The first CMS flip-up feels solid and has a dual homologation as both a full-face and "Jet" styled open-face helmet with the visor removed.
CMS has been manufacturing helmets in Portugal since 1976 and they're now one of the very few remaining independent motorcycle helmet manufacturers with European production.
We reviewed the CMS GP4, the CMS XR-7 and the CMS D-Jet helmets and based on that experience, it's apparent that the company provides good value for the money and they also seem to have a knack for making helmets that weigh less than average.
The new CMS SUV is just entering production, having been introduced at the 2009 EICMA show in Milan in November.
The "SUV" in the name is designed to reference the sport utility or all-around capabilities of the helmet, while "Apribile" is an Italian adjective that, loosely translated, means "something that can be opened" (aprire: to open) in this case, a flip-up.
But I think the SUV reference in the name is also appropriate, because the CMS SUV helmet was designed to be worn with the rotating visor in either the closed position or fully removed when riding.
It has passed ECE tests for visor-down homologation and is going through the final stages for homologation as a "Jet" styled open-face helmet as this is being written.
The helmet also meets U.S. DOT safety standards and CMS plans on distributing the helmet worldwide, as they do with all their other helmets.
The SUV reminds me of the AGV Miglia flip-up (review), but the SUV has the added attraction of the dual homologation plus an internal sun visor and the two helmets weigh nearly the same.
So CMS has found a way to add these features with little or no gain in weight.
The SUV is available in a basic color palette with color names of White, Titanium, Silver, Blue Lead, Matte Black and Metallic Black.
CMS has a leather-covered version in the works also, which should prove interesting. They promised to send some photos as soon as it's ready.
The White version shown here has a nice finish, with a very fine metalflake paint in what I'd call egg shell white -- a cross between white and cream.
The camera found it difficult to capture the exact color; a manual white balance makes the color look slightly darker and less white in the photos and video, but I hope you can get the idea.
The paint is nicely applied and feels thick and the clear coat layer feels like it should help protect against the elements for some time.
CMS also states that the clear coat is UV resistant and the helmet shell is made from "thermoplastic extra light resin".
The helmet does feel solid and I assume that the special rotating visor mechanism is at least partially responsible for that. It had to be made to pass the Jet homologation tests, and this probably adds some rigidity to the overall design.
The helmet also has a nice, tight feel on the head, and the creaking and groaning noises that are too common on most flip-ups are mostly absent.
The face shield may be an exception to the overall quality impressions, as it is slightly loose on this helmet and doesn't quite fit tight against the eye port gasket.
It should be noted, however, that the helmet shown here is an early production model so hopefully the tolerances will become tighter as regular production commences, which is very often the case.
The tabs or buttons that work the chin vent, top vent and the slider for the internal sun visor could probably stand to be made larger and sturdier; they're made from a relatively thin plastic that feels hard and the buttons seem a bit fragile.
I would like to see these made from a thicker material or perhaps nylon or something a little more robust.
Everything else about the helmet seems to be of good quality and equal at least to many other flip-up helmets that are available.
Score: I'll give the CMS SUV a "Very Good" rating overall for quality. See the Summary Table at the end of this page for a description of our rating system.
The SUV fits just to the round side of neutral, which works perfectly for me and I think it should fit the majority of head shapes.
This helmet is a size large and is designed to fit a 60-61 cm circumference head and I think that is right on the mark, so we'll have to assume all sizes run true.
My head measures 60.5 cm, which often puts me between a large (usually 59-60 cm) and extra large (61-62 cm). I usually opt for the XL, but because the SUV is marked as a large that fits a 60-61 cm head, I chose that size and it fits very nicely.
The rotating visor closes with a solid "thunk" and feels tight. I have room behind the chin bar with no interference, which isn't often the case in flip-up helmets of this size.
The chin bar is wide and feels secure, although it does slightly inhibit the top-to-bottom visibility out the eye port, which otherwise appears average from side to side.
The helmet has generous ear pockets that are lined, so the SUV should work well for speaker installation.
Overall, the helmet is comfortable and I think because of the internal shape and the sizing, it fits my head size and shape better than most of the other flip-ups I've tried.
The removable liner has an average amount of padding that is adequate an the material feels comfortable. The liner is made with DuPont Coolmax and it's also treated with the SITIP (Italy) sanitizing anti-microbial protection system.
The helmet shell feels proportional and, like other CMS helmets we've reviewed, the shell does not feel oversized.
I did have some trouble fitting my eyeglasses in the helmet as I often do, so I had to resort to a cut-down pair that I use for this purpose (more).
Score: I'll give the CMS SUV an "Excellent" rating for overall comfort and fit.
The clear face shield used on the CMS SUV helmet fits behind closed side pods. It has three detent positions, with the first as a larger-than-normal defogging position.
However, I noticed that the face shield can be cracked open slightly also for defogging, even though there does not appear to be a detent to hold it.
The face shield has excellent optical qualities and this one measures 1.98 mm thick. It does not have a VESC-8 stamp but meets ECE standards.
There is a slight gap between the face shield and the eye port gasket towards the sides of the face shield, and the gasket does not completely surround the eye port.
So I'm not sure about how much water might pass through when the rotating visor is attached. The face shield is inserted into the helmet when the rotating visor is removed.
The rotating flip-up visor opens with a large single centrally-located release under the chin bar.
