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Icon Airmada Elemental Review

Icon Airmada Elemental Review
Fire and Water: It's Elemental!
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com

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Summary

Take your basic Icon Airmada helmet, pump it up to levels previously unknown in motorcycle-land and you have the Icon Airmada Elemental.

The Airmada has been a very popular helmet for Icon, offering a lot of go for not much dough.

It's available in solid colors and a cornucopia of graphics, but the Elemental has to be the most outrageous.

While it might not be everyone's cup o' tea, it has a huge wantability factor for sure.

The "Fire" and "Water" graphics that dominate each half of the helmet have meaning...sort of.

They commemorate the Brammo Empulse RR race bikes ridden by Eric Bostrom and Shane Turpin in AHRMA Sound of Thunder and eSuperbike racing.

Besides the graphics, the Airmada is a darn good helmet and it comes in 4 shell sizes, which is very unusual at this price range ($255.00 list).

It also has a dual-function chin vent with sliding covers on the inside, so you can let the air in or close the ports to direct the air through the chin vent and up on to the back of the face shield.

A single slider operates the two top vents, another handy feature so you don't have to mess around trying to work two vents with one hand whilst riding.

The Airmada Elemental has a race fit, so it's pretty tight around the bottom of the shell but once it's on, comfort awaits.

Simply put, you're not going to find this much helmet with artwork graphics for this price. So if the Airmada Elemental fits your head shape and you're cool with the graphics, what are you waiting for?

Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet Top View
Icon Airmada Elemental paint, Graphics and Overall Quality

It's been a long time since we reviewed an Icon helmet on webBikeWorld and I'm not sure why. Icon has what must be the largest collection of motorcycle helmet graphics anywhere and they seem to release new styles monthly.

Granted, some of the designs may be a bit over-the-top, but what the heck?

You can only do so many boring black, somber solids or same-old stripes before you've done it all. And besides, with graphics this colorful, surely there's a safety factor?

The overall fit and finish on this Airmada Elemental is top-drawer, no question about it. Not only do the graphics look great, the transfer (or however they did it) is perfectly applied...and that's no easy task with something this complicated.

I'm not sure what months of sunshine will do to it, but you're not going to leave this beauty out in the UV radiator, right? It's covered with a thick clearcoat anyway, which should protect.

But as we always say, graphics are one thing; performance is another (Do we really say that?).

The moving parts on the Airmada Elemental are also high-spec with a better feel -- more solid, quality style -- than anything I can think of in this price range and probably costing twice again.

I especially like the top vent design, with one smoothly operating, solid-feel slider that opens both vents. I don't like futzing with two rockers or sliders when I'm trying to ride, not when you can easily find one and flip it back to let in the air.

The chin vent feels just as good and -- surprise! -- the helmet has two big intakes behind the chin bar and each of those have their own sliders. But wait; there's more: just for good measure, they threw in a brow vent as well.

It and the face shield round out the quality stuff and all of it works much better than you'd think for a sub-$300 helmet.

Score: I'll rate the Airmada Elemental as "Outstanding" for the graphics and the feel of the moving parts. See the Summary Table at the end of this page for a description of our rating system.

Icon Airmada Elemental Slide Show
  • brammo_empulse_rr_race_bike
  • icon_airmada_elemental_chin_vent
  • icon_airmada_elemental_fire_graphics
  • icon_airmada_elemental_front_view
  • icon_airmada_elemental_left_rear
  • icon_airmada_elemental_left_side
  • icon_airmada_elemental_lower_rear
  • icon_airmada_elemental_rear_view
  • icon_airmada_elemental_right_rear
  • icon_airmada_elemental_right_side
  • icon_airmada_elemental_visor_lock
  • icon_airmada_elemental_water_graphics
Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Liner

Shell
The Airmada uses a polycarbonate shell which some riders prefer, due to its elasticity compared to fiberglass and carbon fiber.

The helmet comes in 4 different shell sizes (XS-S, M, L and XL-3XL) which is pretty amazing and very unusual for a helmet in this price range.

More shell sizes result in a closer fit of the shell to the head size and the slimmer proportions mean a better chance of avoiding that "space helmet" look of a huge helmet shell on a not-so-huge head.

Fit
This one is a size large and Icon lists it as fitting a 59-60 cm head and I think that's exactly right, because the helmet fits to that size. But, anything over 60 cm will probably not fit, so when they say 59-60, they mean it.

The helmet also has a mild race fit and the proportional shell size also has a slight taper towards the bottom, so the Airmada can feel tight when you're squeezing it over the noggin, especially if your head tends toward the "Round" side of "Neutral".

Internal Shape
Once it's on though, it feels very comfortable and I'm a little surprised that Icon calls it a "Long Oval" head shape because it feels more or less "Neutral" to me, shaded towards "Slight Narrow". Even Rick can fit it on his 60.5 cm "Earth" shaped head, although it's a stretch -- literally.

But once it's on, he said it's comfortable.

