But remember: the Air Force inventory includes the
F-117 Nighthawk "stealth" fighter bomber, which has to
be one of the coolest-looking aircraft this side of a
There is something curious about the Stealth helmet
though that some of our readers have already noticed:
the Akuma Stealth looks very much like a
KBC VR-3, right
down to the front vent opening.
But so what? A few KBC genes sprinkled here and
there throughout the Stealth's double helix can't be a
Now the Akuma V-1 Ghost Rider was and is a hot
seller, so it only made sense to follow it up with the
Stealth. But how the heck do you follow up on a
hit like that?
Well, besides adding a very nicely done paint job and
graphics, how about throwing in the latest generation of
Akuma's integrated rechargeable power system, with a
built-in LED flashlight up front and a pair of red
exhaust LED lights in the back, just like the VR-1?
Now you may think that these added features could
make the Stealth a bit porky, but the combination of
Akuma's latest incarnation of the power pack and
electronics, along with the Stealth's fiberglass and
Kevlar composite shell has kept everything nice and
Akuma is making a name for itself with some of the
trickest helmet graphics anywhere and the LED lights are
a feature that no one has matched. That's all well
and good, you may ask, but what about the helmet?
"A friend of mine who
knew I was shopping for a new helmet told me
that since I was an F-117 Stealth crew chief
that I should have a look at this new helmet
Akuma was bringing out. Imagine my surprise
to see not just a very sharp-looking helmet,
but one with my aircraft’s tail number!
The detail is amazingly
accurate, right down to the unit patches and
the yellow squadron flash along the side.
The design of the “panels” shows no curves
at all, just like the jet. I love the
idea of the squared “intakes” and the lights
at the “exhausts.” My jet’s tail
number aside, this is a helmet I just gotta
Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality Hey, what can you say? The Akuma Stealth has one of the coolest
paint jobs you'll find anywhere. It's more than a helmet; it's a work
of art. Granted, there are some who may not like the military theme,
but you have to admit, it sure is different! And it's even patterned
after a real, live F-117 Nighthawk (see link in box above).
The paint and graphics are very well
done indeed, with a super-thick and high-gloss clear
coat topping everything off. The Akuma website
mentions a matte finish, but the Stealth is apparently
only available in gloss (UPDATE: The matte version
will be available in December 2007).
Actually, in addition to a matte finish,
the Stealth would probably look great with the
slightly shiny "Rubatone" finish used on
helmets like the
URBAN N20 or the
Zox Azuma R, alhtough the gloss finish is easier to keep
clean and it certainly polishes up nicely.
No doubt about it -- slap this baby down
on the dealer's counter while you're waiting for service
and you'll be the talk of the town. Especially if
you absent-mindedly flip the LED light switches on and
off a few times while you're trolling for compliments...
The fit of the various parts is
excellent, with just a couple of tiny misalignments here
and there. But overall, the Stealth is nicely
By the way, it's hard to tell in the
photos, but the Stealth has a sort of gold/taupe colored
airbrush-style "fade" in the paint. It looks
silver in the photos, but the color seems to change in
different lighting conditions, sometimes appearing like
silver and other times with a gold/beige/taupe colored
tinge. Same for the pinstripes. It's either
a trick of the eyes, the lighting or the paint, but
whatever it is, it's pretty cool and adds to the
Score: We give the Akuma Stealth an "Outstanding" rating for
paint, graphics and design and an "Excellent" for overall quality. See
the ratings descriptions in the summary table at the end of this page.
Helmet Fit and Comfort and Internal Shape
The Akuma Stealth and the Akuma V-1 Ghost Rider have a
similar fit that we'd characterize as neutral.
Like the V-1, the Stealth should fit a majority of
riders, as long as they're within 1σ or so of the mean
on the normal distribution for head shapes.
In other words, anyone without an extreme "long oval"
or extreme "round" head shape should find the Stealth to
be a comfortable fit.
