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Vemar Eclipse Review

Vemar Eclipse Helmet Review
Vemar Eclipse Helmet Review
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
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Summary

The Vemar Eclipse has been revised for 2011 and it has Snell (2005) approval in addition to meeting DOT, ECE and BSI safety standards.

As the top-of-the-range Vemar helmet, the Eclipse has a host of interesting features, including a very comfortable liner, specially designed cheek pads and excellent ventilation.

Background

The original Vemar Eclipse somehow missed out on a detailed webBikeWorld review even though other Vemar helmets, such as the Vemar Jiano (review), Vemar CKQI (review) and the VTXE (review) were covered.

The Eclipse was and is the "flagship" helmet in the Vemar lineup and, as such, it has all the bells and whistles one would expect.

Vemar may not be as well known to motorcyclists as some of the more familiar brands, but the company has always made some pretty interesting helmets and one of the nice things about it is that the helmets are all hand made in Italy.

The new Eclipse proudly informs us of this face with a colorful embroidered "Made in Italy" stitching on the liner, which can be seen in the video below.

The Editor described some of the new 2011 Vemar helmets in his report from the 2010 EICMA trade show in Milan last November. The U.S. version of the Eclipse was also briefly described in the Vemar Jiano Evo TC helmet report from the 2011 Powersports Dealer Expo in Indianapolis in February.

The new Eclipse has several interesting features, some of which are different -- perhaps bordering on quirky -- but I will say that this has become my favorite helmet due to its combination of outstanding comfort, excellent ventilation and visibility and good looks (especially in this highly visible "Metha Red" graphic).

So let's take a peek under the hood of the new Eclipse and see what makes it special...

Vemar Eclipse Helmet Top View
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The Vemar Eclipse: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality

The Eclipse is available in a variety of graphics and solids but I think the "Metha Red" version shown in these photos is definitely the standout.

The colors and the pattern not only compliment the helmet's shape, they also provide excellent visibility, according to my collegial riding partners. The red color is sort of a bright orange red and the photos here are actually a fairly good representation, at least on my computer monitor.

A cool styling touch is also found in the bull's-eye with Italian flag colors, bordered by arrows on the sides of the helmet. I'm not sure if this actually represents something or if it came from the artist's imagination, but I like it.

The rear of the helmet also has a shape similar to the unique Vemar CKQI (review) and the prominent exhaust vent reminds me of one of my favorite pasta types, the radiatore (radiator).

I suppose a hand-made Italian motorcycle helmet wouldn't be Italian without a few quirks, and I'd like to say that the finish on the Eclipse is perfect, but it does have a few, well, quirks. The vent covers and that big radiator out back are made from what feels like some type of metal but is actually plastic (or so I have been told).

The gloss paint on these is different and a nice styling feature, but if I look closely, I can find a couple of dust bits here and there and also under the thick gloss clear coat.

They are relatively minor and perhaps only something a "trained" helmet evaluator would notice, but I'd be derelict in my duties if I didn't mention them.

I can also totally forgive these issues because of the overall goodness of the helmet. The moving parts all function correctly, albeit with another small dose of quirkiness, but one thing's for sure -- the Eclipse has a feeling of solidity that I like and which makes it seem like it will last a long, long time.

I'm assuming this is due to the multiple safety standards it meets; there are few helmets indeed that are Snell 2010 approved while also meeting DOT and ECE standards, with BSI thrown in for good measure.

For the most part, European helmet manufacturers seem to disdain Snell standards, but Vemar -- with the prompting of Motonation, the U.S. distributor I'm sure -- went forward with it on the Eclipse redesign. It makes the helmet a bit heavier than it would otherwise, but the payoff in solidity (and the potential safety gains) was well worth it, in my opinion.

The liner, padding and material -- along with the design of the cheek pads -- is especially comfortable and I'll describe this in more detail in the next section.

Score:  I'll give the Vemar Eclipse an "Excellent" rating for quality, paint and graphics. The paint isn't perfect, with a few minor flaws and dust bumps showing on close inspection. But the solid feel of the helmet and the comfortable interior makes up for it. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.

