KBC VR-2 Motorcycle Helmet Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| KBC VR-3
| KBC Force
KBC FFR |
Owner Comments (Below)
I guess I've become the de facto As soon as we posted our recent take on the KBC VR-3,
the emails started pouring in, asking about the KBC VR-2
We originally thought that the VR-2 was similar
enough to the original VR-1 that it wouldn't be worth
the effort of an extra review, but due to popular
demand, as it were, well, here we are.
We were also hesitant about reviewing a VR-2 at this
time because it's been on the market for a couple of
years at least and it's our understanding that a
replacement is in the works.
I'm betting we'll see
a new helmet (the VR-4?) at the 2007 Indianapolis Dealer
Powersports Expo coming up in February.
Many of you wrote to tell us that we reviewed the
"wrong" helmet when we featured the VR-3 Stealth.
The "VR-3 is now classified as a 'sport
touring helmet' and the VR-2 is their top of the line
'racing' helmet" wrote visitor J.B. and, he mentioned, "The VR-2 helmet is a completely
different animal" according to his conversations
with a KBC representative.
So we ordered up a KBC VR-2 in the
"Billet" silver color, which is probably one of the
worst colors imaginable for a motorcycle helmet.
The Billet paint on our VR-2 looks like it was applied
with a can of Krylon spray in some local farmer's
garage, complete with runs, drips and errors.
The weird color isn't helped by the imperfect surface
preparation, which allowed the sanding marks and dust to
show through the finish. Poor surface preparation
and quality control was also a problem with our VR-3 ,
so my only conclusion is that it is endemic to all KBC
Color aside, does the VR-2 meet our expectations for
what KBC claims is their "top of the range Professional
Racing Helmet" that are "designed specifically for ultra
high performance race use"? Let's see...
Internal Shape and Fit
I'll start here because the first thing I noticed --
other than the paint -- is that the VR-2 apparently runs
at least one size smaller than expected. We
ordered a size XL but this helmet fits just like a size
large, so bear this in mind if you're planning on
ordering a VR-2.
This must be a common problem with KBC helmets,
because we reported that the VR-3 also feels about
one-half to one size small. One possible
explanation for the smaller fit of the VR-2 is because
the VR-3 is supposed to be KBC's "sport touring" helmet,
while the VR-2 is their race helmet?
KBC claims that the VR-2 uses a "totally new fitment
platform for ultimate wearer comfort". I'm not
sure what this is supposed to mean because I don't
really notice any difference in the way the VR-2 fits
when compared to similar helmets, other than the KBC's
The VR-2 is a tight fit on my size XL round-shaped
head, but I will admit that the helmet feels more
comfortable than I imagined it would. The internal
shape feels relatively neutral, round-ish on top and
slightly too tight on the sides. The tight side
fit does cause some pain on the sides of my face after
wearing the helmet for about 1/2 hour or so.
The real problem though, at least for me, is that the
shell seems one size too small also. Normally the
motorcycle helmet manufacturers use two shell sizes, a
smaller shell for helmets from the smallest sizes up to
medium or large, and a larger shell for helmets in size
large and above. A few of the manufacturers of
very expensive helmets may even have three or more shell
sizes, which allows a more precisely tailored fit.
But it sure seems like KBC is using a smaller shell
for this size XL helmet, and this is confirmed in their
product literature, which states that the VR-2 Mirage
has "reduced overall shell dimensions". I'm not
sure why you think this is a better feature, KBC?
The reason I believe KBC's claim is because the
helmet just feels like it's too small. There is
very little room for my chin and nose inside the VR-2,
unlike most size XL helmets I've worn and even when
compared to the KBC VR-3.
My chin sticks out from underneath the VR-2 and my
nose brushes up against the back of the chin bar.
A secondary result of the crowded interior is that there
is no escape for my moist breath. As soon as I put
on the helmet, my eyeglasses and sunglasses start to fog
up, which is very unusual.
On the positive side, the snug fit means that the
noise levels are lower than they might be if there were
more room around the edges. More on that in a
By the way, for more information on choosing and
fitting a motorcycle helmet, see the
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, which also includes a discussion on head
Our size XL VR-2 weighs in at 1652 grams (3
lbs., 10-1/4 oz.), which is merely one gram shy of the
1653 gram (size XL) KBC VR-3. So much for light
weight racing helmets...
However, like the VR-3, this weight range puts the
VR-2 in good company,
bracketed with relatively light weight helmets like the
Arai Profile (1658g) and the
Even with the smaller shell size, the VR-2 feels
slightly top-heavy to me, but overall I have no problems
with the weight and the way the mass is distributed.
For more information, see the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a chart comparing
the VR-2 with the other helmets we've reviewed.
The VR-2 includes what appears to be the same visor used
on the VR-3. But the visor on our VR-2 does not
fit correctly; it doesn't seal against the gasket
surrounding the eye port and, in fact, doesn't even come
close to touching the gasket anywhere along the seal. The visor also has about
a 2mm gap on either side at the rotating mechanism (see
photo directly below).
If you recall, the VR-3 we reviewed had a problem
where the visor would hang up on the three-dimensional
KBC logo when the visor was raised. The VR-2
doesn't have this problem, but the gap between the visor
and the eye port gasket is probably what allows the
visor to clear the logo.