In fact, the Stealth seems to have one of the most
neutral fits we've seen, if that's possible; it's kind
of a strange statement to make, when you think about it.
Like saying "This is the most average average we've
The Stealth fits a round head up top, with enough
room in the forehead for intermediate oval types.
The sides feel very slightly narrow, yet it has enough
room in the cheeks for those with square jaws.
This is a good thing -- there aren't many helmets that
have these characteristics.
By the way, for more information on choosing and
fitting a motorcycle helmet, please see the
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, which also includes a discussion on head
Our size XL Stealth is nice and snug, and it seems to
run true to size to maybe just a touch small. This
isn't a problem, as most helmets should fit snugly when
new because they'll loosen up a bit over time. And
like the V-1, the Stealth's chin bar seems very slightly shorter than normal,
which may be due to the electronics and switches placed
in the chin bar.
The Coolmax liner is removable and washable, but the
fabric doesn't quite have the silky-soft smoothness of
microfiber. It's comfortable, but the padding and
liner feels a bit more like it's from a race helmet
rather than a touring model.
Score: We rate the Akuma Stealth with an
"Excellent" for its internal shape, which should fit a
wide variety of riders. The liner and slightly
shorter than normal front-to-back dimensions rate a
The Akuma Stealth has dual vents on top, each with its own sliding switch to
open or close a port that directly faces the front of the helmet to allow
air to enter. The
helmet liner covers the inside of the helmet along the top, yet the helmet
seems to flow a decent amount of air, which we think is partly a result of
the simple forward-facing top vent openings, which allow a strong flow of
air into the helmet.
The chin bar air vent has a sliding
lever that is identical to the type found on some KBC
helmets, so either Akuma is using the same supplier, or
possibly the helmet shell is sourced from KBC?
There are two small horizontal vent
passages in the upper part of the back of the chin bar,
and the air that enters the titanium mesh vents up front
is channeled through these passages and also up in back
of the visor. The sliding switch on the top of the
lower section of the eye port opens and closes the front
The chin vent slider on our helmet lost
its detents after a while, so it doesn't always stay in
place. An accidental brush with a gloved hand can
unknowingly move the slider one way or the other.
The helmet has two small exhaust vents in the lower rear of
the shell that are also covered with the titanium mesh. It appears
that the air comes in through the top vents, travels along through the
channels in the top of the helmet and exhausts from the rear vents.
The low pressure probably helps pull some air from the inside of the helmet.
Score: The Stealth gets a "Very Good" rating for
venting and air flow.
Helmet Weight Our size XL Stealth weighs a relatively light 1631 grams (3
lbs., 9-1/2 oz.), which is pretty amazing, considering
the extra weight of the battery, LED lights and
The fiberglass and Kevlar composite shell on the
Akuma Stealth surely contributes to the helmet's light
weight, so potential owners need not worry about the
rechargeable battery, LED lights, switches and
electronics adding too much heft.
The weight is also nicely distributed and the helmet
feels well balanced. In fact, when the helmet is
handled, it feels lighter than the scales indicate.
Relative light weight is also a characteristic of the
Akuma V-1 Ghost Rider, so Akuma seems to have this
integrated power system thing figured out.
For more information on helmet weights, see the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a chart comparing
the Akuma Stealth with the other 75+ other helmets we've reviewed
as of this writing.
Score: We rate the Akuma Stealth as "Excellent"
for its relatively light weight and good balance.
The Stealth is available with either the standard clear
or Akuma "Super Smoke" dark smoke
visor, which can be seen in the photos in our review of
the Akuma V-1
The visor rotating mechanism on our Stealth has firm
and tight detents, which hold the visor in any one of 6
positions. The first open position holds the visor
open about 15 mm or so, just enough to let some cool air
in for defogging.
The visor has a good quality release mechanism,
allowing quick visor replacement if necessary.
This is demonstrated in our Video Tour of the Akuma
Stealth helmet shown below.
One interesting feature to note is that the eye port
seems taller than average, giving the Stealth good
visibility out the top, which is especially important
for Sportbike riders in a leaned-over riding position.
