The Magnus is available in size 3XL and 4XL only and it has its own special shell design.
New colors for 2012 include Flat Black, Pearl White and Silver with the possible addition of high-visibility yellow.
The AFX Magnus arrived several months ago, along with the other AFX helmets described in our AFX 2011 review series.
The gloss black Magnus shown here is a size 4XL.
That’s too big for anyone I know, so this review will be different from other webBikeWorld motorcycle helmet reviews.
It will describe the helmet only, without the usual riding impressions.
But since the Magnus is basically an AFX FX-90 in a larger shell size, everything that was said in the AFX FX-90 review can be repeated here and, in fact, I’ll borrow generously from that review for this Quick Look.
About once or twice each month, I receive an email from desperate motorcyclists who have been endowed, shall we say, with generously-sized craniums.
Too generous, apparently, because the emails are usually pleas for help in finding a motorcycle helmet that will fit.
The most common motorcycle helmet size range usually runs from XS to XL or perhaps XXL, spanning three shell sizes.
But after that, the choices are severely limited and riders with larger-sized heads quickly run out of options.
There must be a fairly large market — pun intended — for plus-sized helmets in size 3XL and 4XL and I’ve received emails from motorcyclists who say that even a size 4XL helmet is too small.
And don’t forget: besides circumference, the other important factor to consider when searching for that “perfect” motorcycle helmet is the match between the helmet’s internal shape and the rider’s head shape.
It’s difficult enough to find a helmet that fits correctly in the XS to XL range — can you imagine trying to find a “narrow” helmet in, say, size 4XL?
And forget custom-made helmets — it would cost a small (large) fortune and each helmet would have to be tested and homologated to the applicable safety standards.
AFX is one of the few companies who has recognized the need for plus-sized motorcycle helmets and they have created the AFX Magnus helmet series as a response.
The Magnus is based on the popular AFX FX-90 design, but it uses a special shell, available in size XXXL and XXXXL only.
The AFX Magnus shown here is the largest size available — 4XL. We took some photos and a video (below), but since no one I know of has a size 4XL head, a basic description of the Magnus is all we can do.
The Magnus looks and feels identical to the AFX FX-90 we reviewed, so we’ll have to assume that everything we said about the AFX FX-90 goes double (sorry) for the AFX Magnus.
By the way, the Magnus is also available as a snowmobile helmet with an electric face shield visor assembly.
I’m guessing that perhaps the larger head size might work for snowmobilers with smaller sized heads but who wear a hood underneath the helmet? Having never been on a snowmobile, I don’t really know.
The AFX Magnus: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The 2011 Magnus comes in gloss black only, and this one has a beautiful and very glossy finish indeed.
Perhaps it’s because the Magnus has its own shell size or perhaps it’s made in somewhat limited quantities, but the paint on this one has an excellent appearance and it is very nicely polished.
The vent covers and moving parts are identical to the AFX FX-90, although AFX has since changed the chin vent assembly to a more reliable system.
The silver-colored plastic vent parts on this example do have a slightly rough look around some of the edges, and the contrast between the silver and the black paint probably makes this more noticeable than it was on the FX-90.
The popularity of the Magnus means that the 2012 version of the helmet will be available in Pearl White, Silver and Flat Black, along with the Gloss Black shown here.
AFX is trying to convince Parts Unlimited, the exclusive distributor of AFX helmets in the U.S.A., to also stock the Magnus in the high-visibility fluorescent yellow, found on the AFX FX-95 (review) and the AFX FX-90 (review).
The Magnus shown here is a size 4XL (that’s XXXXL) and AFX says it will fit a motorcyclists who wears a size 8-1/4 to 8-3/8 hat size. That equates to a 26.0″ to 26-3/8″, or 66 cm to 67 cm circumference head.
The size 4XL Magnus will fit an 8-1/2 to 8-5/8 hat size, which is a 26-3/4″ to 27-1/8″ (68 cm to 69 cm) head circumference.
I usually take a size large helmet and I have about a 60.5 cm or roughly a 23-1/2″ head with a round shape.
AFX told me that the size 3XL Magnus is the most popular and that even motorcyclists who think they need a larger helmet usually fit the 3XL.
For some reason, the 4XL doesn’t feel as big as I thought it would. It’s definitely way too big for me, but it’s not like my head is completely swimming in it — for example, I can’t turn my head sideways in it or anything like that.
It feels like it has the same “Slight Round” internal shape as the FX-90.
What’s striking about the Magnus is that it doesn’t look that big to me. It just doesn’t look, feel or seem like it is extraordinarily large, and this is good news I think.
