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Caberg Drift Review

Caberg Drift Review
The New Caberg Drift
by Rick K. and "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
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Summary

The Caberg Drift is the Italian company's newest top-of-the-line helmet.

The Drift is a street/sport or "high-tech" touring helmet with a composite carbon, Kevlar and fiberglass shell.

A full carbon-fiber shell version of the Drift is also available.

The composite shell results in a light weight helmet that makes a positive difference in riding comfort.

A huge face shield provides an outstanding view of the road ahead.

And a new low-profile sliding vent design adds to the sleek looks while providing good ventilation.

The face shield also has two lift tabs in the Caberg tradition and a lever at the rear that pushes the face shield open slightly for defogging.

An internal sun visor is also included and the internals are molded to accept an intercom microphone and speakers.

The only downside is noise; the Drift is slightly louder than average. Something about the composite shell and/or the lining doesn't dampen wind noise as much as it should.

Background

Many Caberg helmet reviews have been published on webBikeWorld and the Italian company's products are a sentimental favorite around here.

Why no U.S. distributor has picked up the brand is one of the enduring mysteries of motorcycling.

But the rest of the world knows that the small company from Bergamo has been producing leading-edge motorcycle helmets since 1974.

In the past, all Caberg helmets were made in Italy, but the only indication of origin for the Drift is a label inside that indicates this helmet is imported by Caberg.

That mystery remains unresolved but in the meantime, the Drift is a very good-looking "all around" helmet for street or sport riding, touring and more...at least for our European and RoW riders who can legally wear a CE-rated helmet.

Being a Caberg design, it has a few standout features that are also very useful to motorcyclists. Let's take a closer look...

Caberg Drift Helmet Top View
The Caberg Drift: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality

The Drift represents a slightly different tack for Caberg. The composite carbon, Kevlar and fiberglass shell feels different from Caberg helmets we've worn in the past.

It's nice and light though and the slightly angular design is also available in a full carbon fiber version, said to weigh even less.

Several complimentary color patterns are available, including the "Shadow" graphic shown here in red, black and gray.

This one has a matte finish that isn't the "soft" feel type. In fact, it has a bit of a shiny surface, like it's almost between a full matte and semi-gloss finish.

The overall quality of the surface is outstanding, with no obvious flaws.

The new flush vent design is also a positive. The sliding vents have a solid positive feel and unlike some other flush-mounted vents we've tried, these actually work pretty well.

The face shield quality is also excellent and it's spring-loaded to keep a tight seal against the eye port gasket.

The removable liner is comfortable and good-looking also and it's fitted precisely to the helmet.

Score: Overall the Caberg Drift gets an "Outstanding" rating for design, graphics and overall quality. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.

Caberg Drift Slide Show
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Front View
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Front Quarter View
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Front Quarter View Visor Open
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Left Side Graphics
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Rear View
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Right Side
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Side View
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Sun Visor
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Upper Graphics
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Visor Open
  • Caberg Drift Helmet Chin Strap
Fit, Internal Shape and Liner

The Drift has only one shell size to span the head size range of XS (53-54 cm) to XXL (63 cm), which may seem odd. But the trim overall shape and design seems like it should work to span this range.

Our Drift is a size large (59-60 cm), which is about in the middle of the head size range and it actually feels or seems smaller than comparable full-face helmets.

I'm not sure how they thin out the liner and EPS to fit a 63 cm head in the shell but apparently they do.

The liner in ours isn't Shoei plush, but then again, Shoei uses up to 4-5 shell sizes to span the same size range and that's one of the reasons the Drift has a list price that's roughly half that of a Shoei.

In any case, the size large will fit a 58-59 cm head we think; 60 cm will work if your head is slightly narrow.

The fit feels more or less like the popular Arai "Intermediate Oval" shaped found in helmets like the Arai RX-Q (review) or the new Arai Corsair X (review) and perhaps not quite as narrow as the (currently) standard Shoei internal shape.

As we've said before this is a good compromise shape that fits the vast majority of motorcycle riders.

The removable liner is comfortable but again, not overly plush. The fabric is soft and comfortable feeling against the skin and it's said to be made with "hypoallergenic and transpiring fabrics" to help keep it fresh.

Caberg Tourmax Internal Shape

More information on helmet fit can be found in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page.

Also, there's a chart that lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets and also by shape on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.

