Fulmer D4 "Evil Spell" Motorcycle Helmet
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
Owner Comments (Below) |
Summary: The Fulmer D4 has
a few unique features that help separate it from other
inexpensive helmets. Fulmer's Air Channel
Technology ventilation system really does seem to work
and it gives the D4 an interesting and smooth shape that
also helps control noise. Strong detents in the
visor and an impressive range of graphics and colors
make the D4 a helmet to consider, especially in trying
I read an article the other day in an online newspaper
that described changes to consumer trends caused by the recent
global economic crisis (or crises, depending upon how
you look at it).
The author's conclusion was that the age
of "more is better" is over, with consumers now
interested in simpler and cheaper alternatives that
perform the same basic functions.
He gave several examples of
simpler/better products that have been a real hit
including the Wii, which is apparently outselling the
more feature-laden Xbox 360 video console by a 2 to 1
Other examples include the stunningly
simple Flip video recorder, the popularity of which has
also flummoxed companies like Sony, Canon and Panasonic,
to whom the "more is better" philosophy has always been
a way of bringing back old customers while enticing the
new. While sales of HD camcorders have fizzled,
the Flip brought 44,667% growth to Pure
Digital Technologies, the company that makes the thing.
Not to worry, of course -- you can bet
those suddenly spendthrift consumers will return to their
profligate ways just as soon as the Dow starts bumping
10k again. Which it will hopefully do between now
Reading that article was timely for me,
because I've been riding with the charcoal-colored
Fulmer D4 in the grown-on-me "Evil Spell" graphics,
which, I realized, is a perfect example of "less is
more". I slowly came to understand that a helmet
like the D4 is perfect for these times, when you might
want a new helmet but are reevaluating the need for a
I wasn't sure what to make of a helmet
with the Fulmer logo at first, even though I'm the type of guy that
-- good times or bad -- absolutely loves to find bargain-basement,
off-the-wall goodies that
perform better than expected.
I didn't have much
experience (read: zero) with the Fulmer brand, and I'm
not much for dark-colored helmets (or haven't been
anyway), and this one is about
as dark as it gets, right? So it started with two
strikes against it.
But the thaw commenced once I began to
appreciate the subtle "Evil
Spell" graphics with their contrasting swirly-stripes,
and the connection was made.
The Fulmer D4 comes in
about a bajillion-and-one colors, but the Evil Spell
pattern in the matte black, red or blue color perfectly
suits the very interesting and differently shaped helmet
shell, with its smooth contours and F-117 inspired exhaust
Let's take a look...
Fulmer D4, Evil Spell graphics, top view.
Paint, Graphics and
The dark matte charcoal pattern of the Evil Spell adds yet another dimension to the art of
photography, but hopefully Burn has tweaked the pixels
adequately enough to give you an idea of how the D4
The Evil Spell graphics were applied
using something Fulmer calls their "Supernatural"
technique. "Fulmer has mastered a difficult to
achieve satin black on flat black finish that gives
depth to a tone-on-tone look while delivering incredible
detail in a subtle fashion", according to their press
The D4 Evil Spell graphics also have a
UV barrier coating to protect the paint. The
surface does not have the "rubberized" feel
that seems to be in vogue (and which is difficult to
maintain), but the graphics
and the paint on this one exhibit high levels of quality.
Fulmer went stealth with their logos and
lettering on the Evil Spell pattern, which adds to the mysterious look.
This is certainly the darkest colored helmet I've ever
owned, but I really like both the color (or lack
thereof) and pattern.
The overall quality of the helmet itself is very good to
excellent with a couple of glaring exceptions that
thankfully don't affect the overall performance of the
I'd say the quality of the gasket along the bottom
of the helmet shell; the
paint; the graphic pattern and its application; and the
operation of the visor and vents is excellent to
outstanding, when judged by our helmet quality ranking (see the
Summary Table at the end of this review).
But there are a couple of problems here
and there on this example which hold it back from
being the outstanding helmet that it could be.
first problem has to do with the way some of the parts
have come out of the mold; my guess is that it's probably
a supplier issue because I'll bet that Fulmer buys the
vent assemblies and visor from a third party.
The accessory "Zero Fog" visor installed
on this helmet (more on that in a minute) has a raised
section of very sharp-edged flashing around its outer edges,
rather than a nice, smooth edge surface
all the way around (see next photo).
Also, the visor has a tiny little tab that on
each side that is designed to slide through a channel to hold the
visor in place in the rotating mechanism. This tab
is so small and/or the polycarbonate used in the visor
is brittle that the tab broke the first time we removed
There's another mold flashing issue too
on the air scoop opening on the top vent. It has very sharp
edges, like the mold wasn't correctly aligned (see
second photo below).
Both of these quality issues are very easily fixed and
this type of problem simply shouldn't occur in 2008,
with worldwide quality standards being what they are --
even in a 100 buck helmet like the D4.
