Marushin X-Moto "Squadron" Helmet Review
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
wBW Dual-Sport Helmet Reviews: AGV AX-8 Dual EVO | Arai XD4 | Fly Trekker DS | AFX FX-39 DS | X-Lite X-551 | Icon Variant | Arai XD3 | Simpson GS3 MX | Zeus ZS-2100 B | Marushin X-Moto Squadron | HJC CL-XS | Arai XD | Airoh S4 | Shoei Hornet
Military-themed helmets are hot, hot, hot, with models like the Akuma "Ghost Rider" (review) selling faster than an F-22A.
I'm not sure about the origins of the military look, and as for the sociological implications of people dressing like soldiers...well, let's not go there.
Maybe motorcyclists are simply getting tired of helmets with same-old same-old artwork -- the typical stripes and dots, anyway you like 'em, in red, blue, black or yellow.
I never could figure out what stripes and dots have to do with bikes. At least the military look draws upon some of the same adjectives that are used to describe the appeal of motorcycling -- risky, rugged, independent and tough are a few that come to mind.
The Marushin X-Moto "Squadron" Enduro helmet uses the military look to good effect. I'm not kidding when I say that absolutely everywhere I've worn this thing, people are on me like flies on...uh, well, we don't want to go there either.
Everybody wants an X-Moto -- well, almost everyone. Enduro helmets don't quite cut it with Sportbikers, but then again, they have the Akuma Ghost Rider.
The Marushin X-Moto can be yours for only £99, but us Yanks will have to cough up another £50 for shipping from Olde Blighty.
Yep, that's a pound symbol, not a dollar sign; Marushin helmets aren't (yet) available in the Colonies, so you'll have to find an X-Moto retailer in the UK, take the hit on the exchange rate (about $2.06 per quid as this is written -- yikes!) and also chance the non-DOT safety standard.
One more thing -- better order an extra clear face shield while you're at it, that is if you can find one. We were surprised to open the box and find our X-Moto had a dark (real dark) face shield; had we known this, we would have ordered a clear face shield when we purchased the helmet, to save on shipping costs.
The Marushin X-Moto shown here has the "Squadron" graphics; there are also plain versions of the X-Moto, so if you want this one, make sure you order the Squadron. And better hurry -- it's our understanding that supplies are limited and only medium, large and extra-large Squadrons are left)
OK, so the X-Moto is about the coolest-looking Enduro helmet you'll find. But how does it work?
Let's face it, the Squadron graphics are what make the Marushin X-Moto pop. The helmet has a matte finish, and it's not that rubbery-feeling new-wave coating; it's just simple flat paint.
The "Squadron" theme is reminiscent of a WWII European theater night fighter -- maybe something like a P-61 "Black Widow"? It comes complete with details like dirt, exhaust marks and missing bits on the white lettering, all just like the real thing. The big skull with crossed bayonets; the star in the circle; the bomb run symbols -- it's got 'em all.
So no problems with the graphics; they're not everyone's cuppa, but no doubt about it, they'll garner attention.
Unfortunately, the rest of the fit and finish details aren't quite as successful, in my opinion. The thin gasket around the bottom of the helmet is made from a type of shiny material that seems more plastic than rubber, it's not evenly applied with lots of waviness, it has a mis-matched seam in the back and some glue overruns can be seen here and there, made more obvious by the matte surface.
Other detail issues include a flimsy-feeling top vent assembly; the top slider features many tiny scratches on our example, so either the quality control needs some improvement or maybe the helmet bounced around in the box during shipping.
The face shield has some issues also that I'll describe in a minute, and all of these minor details that can make the difference between a good helmet and a great helmet give me a bit of a pause regarding the overall quality of the Marushin X-Moto.
By the way, the liner is claimed to be removable, although I haven't tried to do this. It hangs out the bottom of the helmet; it can be seen in some of the photos below. The liner uses some type of sewn-on plastic tabs that are supposed to squeeze up in between the helmet shell and the padding to hold the liner in place with friction, but the fit is very loose and the liner easily moves in and out as the helmet is put on or removed.
The helmet comes unassembled; that is, the dark tinted face shield must be attached to the helmet with the supplied side plates and aluminum screws (see photo below). The instruction booklet is very basic but had enough detail to allow us to figure out how to assemble the parts.
Score: I'll give the styling and paint an excellent,
but a poor rating for the hardware bits.
The X-Moto has what I'd describe as a fairly neutral fit; that is, it probably won't work on extreme long oval or extreme round head shapes, but should be a decent fit for the majority of riders under the ol' Bell Curve, out to about one Sigma or so.
I'd say the internal shape tends slightly towards the long oval side of an HJC CL-14, and maybe close to the fit of an HJC AC-12 Carbon or the new URBAN N20 Astro. Our helmet is a size XL and based on this particular example, I'd say the X-Moto helmets probably run a size small; that is, our XL fits more like a size large. It's tighter than I expected for an XL.
Nevertheless, the liner actually feels pretty comfy. It has relatively shallow pockets at the ears, so anyone planning on fitting thick speakers may have problems, although the helmet is noisy (see below), so I doubt you'll want to do this anyway.
