_view
  • afx_fx120_front_quarter_view
  • afx_fx120_front_view
  • afx_fx120_label
  • afx_fx120_rear_quarter_view
  • afx_fx120_rear_view
  • afx_fx120_side_view
  • afx_fx120_top_vent
  • afx_fx120_top_view
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More: Read the Original wBW AFX FX-120 Review

Conclusion

The revisions to the AFX FX-120 definitely make for a better helmet and a better value.

The helmet feels more comfortable, quieter and the face shield and internal sun visor now have very good quality.

The face shield also seals tightly against the revised eye port gasket.

All of these changes address customer suggestions and the AFX FX-120 is still a relative bargain with a street price of around $128.00 for solid colors and about $136.00 for the "Multi" graphics shown here.

The "Safety Orange" Multi graphic shown in these photos is eye-poppingly bright, a definite safety factor.

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wBW Review: AFX FX-120 Helmet
Manufacturer: AFX Helmets
List Price (2013): $149.95 (Solids) to $159.95 (Graphics).
Made In: China
Colors: Solids, High-Visibility and Graphics.
Sizes: XS-2XL Shell Sizes: Unknown
Review Date: March 2013. Updated: October 2014
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Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld® Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

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