The Echo Quick Release helmet buckle is easy to install and use.
It’s an inexpensive and very effective alternative to fumbling around with the usual D-ring helmet retention system.
Some motorcyclists like the tried and true double D-rings and strap for securing a helmet onto one’s noggin.
This arrangement is simple, secure and effective.
But I consider them a nuisance and I often find that I’ve managed to get a twist in the strap as I’m passing it through the D rings.
Several years ago I happened across a device called the Echo Quick Release buckle for motorcycle helmets and have been a big fan of them ever since.
Echo Quick Release
The Echo Quick Release buckle was first developed in 1987 by a person named Bob Wright, who had an aerospace background.
The product has been improved over the years and it is currently manufactured in Tennessee in the United States.
Do not confuse these clips with those plastic pretend buckles that you find on the novelty “brain buckets” that some uninformed riders wear merely to satisfy the local helmet law. Those fasteners, along with that type of helmet, are fragile and dangerous.
Made from interlocking tempered steel components with a surrounding body of high impact nylon, the Echo Quick Release buckle can be fitted to just about any kind of helmet with a chin strap up to 1 inch in width without modifications to any part of the helmet or strap.
If you’re wondering whether the Echo Quick Release will perform well enough, according to the Echo products site, the Echo Quick Release exceeded the testing standards of DOT MVSS 218, Snell (M2005), along with a standard for police helmets, called N.I.J. 0104.02.
As you can see from the photo below, the connection that locks the two parts together is a direct metal-to-metal contact. The fact that it exceeds the testing standards is sufficient assurance for me that it will keep a helmet securely attached.
Installation is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a “snap” and is accomplished in only a minute or two.
First; the part vaguely resembling a horseshoe is passed through the loop that holds the two D-rings and is then pressed into the nylon housing until it audibly clicks into place.
Second; the chin strap is looped through the part Echo refers to as the arrow.
This can be done either with the arrow inserted into its companion part or loose. It is important that the strap is looped through in the proper direction otherwise it will be really difficult to adjust the strap.
That’s it, you’re done!
Fastening the Echo Quick Release Buckle
With the helmet on your melon, merely insert the “arrow” into the mating part until it clicks.
The strap can then be pulled to the desired tension and the sliding bar will hold the strap from loosening.
Any loose chin strap can either be tucked into the helmet or secured with the usual snap, if your helmet strap end has one.
Removal requires only the two “ears” on the outer housing be pressed in to disengage the two parts. Both the fastening and releasing can be done even while wearing riding gloves. Try doing that with the double D-ring arrangement!
Besides Black, the Echo Quick Release buckle is also available in Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, White and even Pink!
From “J.K.” (March 2017): “I’ve had one of these for about 10 years now. It’s moved from helmet to helmet and is much easier than the D-rings for me.
Needle-nosed pliers can be used to squeeze the metal latch far enough to remove it from the housing so it can be taken off a helmet without cutting things.
I ride year around in all weather. I lived in Connecticut for most of the time I’ve used this buckle and have had no real problems with it.
There were times when it actually froze together on a few winter rides but it never rusted or failed in any way.
It is true that it can go together a bit crooked and feel latched and then be difficult to open. I’ve done as others have and latch it with at least one ungloved hand so I can feel to make sure it’s done correctly.
That’s normally not a problem with me as I always put my gloves on last anyway.
My kids have all used them and it’s much easier for them than the D-rings, plus I know it’s adjusted correctly every time.
For those who are having trouble with it being too tight to latch without pinching, you can loosen it very easily before putting your helmet on your head.
Latch it loose then tug on the free end of your strap to tighten it up. Even with that extra step it’s still much quicker for me than the D-rings.”
From “G.M.” (October 2014): “This product has a design flaw. The part that clips in is so small that it is very difficult to engage to secure the strap. Try to do this with gloves, forget it! Large hands, ouch! Add some cold weather and yer finished.
I had so much difficulty that it didn’t last more than one ride.
I cut it off (which you have to do to get it off once you install it since the inner metal to metal parts engage) and went back to the stock rings. Very disappointed, don’t these guys test their products!!”
From “R.W.” (June 2013): “I have tried this product for a year and hate it. I cannot get it fastened without looking in a mirror and I cannot get it unfastened. My husband has to do it for me with great difficulty and he is as strong as an ox.
I am claustrophobic so I want my helmet off without me panicking.”
From “R.B.” (April 2011): “I own an Arai XD3. The Echo Quick Release won’t attach as stated to my XD3.
There simply isn’t enough space inside the loop to pass the horseshoe through it and then turn the horseshoe so that it faces outward. The loop is too tight a fit.
I am sorry I ever bought an XD3 because the strap that holds the D ring is too short and this makes it an annoying struggle to buckle up.”
From “S.W.” (March 2010): “In response to the quick release being impossible to remove once installed; pair of needle nose pliers and some light encouragement of the clip and it came off in seconds. Here is a link to the instructions.”
