Vemar VSREV Helmet
Vemar VSREV "Italy" Helmet Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Summary: It's good to see Vemar back in the U.S.A., although
the brand has been popular in other parts of the world for some time.
The VSREV has a different and interesting internal shape that will please
some owners who may be having a hard time finding a comfortable fit with
other brands. The VSREV has high quality graphics and construction,
comfortable lining material and solid construction but the helmet is
The Vemar VSREV is an update of the original
Vemar VSR we reviewed
several years ago. The VSREV is among the helmets
that Vemar chose to make their re-entry into the U.S.
market after an absence of a few years.
The VSREV is Vemar's "top of the line" race helmet, and
it's said to be the helmet of choice of MotoGP racers
Alex de Angelis and Andrea Dovizioso. The version
shown here has the special "Italy" color configuration
and the VSREV is also available in carbon fiber, at a
list price of -- hold on to your shorts -- $1,000.00!
Motonation, the distributor for Vemar (and Sidi and
Spidi) in the U.S.A., is also importing the Vemar VTXE,
which retails for about $125.00 less than the VSREV and
is also a good-looking helmet.
By the way, it's interesting to note that the Vemar
full-face helmets are still being manufactured in Italy.
This may influence some purchasing decisions. We
also reviewed the
Vemar Jiano flip-up helmet a couple of months ago,
but that helmet did not have a country of origin label,
so it's unclear if Vemar makes the Jiano in Italy or
Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The VSREV shown here is the unique "Italy" color
pattern. It goes without saying that this is the
perfect helmet for Ducati, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta
owners, along with other amici dell'Italia.
The quality of the colors, paint and
graphics on this one are outstanding -- I'll bet this is
a limited edition, so I'd get one soon if you're
The only nit I could pick is that I wish
the surface had a slightly thicker clear coat to protect
the beautiful artwork. Somehow, I've already
picked up a scratch on this one, and I think a thicker
layer of clear coat on top might have helped prevent
this from happening.
Nevertheless, the Italy graphic is very
cool -- I've received many positive comments and I'd
swear that people stop and stare as I'm tooling down the
street. I also think the color combination is
somewhat of a safety factor, due to its eye-popping
Another interesting feature of the Italy
graphics is the white gasket used on the eye port and
around the bottom of the helmet shell. I haven't
seen this done before, and although I suppose it may
pick up some greasy fingerprints here and there, it
seems easy to clean and it's definitely unique.
The VSREV is also available in a red,
white and blue color pattern complete with stars, and
the star theme is continued in a variety of other very
nice color choices.
The quality of the lining and the
fittings is also very good, and the lining material is
Score: I'll give the Vemar VSREV an "Outstanding" rating
for the overall finish, paint and graphics. I'll score the quality of
the lining and the vent and visor fittings as "Excellent". See the ratings scale
in the summary table at the bottom of this page.
Helmet Shape and Fit
The most interesting and unique feature of the VSREV is its internal shape,
which is different from any other helmet we've tried and, in fact, is a
completely new type of fit for a motorcycle helmet that creates its own new
category which we're labeling a "round oval".
Since the VSREV's fit is so unique, I
urge you to take a look at our
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ (if you haven't already) to familiarize yourself
with some of the language used to describe motorcycle
helmet fit before I get into my discussion of this
helmet's shape. That page provides information on choosing and fitting
a motorcycle helmet (crucial for both comfort and safety!) and for a discussion regarding human head shapes,
Vemar says that the VSREV "features a
round shell shape which offers a more generous fit ear
to ear and snugger fit front to back" and I think this
is a good description. The VSREV has lots of room
on the sides, where if teels slightly bowed on either
side of the face.
But it's narrower up top -- almost like
a cross between a very round helmet like the
II (review) on the sides and an "intermediate oval"
shape like the
(review) on top.
This is a different shape than the
"standard" helmet fit that we've encountered in most
helmets. Manufacturers typically use a "neutral"
shape, which could be described as just to the
intermediate oval side of round.
If head shapes were plotted to a normal
distribution (although it's uncertain whether head
shapes fall into a normal distribution or not), the
neutral fit is generally designed to fit the majority of
riders, i.e., one sigma on either side of the mean, or
approximately 68% of the population.