Score: We'll give the Drift an "Excellent" rating for shape, comfort and padding. The liner fabric is comfortable also.

Caberg Drift Helmet Eye Port
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Outward Visibility and Face Shield

The Drift has the "signature" Caberg face shield design with an eye port that is angled up very slightly on either side of the lower half, towards the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions.

As soon as you put on the Drift, you'll notice the excellent visibility in both the horizontal and vertical planes but especially the latter. The Drift is much like the Caberg Tourmax (review) in this regard (the Tourmax is the world's first flip-up dual-sport helmet).

Like the Tourmax, the vertical view from the Drift is exceptional and this helps the rider see the instruments and controls and the road ahead, which is a definite safety factor.

The face shield has lift tabs on both the left and right, another Caberg signature design that has real-world benefits.

The rotating mechanism is spring-loaded, which keeps the face shield pulled tightly against the eye port gasket to prevent leaks.

There's a lever at the left rear that pushes the face shield out slightly (a couple of millimeters) to help with defogging.

If you need more than that, the first detent engages at about 25 mm, which is larger than we'd like but because of the excellent vertical visibility, doesn't interfere with the line of sight.

The face shield on our helmet measures 2.09 mm thick and the Drift comes with a Pinlock insert in the box, but the face shield is anti-fog and anti-scratch treated also.

Face Shield Removal

The lever that permits defogging makes the design of the face shield removable mechanism somewhat complicated. The face shield is rotated up and the lever has to be rotated also to match a slight notch in the face shield.

Then, a spring-loaded slider on each side must be released and held and then there are three small tabs molded into the face shield that have to be released.

It's not very easy to do -- certainly not as simple as something like a modern HJC or Bell helmet. But on the other hand, you won't have to remove and replace the face shield very often because of the very good internal sun visor design.

Internal Sun Visor

The Drift has an internal sun visor that works very nicely.

It is engaged via a slider that is nicely integrated and semi-hidden just under the left lower edge of the face shield, underneath the rotating mechanism on the left-hand side.

The slider uses friction to hold the sun visor, so it can be stopped in an intermediate position if you need only some relief from overhead sun or riding west into the sun in the late afternoon.

The sun visor provides good coverage and the design doesn't interfere with the rider's line of sight.

Caberg Tourmax Visibility

Score: The Caberg Drift has outstanding vertical and horizontal visibility.

Caberg Drift Helmet Top Vent
Dual top vents hidden under the peak.
Caberg Drift Helmet Chin Vent
Caberg Tourmax large chin vent array and rotating flip-up visor release button.
Caberg Drift Helmet Rear Exhaust Vent
Caberg Tourmax large chin vent array and rotating flip-up visor release button.
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Ventilation and Air Flow

The Drift has a very nice vent design, with flush-fitting sliders that are perfectly integrated into the overall slightly angular styling of the helmet.

Sometimes, style takes precedence over function but in this case, the vents actually work pretty well in their purpose and they also have a very solid feel with no play.

The chin vent slides and clicks downwards to reveal an upside-down wide "V" shaped air entry point along the top. It directs the air flow up through the chin bar and on to the back of the face shield.

This design brings in air without blowing directly on the rider's face, which is a plus to those motorcyclists who prefer a more subtle approach to ventilation.

Combined with the anti-fog lever system and the first opening position of the face shield, the Drift has several good choices for lower ventilation.

The top vent is a similar slider; this one has two positions and it flows air through a rectangular opening in the top of the helmet, then down through a large corresponding channel in the EPS and through very large channels molded into the EPS in the inside of the helmet.

The helmet liner has matching channels, so no fabric blocks the air flowing through the top.

The design and the system provides good upper ventilation and another smaller rear slider can be opened for the exhaust at the rear of the helmet.

Overall, the ventilation in the Drift helmet is better than average and the flush mounted sliders also keep vent noise to a minimum.

The helmet also comes with a large chin curtain that is very easy for the owner to install and it has a solid locking arrangement to keep it in place.

Caberg Tourmax Ventilation

Score: We'll give the Drift ventilation system an "Excellent" rating.

Caberg Drift Helmet Visor Removal
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Noise Levels

The Caberg Drift is a lightweight, feature-rich helmet but there's a catch. The general noise level seems to be louder than average.

The vents are quiet enough, so no problems there. And the large owner-installed chin curtain works well.

Most of the time, helmet noise can originate at a specific point on the helmet, like a poorly designed vent, a gap between the face shield and helmet shell or incorrect fit of the liner.

