by Bill and "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
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Vox vs. Zox
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Summary: Strange fit, very narrow eye port and
so-so vent parts quality. The
Zox Nevado R is way more helmet
for the same money, in our opinion.
NOTE: Some Vox 803 helmets have been recalled,
We were all set to review the Zox Nevado when a batch of
emails arrived, asking us to review the Vox helmet.
Vox? What's that? Did they mean Zox? No,
as it turns out... Yes, Virginia, there is a Vox helmet.
We can't find a Vox website, but the helmet seems to be
available on eBay and a couple of retailers who seem to focus on closeouts.
So the lineage of this one is up in the air. If the company doesn't even
have a mail drop in the U.S., red flags go up, in our opinion.
We're just not very fond of no-name helmets, having too much respect
for our noggins. But there is a contingent of pecuniary tightwads out
there to whom cheapness means just about everything, and some of them rave
about the Vox.
We can't agree. If there were no motorcycle helmets on
the planet except this one, we'd consider buying it after thinking long and
hard about whether or not to take up another sport.
Quite frankly, it
is our opinion that, with all the really good motorcycle helmets out there
-- and even a few surprisingly good ones for around $100.00 -- there is no
reason to settle for a Vox.
Those are some pretty strong words, and there are two issues
that have led us to that opinion. First, our Vox helmet has probably
the strangest fit we've ever experienced; it sits so high up that Burn's
chin sticks way out the bottom.
Which means that the lower part of the eye port -- the chin
bar -- is almost directly in his line of sight. The eye port is
extremely narrow to begin with, as you can see by studying the side-by-side
photos of the Vox helmet compared to the Zox Nevado on our "Vox
vs. Zox" intro page.
Look at the photos and you'll see how narrow the Vox eye
port is in comparison. You can also see how much shorter the Vox is,
which illustrates how much higher it will sit on the wearer's head.
They're both size XL helmets, but the difference is pretty dramatic, in our
The other problem is the internal shape. It's a rare
"light bulb" helmet, with a sort of wider long oval shape up top and tight
sides, which press sharply into the jaws of the rider. When combined
with the way the helmet sits so high up on the head, it's painful.
And finally, the Vox has the same rotating visor problem as
the Zox Nevado; it can be too easily pulled open without using the release.
Sorry to disappoint all the Vox fans out there (are there
any?) and we've already biased your thinking on this, but let's take a
detailed look anyway.
Paint and Finish
Pink, you say? Oh baby! Why not, we figured? We're
bored of the plain old white, silver and red helmets, so when we discovered
that the Vox was available in pink, we bit. It will stand out in a
crowd anyway... but what type of crowd, we don't know. Who knows --
maybe pink is the new hi-viz yellow? (Editor's Note: Uh, I don't
OK, forget the pink. It's only a color. The Vox
actually has a pretty nice finish; the paint is smooth, it has a decent
clear coat that's maybe very slightly thinner than normal, and there are no
dust tidbits or other marks in the finish, so we'll give them credit for
Even the decals were applied before the clear coat went on,
and they look good. Kind of retro-ish.
The Vox helmet is probably made from the same type of
thermoplastic as the Zox Nevado, but where the Zox feels like quality,
substance and modernity, the Vox feels like heavy cheap plastic. We
don't know why, but the helmet just feels cheap.
The mundane styling doesn't help either. The plastic
on the vents seems a bit on the flimsy side, but that's also a problem on
many expensive helmets.
On one hand, the global economy has forced a level of
quality way higher than it was even 10 years ago, so from that point of
view, the Vox is acceptable. But on the other hand, the competition is
so good that some helmets in the $100.00 to $200.00 price range are just
that much better, and they have the support of a national, reputable network
of dealers, so why mess around?
Score: We'll give the Vox helmet a "good"
rating for fit and finish
(See ratings description in the summary table below).