More specific shapes like the
"intermediate oval" or "long oval" fit correctly on
smaller segments of the population, what I call the "two
sigma" (about 28%) and "three sigma" (the remaining 4%)
There are helmets with shapes that are
focused on these various populations, with "neutral"
shapes like the
URBAN N-20 Astro (review) and "round" shaped helmets
like the aforementioned Arai Quantum II and maybe the
RF-1000 (review) or
(review), and there are some "long oval" shapes like
the Shark RSi
That's pretty much been the universe of
motorcycle helmet shapes until now. But Vemar has
staked out a shape all their own, and since they don't
have a name for it, we're calling it the "round oval",
because it does feel very round on the sides and
oval-shaped up top.
We're not sure who or how many
motorcycle owners have this head shape, but obviously
Vemar has done some homework and research before they
released this design.
Just like a "long oval" shape won't fit
every rider, the Vemar "round oval" shape may not
satisfy everyone, but one thing's for certain: more
options for helmet head shapes are a good thing.
It's incredibly difficult to actually
find a "perfect" helmet fit -- especially when
purchasing sight unseen over the Internet, so more
choices mean that motorcyclists have a better chance at
finding a comfortable helmet.
My head shape is round, or "earth"
shaped as I like to call it, with the widest point at
the temples. This has caused me some measure of
grief when trying to find a helmet that fits correctly.
Honestly, out of the 90+ helmets we've
reviewed so far on webBikeWorld, and others that I've
tried, there is only one helmet that feels perfect when
I pull it over my head, and that's the Arai Quantum II.
While the quality of the Arai has been
disappointing (including continuing problems with the
antiquated visor removal system and self-destructing
cheek pads), the Quantum II fits me like no other.
I also seem to be on the borderline between a size large
and extra-large; my head has a 60.5 cm circumference,
which usually falls in-between those sizes in most size
charts, but the vast majority of the time, the XL fits
best because the slightly smaller size large will
usually put too much pressure on my temples.
We first ordered a Vemar VSREV in size
XL, but when it arrived it felt huge -- like an XXL --
which was way too big. The size large shown here
is the replacement, and it fits me more like a slightly
large XL, which is still slightly larger than I'd
So I'd say that between the unique VSREV
fit and the sizing, the helmet is running 1 to 1.5 sizes
larger than expected, and plan accordingly. This
may be a helmet that you'll want to try before you buy,
or make sure the online retailer has an acceptable
When I first tried on the helmet, the
shape felt strange, and I must say that every time I've
put it on since, it feels different at first, but then I
notice how comfortable it is for me after I've been
wearing it for a while. There's plenty of room --
almost too much -- on the sides for my "earth" shaped
noggin, and I only wish the top was just a touch more
round instead of oval, because I'd like the helmet to
fit slightly lower on my head.
But again, more fit types and choices is
definitely a good thing for motorcycling, and I'm sure
some owners will rejoice at the availability of this new
Vemar sells a variety of helmet liners
and cheek pads in different sizes to custom-tailor the
fit, and I may experiment with some of these at some
point to see what results. Vemar says that the
VSREV uses two shell sizes to cover the range of sizes
from XS to XL.
Score: It's hard to rate a helmet's shape other
than to determine whether it fits as expected. We
didn't know what to expect with Vemar's new shape, so
I'd say that riders with round heads or head shapes that
are proportionally wider on the sides may want to try a
VSREV on for size.
The VSREV uses the same chin vent and top vent system that Vemar used on the
VSR we reviewed several years ago; I guess
they figured they may as well stay with the familiar.
Both vents work well; each vent slider
has a row of plastic nubs molded in to help provide good
grip. The vents work the way we think they should
-- that is, slide the top vent cover back to open it and
forward to close, and slide the chin vent down to open
and up to close. Somehow, this seems logical.
The top vent flows an average amount of
air, although it would probably flow more air if the
vent opening was oriented more towards the front of the
helmet. As it is, the air only has a clear pathway
when the rider's head is tilted forwards, although this
may be just the thing for a racer or Sportbike rider.
The chin vent also offers a slightly
tortuous path for the air to flow in if the rider is
sitting up straight, but it also works better when the
head is tilted forward.
There are two vent holes through the
padding in back of the chin bar, which were blocked by
some flashing left over from the padding mold, so we
trimmed them with an X-Acto knife and they now work as
expected, allowing the air to flow on to the rider's
The VSREV also features a chin curtain
underneath the chin bar. The exhaust vents can be
opened or closed by pulling on the two tabs at the rear
of the extractor, and there are two pair of always-open
exhaust vents on either side of the chin bar and towards
the back of the helmet.
Score: I'll give the VSREV a
"Very Good" rating for venting and air flow,
which I think overall is better than average.