Side-to-side visibility seems better than average.
Score: We rate the visor clarity, operation and
visibility of the Stealth as "Excellent".
of the Akuma Stealth Motorcycle Helmet
The Stealth's graphics are unique, but so is the
helmet's lighting technology. Like the V-1 Ghost
Rider, the Stealth has
red LED lights hidden under the exhaust vents in the
A small on/off rocker switch, located on the back side
of the chin
bar, turns the lights on and off. The effect is
hard to photograph, but the lights are noticeable,
especially at night.
The Stealth also adds the white LED flashlight found
in the newer V-1 Ghost Rider helmets, the AFX FX-11 and
Shoei Syncrotec Police helmet. This 40,000 mcd (millicandela)
LED light is embedded in the liner on the left-hand side
of the helmet in the eye port. It shouldn't be
used when the visor is closed, but it is very useful
indeed when traveling at night for arranging gear on the
bike, loading saddlebags, reading a map and especially
if a repair becomes necessary.
The rechargeable battery has a tiny connector hidden
in the helmet liner, and the helmet comes
with an electric recharger and power cord.
The LED lights last seemingly forever; our battery
was charged when the helmet arrived and we've been
using, playing with and demonstrating the lights since
then and the battery hasn't needed a recharge.
Here's where it gets a bit complicated; maybe
paradoxical is the word. We think the Stealth is
relatively quiet at lower speeds, especially when worn
while riding an unfaired motorcycle that doesn't throw
turbulent air around the bottom of the helmet.
But when we first tried it, we thought the Stealth
seemed noisy at speed, and very noisy when riding behind
a small fairing, like the windscreen on either the
Ducati Multistrada or the Suzuki Bandit S, which directs
air on to the lower part of the helmet.
Riding those bikes caused the Stealth to generate a loud
roaring wind noise around the bottom of the helmet.
Then just by chance, one evaluator went for a ride using
a different style ear plug; the
EARsoft "Grippers", which are bigger and thicker
than most disposable ear plugs. He reported a
dramatic difference in noise levels.
We've since tried various ear plugs and for some reason,
certain types of earplugs can make a big difference in
the noise levels transmitted by the Stealth.
Correctly inserted EARsoft Grippers seem to lower the
noise levels to a point where the Stealth becomes very
quiet -- even one of the quietest helmets we've tried.
But other types of ear plugs seem to actually increased
the noise volume.
Coincidentally, we're in the process of reviewing one of
the new HJC FS-10 full-face helmets, and we found the
same issue with that helmet also.
This is a very strange phenomenon, and our only
conclusion is that under certain conditions and with the
rider wearing certain types of ear plugs, the Akuma
Stealth may range from very quiet to noisy. This
is, and something we haven't previously encountered, so
owners of the Akuma Stealth may want to try different
combinations of ear plugs to find one that works for
The Stealth also has a scalloped or scooped shape up
under the bottom, and we think this directs a volume of
air along the bottom of the helmet and up inside the
liner in back of the rider's ears. Even when the
helmet is in noisy mode, a finger placed up behind the
rider's ear can dramatically decrease the noise levels.
Also, we found that the vents on the Stealth are quiet
and without any of the whistling noise that can be
generated by wind passing over poorly designed vents.
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.
And also remember that your experience with noise levels
will probably be different because it depends on many factors, including your
head shape, the motorcycle configuration, prevailing winds
The Akuma Stealth is both DOT and ECE 22-05 approved. The
Stealth has a D-ring attachment system, but the chin
strap seems narrower than average, and the protective
padding underneath feels thinner than normal, in our
opinion, causing slight discomfort.