CMS calls it the "Advanced Safety Lock System" and although it seems tight when the helmet is not being worn, once it's on the head the lift release has a very solid feel.
Also, the visor rotates smoothly through its arc and the detents feel solid and secure, especially when the visor is fully raised.
I'll add another plug for the Clarity Defog It (review) anti-fog coating that has given us excellent results.
Overall, the CMS SUV helmet face shield is about average in its ease of use, it has good quality optics but it has a lightly looser-than-average feel.
The rotating flip-up visor feels secure and it provides confidence in its protective abilities.
As mentioned above, the SUV helmet is ECE homologated as both a full-face and Jet styled helmet and the rotating visor can be removed, but to do so is a somewhat involved procedure and not something that can be accomplished during a ride.
We did not attempt to remove it for several reasons; the weather is simply too cold to consider wearing an open-face helmet and this example is an early production model, so we didn't want to damage it.
The visor locking mechanism is partially hidden, making it difficult to determine how the visor locks function, but the visor does feel secure when it's closed.
By the way, although it's uncertain whether or not the clear face shield is treated with an anti-fog coating.
It seemed somewhat resistant to fogging in cold weather and in any case the chin vent directs a strong stream of air to the inside of the helmet, quickly dissolving the fogging as long as the rider is moving.
The internal sun shade opens and closes with a simple slider on the top of the helmet, located behind the top vent. It's a lightweight system that puts some of the more complex systems to shame.
It works on friction, which is really all that's needed to operate a sun shade.
An added bonus is that the shade can be lowered to any position and it will hold, due to the friction. This is the preferred method, in our opinion.
The sun shade is removable and it does seem to have less tint than others I've tried, and the bottom edge is cut in a rather complex shape to fit around the rider's nose.
As with most of these devices, I'd rather it was cut as straight across as possible and lowered as far as possible to remain out of the line of sight.
I usually lower the shade only enough to keep the overhead sun out of my eyes, especially when riding west in the late afternoon, so a straighter edge works best for me.
The eye port on the CMS SUV helmet provides about average top-to-bottom and side-to-side outward visibility, with slightly better than average visibility looking down, probably due to the smaller breath guard.
Score: I'll give the overall face shield and operating system an "Excellent".
The SUV helmet has a basic ventilation system with the exception of the EPS foam liner, which has deep channels and openings for the air to flow in from the top vent above the liner, where it exits out the rear exhaust vent.
The chin vent cover acts as a rocker panel; push it in to open the vent and pull down on the small spring-loaded tab at the bottom to close the vent. It works well and provides a better-than-average amount of air flow up on to the back of the face shield. The chin bar does not have air passages through the padding directly to the rider's face.
The system works well although the small closing tab feels just a touch on the delicate side. The top vent uses a similar system where the rocker panel cover is pushed down to open the vent and the spring-loaded tab in back of the vent closes the rocker. On the top vent however, the tab can be pushed once to close the vent half-way and then again to close the vent all the way.
My feeling is that the CMS SUV Apribile has good air flow through both the front and top vents. The top venting system with the large channels in the EPS under the liner seems effective also.
Score: I'll give the CMS SUV helmet an "Excellent" rating overall for ventilation.
I wasn't sure what to expect with regards to noise levels inside the SUV helmet, but after riding with it for a few weeks I'd say it's about average to quieter than average when compared to other flip-ups of this type.
Flip-up helmets usually transmit more noise than full-face helmets, but the SUV isn't bad actually and the only problem area seems to be noise coming from underneath and behind the ears. We have noticed this problem on several helmets of different brands and types recently, and it seems that the split in the lining between the rear edge of the cheek pads and the padding at the back of the helmet is the culprit.
This is apparently a crucial area for noise reduction and although the CMS SUV helmet has a decent-sized section of liner covering the bottom of this junction, some wind rushing noise is generated there and can be eliminated with a hand placed over the area.
Otherwise, the noise levels are well within reason and the slight gap noted between the face shield and the eye port gasket doesn't seem to affect the noise levels either.
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: I'll give the CMS SUV helmet a "Very Good" score for noise control and average noise levels.
This CMS SUV helmet in size L weighs a relatively light 1625 grams (3 lbs., 9-3/8 oz.).
This makes it one of the lightest flip-up helmets we've reviewed, although it is a size L compared to many of the other flip-ups listed in our Motorcycle Helmet Weights page that are size XL.
1625 grams is still a very good result and compares to the Caberg Trip size XL at 1614 g; the Vega Summit II size XL at 1615 g; the ROOF Boxer V in size L at 1638 g and the AGV Miglia in size XL at 1666 grams.
The CMS SUV helmet meets DOT safety standards in North America and ECE 22.05 in Europe as both a full-face and Jet helmet when the visor is in the raised position.
Score: I'll give the CMS SUV helmet an "Outstanding" rating for light weight and good balance.
The chin strap padding used on the CMS SUV helmet is comfortable. The strap has a micro-adjustable strap closure system rather than D-rings and although the system is bulkier than D-rings, it does operate rather nicely.
The CMS SUV Apribile is a good first flip-up helmet from the company known for light weight helmets with excellent quality and good value.
The helmet is comfortable, has good ventilation (especially for a flip-up) and has the dual certification, which should be popular with touring riders or for riding in slow traffic in the city on hot days or even for sight-seeing.
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