Fulmer D4: Top arrow indicates the sharp edge on
the flashing from the mold along the top of the visor.
lower arrow points to the deformed eye port gasket that
has defied any attempts to straighten it.
Fulmer D4: This photo shows the sharp edge on the
flashing from the mold on the top vent.
Fulmer needs to get on their suppliers
and tell them this is not an acceptable level of
quality. After all, the other $100.00 or so
helmets we've reviewed recently have been nearly
flawless, proving that it can be done at this price
And one more thing: the gasket around
the eye port seals very tightly, and the visor on the D4
has one of the closest-tolerance fits we've seen on any
helmet at any price. But the gasket somehow became
deformed in one area along the top of the eye port,
where it's bent downwards, and
it has remained in this position since the helmet
Again, this should not happen and it's a very
easy fix, making it puzzling why Fulmer doesn't go the
one little tiny step further to do it right.
Now you may think this is nitpicking on
a $100 helmet, but the competition is fierce, and hey --
we're here to nitpick for you, right?
Fortunately, none of these issues
affects the performance of the helmet and, in fact, a
piece of 200-grit or so wet/dry sandpaper will quickly
solve the flashing problem.
Now to a certain extent, you don't have to worry about getting a
helmet delivered with these problems, because
Fulmer is sticking with their "dealer only" sales policy,
which at least means that if you want a D4, you'll be
pawing through the dealer's stock and hopefully
you can inspect it closely before forking over the cash,
now that you know what to look for.
Fulmer claims that the dealers are the
only ones who can help the customer get a properly
fitted helmet, but come on -- I haven't been in a
yet with a sales person who knows anything about proper
And it's not like we're talking about
Arai levels of complexity here, with head shapes, shell shapes, multiple
cheek pads and liner shapes -- even Arai quickly
abandoned their dealer-only foray when they realized how
much it hurt sales.
Anyway, I've gone on quite a bit here,
but the bottom line is that the Fulmer D4 lists for
around $125.00 (and I've seen it as low as $89.00) but I
still think it's a great bargain, all things considered.
One can overlook a lot at this price.
Score: I'd honestly have
given the D4 an "Outstanding" for paint and overall
quality, but the few minor and easily fixable quality
quirks unfortunately drops it a couple of levels down to a "Very Good",
considering the price of the helmet. See the ratings descriptions in the
Summary Table at the end of this page.
Liner and upper vent passages.
Helmet Fit, Internal Shape, Liner and Comfort
This Fulmer D4 in size XL feels like it fits one
size small -- it definitely fits more like a size large,
in my opinion.
The helmet shell is very robust and stiff,
more so than many other helmets we've had come through
here recently. 'm not sure if this is good or bad -- some say that
a more flexible shell might absorb more energy in a
crash, but obviously there are many factors to consider
when determining the levels of protection that a helmet
The combination of the stiff shell, the
smaller-than-expected sizing and the shell profile,
which is somewhat tapered towards the bottom, makes it a
bit difficult to pull the D4 on or off over my ears.
I couldn't find a sizing chart on the Fulmer
website, again something to do with their dealer-only
sales policy no doubt. But I'd say this size XL
would fit something like a 58.5 to 59.5 cm head.
This is about
one size less than the norm for a motorcycle helmet in
size XL, which typically ranges from 60 to 61
The fit tends from neutral to just this side of long oval. I'd
say it's very close to a
RSX (review) and a
Scorpion EXO-700 (review) or
(review). I didn't think it would be
comfortable on my roundish shaped head, but it is, and
I'm pleased to say that I can wear it for quite a long
time without bother.
For more information on choosing and
fitting a motorcycle helmet, please see the
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, which also includes a
discussion on head shapes.
The removable and washable liner has about average
levels of comfort. The padding feels slightly stiffer and the fabric
plush than the Shark RSX or the typical Arai, but it's
not bad at all.
The helmet also fits me nicely
around the bottom, which helps keep the air from blowing
in from underneath and helps keep things quieter than
they might be otherwise.
As always, remember that helmet fit is crucial to safety and
comfort, so make sure you try the helmet on before
buying, and try a variety of sizes. The smallest
size that fits comfortably is usually the safest.
I wish the D4 had a built-in chin curtain underneath,
because I think this would help keep some of the air
flowing from up under the chin bar and might make the
helmet even quieter, but I guess you can't have
everything at this price.
Score: I'll give the D4 an
"Excellent" for a comfortable fit and a
relatively comfortable and nicely made liner. Make
sure you try it on though to determine the correct
sizing -- one of the benefits of Fulmer's policy of
selling only through dealers.
Three position chin vent (closed, half open, full open).
Fulmer's "Air Channel Technology" top exhaust vent.
Another view of the top vent assembly and slider.