The liner material doesn't feel that special, but it does have a comfortable surface and even if the fit is on the snug side, it does feel good. Remember that correct helmet fit is crucial for comfort, safety and noise reduction; see the wBW Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page for more information on finding the right fit for your particular head shape.
Score: I give the X-Moto a score of good for fit and liner comfort.
Our Marushin X-Moto Squadron in size XL weighs 1518 grams (3 lbs., 5-1/2 oz.). This is relatively light and nearly identical to the Shoei VFX-R Air, which is a pure motocross off-road helmet. Usually the added features like a face shield and the face shield mounting mechanism can add some weight, but not here.
Marushin says that the shell is made from fiberglass, which probably helps keep the weight low. But the helmet does seem more flexible than others; see our Marushin X-Moto video, which illustrates the amount of flexing in the sides of the helmet as it's being squeezed.
The flexibility seems a bit disconcerting, but who knows -- maybe this same flexibility allows the helmet to absorb more energy in a crash. In any case, it's ECE 22.05 approved and Marushin claims it is also ACU Gold approved, but ours did not carry the sticker. Again, note that as of the date of publication, this helmet is not DOT FMVSS 218.
See the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for our helmet weight comparison table and chart to get a better idea at how the Marushin X-Moto compares with the 71 other helmets in our database of reviews.
Score: I give the X-Moto's weight and weight distribution an excellent rating.
Like most Enduro or off-road helmets, the X-Moto gets a lot of ventilation from air blowing up under the extended chin bar. The helmet has four metal screen covered vents on either side of the chin bar (but none directly in front), but it's hard to determine whether these provide any extra air flow.
A single top vent opens via a flimsy-feeling slider, but, like the top vents on most helmets, it's hard to tell whether or not it's doing anything. There are two exhaust vents out back, and the holes popped into the helmet shell are very, very rough, which adds to my concern about the overall quality of this helmet.
Score: I rate the venting system as good, simply because a lot of air seems to flow through the helmet in spite of the questionable vents.
The dark tinted face shield that came with our helmet seems relatively thin. It has what I would call an extreme amount of waviness; so much so that it affects my vision, making it feel like I'm nearsighted. I'm not sure how this face shield can pass ECE 22.05 standards, although I don't really know what the standards call for in terms of face shield clarity.
The face shield lift tab on the left-hand side has a very sharp and unfinished plastic point on the inside that I'll probably have to file down before it either scars my gloves or my fingers.
Marushin does warn that the face shield is for off-road use only, but this is rather ingenuous, since the helmet is sold with the face shield and the helmet will probably see much more street use than trail use.
The face shield is not notched, so when it raises and lowers it is dependent upon the friction created by the tightness of the screws holding the side plates.
Score: I rate the face shield on our helmet as unacceptable.
The X-Moto has a split personality when it comes to the amount of noise transmitted to the rider. Over about 40 mph, our helmet becomes noisy and very loud at cruising speeds of around 70 mph. But keep it under 40 mph or so, and it's not bad at all. So if you're using the helmet to plunk around the neighborhood, it may not bother you at all.
Once the speed picks up, the top vent creates a whistling noise and there's lots of turbulence up under the sides and rear of the helmet, which creates a lot of wind noise when riding either an unfaired or "naked" bike and especially behind a half-fairing. I can lift my shoulders up and decrease some of the noise, but I get the feeling that the thin-feeling fiberglass shell isn't attenuating noise like it should or could.
Note that these comments are valid only when riding with correctly fitted earplugs. See the wBW Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Score: I rate the noise level when wearing this helmet as poor.
The X-Moto uses a "quick release" chin strap, but this is one of the better examples, with a plastic or Nylon ratchet-type strap that fits into a ratcheting clip. Once the range of adjustment is fixed on the Nylon webbed strap, it's a simple matter of inserting the notched strap into the clip and pushing it in a few notches to tighten up the strap. Not bad, actually.
The Marushin X-Moto is designed to be a "three-in-one" helmet, in theory. It can be used with or without the peaked face shield; with or without the tinted (or clear) face shield; or with both.
The helmet has Marushin's "M.A.R.O." (Marushin-Anti-Roll-Off) system. This is claimed to prevent the helmet from pivoting off the head from behind and to also reduce the amount of helmet roll that could hurt the rider's neck in a crash.
This is the first Marushin helmet we've had in the webBikeWorld shop, and based on this example, our opinion is that the quality is wanting. There are just too many little details on this helmet that should be better than they are. With that said, there's no doubt that the cool graphics save the day on this one.
It just looks so good, especially with the dark tinted face shield (that also makes it hard to see straight), that many of the details can be overlooked. And although it is noisy, it is also rather comfortable. The bottom line? If you have to have one, go for it, but don't expect the equivalent of, say, an Arai XD or Shoei Hornet.
|wBW Review: Marushin X-Moto "Squadron" Enduro Helmet|
|Manufacturer: Marushin Helmets||List Price (2007): £99.00|
|Colors: Silver, Flat Black or Squadron Graphics.||Made In: Unknown|
|Review Date: February 2011|
Ratings Scale: For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges from Unacceptable to Poor, Neutral, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.