Also, the extra section of chin strap is secured with
"hook and loop" fastener rather than a snap; we prefer
either a snap or the arrangement used on Shoei helmets,
where the extra piece of strap connects to the D-ring
The Akuma Stealth is a great-looking helmet with
custom-level paint and graphics, but it's also very
functional. It has all the features and relatively
light weight of its competitors, but the added
attraction of the whimsical LED exhaust lights in the
rear and the very useful LED flashlight in the front
make this a helmet that definitely stands out from the
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "D.Z." (8/08): "I Recently
purchased an Akuma Stealth based on your review and
thought I'd pass on my thoughts... I have about a
thousand miles on the helmet so far.
Fitment - I have an "XL" sized head but in the
Stealth I needed an XXL. The chin bar on the XL
was close enough to my face that unless I pursed my lips
they would touch the chin bar.
Akuma said the XXL shell is slightly larger so I
exchanged the XL for the XXL. The XXL is better,
although I think it's also a tad wider, which makes it
noisier under the ears than I expected. I wear
earplugs most of the time anyhow so it's not much of a
problem for me.
The chin bar is still close - if I pucker up I can
easily touch the chin bar. If I could offer any
suggestions, it would be to extend the chin bar 3 or 4
mm out... I know that's easier said than done with
an existing mold but it's on my wish list. I
bought this helmet with the intent of adding a Bluetooth
comm system, but I don't think there's enough room in
the chin bar for a mic.
Quality - The quality is very high and finish is
gorgeous, but a little fragile. I have about a
thousand miles on the helmet so far and have several
tiny bubbles in the clearcoat from bug/rock impacts.
I also have a scratch in the clearcoat on the back of
the helmet and no idea how it happened. The face
shield (dark smoke) also hasn't faired too well with the
bug impacts - several bug impacts have scratched the
coating on the outside of the shield. Otherwise
the shield has low distortion and seems of nice quality.
The interior liner is extremely comfortable and fit
is nearly perfect. Now that the helmet is broken
in a bit the fit is slightly looser than I like - if the
chin bar would have been farther out, I would probably
have been happier with the XL.
Ventilation - Very good. This past weekend I
put about 800 or so miles on my Monster 750 in 80-85
degree temps. Hot, but the helmet flowed nicely.
The helmet vent controls on the top of the helmet are
easy to use but the chin vent control is a little odd
and I can't say I notice an effect comparing the on/off
From "D.H.": "Very cool helmet.
I have the newer carbon fiber version. The
materials are 1st rate inside and out, the paint job is
nice and it is light. The venting seems to be
good, but I have only ridden with it once, so I’ll have
to update this review once I have more experience with
it. I must also say Akuma’s support is very good
too…which brings me to some of the negatives.
First, the assembly quality seems to be lacking (I
imagine these are being assembled in China or Mexico).
I had to send mine back to the company twice for
exchange. In the first helmet I received, the
battery was loose and rattling around in the helmet.
I used some double stick tape to fasten it to the inside
helmet wall which seem to work fine.
Then I noticed the venting assembly on the top of the
helmet was cracked and peeling along one edge where it
mated to the helmet. Akuma replaced it, but it
took almost 2 months to get a new one due to the high
demand for these helmets. The 2nd I received had a
problem with that same venting assembly…it was not
fastened down correctly on the front on one side (it had
an 1/8 inch gap with glue showing). To Akuma’s
credit they paid for 2-day shipping to get it to me
I just received an Autocom Intercom system for
Christmas which I’m in the process of installing.
I’ve noticed some other things about the liner of the
helmet as a result. Although the cheek pads are
snap in, much of the remaining liner is hot-glued into
the helmet. It doesn’t take a lot of coaxing to
get the glue to release. So I don’t know how long
it will hang together.
The other thing I noticed is that the light switches
have no backing to them. The liner on the face bar
sits about 1/8” off the surface of the helmet which
provides room for the back of the switch. If for
any reason the inside of the face bar were to bumped
hard, it could bend the switches’ prongs and/or attached
resistors that stick out the back of the liner.
Fortunately, the switches are far enough below the spot
where the intercom’s microphone needs to go to allow me
to mount the microphone arm behind the liner.