As I mentioned above, Vemar is offering a variety of
cheek pad and liner sizes to custom-tailor the fit of
Remember that purchasing replacement
cheek pad sizes is counterintuitive; that is, the cheek
pads are usually labeled "S, M, L, XL". If you
want a tighter fit, you'd think that larger would be
thicker, but it isn't always so. You have to look
at this from a perspective of what size you want to
change the helmet to.
The first thing to do is to confirm the
size of the cheek pads that are installed in the helmet
(the labels are usually on the back of the cheek pad, so
you'll have to remove them first).
If your helmet has a size L cheek pad
and you want to make the helmet fit tighter, you'd go to
a size M cheek pad, not a size XL, which in effect
brings the helmet fit around the cheek pads down a size
to what you'd expect in a medium.
Conversely, if a size large helmet has L
cheek pads that feel too tight, then moving up to size
XL cheek pads should loosen things up a bit, because, in
effect, you're now making the helmet fit like a size XL
with the thinner cheek pads.
Note that Arai cheek pads are usually
sold by their thickness in millimeters.
Anyway, the VSREV has a comfortable
liner, although I wish the padding was slightly thicker;
the padding feels thin on the sides, and I think it
would fit me better if the helmet was a bit thicker in
this area, so I'm planning on trying a set of M cheek
pads, which I think will give me just the touch of added
thickness on the sides that will make for a near-perfect
The material feels very soft, like a
type of "ultra plush" micro-suede. Vemar says the
material is washable and "manufactured from a technical
fiber that provides life-long treatment against odor,
fungus and bacteria" and that it has "extraordinary
wicking capabilities that result in enhanced rider
The rear of the liner has the same type
of separate section used in the Jiano, but the fit seems
tighter. The gap between this section and the
sides of the liner do seem to allow more noise in than
expected, so this is an area that I'd suggest could be
improved -- although this is a problem with the majority
of motorcycle helmets we've tried. The
manufacturers haven't yet focused on the "neck roll";
the padding around the bottom of the helmet, which is
crucial to controlling helmet noise.
But overall, the soft fabric and
generous fit of the VSREV makes for a comfortable fit,
and the fabric does seem to control moisture better than
Score: I'll give the VSREV a "Very
Good" for comfort, padding and its moisture wicking
The Vemar VSREV seems about average with regard to
its ability to control noise. The combination
of the top vents and the two small intakes for the
exhaust extractor assembly, which point towards the
front of the helmet, can cause some wind rushing or
a slight whistling noise, but it's about the same as
expected on helmets of this type.
The fit around the neck roll or lower
portion of the helmet could be tighter, as I mentioned
earlier, and some low-frequency "booming" wind noises
can occur in this area when riding behind a short
We had mixed opinions after several
riders wore the helmet in various conditions and on
different motorcycle configurations, so the only thing I
can say in general is that while the VSREV isn't the
quietest helmet we've worn, it's probably right around
average for motorcycle helmet noise, if that means
Be sure to visit to the
Motorcycle Helmet Noise page for more information. Also, note that we always wear high-quality, correctly
fitted ear plugs when riding. Please see the
Earplugs and Hearing
Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
If you don't wear ear plugs, all bets are off -- every motorcycle helmet is
dangerously noisy, in our opinion, and your hearing is as precious as your
eyesight, so don't mess with it. Wear ear plugs.
Score: The Vemar VSREV gets a "Good" for about average
to slightly higher than normal noise levels.
We think the VSREV has a larger vertical eye port
opening than average, and the horizontal or side-to-side
visibility is also very good -- I can just see the sides
of the eye port in my peripheral vision.
This allows the VSREV to work very well
on a Sportbike in a leaned-forward position; better than
most full-face helmets, and the excellent field of view
is probably indicative of its racing heritage.
We measured the thickness of the face
at 2.45 mm, which is slightly thicker than the 2.2 mm
claimed by Vemar. The face shield is mounted using
machined aluminum side plates or disks, which have a 4
mm Allen screw in the center that must be removed to
change the face shield. The face shield was very loose when
the helmet arrived and I tightened up the screws to
create more friction.
The face shield detents are rather weak, but
they do the job by holding the face shield in one of 5
positions when opened. The face shield can be opened
slightly for demisting or ventilation.
The face shield does have more flex than we'd
like, and I think the attachments on the side allow more
flexibility than normal because there's not a lot of
surface bearing area between the face shield and the helmet
shell, so there's nothing to really prevent the face
from flexing. In other words, it's not really the
fault of the 2.45 mm face shield, but the design of the
rotating mechanism and assembly.
We think the VSREV's face shield would benefit
from a centrally located face shield grasp tab, because this
might help mitigate the flexing issue.
