ROOF Boxer V Helmet Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
The ROOF Boxer V is a significant upgrade from the original Boxer. This helmet is unique, idiosyncratic and avant-garde.
Its futuristic design still looks great today, nearly a decade after its initial release.
This says a lot for its originality but also for its capabilities and its unmatched functionality.
The ROOF Boxer has always been one of the most unique motorcycle helmets in the world.
We reviewed the original Boxer way back in...could it have been 2003? The design is just as fresh today as it was then.
We've also maintained a ROOF Boxer Owner Reports page for several years, with feedback from owners on this interesting helmet.
It was and is nearly impossible to compare the Boxer to any other motorcycle helmet because it really fills a unique niche that is different than any other modular design.
If this is your first introduction to the Boxer, I can tell you this: it's a quirky helmet.
It is not for everyone and not everyone gets it. For those that don't, there's Shoei or HJC or Scorpion or any number of pedestrian brands.
But please don't complain about the Boxer just because it's different than, say, a Multitec. Like many other products of passion, you'll either love the Boxer or you'll hate it. There's no in-between.
And, it's been around for a long time now, nearly unchanged from the original -- dare I say timeless? -- design. At the very least, this gives it some gravitas as a serious contender.
So which camp am I in?
Well, I've been a fan since I first laid eyes on one. I don't like different for different's sake, but the Boxer is not only cool, it's functional.
A cool-looking helmet is all well and good, but there was a problem with the original Boxer: lack of venting.
That's right -- no vents at all. But the chin guard is designed to rotate all the way around to the back of the helmet, converting the Boxer from a full-face (well, modular actually) to open-face helmet with a cool tinted fighter pilot visor.
This sort of made up for the lack of vents, but many owners suffered when it was damp, hot or cold. Since that pretty much covers the climatological bases, something had to be done.
The Boxer V adds chin and top vents, and although they do their part to break up the unique Boxer profile (especially the new top vent assembly), the tradeoff is worth it.
Read our ROOF Boxer Owner Reports page, where Boxer V owner M.H. thinks the helmet may actually flow too much air! I'm not sure about that, but I can say that the new vents are welcome. Well, at least the chin vents anyway.
The top vent system consists of a raised bridge on top of the helmet that allows the front intake and the rear exhaust vent to open or close in symphony. The sliding vent switch located in the center of the channel is easily located and works well, but the vent "doors" open only about a couple of millimeters wide.
Holes in the top of the inner helmet liner are designed to flow the incoming air stream down on to the rider's head. The front vent doesn't seem to let in much air and when it's open it does increase the helmet's noise levels, so the jury is out on the efficacy of this improvement.
Nevertheless, the new venting system does make a world of difference from the original Boxer and it's certainly welcome. I rate it a "very good" (see ratings scale in the table at the end of this article below).
The Boxer V also features revised visor snaps, which are located on either side of the rotating visor and which secure the visor to the helmet. This is one of the most unique features of the Boxer.
The original version had two simple metal snaps that were difficult to find and close when the helmet was on the rider's head. The new system is still a two-handed affair, but the snaps on either side now use levers to release them from the helmet. The system seems to work well and feels more secure than the original.
Many have scoffed at the Boxer's two-snap system, but it works. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret I've been holding on to for several years. We have a copy of an independent Snell testing laboratory report from 2003 for a ROOF Boxer that passed the Snell requirements for motorcycle helmets.
We are absolutely not saying that the ROOF Boxer V meets Snell standards; all I'm saying is that a single original Boxer was sent to an independent certified Snell testing lab in 2003 and it passed the tests required for Snell certification.
I have no more information but I can tell you that the helmet passed the retaining system, chin guard and penetration tests, among others. Does ROOF have something that no one else has been able to manage? Who knows -- one of the world's greatest mysteries surrounds Snell testing for modular helmets. But that's a whole 'nother story...
Unfasten the Boxer V's snaps and the entire front section of the helmet, excluding the tinted visor, can be rotated all the way to the rear of the helmet.
This is another unique Boxer feature that has attracted many "around the world" riders who want the ultimate in functionality. ROOF claims that when the rotating visor is pushed all the way back, the design of the visor promotes good air flow around the rear of the helmet.