Venting and Air Flow
"Air Channel Technology" is the name Fulmer has adopted for the D4 venting system, and it
does seem to work.
Why I'm surprised, I don't know. I guess it's
because so many other helmets -- regardless of price -- fail miserably when
it comes to ventilation.
The shell on the D4 is shaped quite differently than
the average motorcycle helmet in this price range. Note the absence
of tchotchke-esque vents and wind-catching doodads on the helmet
-- the shell instead features unique curves and those F-117
reminiscent exhaust ports in the rear that actually
function very well.
Here's the biggest surprise: look
through the top of the helmet and you can see two big --
and I mean big (for motorcycle helmets anyway) -- vent
holes that, surprise surprise, actually have a clear
passage to the outside!
The air comes in through what seems like
a very narrow slit in the top vent at the front of the
helmet and it flows into two brow holes that are
uncovered and unhampered by the liner (another
surprise!). The air flows through and out the back
of the Air Channel Technology ports, and overall gives
very good to excellent ventilation.
Here's a photo -- check this out, you
can see the big holes right through the EPS liner:
Top exhaust vent passages in the Fulmer D4 helmet.
The brow vents are out of the photo, just to the
right of the two light gray slights that can be seen
above the brow liner.
The top vent opens and closes via a
simple sliding tab at the back that is unfortunately not
that easy to locate or feel when wearing gloves.
The chin vent opens with authority -- a
big sugar scoop thing that captures a lot of air.
Unfortunately, there are no direct air channels through
the back of the wide and tall chin bar (that is also
fully padded with EPS, according to Fulmer, and also
The air is instead directed on to the
back of the visor, which is fine, because it works well
and may have something to do with the excellent
defogging capabilities of both the Zero Fog visor and
the helmet design.
All told, this is a surprisingly simple
venting design that really does work. It's
pathetic that most of the other helmet manufacturers
can't get this right, even at 2-3 times the price!
Score: I'll give the
Fulmer D4 an "Outstanding" rating for air flow and
Fulmer's Air Channel Technology is discreet and
Another surprise, especially considering the sturdy
helmet shell, is the low mass of the Fulmer D4. At
only 1576 grams (3 lbs., 7-5/8 oz.), the helmet is
relatively light and feels very good on the head.
This weight puts it with some very good and expensive
size XL neighbors: the
RSI at 1565 grams; the Vemar VSR
at 1566 grams; the inexpensive
SparX S-07 at 1569
grams and even the
Suomy Extreme Spec-1R
(XL) 1570 grams.
Fulmer doesn't say what material is used to construct the
shell, but we suspect the stiffness and light weight
means that it has to be some type of composite, rather
than a polycarbonate?
To compare the D4 with other helmets, visit the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for charts comparing the
weights of all
of the open-face, full-face and flip-up helmets we've
Score: The Fulmer D4 gets an
"Outstanding" rating from me for its light
weight and good balance.
In terms of operation, the basic clear visor that comes
with the Fulmer D4 functions identically to the optional
Zero Fog visor that we installed on the helmet, so my
comments would be the same for everything except the
remarkable ability of the Zero Fog visor to stay clear.
The visor fits very close to the gasket and helmet
shell on our example, which is excellent. The
visor fits so close to the shell that the seal remains
tight even across the deformed section.
The eye port on the helmet has slightly above average top-to-bottom
visibility, and about average
side-to-side. The chin bar seems taller in the
vertical dimension than other helmets, but I measured it
against a KBC Tarmac we're also in the process of
evaluating (review coming soon), which is the same class
of helmet, and both chin bars are identical in height at
about 100 mm.
I'm not sure why the chin bar on the D4 feels or
seems more massive. This is good though, because
it at least seems like it offers better protection.
In fact, it's my understanding that wider/taller chin
bars are more likely to pass that part of the new
SHARP helmet rating system (article) in the UK.
As I mentioned above, the chin bar is fully padded and
The visor has good optical properties, and the
detents are commendably strong, holding the visor open
in any one of 5 positions, including a small opening for
ventilation. I really like the detents on the D4
and I wish more helmets were as good.
Fulmer "Zero Fog" Visor
The Fulmer Zero Fog visor really does seem to work; I'm not
sure what type of treatment or coating is used, but it
hasn't fogged up in the cold and damp weather we've been
having. I have not worn it in an extended downpour
though, so I can't comment on that.
The only problem with the visor is mentioned above
(see photos). The mold quality isn't great,
resulting in sharp edges and flashing from the mold
along parts of the visor. Also, I mentioned the
small tab that helps rotate the visor, which broke the
first time we tried to remove it.
The tab is too small for the function, which I think
puts too much load on it. And the polycarbonate
used in the visor does seem more brittle than usual, for
some reason, adding to the problem.