The visor also doesn't completely close -- there's no
"snap" when it's shut. So overall I give poor
marks to the quality of the visor mechanism on this
The VR-2's visor removal mechanism (see photo
directly below) is as balky as the one used on the VR-3.
It's difficult to tell when the visor is released and
there is no positive feel when the visor is replaced.
Although I have not experienced any problems with the
visor coming loose whilst riding, it doesn't give me
much confidence and it's surprisingly balky for a "race"
The KBC VR-2 is relatively quiet when compared to the
average helmet. In this particular case, it is
partly due to the tight fit of the helmet, which keeps
the padding tight against the ear, eliminating most of
The top vents do have a noticeable but tame whistling
noise if the wind is blowing at an angle to the rider or
if the rider's head moves from side to side.
The VR-2 becomes noticeably quieter as the angle of
attack becomes more acute, like when riding a sportbike
in the head-down position. However, the back of
the helmet picks up some turbulence in this position and
the noise induced by this turbulence increases.
But overall, the VR-2 seems relatively quiet.
The helmet includes a small built-in chin curtain, which
also probably helps reduce some of the noise.
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 VR-3 has a basic venting system with a small chin
vent and smaller top vent. The dual chin vents
direct the air through a screen mesh and up through a
saw-tooth opening behind the visor (yellow arrow in the
photo above). This air is directed up in front of
the breath guard and up on to the back of the visor.
The problem with this design is that the combined
opening volume is very small. I can barely feel
any air at all coming through the chin vent.
Unfortunately, there are no air channels cut through
the chin bar that could direct the air on to the rider's
face. The on/of switch (white arrow, photo above)
moves the sliding cover under the teeth only about 5mm
from left to right to open and close the air flow, which
just isn't enough to make a difference.
KBC VR-2: Chin Vent
KBC VR-2: Visible sanding marks due to poor paint
KBC VR-2: Top vent with wide gap around edge.
The VR-2 is both DOT and Snell approved in the U.S.
Like the VR-3, KBC claims that the VR-2 "Meets or exceeds
worldwide safety standards and tests.
The helmet uses a D-ring attachment system and has a
separate snap for securing the loose end of the chin
strap. Again like the VR-3 (and I'm using some of
the same words here because the VR-2 is nearly
identical), the liner is nicely made and it's
The VR-2 shell is made from "Tri-Composite Aramid
Epoxy Shell (Bag Moulded)". KBC
I guess it's obvious that I'm not very impressed with
the KBC VR-2. We have now reviewed the FFR, the
VR-1, the VR-3 and now the VR-2 and our feeling is that
KBC quality is not up to the levels of HJC, much less
Shoei or Arai.
The VR-1 was a standout in its day, offering a level
of comfort and safety standard certification that
rivaled the big players. But that was then and
this is now, and our feeling is that KBC needs to kick
it up a level or two in this current hyper-competitive
Review: KBC VR-2 Motorcycle
Retail Price: Billet $239.95; others from $219.95
(solids) to $279.95 (replicas).
|Colors: Various patterns and solids.
||Made In: Korea
650 x 650 pixel photo of the KBC VR-2 Review Date:
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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 "K.T." (11/09): "I recently
bought a matte black VR2 retailed at $230 USD, on
closeout sale for $120 USD. Fit was good, XL,
quality good, but replaced clear visor with smoked
visor, required changing hinge pivot assemblies.
Helmet works well, but much noisier than my VR1 was.
Need to wear hearing protection for normal riding, not
just for the loud exhaust. I am satisfied with the
helmet other than the noise. Thanks for your
From "JDLM" (10/09): "Thanks for an
excellent and detailed review of this helmet. It
prompted me to look more carefully before my purchase
but ultimately decided to buy one, great fit, great
graphics and brilliant value for money.
On the subject of visor fit, it may be worthwhile
checking that you have the updated base plates, as I
noticed your photos have the original ones with the red
circlip spring the updated ones have a metallic
gold/silver spring and an entirely different ratchet
arrangement which does not fit the first generation
I only discovered the problem when I bought a dark
visor and it had the same problem you describe.
For further information call RaceVisors.co.uk as they
sorted me out with one phone call."
"B.H.": "I agree that the sizing on that
helmet is too small. My thinking is that it is smaller
because it is a "race" helmet. I tried one on in
medium and noticed it was way tighter than the medium
Force RR that I also tried on. I ended up with the
I just wanted to let you know about the visor problem
that was mentioned in the review is actually due to user
I had the same problem with it at first until I
realized the you have to make sure that they lower
bottom tab of the face shield is secure into the lower
visor track on the helmet.
Otherwise it is just as described. It will not seal
and there is no click when you shut it. When you
install the face shield you have to make sure that the
tab gets "clicked" into that lower track.
a little push on the bottom of the visor and you will
hear a little click sound. Then all is snug and
well. I have attached a copy of the picture that
you used in the review with the visor tab circled that I
am talking about. I hope this helps.
Your site is great and thanks for the info, but it is
little errors and peoples different preferences that
remind me that to really check it out you need to get
out to the store and see it for yourself."