Liner
That comfort has a lot to do with the Icon "Hydradry" liner, which is very well made and has a soft feel next to the skin.

There's also a lot of padding in all the right places in the Airmada; it's fully removable and 6 different Airmada cheek pad sizes are available as an option at a reasonable 30 bucks.

The helmet fits me perfectly all around -- I have that prototypical "Neutral" to "Slight Narrow" head -- and although I can feel the padding cradling my head completely all the way around, there are zero hot or hard spots, so it's very comfy.

The nice fit also helps on the road, as the helmet feels like it slices through the air with no unwanted movements that might be caused by a loose fit.

Eyeglasses and Intercom
I can also fit sunglasses with straight temples in the helmet, although the liner isn't particularly designed for glasses. And the ear pockets are standard depth with no molding in the EPS for speakers.

The gasket around the bottom of the helmet has a lip that curves inward but the gasket is made from flexible vinyl, so it should accommodate an intercom and there's nothing on the outside of the helmet shell that should interfere with an intercom mount, although I did not mount one.

Icon Airmada Elemental Shape

More information on helmet fit can be found in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, along with the chart that lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets and also by shape on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.

Score: I'll give the Icon Airmada Elemental an "Outstanding" for fit and comfort and the 4 shell sizes, unusual at this price range.

Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet Top Vents
Top vents open and close with a single solid-feel slider.
Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet Brow Vent
Brow vent is also rather rare at this price range.
Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet Chin Vent
Center chin vent flows air up through the chin bar while the two side vents flow air through closeable shutters inside.
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Face Shield, Eye Port and Visibility

The Airmada Elemental comes with a clear "Fog Free Icon Optics" face shield, although it's shown here with the (very) dark smoke shield.

The Icon Optics face shield is popular with owners because it really does seem to inhibit fogging without having to install a Pinlock insert.

When the face shield is closed, it fits very tightly and continuously around the eye port to a flat style gasket. The 5 lift detents have a very firm feel compared to other helmets, and that's a good thing by the way.

The shield has Icon "Prolock" locking system, which consists of a hole in the lower left that fits over a metal post at the top of the chin bar. The face shield snaps firmly over the post, which then acts as a face shield lock to high speed runnin'.

The Prolock locking system is simple and easy to use with no moving parts and it holds the face shield tight when engaged but can still be flipped open with the left thumb and forefinger.

There's no first city defogging position for the face shield, but raise the shield off the post and let it set on top of the post and you have your defogging. All in all, a simple but effective system that works well.

The Airmada design uses snap-on side plates over the side of the rotating part of the face shield. These have their pros and cons but it does give the helmet a nice finished look and, in the case of the Elemental, it continues the Fire and Water graphics.

They're much easier to remove than Arai side plates, which is a good thing, because you'll probably want to remove them to see what you're doing when you re-install the face shield. I found it much easier to re-install the face shield with the side plates removed.

The outward visibility is excellent; due, in part, to the better proportional fit because of the 4 shell sizes. The horizontal view is outstanding, which helps on the track (I assume) and on the road because it's easier to see what's coming up the road when you're at a stop sign or doing an over-the-shoulder head check.

Vertical visibility is also excellent. In both planes, I have to look pretty far up, down or sideways to see any part of the helmet in my view.

Icon Airmada Elemental Visibility

Score:  I'll give the Airmada Elemental an "Outstanding" for above average outward visibility and the sealing performance of the face shield and the removal mechanism.

Icon Airmada Elemental Rear Vent
Rear exhaust fits under a spoiler that flows the air over and through.
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Ventilation

The operation of the top vents is just the way we like it; that is, both vents operate with a single slider. This makes for easier vent changes when riding, as all you have to do is find the single slider, not two or more.

The slider also has a positive feel that belies the helmet's low(ish) list price.

The top vents work pretty well to bring air into the helmet through the channels that have been molded through the EPS liner. They direct the air near the front/sides of the forehead, just around the beginning of the mesh part of the liner.

The plushness of the liner does seem to get in the way of the air flow just a bit, but overall, the upper ventilation is good.

The vents are also oriented to work with a slight efficiency gain when the helmet is tilted forward, as it would be on a race bike or sportbike.

The Airmada Elemental has a brow vent also; it slides open to reveal two large oval-shaped holes. These pass the air down through a scoop-shaped vent under the top part of the eye port.

The chin vent in the center directs air through the top of the chin bar, while the two vents on either side of the chin bar (covered in black mesh) direct the air through two large ports on the inside of the chin bar, one on each side.

These have their own slider covers on the back of the chin bar and they can adjust the intake in three positions.

This is pretty unique and I don't recall seeing this type of system before, so it's both welcome and yet another surprise to find on a helmet at this price.

There was no chin curtain in our helmet box and it doesn't appear as if the Airmada is designed for one. Also I checked and couldn't find any information on a chin curtain in the owner's manual or on the Icon website.

I think just about every motorcycle helmet can benefit by at least having the option for a chin curtain and the Airmada could use one.