But I think now that you know this, if you're very
careful with removing and replacing the visor (not
something that is done very often anyway), you should be
The visor removal mechanism works adequately; it's
not the easiest or smoothest system we've tried, but far
from the hardest to use either.
I did put a tiny
dab of silicone grease on either side on the bearing
surface where the visor touches the rotating mechanism,
because the visor fits so tight to the helmet that it
was rubbing slightly. This helped make the visor
rotate more smoothly.
One more issue: the lifting tab for the visor is
located on the lower left hand side, but it is very
small, sticking out only about 1.5 mm from the visor
itself. This makes it difficult to find and grab
when wearing gloves. The visor fits so well on the
D4 that I'd suggest that Fulmer use a centrally-located
tab and make it wider, thicker and larger.
Score: I'll rate the Zero Fog visor with
an "Outstanding" for anti-fog capabilities and the
strong detents; a "Very Good" for optical qualities and
overall visibility; but a "Poor" for build quality and
the design of the rotating tab that broke.
Arrow indicates the broken tab that fits in the groove
to help the visor rotate.
The combination of the D4's smooth shell, close fit and
somewhat tapered vertical shape helps keep noise levels
slightly less than average. The top vent can
whistle slightly under certain conditions during
over-shoulder traffic checks, but otherwise the noise
levels seem fairly well controlled.
I've worn the D4 when riding several bikes, and there
is some of the usual "booming" noises caused by
turbulence spilling off a short fairing windscreen and
hitting the lower portion of the helmet, but even that
seems more controlled than other helmets I've worn.
So overall although I wouldn't classify the D4 as a
quiet helmet, but it's better than average for me.
Note 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.
Note also that
your experience with this helmet's noise levels may be
different, depending upon many factors, including your
head shape and the way the helmet fits; motorcycle configuration; prevailing winds
Score: The Fulmer D4
gets a "Very Good" rating for noise control.
The D4 has a padded chin strap that feels comfortable.
It has a double D-ring attachment system with a snap for
the extra length. The snap is up above the D-ring,
making for a slightly tight fit to get my fingers up
there and snap the end.
The D4 meets DOT safety standards.
My feeling is that the Fulmer D4 is an excellent helmet
for the money, especially when it can be found at
discount. With just a little more effort to
improve a couple of the minor quality issues, this
helmet could be a contender and I'd bet they could
charge another $$50.00 to $75.00 for it and no one would
complain -- especially if they installed the Zero Fog
visor as original equipment.
But overall, it proves that good doesn't have to mean
complex. The D4 definitely meets my criteria for a
bargain, and it has the combination of unexpected
"surprise and delight" features and low price that make
me feel like I'm in on a secret.
Reviews Home |
Motorcycle Helmets Page | Motorcycle Helmet
Review: Fulmer D4 Motorcycle Helmet
List Price: $125.00 (unconfirmed; street price approx. $90-$100
|Colors: Evil Spell graphics in Black,
Ghost Red, Ghost Blue (Ghost is muted). Apache graphics, metallics
and solids also available.
The QR1 Zero Fog visor is available in clear or smoke.
Sizes: XS to XXL
Certifications: DOT only.
For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges
from unacceptable to poor, good, very good, excellent and
outstanding. Note: Helmet for this review
was provided by
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From "D.R." (1/09): "Excellent
review on the Fulmer D4 helmet. The Fulmer D4 is
an excellent value for the money. It's a very
comfortable helmet without excess liner to shift around
and become bothersome. It also is one of the very
few helmets I've tried that actually allows me to wear
my glasses without bending or distorting them.
For me, however, air flow through the helmet vents
has been unnoticeable. I can't seem to notice any
difference between the vents open or closed, unlike my
RF-1000. I have had none of the QC problems with
mine. All edges are smooth and lack any sharp
edges to cut or chafe.
I also have to disagree with you about the visor.
I've also tried a number of helmets by Scorpion, HJC,
KBC, Shoei, and a few others, and the Fulmer seems to
have a visor as good as any of the others if not better.
It's not as flimsy as visor on some much more expensive
helmets and at least as good as my Shoei.
The adjustment mechanism and detents are also
fantastic. A couple Scorpion helmets I checked out
had visors that opened way too easily and could open or
change position with just the slightest touch. If
I place my Fulmer visor in any position (up, down, or
somewhere in the middle) is stays locked there securely
but still allows easy up or down adjustment.
Removal has always been fast and easy with never a
broken part like you experienced.
However, my Fulmer is quite noisy with strong
buffeting and a slight turn of the head to the left
generates significantly loud high-pitched noises.
So far I have been unable to locate the source.
I've ridden 7500 miles with the Fulmer D4 and would
highly recommend it to other riders for a cheap (but
very good) option to the (other) helmet choices today.
Hell, it even placed 2nd in the infamous Motorcyclist
Online helmet test. Thanks for the reviews and
keep up the good work."