As you can see in the photo above, the
face shield also has a type of lock on the left-hand side,
just above the lifting tab, which closes over an
aluminum post attached to the shell, just outside the
eye port on the left-hand side, under the face shield rotating
The idea is that the hole in the face
will snap over the post and the post will keep the face
secure at high speeds and prevent it from opening during
an over-the-shoulder head check. This is all well
and good, but it makes it difficult to open and close
the face shield during normal street use.
Due to the location of the lifting tab
way over on the left-hand side, there's not much
leverage and if the face shield locking system is engaged, it
takes a significant amount of pressure to pop the face
up and over the post. It's something you get used
to I guess, and works best if I wedge my thumb
underneath the tab and quickly pull forward, popping the
face shield up and over the post.
On the other hand, when this face shield is
locked, it's pretty much going to stay there, which is a
plus for racers or high-speed runners.
I usually end up letting the face shield just
rest against the post without locking it all the way
down, which means that I lose the advantage of the
design and the face shield could (although it hasn't yet) pop
open during a head check at high speed. There are
other ways of locking down a face shield that are probably
One thing several riders have noticed is
that the face shield doesn't do a very good job of preventing
fog. Even in recent 75-degree (F) weather, the
face shield would fog when humidity levels increased. So
this may be a good candidate for the
Salclear TT anti-fog treatment we reviewed recently.
The VSREV box did contain the "extra
anti-fog, non-scratch 2.2mm thick quick release dark
tinted shield" that Vemar says is included with each
helmet; the Jiano box did not have the extra tinted
Score: I'll give the VSREV an
"Excellent" for the field of view offered by
the wide eye port and a "Good" for operation and
overall impressions of the face shield.
Vemar claims that the carbon fiber version of the VSREV
weighs 1310 grams in size medium, while the "regular"
VSREV in the same size is claimed weigh 1470 grams.
1310 grams isn't really very light,
especially for a carbon fiber helmet (and especially for
a size medium), which is a clue that the VSREV uses
either a fairly thick shell or fittings or something
about it is a bit more, shall we say "robust" than other
The VSREV shown here in size large
weighs 1748 grams (3 lbs., 13-5/8 oz.). This is
consistent with the sticker on the back of the helmet,
which says that it weighs 1690 grams, plus or minus 50
This is relatively heavy for a size
large helmet, and it puts the VSREV in the 70-80 range
of the 93 helmets we've reviewed to date. This is
the same neighborhood as the
Scorpion EXO-700 (XL) at 1733 grams; the
Joe Rocket RKT 101 (XL) at 1737 grams and the
HJC Sy-Max II (Flip-up)
(L) at 1762 grams, all in the upper 1/3 of helmet
weights of the helmets we've reviewed. See the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for more information.
The VSREV feels very slightly top heavy
on my round head, only because the oval shape at the
upper inside portion of the helmet is a slight mis-match
for my head shape. Others who have worn the helmet
have reported that it feels nicely balanced.
The helmet feels solid on riders who fit
the shape, and it doesn't seem to exhibit any undue
movement or lift, so the aerodynamics work.
Score: The VSREV gets a
"Poor" for its weight and a "Very Good"
The VSREV has the classic D-ring chin strap
adjuster, along with a snap to hold the excess.
Vemar even makes different sized chin straps that
are available for purchase for a more custom fit.
The padding under the chin strap uses
the same cushy lining material as the rest of the liner,
which makes it feel comfortable. And the
evaluators who wore the helmet all said they could fit
their normal eyeglasses over their ears when wearing the
VSREV, probably due to the wider internal shape.
The VSREV meets DOT safety
standards in the U.S. and it is also labeled with an ECE
22.05 sticker on the back. Our understanding is
that the ECE doesn't like this sticker to be used
outside of member countries, but it's there nonetheless.
The helmet has a 5-year warranty, which is commendable.
The "Italy" graphics go a long way towards making this VSREV a real keeper.
But artwork aside, the overall shape of the helmet and
the large eye port, along with the unique internal shape
and fit, make a very nice package.
The quality of the helmet is high and
the fact that it's all made in Italy and assembled by
hand is a plus. Motorcyclists who have been
searching for this particular fit will probably rejoice.
The wBW Opinionator
| What I Like
|| What I Don't
Review: Vemar VSREV Helmet
Vemar VSREV Helmet with this link to RevZilla
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the U.S. importer and distributor and also has online retail sales.
