AFX FX-87X Helmet
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
Our reviews of the
Airoh S4 "Enduro" style motorcycle helmets are very
popular with webBikeWorld visitors. Many of those
visitors have also suggested the AFX FX-87X helmet as a
potential candidate for a webBikeWorld review, so here
Since I seem to be the de facto
webBikeWorld Enduro helmet Testmeister, it was a natural
to assign me the job of locating and reviewing an AFX
FX-87X to add to the résumé.
However, there's a bit of a twist to
this tale. I'm admitting right up front that I
mistakenly thought that the AFX was another Enduro style
helmet, but, in fact, I discovered that it does not meet
the definition of the genre.
We loosely define an Enduro-style helmet
as a motocross or off-road helmet that includes both an
attached sun visor brim on top and a clear visor that
can still be operated when the sun visor brim is
The AFX FX-87X has the sun visor brim,
which can be removed but cannot be used with the
double-walled clear snowmobile visor. So the
helmet is either an off-road helmet or a snowmobile
helmet, but, for reasons that will become clear, it
doesn't work very well as a motorcycle street helmet.
By the way, the
is probably the most flexible with regards to the
definition of Enduro styled helmets because it's a true
"three way" helmet. It can be used as an off-road
helmet with the sun visor brim attached and the clear
visor removed; a street helmet with the sun visor brim
removed or and Enduro-street helmet with everything
The AFX FX-87X has some nice features,
although I will say that we haven't been a fan of AFX
quality in the past (e.g., the
FX-11). I consider companies like AFX, THH,
EXL and the like to be in the "fourth tier" of helmet
manufacturers, with players like Shoei and Arai at the
top of the heap, HJC in close second and up-and-comers
like KBC and Scorpion in third. There are way too
many excellent helmets at very inexpensive price points
to be mucking about trying to save 10 bucks with helmets
in the fourth tier.
Fit and Finish
Our FX-87X was ordered with the matte orange color that
surely acts as a "see me" beacon to other vehicles.
The only other available color is matte black. The paint
is rather nicely applied on our example, although when I
run my hands over it I can feel tiny traces of dust
embedded in the paint. But overall, the paint
thickness and color makes up for the few flaws, in my
AFX did a very nice job on the gasket
that surrounds the eye port and overall the helmet
demonstrates better quality than I expected, although
whether or not this just demonstrates my lowered
expectations or true gains in quality is unknown at this
point. The chromed plastic chin vent cover is a
nice touch and the rocker switch vents at the brow are
properly applied and have a nice, firm feel when they're
opened or closed.
The only pick I can think of to nit is
the application of the exhaust vents in the rear of the
helmet. The plastic sliders feel rather flimsy and
the curvature of the plastic mounting does not match the
radius of the helmet. I'm afraid that something
may catch the end of one of the sliders and break it
off, although this has not yet happened.
But overall, I'd say this is about the
best quality AFX helmet I've come across, so my feeling
is that it gets a thumbs-up in the fit and finish
Internal Shape and Fit
Our FX-87X is a size XL but my opinion is that it fits
like a size large. It's at least 1/2 to 1 size
smaller than the "standard" size XL's I'm used to, so
potential owners who really do need an XL may find that
an XXL will actually fit better.
Although the helmet is available in sizes ranging
from XS to XXL, I'm surprised that AFX doesn't offer if
in larger sizes because I would assume that snowmobile
riders may want to wear a thicker Balaclava under their
helmets, which may require a helmet that's a size or two
bigger than they might normally purchase. The
bottom line is that the XXL may not fit a snowmobile
rider with a size XL head who is wearing a thick liner.
As always, try before you buy.
The FX-87X feels like it has a perfectly round
internal shape to me. When I'm wearing the helmet
and stick my finger under the liner up along my
forehead, there's no wiggle room at all, which tells me
this is not a "long oval" shape.
The liner looks pretty basic and it doesn't feel very
thick when I run my hands over it, but it's actually
rather comfortable. I have no problems with the
quality of the liner or in the way it's been applied;
again, although it's a basic liner that uses generic
helmet liner fabric, it doesn't have any hanging
threads, glue overruns or the like.
The inside of the EPS-lined chin guard is covered
with a type of pebbled vinyl. Overall, the inside
of the helmet and its fit and finish are nicely done.
For more information on choosing and
fitting a motorcycle helmet, make sure you take a look
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, which also includes a discussion on head
The FX-87X in size XL weighs 1799 grams (3 lbs.,
15-1/2 oz.) with the sun visor brim attached and without
the double-walled clear visor. The clear visor
weighs 162 grams, or 5.75 oz.