More good news is the feel of the Magnus shell. It’s made from a fiberglass/plastic composite rather than the “poly alloy” shell of the AFX FX-90. The Magnus shell feels very stiff and strong — although the FX-90 was notable for its shell stiffness also.
In fact, the strength of the Magnus shell is a bit of a surprise, because I would have assumed a larger helmet with its correspondingly large opening and eye port would have a shell that felt more flexible.
It isn’t; in fact, based on feel alone, the Magnus shell is one of the sturdiest I’ve felt, as you can see in the “squeeze” demonstration shown near the end of the video below.
The reason for the shell strength can probably be traced to the dual homologation for the Magnus — it meets both DOT and ECE safety standards, as do the other AFX helmets in our 2011 review series.
The liner in the Magnus is removable and washable and the fabric feels nice and soft, just like the FX-90, with a texture that is sort of a cross between microfiber and polar fleece.
The liner in the FX-90 was very comfortable, so I’ll have to assume the Magnus would have a similar feel. The liner and cheek pads are made from a hypo-allergenic and anti-microbial material, according to AFX.
The ear pockets of the 4XL Magnus don’t feel as deep as they did on the FX-90. By the way, the Magnus has one shell size to cover both the 3XL and 4XL sizes and the difference is made up in the EPS liner and padding.
The face shield and eye port on the Magnus is identical to the FX-90 in its shape and operation, but it actually has a more precise feel than the shield on the FX-90.
The Magnus face shield has excellent optical qualities and it also measures 2.12 mm thick on this example. It’s claimed to have an anti-scratch coating and it’s UV resistant and it’s labeled for EC use. FX-90 accessory face shields will fit the Magnus, according to AFX.
The face shield rotates through three detents, just like the FX-90. It has a lift tab on the lower left and although the detents are a bit soft, the Magnus face shield seals tightly against the eye port gasket.
We ran the “leak down” water intrusion test across the top of the face shield and the shield has a tight seal with no water leakage.
The gasket fully surrounds the eye port and, in fact, the face shield seal feels tighter on the Magnus than it did on the FX-90, perhaps due to the use of fiberglass for the shell.
The Magnus face shield has the same removal mechanism found on the FX-90 and it works well. This is illustrated in the video below.
Since we did not ride with the Magnus, we can only assume that the ventilation and air flow is similar to the AFX FX-90, repeated here:
Upper and lower ventilation is handled differently on the FX-90 than it is on the AFX FX-95 (review).
The FX-90 has two separate vents on top with sliding covers, compared to the single slider used in the FX-95.
The FX-90 has a basic on/off chin vent, but it has vent ports that flow air directly through the chin bar; a rare feature on a helmet at this price — and unfortunately too often not even available on helmets costing much more!
In fact, I think the venting system on the FX-90 — both the top and chin vents — are more effective than the vents installed on the FX-95.
The top vent covers and the chin vent assembly on the FX-90 don’t feel quite as solid as the vents on the FX-95, but they work without problems.
The top vents are actually fairly effective and provide slightly better than average air flow. They move the air through a pair of direct holes through the EPS and then through some mesh in the head liner and on to the rider’s head.
The chin vent works very well and better than average, definitely a surprise — and a pleasant one at that!
The chin curtain helps to focus the air and the helmet — at least in the size large — has a nice and roomy chin area that feels comfortable.
The FX-90 does not have exhaust vents in the upper rear, only a pair of small vents located at the lower portion of the helmet in back.
It’s not clear if they actually do anything, and the vents along the side of the chin bar seem to push air in between the shell and the EPS, which isn’t really felt by the rider. But, it’s possible that this system helps pull air through the helmet.
Overall, the combined upper and lower ventilation on the FX-90 is better than average; again something surprising in a low-cost helmet.
AFX Magnus Noise Levels
The AFX Magnus noise levels are assumed to be similar to the FX-90, repeated here:
The FX-90 is average in its ability to control noise levels.
The top vents can whistle slightly at certain angles, while the bottom of the helmet seems prone to the louder “booming” low-frequency noises caused by turbulence coming off a windscreen.
This may be due to the size of this helmet; the size large is at the smaller end of the larger shell/EPS liner combination, so the gap at the bottom of the helmet may be wider than average, allowing some of the noises to come through.
We did notice similar noise levels on the FX-95, however. It’s not annoying, just average.
By coincidence, I wore a Suomy Spec 1R Extreme (review) helmet back-to-back with the FX-90 and the difference in the lower sound levels around the bottom of the Suomy was noticeable.
I’m assuming the Suomy has a tighter-fitting shell in size large that probably seals the lower part of the helmet more tightly around the lower part of my head.