When the modular visor is in place, the tinted visor can be rotated up or down, held by friction. One of the carryovers from the original Boxer is the small metal stub at the top of the tinted visor that is used to raise or lower it into place. It's sharp as a blade, so be careful -- just another one of the "endearing" features of this unique helmet.
The tinted visor is a bit fussy to locate in precisely the desired position, especially if the modular visor is closed. The tinted visor needs a solid push to close it that last little bit, although this seems to loosen up over time.
One thing's for sure -- the tinted visor seems to have excellent optical qualities. The view seems sharper than normal; I wish all visors were like this. The tint is just dark enough to help during the bright sunlight but not dark enough to bother at dusk.
So I'll give the modular visor an excellent rating, scoring high because of its functionality. Although the tinted visor scores outstanding for its optics, it drops two notches from excellent to good because of its fussy closing and the strange metal stub used to raise or lower it. Thus, the visor assembly gets a "very good" overall.
The Boxer V's liner is interesting because it's made from good 'ol 100% cotton. I like cotton as a fabric and I can't think of another helmet that uses it, or at least that I'm aware of. The Boxer's liner feels comfortable and it does feel different than most other helmets I've tried.
Our feeling is that the Boxer and the Boxer V are definitely biased towards a round-headed fit. If, for example, an Arai Profile (review) or Shark RSI (review) fit you, the Boxer probably will not. Both the Arai and the Shark are probably at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Boxer in terms of fit.
The Boxer V uses what appears to be the exact same shell structure as the original Boxer and it also maintains the original's close fit.
But our original Boxer was a size L and was definitely too big for me, while the Boxer V shown here is a size large and fits just about like a size large should fit. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that the internal padding is thicker in the Boxer V, accounting for the difference.
However, the V's front-to-back internal distance still seems very short when compared to most "normal" full-face helmet dimensions. My chin touches the inside of the Boxer V's chin bar, but it's not as short as the extremely short (in our opinion) Caberg Justissimo (review), which is also known as the Caberg XLIX).
I'll score the liner and comfort levels as a "good".
For more information on fitting a motorcycle helmet, visit our Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, which also has a discussion on head shapes.
The size large Boxer V weighs 1638 grams, or 3 lbs. 9-3/4 oz. This makes it about 96 grams (2.75 oz.) heavier than the original Boxer (again possibly due to an increased liner thickness?) but still makes it one of the lighter weight modular, or flip-up, helmets we've tried (although the comparisons are somewhat difficult because many of the other modular helmets in our comparison table are size XL).
The Boxer's close fit and smooth shape when combined with its light weight make it all but disappear on the rider's head, with no noticeable lift or mass effect when turning the head quickly from side to side.
For more information, see the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a chart comparing the VR-3 with the other helmets we've reviewed.
The short top-to-bottom abbreviated shell seems to allow more air and turbulence in around the bottom than is expected. This causes the Boxer V to have noise levels that are slightly higher than normal.
When the top vent is open, the noise levels increase and closing the vent makes a definite improvement. In general, I'd say that the Boxer V is slightly above average when it comes to transmitting noise, but it certainly isn't the loudest helmet we've tried and some owners report it as being unusually quiet.
If I had to give it a score, I'd say it gets a "good" (see scoring chart below).
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 wBW Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
The color choices in the UK are limited to Matte Black or the Gloss Silver shown here. We think the silver compliments the Boxer's "alien bug" styling, so no problems there. The decals are not placed under the clearcoat however, which would have added a higher quality look to the helmet. Thus, the paint and graphics score a "very good".
But overall the Boxer V seems nicely made and it's definitely a class above most modular helmets, many of which seem to occupy the bottom of the helmet manufacturer's rung when it comes to quality, for some reason.
UPDATE: The ROOF Boxer V is now also available in white, see photo below.
The Boxer V meets ECE 22.05 safety standards but is not DOT or Snell approved. It is currently not sold in the U.S.A. but can usually be ordered through UK dealerships who are willing to ship to the U.S.A. (but watch out for the weak dollar exchange rate and high shipping costs).
The chin strap is not a D-ring, which I think would suit the Boxer's style, but a relatively complicated release system that must be properly adjusted for the individual rider before the first use. I'm not sure why these complicated latches are becoming so popular on European helmets, but I am not a big fan, to say the least.
