ROOF Boxer Helmet Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Unique style and features, no doubt about it.
Flip-up chin guard rotates to the back of the helmet to effectively convert it to an open-face.
Chin guard rotates forward over the visor.
Two manual snaps are used to secure the chin guard to the helmet shell.
Visor has infinite opening adjustments. No vents!
The hallmark of the ROOF brand is the unique blend of form and function designed into every helmet. ROOF Owner and General Manager, Claude Morin, would have it no other way, and he's always at work on one project or another to revolutionize the motorcycle helmet industry.
Claude is an engineer and a helmet designer, but he's also an avid rider, so he has plenty of ideas about how helmets should work. Since the ROOF comes from the same land where the CitroŽn DS was born, you just know it's going to be a little bit different.
I don't think there would be much of an argument if I said that the ROOF Boxer is probably the world's most unique motorcycle helmet. The Boxer has been around for several years, and its proponents are zealots who usually rave about the helmet's features rather than its unique style.
We'll get to the Boxer's feature set in just a minute, but first, let's consider the look. In a world of copycat helmet design, the Boxer definitely stands out from the crowd. Its a cross between jet fighter pilot and Starship Trooper and its visage becomes even more menacing with a tinted visor.
But the Boxer's uniqueness is also polarizing; people are either captivated by it or they can't quite figure it out.
Many motorcyclists will proudly go to great lengths to find something unique and exciting. Sometimes it's about style, sometimes it's about obtaining functionality that can't be found anywhere else. The problem is that style and function seem to be mutually exclusive. Part of the Boxer's appeal is that it has found that elusive nexus.
Motorcycle helmets with flip-up chin guards have been available for quite some time, but their designers seem to be stuck in a rut. There's really not much excitement in this market, which is remarkable, considering the increasing popularity of the design.
New full-face helmet models pop up about once a month, but flip-up designs seem to go on forever without change. There really isn't much to distinguish one from another; even the colors are drab. When's the last time you saw a flip-up helmet with race-replica graphics?
The Boxer brings a couple of fresh ideas to the party. Flip open the Boxer's chin guard, and its eccentric cam gearing mechanism allows it to rotate up over the visor and through about 180 degrees, all the way to the back of the helmet. This gives the Boxer a two-for-one purpose by allowing it to morph into an open-face helmet that can be used when riding.
The cool part is that the visor is independent of the chin guard, so it stays in place as the chin guard rotates. This is completely different than all other flip-up helmets (at least the ones that we're familiar with), where the visor is always located on the outside of the chin guard, and the chin guard can't (or shouldn't) be open when riding.
The visor can also be rotated up about 80 degrees, so that it sits up on top of the helmet. Both the chin guard and the visor have an infinite range of adjustment; friction is used to hold them in place rather than the typical detents found on most other helmet visors.
The procedure for putting on the Boxer is to first lower the visor, then lower the chin guard down over the visor. When the helmet is new, it's difficult to completely close the visor if the chin guard has been lowered first because of the tightness of the seal, but this loosens up after a few rides.
The chin guard is made from fiber epoxy resin, and the Boxer's shell is made of "tri-alloy" fiberglass. Aluminum is used for the rotating mechanism and the screws on each side that must be removed to change the visor or adjust the tightness of the rotating action.
The chin guard is fastened to the helmet shell by two snaps, one on either side. They can be a bit fussy to use, because the chin guard has to be firmly closed and tight against the shell for the snaps to line up, but the snaps can block the chin guard from closing all the way.
We found the best procedure is to pull outwards on the tabs below the snaps and slam the chin guard closed. This helps prevent the female snap half on the chin guard from interfering with the male snap on the shell. It's hard to tell when the chin snaps are correctly fastened; about the only way to be sure is to hear and feel the loud "click" as they connect.
The Boxer also shares an affliction that seems to be common among flip-up helmets for some reason. The internal distance from the back of the helmet to the inside of the chin bar is a bit short for my head.
I often have a similar problem with flip-up helmets; I'm not sure why flip-up helmets in particular are made shorter than full-face helmets. My chin touches the inside of the chin bar on the Boxer, and the pressure against my face becomes uncomfortable after an hour or so of riding.
The visor can be hard to open or close once the chin guard is down, partly due to the tightness of the seal when the helmet is new but also because of the size of the adjustment tab.
The visor has a very small (~1 cm) metal button located on the top center edge that's used to raise or lower it into the desired position. It's too small to grasp with a thumb and forefinger and it's a bit difficult to find it with gloved hands.
Since there are no air vents on the Boxer, I've taken to leaving the visor cracked open just a touch, leaving about a 5mm opening at the peak of the lower edge of the visor, just in front of my nose.
This lets in enough air to help prevent some of the fogging that can be a problem with the Boxer. The Boxer is a great candidate for a treatment of FogTech anti-fog coating, which can help prevent most (or all) visor fogging problems on any helmet visor.
The Boxer is about average for flip-up helmets in buffeting and wind noise. It's louder than it should be because the visor needs to be cracked open nearly all the time.
When the visor is completely closed, the Boxer seems to have about the same noise levels as most other flip-up helmets. The Boxer's weight is also about average for flip-ups, weighing in on the webBikeWorld scales at 1558g (3lbs., 7oz.).
The Boxer has a comfortable cotton liner, and the internal shape is apparently designed for round shaped heads. The size large Boxer seems to run a bit large when compared to other size large helmets we've tried.
Combined with the round head shape, you may find that you can take one size smaller in a Boxer than you might expect.
The helmet seems to fit lower on my head than others; I can see the top of the face opening in my peripheral vision much more so than other helmets. ROOF offers the Boxer in sizes from XS to XL.
Many owners swear by their Boxer and love its features. If you need the ability to combine the functionality of a full-face helmet with the freedom of an open-face, this is about the only game in town. The Boxer meets the tough ECE 22-05 safety standard, and it definitely feels more substantial and solid than probably all of the flip-up helmets we've tried.
It would be nice if it had a chin vent so the helmet could be worn with the visor completely closed, but it's not the first helmet we've used where an open visor is a necessity. If you're a fan of the styling, you probably won't mind some of the quirkiness. After all, quirks are what make it stand out from the crowd!
|wBW Review: ROOF Boxer Helmet|
|Manufacturer: ROOF Helmets||List Price (2003): £215.00|
|Colors: Yellow (shown), Blue, Silver, Red, Gloss Black, Matte Black.||Made In: France|
|Sizes: XS to XL|
|Review Date: 2003|
Comments on this helmet are available on the wBW ROOF Owners' Comments Page