This makes the FX-87X one of the heaviest helmets
we've ever reviewed (see the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a comparison
chart of all helmets). I was surprised when I put
the FX-87X on the scales, because it doesn't seem as
heavy as it really is. Possibly the extended chin
bar balances the weight towards the bottom of the
helmet, so it doesn't feel top heavy and is balanced
more evenly than it might be if the weight was carried
AFX provides a double-walled snowmobile dual-lens visor
with the FX-87X. It's not something we're used to
as motorcycle riders; the double walls provide a very
blurry, tinted view that I do not think is suitable or
advisable for motorcycle riding in the street. The
visor does seem to work to prevent fogging, but I'm not
sure if that's due to the double-walled design or to the
huge vent across the top of the visor.
The visor is designed to not fit across the top of
the helmet, unlike a full-face motorcycle helmet visor.
It has a foam gasket along the bottom, but the top
allows the air to come up under the helmet, pass over
the back of the visor and out along the gap in the top.
This helps to prevent moisture buildup on the inside of
the clear visor.
The problem with this when riding a motorcycle is
that the air comes up in a huge gust under the extended
chin and rushes up past my face and over my eyes,
causing me to quickly get a bad case of dry eyeball and
It's really breezy in there when riding on an
unfaired motorcycle, but it's not so bad behind the barn
door fairing on Burn's K1200LT. But my feeling is
that for general motorcycle use, this type of
snowmobile/street helmet is not the best solution,
although perhaps motorcycle riders in locations with hot
and humid weather will benefit by the extra air flow.
By the way, just for the record: AFX does recommend the
FX-87X for street, off-road and snowmobile use.
Venting and Air Flow
Speaking of air flow, the FX-87X does a decent job of
it. Like other Enduro-style helmets and off-road
helmets with their larger protruding chin guard, there's
plenty of room for the air to come up underneath, making
it difficult to truly evaluate the effectiveness of the
vents that are built into the helmet.
But the two top rocker switch brow vents do seem to
flow some air into the top of the helmet, although the
helmet liner has a solid piece of foam-backed padding at
the top of the rider's head, so there's really no direct
channel to flow the air over this area. As
with most motorcycle helmets, it's difficult to tell
whether or not the rear exhaust vents are contributing
to the ventilation system or not.
The FX-87X is actually fairly quiet. The liner and
the overall shape seem to work together to keep noise
levels low. I haven't noticed any elevated noise
levels from the vents either. Of course, the air
blowing up in the front does keep the helmet sounding a
bit busy, but I can cover the opening under the chin
guard with my left hand to evaluate overall noise
levels, which seem low.
Remember that we always wear correctly
fitted, high quality earplugs and an extra helmet liner
when riding, and we strongly recommend that you always
wear hearing protection also. See the
Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more
information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
One of the attractive features of the AFX FX-87X to one
of our visitors was its Snell approval. But there
may be a catch. The AFX website is confusing with
regards the standards which the FX-87X helmet meets.
It's listed under the "Off-Road ATV" section as "Safety
standards met or exceeded" for DOT, ECE and Snell.
It's also listed under the "Snowmobile" section as
"Safety standards met or exceeded" for DOT and SNELL.
Then there's also a FX-87 available in multiple
colors and listed in the "Off-Road ATV" section which is
apparently the same helmet but without the snowmobile
clear visor. It also is listed as "Safety
standards met or exceeded" for DOT, ECE and Snell.
Finally, there's an FX-87X Youth helmet listed in the
Snowmobile section, available in sizes Youth Small,
Youth Medium and Youth Small. That helmet is
listed as "Safety standards met or exceeded" for DOT and Snell.
The Snell Memorial Foundation website lists only an
AFX FX-87 as meeting Snell 2005 standards. There
is no FX-87X listed. I'm not sure of the
requirements for testing various sub-categories of
models for Snell, DOT or ECE approval, so it's hard to
say whether the FX-87X has really met the Snell and ECE and
the DOT standards or not.
The helmet has a very wide chin strap which is annoying
because it presses up against my "Adam's Apple" and
across my throat. The extra length of chin strap
does not have a snap to keep it from flying about, which
is also an annoyance.
AFX says that the FX-87X helmet liner is "fully
removable", but I haven't been able to figure out how to
get this one out of the helmet; it seems like it's very
tightly connected and I'm loathe to break anything.
The helmet also comes with an additional
breath guard that somehow attaches to the inside of the
chin guard. I haven't been able to figure out how
to do this. There were no instructions in the box
that the helmet came in, although the helmet does come
with a helmet bag.
The helmet also comes with a bag of
parts that allow the owner to remove the clear visor and
attach the sun visor brim. It's all relatively
straightforward but not something that I would recommend
doing on the road.
I have mixed feelings about the AFX FX-87X. This is the first time
I've used a helmet with a snowmobile winter visor and I don't think it's
suitable for street riding on a motorcycle. The helmet looks and feels
better when used when the clear visor is removed and the sun visor brim is
attached, and it's a good bargain for that type of use. I suppose if
an off-road motorcycle owner also had a snowmobile, this could be the