The ROOF Boxer V continues the ROOF tradition of unique motorcycle helmets, all hand made in France for individualistic owners. As I said, it's hard to compare this helmet to any other and it certainly has some quirky features, but it looks like nothing else on the planet.
See Also: Roof Boxer V8 Review
wBW Review: ROOF Boxer V Helmet
|Manufacturer: ROOF (France)||List Price (2007): 245 $99.95|
|Colors: Metallic Gloss Silver, Matte Black (UK). Silver, Aluminum, Black, Blue, Red, Gray and Boxer V Star graphics (France and Europe).||Made In: France|
|Sizes: XS to XXL. Shell Sizes: Unknown||Note: Helmet meets ECE 22.05 safety standards only.|
|Review Date: April 2007|
Ratings Scale: For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges from Unacceptable to Poor, Neutral, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.
Also: See the ROOF Boxer Owner Reports page.
From "A.J." (January 2012): (Regarding the Boxer V8) "Purchased from Designer Helmets in UK. The order took 5 days to arrive here in Kentucky and was convenient and quick.
The helmet comes with a nicely made lined storage bag, a dark tinted visor and a chrome or mirrored iridium visor. Visor exchanges are pretty simple with 2 screws held by orange grommets. The visor tabs are a a little fussy but with some twisting they secure and fit well.
On the road the helmet has good ventilation with 2 facial vents which can be closed and 2 more which cannot. Very comfortable and warm in cooler weather. The 61 size fits my XL head firmly and very well.
The only issue of real concern is the snap buckles which require alignment and 2 hands. I find it almost impossible to snap both side buckles. The finish and appearance are first rate with the chin bar down in the full face position or back in the "jet " open face position."
From "T.E." (11/10): "I liked your reviews on the Nexx X60 vintage style helmets. I was really drawn to them but the thought of no chin guard is what was keeping me from one (I witnessed my buddy in a 55mph low-side and the helmet saved his life).
I love the jet-style look...love it love it...so after much searching (the Osbe Tornado Graphic Orange, drool) and seeing your review of the Roof, I went to Designer Helmets and bought a Roof RO5 Boxer V8 Graphic Orange.
I had it on my front porch in a week with standard shipping! Not as comprehensive as your reviews but plenty of pictures (in this photo gallery). I was fully prepared to send the helmet back if I didn't like but it performed so well for me that I kept it. As a bonus, it was less expensive than the Bell Star "Day of the Dead" helmet I was lusting after."
From "D.M.": "I'm riding a '01 Aprilia Habana 125cc, and have loved the Roof Boxer helmet ever since I saw it, which was usually on some mean-looking dudes on mean-looking streetfighters.
Anyhow, when I bought my scooter I also purchased 2 Roof Boxers in a matching blue. They are just the greatest helmets for the city. When you're in traffic, flip up the chin guard and you're "out in the open". When speeds pick up, flip it down and feel safe.
I absolutely love my helmet, and I will stay loyal to them even if I need to buy new ones to match my upcoming bikes, but so far the only gripes I have with it is the amount of noise when you get to speeds of 80-90 km/h as well as the fact that when things get wet, your face gets wet too despite the flipped down visor.
The metal visor-nipple is sharp as hell, and has gotten "under my nails" on numerous occasions. Not a problem when you're wearing gloves, but on a scooter, in summer, in the city, you most often don't. That's my short report, and a message that I'm part of the elite group of Roof Boxer Owners."
From "M.N.": "Iíve ridden with the original Roof Boxer helmet for two seasons. It has been one of two helmets I use regularly (the other being a Shoei RF model). I ride less than 10,000 miles per year, so the use on the helmet has been minimal.
Toward the end of the second season of riding one of the plastic tabs on each side of the chin bar that hold the female part of the snap to lock the chin bar in to its lowered position, broke. There is no way to repair this part, and I have received no reply from ROOF in France as to how to address the problem. The result of the break is that the chin bar is now secured by only one snap instead of two. In my opinion, it renders the helmet unusable.
It is too bad, because I enjoyed the helmet and its unique design. I just purchased a new Shoei Multitec as a replacement."
Editor's Note: The tabs and snaps on the side of the ROOF Boxer have been revised on the Boxer V.