Vemar Eclipse Slide Show
Vemar Eclipse Helmet Front View Vemar Eclipse Helmet Front Quarter View Vemar Eclipse Helmet Side View Vemar Eclipse Helmet Rear View Vemar Eclipse Brow Vents Vemar Eclipse Top Vent Closed Vemar Eclipse Top Vent Open Vemar Eclipse Liner Embroidery
  • Vemar Eclipse Helmet Front View
  • Vemar Eclipse Helmet Front Quarter View
  • Vemar Eclipse Helmet Side View
  • Vemar Eclipse Helmet Rear View
  • Vemar Eclipse Brow Vents
  • Vemar Eclipse Top Vent Closed
  • Vemar Eclipse Top Vent Open
  • Vemar Eclipse Liner Embroidery
Vemar Eclipse Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Liner

Motonation warned us that the Eclipse runs small; an unusual warning from a distributor/retailer, because many times we wonder if the retailers actually try the helmets they sell.

They were correct, as this Eclipse is labeled a size XL and fits similar to a slightly large size L. It has a slight narrow internal shape, which feels narrow on the sides but rounder on top, so I'll rate it as a "Slight Narrow" in the webBikeWorld sizing scheme.

I estimate that the size XL should fit a slightly narrow head shape of around 60 cm. It's more or less a Shoei X-Eleven (review) or Scorpion EXO-700 (review) type of shape and I'm pretty sure anyone who finds those helmets comfortable will also fit the Eclipse.

The helmet liner and padding in the Eclipse feel very plush and the cheek pads are a new design that I find very comfortable. In fact, I'd have to say that the Eclipse probably fits me better than any other helmet I've ever tried and the cheek pads feel like they were custom fitted to my face. I can fit a pair of cut-down sunglasses in the helmet without problems.

To me, this is the "race fit" that I occasionally hear about but which no one seems able to accurately describe. The pressure is even all around my head, which is correct but isn't always the case and it just feels very comfortable. The fit also helps reduce wind "push" and it also helps to make the weight of this helmet, in what I assume is the largest shell size, pretty much disappear.

The liner has a couple of surprises I haven't seen before, with Vemar logos embroidered under the top of the eye port and at the back of the neck roll. There is also a large and colorful "Made in Italy" script embroidered inside the liner.

The ear pockets in the Eclipse have a hard lining at the bottom, perfect for mounting speakers. The ear pocket size is adequate and roomy.

So overall I think between the smooth and plush liner material, the relatively thick padding, the quality of the materials and especially the comfort of the cheek pads, I'm very pleased with the Eclipse and it's a perfect fit for my head shape.

webBikeWorld Internal Shape Estimator: Vemar Eclipse
Narrow Med. Narrow Slight Narrow Neutral Slight Round Med. Round Round
 
Helmet Internal Shape Examples (see more Motorcycle Helmet Shapes)
Arai
Profile
Scorpion EXO-700 Neon KBC
Tarmac
AGV
Stealth
Arai
RX-Q
Bell
Arrow
Arai
Quantum II

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 Vemar Eclipse an "Outstanding" rating for superior comfort and liner materials, padding and fit for my head shape.

Vemar Eclipse Helmet Liner
The Vemar Eclipse liner, materials and padding make for a very comfortable environment.
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Vemar Eclipse Face Shield, Eye Port and Visibility

The eye port opening on the Eclipse provides better than average outward visibility. I can't see the edges of the helmet until I deliberately turn my eyes hard right or left, and although the top and bottom appear in my peripheral vision, the visibility is excellent, especially looking towards the instruments out the bottom.

The face shield Vemar uses on the Eclipse is a different design with a quirk or two of its own. The lift tab is located way over on the left-hand side, and it's big enough and works fine, but due to its distance from the center of the face shield, there is some twisting as the face shield is raised or lowered.

The face shield has a slider on the left that is a lock to keep it closed. There is no detent on this helmet however, so the lock can slide open or closed a bit too easily.

The face shield removal system is a very different design than anything I've seen before. It has two main parts; one is a lever that keeps the shield in place. It must be turned to slip through a slot cut on the face shield for removal. Then a metal locking tab is flipped open, the lock turned a half-turn and removed. Then the face shield can be removed.

