KBC Force RR
KBC Force RR Motorcycle Helmet Review
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
Owner Comments (Below)
Visitor feedback tells us that KBC helmets are
ultra-popular -- every time we review one, you ask for
We reviewed the
the VR-2, the
VR-3 and the
KBC FFR flip-up helmets, but that wasn't enough; now
you want the Force RR!
No Problemo! But...I'm not sure why there are
so many KBC fans out there.
My feeling is
that KBC is so very close, but until they kick up their
quality control just one more teensy notch, they're going
to remain in second-and-a-half place.
What do I mean by that?
Well, the way we figure it, Shoei, Arai, Shark,
Suomy and probably a couple of others are the top dogs.
Arai better watch their step, because our
experience with five different Arai helmets tells us
they're resting on their laurels and they're slipping
The second string is led by HJC, who, in
our opinion, make the best price/value helmets on the
market today and it's no wonder they're the #1 selling
helmet in the U.S.A.
Their quality control is
excellent, they know the market and they make exactly
the right product for their customer base.
In the third string are the companies like Scorpion
and Icon, who are relatively new to the game and seem to
spend quite a bit of time and effort on marketing, which
leaves me a bit suspicious. I may yet be
convinced, because they have some brilliant designs that
we feel are almost there and they may move up a
rung or two someday.
Fourth stringers? Fuggedaboudit helmet brands
that usually sell for less than 100 bucks. I'm sure there are plenty
who will argue with us about this, but remember,
webBikeWorld is all about opinions and ours is that
we're not interested in the fourth stringers, not when
you can get an excellent helmet like an HJC for only a
few bucks more.
We'll keep reviewing them to see
if any progress is made, and every once and a while
we're pleasantly surprised (Hint: wait for the $89.00 helmet that
we'll report on soon) but we don't have our hopes up.
So what was that about second-and-a-half place? KBC
fits that suit pretty well. They're just so close
to Big-Boy quality and their helmets have promise, but
the entire helmet line
seems too familiar, with the VR-2, VR-3 and now the
Force RR seemingly designed off the same shell.
Again, we don't know that for a fact, and there's
something to be said for economies of scale, but c'mon
guys and gals -- the basic shape seems to have remained
the VR-1 of...how many years ago was that? 6 or 7?
But the biggest problem that keeps KBC that
half-notch off the leaders is quality. Our
experience with the brand has led us to believe that
there are always just a few
quirky problems on their helmets that could so easily be
fixed, if only they tried just that tiny bit harder.
They had the chance with the new Force RR, but is
this helmet really anything more than a gussied-up VR-3?
You can't prove it by us. Our Force RR has the
same strange vent levers as the VR-3, the same "teeth"
on the visor chin vent with the cheesy-looking mold
flashing showing on the plastic edges, the familiar dust specks and
pockmarks under the paint in one or two spots and the
same wide gaps and misfits around the vents and other plastic geegaws.
C'mon KBC! We know you can do it, and that's what's so
OK, now that we have that out of our system, what
about the helmet? I could probably stop right here
and simply link you to our
KBC VR-3 review and
just say "ditto", and you'll know everything you need to
know about the Force RR. I'm sure KBC would argue
with this, but our opinion is that in most regards, the Force RR is not
different enough to mention.
With that said -- and I'm sure our KBC fans will
think we're coming down awful hard on the brand -- but
after all that, it's still a really nice helmet.
As was the VR-1 and the VR-2 and the VR-3. So
I figured we'd take a real quick look just to compare
the Force RR to the recent VR-3 and see which of the features
Our size XL fits just about like an in-between L and
XL. It's slightly tight for an XL but slightly
bigger than a size large. That's about identical to the VR-3, which also seemed about a
The Force RR weighs in at 1705 grams vs. 1653 grams
for the XL VR-3 (3 lbs., 12-1/8 oz. for the
Force RR compared to 3
lbs., 10-1/4 oz. for the VR-3). I'm not sure what
the difference is; probably 50 grams or so is within
manufacturing tolerances. The two ounces make the
Force RR slightly heavier than light weight helmets like the
Arai Profile (1658g) and the
For more information, see the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a chart comparing
the VR-3 with the other helmets we've reviewed.