The rear exhaust vent sits under the spoiler and there are two other exhaust vents at the lower outside sections of the helmet.

Overall the ventilation system in the Airmada performs better than average in most riding conditions.

Icon Airmada Elemental Ventilation

Score: I'll give the Airmada ventilation system a score of "Excellent".

Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet Liner
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Airmada Sound Levels

I'd rate the Airmada as about average for noise control. The top vents can create a bit of whistling noise, depending on their orientation to the air flow. Also, there is some noise that seeps in around the lower rear of the helmet, where the cheek pads meet the rear of the liner, as you can see in the photo above.

I can place my hand over this area and the noise decreases, which means that depending on the rider's head shape and clothing, the noise from this area may or may not be present. The Airmada aerodynamics do seem to help keep overall noise somewhat in control though.

The comfortable liner and padding also help, as does the narrow opening at the bottom of the helmet. But overall, I was a bit disappointed that the Airmada wasn't quieter; I thought it might be after first sampling the fit and liner comfort.

Icon Airmada Elemental Noise Levels

Score: I'll give the Airmada a "Very Good" for slightly better than average noise levels and ability to control noise.

wBW Video: Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet
Helmet Weight

This Airmada Elemental in size large weighs 1715 grams (3 lbs., 12-1/2 oz.). That puts it around mid-pack of the 230 helmets or so weighed in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Weights listing.

Other helmets in this range include the Schuberth S2 DOT (review) in size XL at 1712 grams; the HJC CL-SP (review) in size XL at 1713 grams and the Shoei GT Air (review) at 1727 grams in size L.

All of these 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:  I'll give the Airmada Elemental an "Excellent" for reasonable weight and excellent balance.

Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet Face Shield Removal Mechanism
The Airmada face shield removal mechanism. Note flat eye port gasket.
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Miscellaneous

The Airmada Elemental has square D-rings for the chin strap retainer and this shape works nicely with the flat chin strap compared to round D-ring shapes.

Six different sized cheek pads are available for a custom fit and helmet liners and moving parts are also available for repair or replacement. The warranty period is 1 year.

The Airmada meets the ECE 22.05 and DOT safety standards, along with SAI AS1698 (Australia) and SG (Japan).

webBikeWorld Overall Opinionator: Icon Airmada Elemental
Picks... ...and Pans
  • Ultra-cool graphics.
  • High-quality materials and build.
  • 4 shell sizes.
  • Solid shell feel.
  • Good ventilation.
  • Excellent outward visibility.
  • Upper ventilation could be better.
  • Race fit makes it a squeeze.
  • You do like the graphics, right?
Conclusion

The Icon Airmada chassis offers a lot of value for the money in my opinion. The overall build quality, the comfort of the liner and unexpected features like the triple chin vent system and brow vent and the "Fog-Free Icon Optics" face shield all make a difference.

Then add the Icon Airmada Elemental "Fire" and "Water" graphics and you have a real attention-grabber for the money. I'll admit not everyone will be into the graphics...and make sure you have the right head shape for the internal fit.

And by the way, if you don't care for the Elemental graphics, Icon offers an absolutely amazing 45 different graphics, colors and patterns...including solid colors with a list price of $180.00, which makes this an even more interesting proposition.

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wBW Product Review: Icon Airmada Elemental Helmet
Manufacturer: Icon List Price (2014): $180.00-$255.00
Colors: Fire and Water. Standard Airmada in solids and graphics. Made In: Korea
Sizes: XS-3XL Shell Sizes: 4 Review Date: September 2014
Rating Scale is subjective: Unacceptable, Poor, Neutral, Very Good, Excellent, Outstanding.

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

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Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld® Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

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From "G.F." (October 2014): "Bought one back in June…within 3 weeks the rear lower plastic around the neck brace began to drop down. Through my dealer the Icon rep suggested the dealer re-glue it!!!

After months of waiting, communication, I demanded a new helmet sighting that "I doubt the repair is DOT approved and that my insurance company would not be happy", the Icon sales rep agreed to replace it with a new helmet.

I never did get to actually speak to the Icon salesman even though I demanded my dealer reveal his name and contact info!

The new helmet arrived September 20. Beware, I hear many others experiencing the same problem from bad glue from the factory.

Do not let them talk you into a repair solution; demand a new helmet immediately, citing that the DOT hasn't approved the repair method. Keep the rubber side down."


From "P.W." (October 2014): "Great review of Icon's Airmada. I bought an Airmada this summer as an alternative to my Shoei Qwest (review), I found that while the Qwest fits on my head the Airmada surrounds it, the narrow internal shape is much better for me and keeps my forehead from getting sore.

I find it to be at least as quiet as my Qwest (I ride a BMW F800GS) and significantly more comfortable on longer rides.

Lately some of Icon's graphics have been a little too wild for me but I have to say I couldn't be happier with this helmet! I also appreciate the ECE rating. ...

Here's a review I did for the Airmada, I'm hoping to get a bit better at writing them, with a limited budget I can only buy so much gear to write about."

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