Vemar says that the reason for this design is to ensure that the face shield remains on the helmet during a crash. It's difficult to know whether the system will work or not, but the double locking system does seem like it would be an effective way to keep the face shield in place more effectively than if it were the simple "press and pop" systems that are typically used on motorcycle helmets.

This is illustrated in the video and it's a very simple and easy procedure, with the only issue being the potential loss of the removable metal tab that secures the face shield. I hope Motonation is keeping a few of these in stock just in case!

The eye port gasket is a full length affair, but the face shield doesn't seal tightly on this helmet, so some water can leak along the top. The face shield is also loose along the bottom of the eye port on this helmet, but when it's engaged, the locking tab keeps it from opening.

It's difficult to tell how well the 2.2 mm thick face shield works for preventing fog because the current temperatures are too warm for fogging to occur.

webBikeWorld Eye Port Visibility Estimator: Vemar Eclipse
Visibility Poor Below Average Average Above Average Outstanding
Top to Bottom
Side to Side

Score:  I'll give the Eclipse an "Outstanding" rating for visibility but I will drop this to a "Very Good" rating for the operation and sealing of the face shield.

Vemar Eclipse Top Vents
The top vents of the Vemar Eclipse slide open to uncover the hidden ports underneath.
Vemar Eclipse Exhaust Vents
The "radiator" rear exhaust vent on the Eclipse is supplemented by two vertical vents on either side.
Vemar Eclipse Chin Vent
The chin vent opens with a lever under the chin bar (see next photo).
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Vemar Eclipse Ventilation and Air Flow

The Eclipse has a dual top vent system with unique sliding and disappearing vents on top, along with dual brow vents just above the eye port. The helmet has a nicely designed series of channels in the EPS liner and the top of the padded helmet liner is designed with sections of mesh to allow a good amount of air to flow over the top of the helmet.

The top vents can whistle slightly in an upright riding position but the noise disappears when the head is tilted forward. I find that overall the top venting system on the Eclipse is better than average.

The chin vent is also unique in that it doesn't have the typical slider on the front of the chin bar. Instead, it works by moving a lever under the chin bar. The lever moves left to open the chin vent and right to close it. This seems different but it actually works well because the lever is easy to find when wearing gloves and easy to operate.

Unfortunately, there are no air vents directly through the chin bar so the air that comes through the chin vent passes up through the top of the chin bar on to the back of the face shield only. But overall, the Eclipse has better than average ventilation.

A nicely padded chin curtain is located under the chin bar and this helps to control any unwanted air coming up from under the helmet and also to improve the feel of the ventilation through the helmet vents.

The rear exhaust vents seem to work effectively at pulling the air through the helmet. The top exhaust "radiator" vent is large and it is helped by the dual vertical vents on either side of the squared-off rear of the helmet.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: Vemar Eclipse Ventilation
Location Poor Below Average Average Above Average Outstanding
Top/Upper
Chin/Face

Score:  I'll give the ventilation system of the Vemar Eclipse an "Excellenet" rating.

Vemar Eclipse Chin Vent Lever
The chin vent of the Vemar Eclipse is operated by a lever that is semi-hidden under the chin bar.
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Vemar Eclipse Sound Levels

The nicely padded interior and what I think is a thicker shell due to the Snell approval both seem to help make the Eclipse pretty good at controlling noise.

It's all a matter of degrees, of course, as it is with any motorcycle helmet, but the Eclipse seems quieter than average. As I mentioned earlier, the top vents can create a little bit of wind noise when I'm sitting upright, but this disappears as I tilt forward on the bike.

The neck roll around the bottom of the helmet uses the same plush material as the liner and it also feels like a suede fabric was used to cover the outside and this also seems to help deaden the sound.

The nicely designed cheek pads curve downward along my face and I think this also helps to keep the noise levels relatively low while helping to prevent the turbulence noises that affect the lower portions of a motorcycle helmet.

