November 23, 2011 – Roof Helmets may be one of the least known motorcycle manufacturers in the world.
The French company has had quite an impact on motorcycle helmet design, however, with products like the ahead-of-its-time Roof Boxer (review).
The Boxer’s unique design, which allows the chin bar to be rotated all the way to the rear, was a first in the industry.
The helmet is designed to wear with the rotating chin bar all the way back or with it down in the full locked position.
And here’s another first: the original Roof Boxer was, as far as I know, the only flip-up helmet to pass the Snell testing regime. We reported on this several years ago after my “sworn to secrecy” pledge expired.
Roof had been planning to enter the U.S. market and, just for grins, they had the Boxer tested at an approved Snell lab. It passed, and I have a copy of the final report to prove it.
Unfortunately, Roof never did make it to the U.S. — probably a good thing, because smaller may be better in their case. For a variety of reasons, entering the U.S. market is a huge task with the potential to break a company that doesn’t have deep, deep pockets.
Roof is still soldiering along, and the Boxer is now in something like its 4th generation. It’s available in a wider range of styles and some even have real vents!
I was aware of this helmet and I had some photos of it but I never handled one. Roof had a Bamboo on display at the EICMA 2011 show and yes — the shell is indeed made from real, live bamboo!
Apparently, bamboo has some sort of unique properties (but we all knew that, right?) that allow it to function as a motorcycle helmet shell. The helmet does, of course, pass all of the ECE 22.05 tests and it’s legal for sale and for use in Europe.
It looks great and, well, natural! It also feels very light, although it’s difficult to know how light, as the “Mini Jet” style doesn’t weigh much to begin with.
Roof currently makes variations of the Boxer, along with riffs on the Mini Jet style, an open-face helmet and variations on the very nice Roof R010 (review) and the Roof Rover (review) we reviewed several years ago also. Here are some photos and a quick video from the show.