Note that the rider’s head shape and helmet fit can definitely contribute to variances in perceived noise levels, as can factors such as the type of windscreen or fairing, motorcycle, wind conditions and even the clothing that the rider is wearing.
Overall, I’d rate the FX-9- as about average in its ability to control noise volume.
Note that our helmet evaluations are a combined effort of several riders over time on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBWEarplug Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual.
Note also that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the weights are available on the wBWMotorcycle Helmet Weights page, along with a chart that lists the helmets by weight and shape on the wBWMotorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
The Magnus has a European-style “quick release” chin strap buckle with what seems like a meter-long chin strap. The chin strap on the FX-90 seemed longer than average and the Magnus is no different.
AFX offers a “lifetime” warranty on their helmets, including the Magnus.
The expected life of the helmet is 5 years, so in effect, this is a 5-year warranty, which is outstanding for a helmet in this price range.
The helmet is labeled as meeting both DOT and the ECE 22.05 safety standard (more). AFX said that they “keep parts for every model we have ever sold for 10 years.
After our distributor stops stocking parts in the 5th year, the replacement parts are offered at no charge for dealers and consumers”.
The company also offers a “no questions asked accident replacement policy, if you have an accident with any AFX helmet and return the helmet to our office, you may choose any current AFX helmet as a no charge replacement.
We used these survivor helmets at shows and schools to educate the benefits of helmet safety.”
Over the last 14 years they have replaced more than 70 helmets — and it’s interesting to note that AFX said 90% of those were dark colors.
* Estimated ratings in the Opinionator tables were taken from the AFX FX-90 on which the Magnus is based.
The AFX FX-Magnus is surprisingly light weight and it it nicely proportioned, so it doesn’t look at all unusual.
The low price makes it a bargain and, for motorcyclists who can’t fit in an XXL or smaller helmet, the Magnus is a lifesaver in more ways than one.
From “J.E.” (April 2012): “I’m new to riding and I’ve had one heck of a time finding a helmet to fit my head.
To start off with, I’m a fitted cap size 8 when my hair is short but I have dreads now and that adds a lot to the size of your head (they put me at about 69cm).
First I tried the Vega Altura 5xl (the only difference between the 4xl and the 5xl is the removable padding…one color only, black).
My round-oval head fit into it well but I found myself pretty much kissing the chin bar while the plastic nose covering was touching my skin (really annoying).
I’ll give Vega this though, the people in their US home office are extremely nice and helpful.
After some uncomfortable rides, I threw the Vega in the closet and picked up the AFX Magnus 4XL (same measurements as the Vega 5XL).
I found it to be a bit more round than round-oval when it came to fitment but there was more room at the chin bar so that was a bonus.
The build quality is what you’d expect for a $100 helmet. The visor flexes a lot so until you have the detunes broken in it can be a bit annoying to open and close.
Another point on the face shield, I found it next to impossible to remove even though I used the same process as shown in the wBW review video. I’ve only been able to get one side off and that was so sketchy that I didn’t even try getting the other side undone.
The top vents feel pretty flimsy but they flow air and never gave me any problems. The front vent though, I don’t believe they have that fixed quite yet (I have one of their white 2012 models).
Mine will close but if you lightly brush against it or get going at highway speeds it opens right up and it’s only getting worse (and that’s just two months of use).
It’s been good for short trips but on long rides the lack of a little more oval shaped has caused a really bad hot spot on my forehead. This helmet too has found a final resting place in my closet.
I’m now sporting the HJC CL-Max 2 5XL and while I don’t feel as safe as I did in a full face, I’m a 100% more comfortable with the little extra room (about 1 cm I believe) and the build quality of the visor/vents/liner is much higher.
I can also remove all the decals (unlike the Vega/AFX) which is a big bonus for me.
I’ll be sticking with the HJC until I find a 5XL full face that fits me well.
The Altura, the Magnus and the CL-Max 2 are the largest helmets I’ve been able to find on the market today.
If you have a huge head, I’d suggest trying all three on before you make a final choice (or you could end up with a couple extra helmets in your closet like me).”
From “S.K.” (October 2011): “Finally, a helmet that might fit a few of us “pumpkinheads.”
Just like in the clothing industry, it takes a long time to get the motorcycle accessories manufacturers to realize that the other half of riders (in my area, it seems like the majority) are not all sizes S,M,L,XL.
A lot of us are 2XL-5XL and get very little product availability.
I had to order a custom vest, custom chaps, and actually found a few 4XL jackets (my shirts are 2-3XL, but jackets are cut differently).
My 2XL helmet is very tight, but it was the most comfortable I could find locally. Thanks for an honest review, even if you have a regular head!”