All together, the Eclipse is better than average at controlling noise, yet another factor in making this my current favorite helmet.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: Vemar Eclipse Noise Levels
Location Very Quiet Quieter Average Louder Very Loud
Upper
Lower

Note that our helmet evaluations are normally a combined effort of several riders over time, on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens. Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality earplugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems) and (usually) a helmet liner. It is strongly recommended that hearing protection is used when riding a motorcycle.  See the wBW Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.

Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual. Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit; the type of motorcycle and windscreen; wind speed and direction and even the type of clothing that is being worn. For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.

Score:  I'll give the Vemar Eclipse an "Excellent" rating for better than average noise control.

wBW Video: Vemar Eclipse Helmet
Helmet Weight

The Eclipse has a triple-composite shell with a carbon fiber, aramid and fiberglass construction. I'm assuming that the size XL shown here uses the largest shell which, when combined with the modifications made to pass the Snell 2010 testing procedures, make the helmet weigh more than expected at 1828 grams (4 lbs., 0-1/2 oz.). This is despite Vemar's claims that the tri-composite construction reduces the helmet's weight.

My feeling is that I'll take the weight if it gives me the added protection of Snell 2005 (corrected from original report of Snell 2010) (in addition to meeting the required DOT and ECE standards.

The weight, however, actually puts the Eclipse out near some of the heaviest helmets we've reviewed and it's comparable with flip-up helmets, which are typically heavier than standard full-face helmets.

For comparison, the Scorpion EXO-1000 (XL) weighs 1821 grams; the Schuberth C2 (Flip-up, XL) at 1827 grams; the Reevu MSX1 (2010 version, XL) at 1839 grams; the Zeus ZS-3000B (Flip-up, XL) at 1842 grams and the Nolan N102 (Flip-up, XL) at 1850 grams.

I'll have to admit, the Eclipse even feels heavy when you pick it up, but I can also say that I think the very nicely shaped interior and the sculpted cheek pads make a difference here and once I have the helmet on and I'm moving, I really don't notice the weight as I might with other helmets that feel top heavy.

Note also that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the 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 Vemar Eclipse a "Neutral" rating for its relatively heavy weight but with good overall balance.

Vemar Eclipse Visor Lock and Release
Two-part locking system is designed to keep the face shield from coming off the helmet in case of a crash.
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Miscellaneous

The Eclipse sold in the U.S. has a double D-ring attachment system with a plastic snap to secure the extra length of chin strap. I don't know if the European version uses a D-ring or a micro-lock system.

Vemar gives a 5-year warranty on their helmets.

webBikeWorld Overall Opinionator - Vemar Eclipse
Picks...
...and Pans
  • Excellent overall quality.
  • Excellent upper ventilation system.
  • Relatively quiet.
  • Very comfortable liner and cheek pads.
  • The helmet feels very solid and well built.
  • No vents through chin bar.
  • Slight gap in the fit of the face shield.
  • Relatively heavy.
  • Expensive.
Conclusion

The revised Vemar Eclipse has a few quirks, but not enough in my opinion to overwhelm its inherent goodness. This is one comfortable helmet and it fits me perfectly. I especially like the design of the cheek pads, which feel like they were custom-fitted to my cheeks. This helps reduce the feeling of the helmet's weight.

I also very much like the style and design of the Eclipse, especially in the Meth Red colors shown here. The bottom line is that the new Vemar Eclipse is my current favorite helmet and I can heartily recommend it to motorcyclists with a neutral or slightly narrow head shapes.

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wBW Review: Vemar Eclipse Helmet
Manufacturer: Vemar Helmets
U.S. Distributor: Motonation
List Price: $450.00 (Solids) or $500.00 (Graphics)
Colors: Solids and graphics. Made In: Italy
Sizes: XXS to XXXL. Shell Sizes: Unknown Star Rating (1-5): Four Star Rated
Review Date: June 2011 
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
Ratings Scale: For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges from Unacceptable to Poor, Neutral, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.

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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Not all comments will be published (details).  Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.

From "C.S." (July 2013): "Only had this a few weeks, but I wanted to get my review in. First, the fit is amazing. I took a chance on Mail Order as the deal on this was too good to pass up. I measured my head several times to be sure.