Helmet Fit and Liner
The Vox has what we think is a strange "light bulb" shaped fit. It
seems wide, a bit loose and "long ovalish" at the top, but very tight on the
sides. The bottom of the cheek pads and the bottom part of the shell
really presses into the cheeks. This will fit some riders, and they'll
probably be happy for it, because helmets with this shape aren't common.
For more information on motorcycle helmet internal shapes
and selecting and fitting motorcycle
helmets, see the
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page.
But our size XL Vox is definitely shorter than comparable XL
modular helmets. It seems to sit very high on our heads, making the
center of gravity and the balance point feel very high. This puts the
mass up where it doesn't belong, and it can be felt with excess movement
from buffeting and cross winds.
The liner actually isn't that bad -- but most helmet liners
are pretty similar nowadays. The helmet could use just a touch more
padding and the foam seems a bit "lifeless", without much support. But
the fabric is relatively comfortable.
The stitching that holds the liner together also looks a bit
weak, especially where the vinyl on the bottom of the helmet liner meets the
softer fabric. The stitching looks like it's already pulling apart,
which doesn't give us much confidence.
We found that the Vox accommodates eyeglasses better than
the Zox Nevado. There's a split between the liner and the cheek pads
that acts as a channel for the eyeglass temples.
Our Vox helmet is a size XL, and based on this example, we
think the helmet runs about true to size. Like many flip-ups, the Vox
is slightly tight, but it will probably loosen up a bit over time.
Availability of the Vox is spotty. W're guessing that
local retailers are acting as their own importers. So the availability
of different Vox sizes may be limited. We've seen medium, large and
extra-large Vox helmets for sale, but we haven't found a size small or
Score: We'll give our Vox an "Poor" rating for
fit and for the way it sits so high when worn.
Helmet - wBW
Lightbox - Click photo to view.
The Nevado's rotating visor has a slightly lower than average feel when it's
raised or lowered. It feels a bit "mushy" as it reaches the topmost
Our Vox uses plastic for the tabs that lock
the visor in place. The visor shuts with a solid feel, but ours is
easily dislodged by pulling on it without pressing the release tab. We
found this problem on the Zox Nevado also.
The release button is located in the back of the chin bar.
It as a lower quality feel than the Zox Nevado.
The clear visor has only 3 notches, and although it seems thick enough, it does exhibit
some flex as it's opened or closed with the left-side mounted tab.
The eye port on the Vox is very small; it's the smallest and
narrowest eye port we've ever experienced, and we think it borders on
dangerous, because it blocks our vision. The problem is compounded by
the way the Vox sits on the head. The lower part of the eye port
formed by the chin bar is almost in our line of sight. See the photos
on our Vox
vs. Zox" intro page for a comparison and I think you'll be able to see
how narrow the Vox eye port really is.
The clear visor fits tightly against the basic eye port
gasket, but the visor has a gap at the helmet shell that looks unsightly.
By the way, the Vox has an internally rotating sun visor.
This feature seems to attract an inordinate amount of attention by some,
becoming a "make it or break it" purchase factor. We haven't found
very many of these internal visors that are worth the weight and complexity.
The Vox's internal visor is treated with a mirror-like finish, but we found
its optical qualities to be poor and the curvature at the bottom of the
visor interferes with vision.
The flip-up visor on the Vox can be pulled open without
using the visor release. This is also a problem on the Zox Nevado, and
is, we think, a serious flaw. If the visor can be easily pulled open,
what might happen in a crash?
tour of the Vox vs. Zox for a demonstration of this serious flaw.
Score: The rotating visor mechanism, its fit, the
clear visor are "Good", but the ease with which the
rotating visor can be lifted without using the release is a problem.
If it weren't for that, we'd probably rate the Vox as "Good", but but the
combination of the narrow eye port and the release problem
drops it to a "Unacceptable", in our opinion. Owners may and
probably will disagree, but everyone's entitled to their own opinion.
The top vents on the Vox operate separately. A piece of plastic acts
as a slider and moves back and forth to cover and uncover each vent.