There isn't a specific part of the Drift that is generating the noise, but there's just an overall wind rushing noise level that isn't as well controlled as we'd like.

I suspect that something about the Drift's composite shell -- perhaps combined with the liner design -- causes more noise to be transmitted to the rider.

The composite shell doesn't dampen the noise as well as polycarbonate -- like the shell used on the Caberg Tourmax. I suppose this is one of the benefits of polycarbonate.

Tapping on the outside of the Drift's shell when you're wearing the helmet results in a "hollow" noise, especially on the lower half of the helmet. It sounds like you're tapping on an empty plastic barrel and this seems to increase the noise levels from wind moving along the sides of the helmet.

This doesn't happen on most polycarbonate shells, like the one used for the Caberg Tourmax. In fact, we rated the Tourmax as quieter than expected.

Of course, it's not only the shell composition, but we suspect that's the main culprit here.

Perhaps if the liner was thicker or designed differently, it could help to attenuate the overall noise levels. Or maybe a separate dampening layer could be installed over the EPS, in between it and the removable liner.

As is usually the case, it's difficult to quantify the noise precisely and the Drift isn't the loudest helmet we have reviewed, but overall, we rate it as louder than average.

Caberg Tourmax Noise Levels

Note that our helmet evaluations are normally a combined effort of several riders over time, on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.

Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).

Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBW Earplug Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.

Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual.

Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit; the type of motorcycle and windscreen; wind speed and direction and even the type of clothing that is being worn. For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.

Score: We'll give the Caberg Drift a "Neutral" rating for noise control.

wBW Video: Caberg Drift Helmet
Helmet Weight

The composite helmet does have a big bonus though: light weight. This Caberg Drift in size large weighs just 1484 grams, which is very light for a full-face helmet -- especially one with an internal sun visor.

The light weight and trim overall dimensions, combined with the large view port, help make the Drift feel like it disappears on your head when riding.

Helmets that are this light make a difference by reducing fatigue. The light weight is especially welcomed as you move your head side-to-side for over-the-shoulder traffic checks.

There just aren't many full-face helmets that we have reviewed that are this light. For example, even the Shark Vision-R GT Carbon (review) in size large weighed 1504 grams!

Note that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the weights are available on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page, along with a chart that lists the helmets by weight and shape on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.

Score: We'll give the Caberg Drift an "Outstanding" rating for its very low weight and excellent fit and balance.

Caberg Drift Helmet Liner
Miscellaneous

The Drift has a double D-ring chin strap retainer and the chin strap padding is comfortable and extra-long.

The Drift meets the ECE 22.05 safety standard only and is not distributed in the U.S.A.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: Caberg Drift
Picks... ...and Pans
  • Very nice styling.
  • Excellent quality.
  • Very light weight.
  • Outward visibility.
  • Good ventilation.
  • Face shield design and operation.
  • Elevated noise levels.
  • Complicated visor removal.
  • Made in...?

 

Conclusion

The Drift apparently marks a new departure for Caberg. The helmet is "world class" in many ways and it still has that unique Caberg look and feel and the features that also identify it with Caberg DNA.

The face shield design and size, the very nice vent system and the light weight are all positives, while the only negative is the elevated noise levels that seem to be amplified by the composite shell.

If you ride behind a large windscreen, you'll never notice but in the open air or with the turbulence from a smaller windscreen, it is noticeable.

Otherwise, the Caberg Drift is an excellent new helmet with subtle but sophisticated looks and many rider-friendly features.

wBW Review: Caberg Drift Helmet
Manufacturer: Caberg Helmets
List Price (2015): €279.99 (Solid), €299.99 (Graphics), €359.99 CF.
Made In: Unknown
Colors: White, Black, graphics.
Sizes: XS-2XL Shell Sizes: One
Review Date: May 2016

Note: Item provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.

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Your Comments and Feedback

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From "D.A." (May 2016): "At last, we have a Caberg Drift full review! I have been waiting for Caberg to renew the Caberg V2X, and here we have, almost a new version of it, but now I am really concern about the noise level and the absence of chin curtain, which make the noise even worst.

Do you really recommend this model despite the noise? I was thinking in buying it, but I am hesitating because of that."

Rick's Reply: Actually, the Drift does have a nice chin curtain, this was mentioned a couple of times in the review. Perhaps you can try a Drift first before you buy?

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