The Force RR feels like it has the same "round head"
internal shape as the VR-3, with a slightly tight fit on
the cheeks. The liner is comfortable and removable
and seems to be made with relatively high quality
materials, although it is a bit thin in some places and
the harder parts of the shell can be felt.
The ear pockets are unlined and might be a good
candidate for speakers.
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page has more information on
fitting a motorcycle helmet and a discussion on head
The visor on the Force RR feels smooth as it goes
through its up and
down motions and it does not have the interference
problem we experienced with the visor on our VR-3.
The Force RR visor also has a nice touch that sets it
apart from our VR-3. Dimples are molded into the sides
of the visor, giving it a nice look and feel. Who knows, maybe they provide
some kind of aerodynamic advantage?
The visor release mechanism also seems to work better
than the one on our VR-3. Raise the visor, pull down the
lever and the visor pops off the bollard. Nice,
and much better than Arai's fussy and idiosyncratic
The Force RR visor also has a rib molded along the
top on the inside. The rib apparently catches the
eye port gasket to help the visor seal along the upper
bottom of the visor does not seal tight against the gasket,
leaving a 1 mm or so gap when the visor is
closed. This allows the visor to remain slightly
loose and I can make it rattle if I drum on it lightly
with my fingers.
The KBC Force RR is very quiet, much like the VR-3.
I'm not sure why it's as quiet as it is, but this is a
pleasant surprise. The helmet just doesn't seem to
transmit much noise and the vents do not whistle like
many other helmets.
Remember 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.
Your experience with noise levels may be
different, depending upon many factors, including your
head shape, motorcycle configuration, prevailing winds
Venting and Air Flow
The Force RR has a venting system that appears to be
nearly identical to the system on the VR-3, with a small chin
vent and smaller top vent. The dual chin vents
direct the air through the same style chin vents and up through
saw-tooth opening behind the visor. This air is directed up in front of
the breath guard and up on to the back of the visor.
The vents are small, just like the VR-3. The
weird little sliders that open and close the vents are
nearly impossible to find with heavy gloves and again
like the VR-3, it doesn't seem to matter much whether
they are opened or closed.
The chin vent lever
moves the sliding cover only about 5mm
from left to right to open and close the air flow, which
just isn't enough to make a difference.
Poor quality mold flashing around the vent opening;
paint gaps around the
top of the vent.
Gaps and mold flashing on sliding side vents.
Like the VR-3 (are you getting tired of hearing that
yet?) the Force RR has a relatively short front-to-back
dimension and my chin nearly touches the back of the
Our Force RR does not have the built-in wind blocker
that is standard on the VR-3.
Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
Our KBC Force RR is the "Speed Demon" model in Gold.
The graphics are very cool and sinister and the design
is a real standout. The skull with burning eyes
peers out from behind a speedometer that is marked to
300 KPH, or 186 MPH.
The paint has a few dimples and some uneven spots but
overall it seems higher quality than the VR-3 and the
graphics do not look like a simple decal sprayed over
with clear coat.
The Force RR is both DOT and Snell approved in the U.S.
The helmet is also available in Europe and meets ECE
22.05 safety standards.
The Force RR uses a nice D-ring attachment system and has a
nice snap for securing the loose end of the chin
The KBC Force RR, like the KBC VR-3, is a solid
offering. We're impressed by the cool graphics and
the low noise levels. It's comfortable although it
does feel slightly tight at the cheeks. Like the
venting and the vent levers are a disappointment.
Overall, it's a nice helmet and probably won't
disappoint, but it's just not our cup of tea.
To perk up our jaded appetite for motorcycle helmets,
KBC will have to move beyond the one-trick-pony shell
shape and take a chance with some out-of-the-box
thinking. I think the current design trend has run
its course and we await KBC Version 2.0.
Review: KBC Force RR Motorcycle
Retail Price: Ranges from $164.95 to $189.95 for the
graphics like the Speed Demon shown here.
|Colors: Various patterns and solids.
||Made In: China
600 pixel photo of the KBC Force RR
Note: For informational use only. All material and
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►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
From "J.M." (2/09): "i have a KBC
"Airborne" helmet. I think this refers to the
graphics, and I'm not sure what model it is.
I bought it 2 years ago and use it for racing (I'm a 53
yr old vintage flat tracker). I've found it to be
excellent in pretty much every aspect, except the visor.