The plastic seems very flimsy when open; it moves around and can be rotated
back and forth through several degrees. We're not confident that the
vent sliders will last very long.
The vents are covered with a copper-colored mesh, and the
foam liner inside the helmet has holes drilled through it, but we've tried
to locate a path from the outside of the vent down through the holes and
can't find it. Blowing air through the vent with a compressor results
in no air flow that we can feel into the helmet.
The vent holes are also covered by the top section of the
liner. The bottom line is that there doesn't appear to be much air
flowing on to the top of the rider's head. This is confirmed when we
wear the helmet during a ride; there doesn't seem to be much difference
whether the top vents are open or not.
The chin vent is covered by a plastic slider. Air does
seem to flow through the chin vent and up in back of the clear visor.
The chin bar is covered with what we think is a very cheap-looking (and
feeling) plastic molding.
The combination of vents and ports seems to provide little
air flow. But the helmet sits so high on our heads that a lot of air
ends up flowing in from underneath.
Score: Overall, we'll rate the venting as "Poor".
The Vox seems to be slightly noisier than average, probably due to the
poor fit around the bottom, which allows air to flow up underneath.
The top vents seem relatively quiet, especially when closed,
although we do notice some whistling noise across the top of the vents when
the head is moved side-to-side while riding.
Don't forget, we always wear high-quality, correctly inserted
earplugs when we ride -- see the wBWEarplugs and Hearing
Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing ear plugs.
For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW
Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.
Score: We give the Azuma R a "Good" rating for its
Our Vox helmet is a size XL and it weighs 1652 grams (3 lbs., 10-1/4 oz.). This
currently places it as #47 out of 79 helmets we've reviewed, both full-face and
modular, and it places it as #5 out of 21 modular helmets only that we've
See the wBW
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a chart that compares the weights of
all of the helmets we've reviewed, their head shapes and a separate chart
for modular helmet weights.
Even though the Vox is lighter than the Zox Nevado by a
couple of ounces, it somehow feels heavier. Mabye it's due to the
plastic-like feel, and probably the top-heavy balance of the helmet has
something to do with it, but it just feels heavy to us. We were
surprised to learn that it's lighter than the Zox.
Score: We rate the Vox as "Good" for slightly below
average weight (for a modular helmet) and "Poor" for balance.
The Vox helmet uses a D-ring chin strap attachment system. The
chin strap should be long enough to fit most riders and it
can be cinched down nice and tight. There's a snap to attach the loose end
of the chin strap, and a section of webbed material is sewn on to the D-ring
to use as a pull.
The Vox is labeled as DOT-approved for sale in the
We received a notice from Sterling Tek, Inc. of Las Cruces, New Mexico on
August 20, 2009 informing us that the 2006-2007 Vox Model 803 in sizes XL
and XXL is being recalled because they "fail to conform to Federal Motor
Vehicle Safety Standard 218". Apparently, they failed the "Strike
Test". FMVSS 218 is the DOT motorcycle helmet safety standard.
For more information, contact Sterling Tek at 1-877-742-1700.
The narrow eye port and poor balance conspire to make the Vox helmet a
questionable choice, in our opinion. Combined with the
too-easy-to-dislodge rotating visor and what we think is relatively poor quality
of the fittings, it would be hard to recommend the Vox, especially when
there are helmets like the Zox Nevado for about the same price.
wBW Product Review: Vox Helmet
From: Individual retailers
Retail Price: Varies: Can be found from $89.00 to around $99.95
Several solid colors.
||Made In: China
Summary: Claimed to meet DOT safety standards.
For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges
from unacceptable to poor, good, very good, excellent and
Review Date: October 2007
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Well on my way to do so the helmet fell off the back of my
bike and shattered across the road (about 6 pieces), I couldn't help but
wonder, what would my head be like if I were in an accident. Frankly
speaking, I was not impressed and will never buy another VOX again."