The other challenge presented by the helmet’s
interior design is mounting of the intercom headphone
speakers. It is critical that the center these
speakers sit over your ear canal for the best sound.
They also need to sit up against your ear.
The problem is that the neck strap comes through the
liner right where the center of my ear is.
Although the helmet liner allows me move strap behind
the cheek pad and helmet liner, the problem isn’t
completely solved. Doing so leaves a sizable gap
where the strap used to sit that needs to be filled.
This would be an easy to fix with an extra pad, but
unfortunately the cheek pad sits such that the edge of
it is right over my ear canal and that pad cannot be
modified without cutting and some major rework to the
The other problem is with the strap now behind the
cheek pad, it no longer holds the cheek pad in place
while donning the helmet. Although the cheek pad
is still held in place with three snaps, the pad’s foam
shifts a bit and requires a little adjustment with your
finger to get the pad to sit correctly on your face.
This is a bit of a hassle, but it will work…until the
snaps eventually loosen up from removing and replacing
the cheek pads.
From "J.L.": "I love your website.
I read everything and take everything you review in
consideration to the gear I buy. Keep up the great work!
Now, my opinion of the helmet. It looks
phenomenal. But that's not the only phenomenal
thing about the helmet. The company is just as
impressive. I just receiving my helmet today only
to find the disappointment of a damaged helmet, caused
by UPS. The back of my brand new helmet was
I quickly emailed Akuma's general email address at
8pm PDT, and to my surprise, I immediately received a
response from them. It wasn't a generic
auto-response or a response from a sales person. The
email went directly to their COO. He apologized
for the helmet in his email and provided me his personal
contact number to call immediately so we can figure out
a resolution to the issue. As we spoke, he
mentioned that he and his employees QC every helmet
before placing it in the box for shipment. To me,
that's critical for something I'm to put my trust and
faith in to help protect the fragile contents within my
Since we attributed the damage to UPS, he said he
would take care of the UPS claim on my behalf since he
strongly feels it shouldn't be my issue to deal with and
therefore will take care of it. Also, he will send
me a new helmet via overnight first thing tomorrow
I can't say much about the helmet YET, since I
haven't tried it while riding, but I did try to see if
it fit and it's nice and comfy. It's slightly
pinchy around the cheek area, but it'll be fine once
it's broken in. I'm also enjoying the map light LED as
I'm sure I'll find it helpful at some point not to look
at a map, but just in general if I have to check the
bike at night before I ride and so forth. So far,
I'm impressed with the helmet and I love the design with
all it's lights.
Bottom line, the helmet's an important piece of gear
for a rider. And, it helps me feel even more
comfortable wearing the helmet backed by people that
care about their product and the riders that wear their
product with trust. To me, that's the winning
From "J.D.": "Your review of the
Akuma Stealth is very good, thanks for doing it. I
received mine last week and have been riding with it
ever since here in Florida. The helmet is very
light and I have really been surprised at all the
compliments I am getting from my riding buddies and
All my buds freaked out when I turned
on the LEDs in the vents which kinda sucks because now
they want the helmet and I won't be the only one with it
down here. Hit a pretty big pothole coming home
Monday so I stopped and used the map light on the helmet
to check things out, really came in handy.
The liner is super smooth especially
when you start to sweat in it and you don't feel the
wetness, in fact the padding seemed to feel smoother.
I kind of like the Velcro better than the snap because I
can connect it easier when I'm wearing gloves.
It flows lots of air which is really a
good thing down here especially in the morning when its
cool and muggy. I have an R1 so I'm slightly
leaned over when riding and you get a really good view
of the road compared to my old helmets. I had a
KBC and though the Akuma does look similar, it fits a
ton better and the quality is miles ahead of my old KBC,
HJC, and I like it a ton better than my Shoei and I paid
200 bucks more.
I also think it would look better with
a matte finish but its still looks very good.
Never heard of these guys but they certainly have their
stuff together. Your
YouTube review really makes the report a ton better
and gives it that personal touch.