Minor problems occur when changing - the visor sometimes
pops off its connection points, but with firm
persistence, stays put. The main problem I have is
the visor doesn't seal to the gasket, which isn't a
problem, unless the track is dusty. Then my face
fills up with dirt in short order. I remedy this
with a bit of duct tape (matching color, of course), but
this isn't the best look. When you consider the
price, (about $180) this seems like a minor complaint.
I also have a Shoei RF-1000, but it is so bloody noisy
at speed, I only use it for trips on my street bike to
the grocery store.
I tried on an Arai profile which fit wonderfully- and
90% of dirt trackers wear 'em so I'm thinking there must
be something good about them, but after reading your
review, I'm now not so sure... Guess I'll keep
reading your reviews and trying on lids, in the
meantime, thanks for all the info."
From "J.A.": "I have been wearing
a Force RR in the Airborne edition for a few years now.
While I can agree that the minor details such as trim
could be improved, on the whole these are great helmets.
I have (or still) own(ed) Arai RX7-RR4 & XD, Shoei
Hornet, HJC, Scorpion EXO-700 & 400.
Of all those listed, the Shoei is far and away the
leader in comfort. In a near second place is my
KBC Force-RR. I used to like the Arai line, but
their quality control seems to have dipped in the last
few years and competition such as KBC and Scorpion have
really increased the level on the playing field.
Yesterday (3-23-08) I had the unfortunate opportunity
to test the Force-RR in a 90+ mph low side with an
airborne launch from the curb gator on VIR North during
a WERA race. I am typing this letter largely due
to the fact that it saved my head from any level of
injury and I am impressed with the way it faired
KBC may need to address some aesthetic bits on their
line, but the safety and function is second to none.
They work, they are affordable and they have a unique
look. I'll keep mine, thanks.
Your reviews are invaluable and I truly appreciate
such a site for real perspective on motorcycling
products. Keep up the great work."
From "P.H.: "I recently purchased
a KBC Force RR Top Gun as my daily helmet and you guys
are spot on with your analysis and criticism of it.
In any case, here are some of my observations:
Weight: Not exactly light weight (I have
an L size) compared to my Arai Rapide OR (not sure of US
equivalent) or Suomy Explorer, but not too bad compared
to the AGV Titech (size XL).
Ventilation: I can feel a breeze coming
from the side vents (right in front of the cheeks), but
other than that, I would say the other vents are kind of
useless. I can't really tell the difference
between when the other vents are fully closed or fully
Internal shape: Fits me OK, but not
quite as comfortable as my other helmets (AGV TiTech,
Arai, or Suomy Explorer). I can feel some pressure
on the "corners" of the head (where the horns might be
if I were to have any!) after half an hour or so, but
that just might be down to the shape of my head.
Noise: It sure is noisy because there is
a large hollow space for the ears (compared to the AGV
where my ears are squished flat). Also, probably
because of the shape of that space, I have a hard time
positioning my glasses and feel they are never sitting
quite properly on my face as they should be (I already
have glasses that have very slim and flat ear stems).
Shield: The optical quality of the
shields aren't really up to par with the major players,
with the smoke shield having a layer of "haze" when
looking out from the inside. Also, not sure if
because the shield is not rigid enough or what, but it
doesn't close completely when using one hand. I
have to use both hands to make sure that it seals
However, the most disappointing thing is the shield
mechanism. When I first got the helmet, the shield
would pop loose on the left side at the top-most
position. So I returned to my local dealer to
exchange for a shield plate.
The new one lasted
just 1 week before it broke off from the screws. I
returned to the dealer again and exchanged for another,
which lasted another week (the tabs holding the shield
broke off this time). By now the dealer has ran
out of replacement shield plates so I am left with a
helmet without a visor - which is not entirely a bad
thing as it really improves the ventilation!
There are good points however - the graphics and the
price. The graphics are really very well done and
it turns heads wherever I go. And for the price
available locally (approx. USD100), I can't complain.
So in conclusion, given the price and the intended
purpose of the helmet, I can live with the faults.
But come time to purchase another helmet, I would
probably go with the other more established players such
as HJC or Nolan (the N62 is priced very reasonably
Keep up the great work!"