From “S.M.” (September 2009): “I have had these on my last 2 Helmets. What a great time saver. I had have no issues with fit, staining, rust , or being uncomfortable to wear. The only issue I have run into is that you can half attach it if not paying attention.
I think one of the clip ears goes in and the second ends up outside of the plastic body. When you do this it is pretty noticeable. I am ordering up a third one for my newest helmet.”
From “J.L.L.” (June 2009): “I see some people have complained about the lack of positive feel when closing this buckle.
My issue was pinching my chubby jowls in the buckle when clicking it together.
I find that if I squeeze the release levers (the two “ears” on the outer housing that are pressed in to disengage the two parts) when closing the buckle it doesn’t pinch my neck when the buckle “clicks” (because it doesn’t click while the levers are squeezed).
Without this resistance it is easy to push the buckle together and then just release to lock it. I hope this tip will be helpful for anyone who has some trouble locking the buckle correctly. It works well for me.
Thanks for your great website. I’m constantly finding your info very useful and interesting.”
From “B.M.” (May 2009): “I bought one but it did not fit the D-rings on my Arai Quantum II helmet. There was not enough room in there to slide the metal through!
I would love to use such a product, but the Arai QII is seemingly not amenable to it. Does anyone know if the other brands fit?”
Editor’s Reply: See the note from R.B.S. below.
From “R.B.S.” (May 2009): “I’ve tried several helmet buckles, including the Echo Quick Release buckle. Of those that I have tried, I liked the Echo least of all.
When used on a full coverage helmet, it was very difficult to buckle by feel alone. The release mechanism isn’t comfortable to use either, and the long side of the buckle was annoying against my face.
The helmet buckle that I have liked the best is called Fast Hook, from Plus Two. It can be found at a number of stores online for $7 or $8.
The Fast Hook has a longer, more substantial tongue than the Echo, to engage the body of the buckle, making it much easier to buckle by feel alone.
It is also easier to unbuckle. But it still fastens securely. It is a joy to use, which I could never say about the Echo product.
I know that a lot of riders don’t like, or don’t trust, helmet buckles, but it is really nice to be able to put my helmet on and have the strap fit perfectly every time with no adjustment.
I think that anything that makes putting on a helmet less of a chore, and to fit more comfortably, is likely to encourage motorcyclists to wear their helmets more often.“
From “P.N.” (May 2009): “Either you guys don’t sweat very much or don’t ride in the rain. I do both. I bought one of these three years ago and used it on my Arai XD. The metal parts rusted.
Stained the helmet strap with rust (Rust stains under my chin too but easily removed with a swipe of my hand). Ended up removing the buckle with a hacksaw. I’ll stick to D rings thank you.”
Editor’s Reply: Just for the record, the author of the Echo Quick Release article rides approximately 20,000 miles per year, has 100,000 mile certificates from BMW and commutes year-round approximately 100 miles per day in a variety of weather conditions.
From “Ray” (May 2009): “I purchased three of these a year ago to put on each of my helmets. I installed one set on one helmet to try it out before installing the others.
Although it installed easily and worked well when it was finally latched, I found it very difficult to actually latch it. Without looking in a mirror it was very difficult to get the two pieces lined up correctly. It took much longer than fastening the usual D-Rings. I
f the latches had been the same larger size that I have found on other pieces of gear it might have been easier to do.
I decided to remove the Echo Quick-release from the helmet and found that it was impossible to remove without destroying it. I had to use a Dremel tool to cut through the metal piece. I took the other two sets back for a refund.”
From “T.V.” (May 2009): “A little over a year ago, I was thrown forward during a panic stop and face-planted on pavement at 45mph. The aftermath graces Wikipedia’s “Motorcycle helmet” page, showing a chin bar after absorbing frontal impact.
That full-face Shoei RF-1000 had an Echo Quick Release on it at the time of the crash. It held perfectly during impact, yet still released easily to remove my helmet afterwards. For me it worked as advertised.
I can note one critical caveat: It is possible to latch the Echo Quick Release at an angle, where it feels “mostly” latched but really is not. The non-bendable solid latch can half-catch unexpectedly on the plastic hood.
In this condition, it feels slightly unstable, and it also becomes hard to unlatch; this may compromise the safety of the product.
After noticing this odd state, I only fastened the Echo Quick Release when at least one of my hands was ungloved, so I could feel that the latch was squarely attached rather than at an angle. Releasing it with full-finger gloves on was not a problem, however.”
From “L.W.M.” (May 2009): “I bought one of these last year. You should be aware that if the strap with the D-rings cannot be adjusted for length on your helmet, or the strap doesn’t have any padding, there could be a comfort problem.
It’s with the corners of the black plastic buckle pinching your skin where it sits under your chin or along your jaw line.
Mine was OK while I was wearing a balaclava in colder weather, but once it warmed up, I had to take it off.”
From “M.S.” (May 2009): “Just be careful when connecting the metal portion to the plastic side; if you don’t insert the two half correctly, it can be a bear to take it apart. Aside from that if works just fine.”