Retail Price: $475.00
|Colors: Italy, Red/White/Blue
and stars with Black, Red, Blue, Green and Orange. Sizes: XS to XL
For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges
from unacceptable to poor, good, very good, excellent and
Notes: Helmet provided by Motonation for this
Vemar is currently offering a five-year warranty on this
helmet. Review Date: June
8000x600 pixel photo of the Vemar VSREV
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►Your Comments and
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From "T.S." (10/09): "I purchased
this helmet after reading and watching your review.
I'd like to make the following observations after about
900 miles wearing this helmet. This is not
scientific and certainly not as complete as your review,
but I'm an average rider who encounters everyday
experiences on the bike.
I committed the cardinal sin of not trying on this
helmet before buying. I live in an area where
motorcycle accessory stores are limited. I usually do
not find anything that is not Arai, Shoei, or HJC.
I took the plunge and I purchased one on-line from
They had a really great price and the size I needed.
I figured on a large because I wear a large in Shoei and
AGV. This was a good choice, though I did
note in your review that this model may run a little
large. I fretted over my choice, but in the end, I
am happy with it.
As you noted, it runs rounder than I am used to, but
I wear glasses when I ride and the little extra space
helps a lot. Despite the roundness, this helmet
fits well at the top of my head and along the cheeks and
I was hoping that the helmet would be light, since
it's made of carbon fiber. Unfortunately, it is
not lighter than my AGV V-Flyer. It is only about three
ounces heavier, but it is not as light as I expected.
The graphics are really very nice. The top coat looks
like it will protect what's underneath. The finish is
typically Italian. Not perfect, but certainly well done.
This is my first graphic helmet, so I was not sure what
to expect. Of course, while riding, I have no idea
what's on top of my head, so the experience is no
different, but concerning finish, paint overlap, edge
matching, etc., the finish looks very nice.
When it comes to venting, my Shoei RF-900 was
terrible. My AGV vents very well. I wanted
to compare the Vemar against these two standards.
I would say it vents on par with the AGV. There
is a metal mesh inside the intake vents. Nice touch:
Keeps the bigger bugs out. The inner liner is
channeled so the air flows well around the head.
The face shield doesn't fog easily. Again, a shortcoming
with the Shoei. It would fog up on a hot, dry
summer day, seemingly before I'd put it on!
On a cold, humid morning (and we have a lot of those here in Western
Washington), there is little to no fogging. I think my
glasses fog up rather than the shield.
Speaking of the shield, this is the first time I have
had a shield that requires a tool. I thought that
would be a negative, but frankly, I don't change shields
on the fly. The tool required is a 3mm hex, which
I have handy in my toolbox. The shield is clear
and easy to see through, with no visible distortion in
the main viewing area. The opening is large and the
shield itself is thick and not at all flimsy.
The locking mechanism on the side is interesting, but
frankly, I don't ride fast enough to need it. One
really nice touch is the inclusion of a light smoke
shield. I have never had a helmet with an
additional shield thrown in for free.
I like it. It's not a very dark shield, but it
provides enough extra protection on a sunny day to cut
Although not advisable for night riding, if you get
caught out in the early evening, it's still clear enough
to get yourself home safely.
The shape of the Vemar is very round. The shell
is larger side to side than my AGV. The back lower
edge is cut higher than I am used to.
At first glance, I wondered what effect that would
have. As it turns out, it means I have better
visibility while riding. I ride an Aprilia RSV
1000 which has a fairly low riding position.
Usually, when I lift my head, I can feel the back of the
helmet on my neck or against my backpack if I'm riding
to work. With the Vemar, there is a lot of extra
clearance in the back and I can lift my head comfortably
without feeling the helmet cut into my neck. This
is really a nice feature.
It means, though, that a lot more air gets in around
the neck. As has been pointed out many times, the
more air that gets in under the helmet, the louder it
tends to be. This helmet is not quiet. I
always wear earplugs when riding, and so should everyone
else, so it doesn't bother me. I can tell it lets
in more sound, but the earplugs make it seem about the
same as my other helmets have been.
I am not sure if more rain will get in, though,
through that same opening. I ride in all weather
except snow (though I have even been caught unawares in
two different snowstorms: not a good experience!), and
so far, in light rain, I have had any problems. We
will have to wait until the heavy rains begin.
Overall, I am very pleased with this helmet. I
got a good deal on what is a well made lid. I
would recommend it for those who are not afraid to buy
something that is not mainstream. I would
recommend trying one on first and taking a ride with it.
I did not have that luxury, but I think it's always a
good idea, if you can do it. I have no complaints so far
and look forward to many miles of riding with this