The Vega XTS Motorcycle Half Helmet is something new for webBikeWorld.
We've always been strong proponents of wearing quality motorcycle gear, including full-face DOT and/or ECE 22.05 approved motorcycle helmets.
But we're also pragmatic enough to realize that many motorcyclists choose not to wear helmets.
And many more wear open-face helmets, half helmets or even motorcycle helmets that look like (and have the same protection as) Mom's Tupperware.
A half helmet is about as small as we'd ever recommend, but I have to say that I can see why this type of helmet is popular.
After using a couple of open face helmets and this Vega XTS through the hot, sticky summer riding season we've had lately, there's something to be said for having a nice, fresh breeze blowing around your face, especially after being cooped up in a full-face helmet during the rest of the year.
Besides, if you're riding a cruiser (and we do get quite a few cruiser owners visiting webBikeWorld), full-face helmets just don't look right, no matter how you slice it.
We've said it before and we'll say it again -- riding a motorcycling makes a statement, and the right look is important.
The bike, the clothes, the sound and the helmet (or lack thereof) help to define the rider as part of a tribe, and half helmets are here, they're for sale and they're legal, so you pay your money and you take your chances.
If you're a fan of half helmets, that's cool, but please make sure you buy one with decent quality, like this Vega XTS, and not the type resembling Tupperware.
The Vega XTS is DOT FMVSS 218, and it seems to be put together leagues better than some of the teacups that are out there -- the ones that require you have to buy your own DOT sticker to put on the back.
The XTS is made from fiberglass, and it's a nice piece of work, especially considering the price.
The white pearlescent finish on our sample has a touch of orange peel and a few tiny flaws here and there, but overall the paint seems thick enough to last a long time.
There's a nice black vinyl strip covering the entire edge of the helmet, with a slightly soft and textured finish that sets off the shape.
Four 11 mm unpainted rivets, two on each side, are visible on each side of the helmet. The rivets secure the tops of the "yoke" type chin strap.
Some people didn't notice the rivets, others said they'd probably try to paint them with nail polish and a few said that they wished Vega would have figured out a way to eliminate them.
But they're functional and most folks probably wouldn't notice them if they weren't pointed out.
The Vega XTS has an EPS liner, just like many of its full-face brethren. Vega claims that the EPS liner allows them to use a thinner profile shell and a slightly thicker liner than is normally found in half helmets.
The interior seems to be put together neatly.
The liner is comfortable and similar to the nice liner in the Vega Summit XPV modular, or flip-up, helmet we reviewed recently. Vega seems to really know their stuff when it comes to helmet liners.
The yoke style chin strap has a retro look to it, because it forms a "V" that spreads out on both sides of the ear.
Our young neighborhood model shown in these photos had no problems with this style chin strap because her smaller ear fit nicely within the "V".
Others who tried the helmet found that the "V" covered parts of their ears, depending upon their individual ear shape, but no one complained.
It can feel a bit strange at first if you're not used to it, but the inner portion of the straps are padded and they don't seem to cause a problem or form any hot spots during use.
The chin strap secures the helmet via a D-ring, but Vega left out any type of system to secure the loose strap end, and there's a lot of it.
They must have figured that people with big, long heads or thick necks would be the primary customer for the XTS, because the strap seems extra long.
It would have been nice to add a piece of Velcro to attach the loose end somewhere. A solution is to tuck the loose strap end up over the tightened section under the chin.
The Vega XTS has an unusual feature for a half helmet: air vents! Two "adjustable" air vents (they open and close) are located in a black plastic strip that's nicely recessed into the front of the helmet.
When open, the holes direct air through the EPS liner and (theoretically) on to the rider's head.
One problem is that part of the liner is located in back of the holes, preventing the air from having a direct path.
The other problem is that the helmet is cool enough to wear because so much of your face is in the open air anyway that I doubt if one would notice the extra air flow anyway.
The slides on the vents don't have any detents, so they don't consistently stay in an open or closed position, depending instead on edge friction to hold them in place.
Vega provides a snap-on visor with the XTS, and this gives the helmet something like a Police Motor Patrol look.
The visor can be easily removed, but it doesn't seem to cause any helmet lifting when riding, and it looks kind of neat, so you may want to leave it in place.
The XTS is offered in 6 sizes, from XS to XXL.
I'm usually on the borderline of a size L and XL in motorcycle helmets. Depending upon the styling and shape, sometimes a large will fit me and sometimes I need an XL.
This sample is a size XL, and it fits, but the internal shape is biased towards a narrower head than my very round cranium. The XTS is a featherweight at 974 g (2 lbs., 2-3/8 oz.).
It fit our model, L.B., perfectly -- she has a much larger head than you'd think, and she usually takes a size L motorcycle helmet.
It's hard to measure the inside of a helmet, but this one is about 21 cm long from front to back and about 16 cm wide in the middle.
It fits me, but I can feel some space in the front and back, so the shape is a bit too oblong or rectangular for me.
This may be an issue with other round-head types, so you may want to try this helmet on or confirm that there's a return policy before you purchase it.
The XTS weighs in at 974 g (2 lbs., 2-3/8 oz.) on the webBikeWorld scales. We haven't weighed any other half helmets for a comparison, but this seems light, especially when compared to some full-face or flip-up helmets, which can weigh nearly twice as much.
The XTS does feel a bit top heavy when it's worn, probably because the weight is concentrated up on top of the head and it doesn't have as much liner area as a full-face helmet to spread the weight over a larger surface area.
Vega includes a drawstring helmet back with the XTS, and optional ear pads are available to plug up the "V" on the chin straps to keep your ears warmer in the winter.
Cruiser owners and other riders who like the half helmet style, or those who desire a minimal amount of helmet coverage should be pleased with the Vega XTS.
The price is very reasonable, the quality is decent, and it's available in a variety of colors, including a couple of wild flame paint jobs. Vega also offers the XTS with a leather surface option instead of paint.
Make sure this helmet will fit your head shape though.
We'll continue to recommend using full-face or open-face DOT (minimally) approved helmets. But we'd rather see motorcyclists using a DOT FMVSS 218 half helmet rather than go without a helmet altogether.
So if you're in the market for a half helmet, check out Vega's XTS.
|wBW Review: Vega XTS Half Helmet|
|Manufacturer: Vega Helmets||List Price (2003): $46.99-$59.99|
|Colors: Black, Rubber Flat Black, Silver, Leather, Silver Flame, Red Flame, Red/Yellow Flame.||Made In: China|
|Review Date: July 2003|