When pulled snug, I measured just over 58 cm, and just over 59 cm with the tape just snug enough to be able to pull it off, but not fall off. I was worried about the size as the review states they run small. Still, I opted for the large and it was the right choice. It is very snug when (I) first put it on. The cheek pads felt like they were too tight and I had to be careful not to bite my cheeks if I open and closed my mouth. But that lasted only for about 30 minutes wearing the helmet around the house. The pads seemed to mold themselves nicely and I have not had that pressure since.

Yes, the fit remains firm, but it is a very consistent feel all over. The rest of the padding seems absolutely perfect for my head.

My last helmet was a Nolan (I have this Italian thing) and while it fit, I did have pressure on my forehead for about a month. The shape of the Vemar fits much better. The only real "complaint" I have is that my ears get a little pulled while taking the helmet off. Going on and while wearing it, there isn't any problem, but for some reason I seem to snag my ears taking it off. Not painful, just annoying.

Using a thin red tape from StreetGlo, I added several pinstripes to the helmet following various lines. This tape is nice as it matches the red of my bike, but when lights hit it, it reflects a bright orange.

The double D works. There is a nice tab on the outer ring to make loosening it easier. All in all, it's a simple and effective attachment.

The venting is fantastic. Never had so much air before. And on my bike with a mid height windscreen, there is no whistle noise at all. In fact, the helmet is surprisingly quiet. Around town, I don't need earplugs. I was pleasantly surprised that there is a channel in the padding that allows glasses to be easily inserted (I use a straight ear Oakley). They ride a little higher than if they were worn directly, but it's not a problem.

I can see if I were riding in heavy rain, the seal at the top of the faceplate does not even touch. There is a considerable gap. I see no way to adjust the faceplate, so that might be an issue if I get caught in the rain. I saw a similar optics issue that others have mentioned, but I simply took some Novus 1 Plexiglas polish and that helped. I wonder if the factory faceplate has a film on it that needs to be removed.

Raising the faceplate isn't as easy, but I found that if I really grab the tab on the left rather than pushing at it with a finger, the faceplate opens and closes easier. I have not seen a need for the lock, but that might be due to the windshield on the bike.

Overall, I'm extremely satisfied with the helmet. I'd probably be willing to forgo the Snell rating if it would take some weight off the shell, but the fact that it meets so many quite demanding standards is comforting. I've been pleased with how the helmet has broken in and that nothing is showing signs of early wear. I do not miss the flippfront design of the old Nolan.  and I can once again use the helmet lock on the bike through the D-rings."


From "S.R." (January 2013): "I bought two of these helmets and both times the visor mechanism failed on me. I really love the interior of the helmet, really soft and plush high-quality material. However, the visor mechanism is killing this product, (it) broke on me in traffic, the other one failed on me coming right out of the box so (I returned it) and even then I took it for a ride. Love the helmet but visor the mechanism is it's Achilles (heel)."


From "S.B" (November 2012): "I bought my Vemar Eclipse and the only thing I like about it is the way it looks. The visor mechanism is terrible. The lever is right next to the fulcrum and gives no leverage for lifting the face shield. Instead of opening, it tilts hard and the visor binds.

The visor does not seal at all, despite attempts at tightening its large gap. It allows the winter in and my face gets blasted by freezing weather. The mechanism under the front for opening the mouth vents feels wrong because it neither opens fully nor closes fully. It has limited action on the opening motion and can be pushed inside the helmet far too deep.

I am returning the helmet today. I've given it too many chances."


From "R.S." (October 2012): "I'd like to echo J.M.S.'s comment from July 2012 (below). I also bought one on clearance from MotorcycleGear, and while the fit/ventilation/noise level are all fine, I also notice a distortion/prism effect at night."


From "J.M.S." (July 2012): "I bought one on clearance from New Enough (now called MotorcycleGear). It's a beautifully colored helmet; hi-viz enough for me.

Did you get to test the Eclipse at night? But, the visor seems to have distortions at night which results in a prism effect from various light sources. The severity changes based on head angle."

Editor's Reply: I don't recall an issue with the face shield on ours.

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