Fulmer D4 "Evil Spell" Motorcycle
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
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Owner Comments (Below)
Motorcycle Helmet Reviews
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 economic times.
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 recently, including the Wii, which is apparently
outselling the more feature-laden Xbox 360 video console by
a 2 to 1 margin.
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 and retirement...
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 $500.00
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 Overall Quality
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 really
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
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
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.
The 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 the visor.
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. The
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 point.
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 arrived.
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 motorcycle dealer yet with a sales person
who knows anything about proper helmet fit.
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
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 might offer.
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 cm.
The fit tends from neutral to just this side of long oval.
I'd say it's very close to a
Shark RSX (review)
and a Scorpion
EXO-700 (review) or
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 wBW
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
feels ess 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.
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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
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
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 ventilation.
Fulmer's Air Channel Technology is discreet and effective.
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 Shark
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
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
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 lined.
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
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 fine.
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
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 and more.
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.
Motorcycle Helmet Reviews |
Helmet Weights |
Motorcycle Helmet Shapes
Product Review: Fulmer D4 Motorcycle
||List Price: $125.00
(unconfirmed; street price approx. $90-$100
Spell graphics in Black, Ghost Red, Ghost Blue (Ghost
is muted). Apache graphics, metallics and solids
The QR1 Zero Fog visor is
available in clear or smoke.
|Made In: Taiwan
XS to XXL
Scale: For reference, our ratings
scale is subjective and ranges from unacceptable
to poor, good, very good, excellent and outstanding.
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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
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
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."