The Nexx XR2 sits between the popular Nexx XR1R and the top-of-the-line Nexx X.T1 helmet in the 2014 product line.
The XR2 updates the XR1R to bring it into the mainstream and it’s a definite improvement from the first XR1R we reviewed back in 2009, a revolutionary helmet that wasn’t without a few quirks.
Based on the XR1R’s aerodynamic and lightweight shell, the XR2 is a new design that works very nicely as an all-around street/sport motorcycle helmet.
No worries about quirks with the XR2 and the helmet is available in a either a full carbon fiber or a tri-composite shell type.
The liner and padding is new and it’s comfortable, removable and adjustable and the cheek pads have emergency release tabs.
The chin strap padding is noteworthy also as the best in the business.
It’s thick, wide, extra-long and as comfortable as they come. Other helmet manufacturers (that’s you, Arai) and their “Cheap Charlie” chin strap padding design should take notes.
The ventilation in the XR2 is good and the vent hardware feels solid. The helmet also continues the Nexx tradition of outstanding visibility, with a wide and tall eye port that is a real safety factor.
The XR2 is also very quiet and the “Carbon Pure” full carbon fiber version detailed in this review is a featherweight 1365 grams for the size XL. The low weight makes a noticeable difference and the “slicing through the air” aerodynamic feel helps keep noise levels low.
The price is a bit stiff, however, with standard versions (carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass) like the “Torpedo” graphics shown below going for $469.00 (1455 grams in size large) and the Pure Carbon (all carbon fiber) versions listing for $599.00.
Nexx XR2 Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The XR2 is available in several colors and patterns but the most important distinction is between the “Carbon Pure” version and the tri-composite shell versions.
Both are high-tech and both are very lightweight. And both are very nicely finished with a high level of quality. The paint and finish on both are excellent with a nice-feeling clearcoat.
Although I have to say, I’m not a big fan of the overplayed “Nexx” logo that appears too many times on both (but especially on the Torpedo graphics with the tri-composite version).
But that’s a matter of taste I suppose and in all other regards, the finish is excellent and the carbon fiber showing through on the Carbon Pure version is a real show-stopper. Carbon fiber fabrication has come a long way in the last 10 years or so.
The vents and moving hardware also work well and have a solid operating feel. The chin vent snaps open and closed, as do the top vents, although the little nubs that work the latter are on the small side.
The liner and padding in the XR2 feels comfortable and thicker than previous Nexx helmets, so that’s a plus also and the chin strap gets special mention because it’s wide, thick and extra-long and it does a great job at preventing the chin strap from chafing under the neck.
There are no quality issues with either of these XR2 helmets but there is a design issue that I can fault, and that’s with the face shield removal system.
The original XR1R design was weird — the only worf for it — and the XR2 design is much better but it’s still, shall we say, different.
It has a separate part — a lever that has to be twisted and removed to get to the face shield — which means there’s a chance you can lose the removable part while you’re trying to mess with the face shield change, so don’t try an on-the-road face shield change and you should be OK.
But, I’d rather see a self-contained face shield removal system similar to the nice system used on HJC, Shoei, etc.
Score: Overall, I’ll rate the Nexx XR2 as “Outstanding” for paint and quality and the carbon fiber is beautifully done on the Carbon Pure version. See the Summary Table at the end of this page for a description of our rating system.
Nexx XR2 Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Liner
The XR2 comes in two shell sizes. The European Nexx website lists the small shell as fitting the XS to L head size and the large shell fitting the XL to 3XL sizes.
The size XL (Carbon Pure version shown in the photos) fits correct for a size XL should and the internal shape feels very similar to the current Shoei helmets, which is what we call a “Slight Narrow”.
The XR2 in size XL is comfortable and it’s also plenty big; it’s definitely a full-sized XL or maybe even an “XL-and-a-half”, not a “cheater” XL like some XL sizes are today. This does mean that it’s slightly too big for me, especially in the forehead, where there’s plenty of extra room.
But it works and Nexx provides some extra padding that can be used to customize the fit, to a certain extent.
The XR2 in size L (in the Torpedo graphics) uses the small shell size and that makes a big difference in the way the helmet fits. In fact, the XR2’s smaller shell is unusually small compared to other size large helmets.
This causes a problem (for me, anyway). I can’t even get the smaller shell size L over my head, because the shell is just too small and narrow at the bottom, and I normally fit a size L in most helmets.
Nexx said that there is a demand for a smaller shell size for head sizes L and below and this is why they made the shell more proportional.
I think that Nexx has tried to span the head size range farther than it should be for this helmet. The small XXS or even XS size all the way up to 3XL using only the two shell sizes may be too much of a reach.
Perhaps they should have made the smaller shell fit an S to L and the larger shell an XL to 2XL, or the smaller shell fit an XS to M and the larger shell an L to 2XL or similar. This might have made the smaller shell more of a reasonable proportion for a size L head.
Unless our XR2 in size L is a labeling mistake and maybe it’s really an M, S or XS (but I don’t think so), I’d say you would need about a 58 cm head max to fit it and if you normally take a size large and you’re towards the upper end of the size range, the size L in the XR2 small shell may not fit.
But it may work for M heads on the borderline of L.
So the bottom line is that the difference between the two shell sizes is very dramatic, which is unusual. Otherwise, the size XL feels good and it’s comfortable and Nexx has kept the best parts of the XR1R, including the excellent aerodynamics, and improved it further.
The addition of the hard plastic spoiler in the rear does seem to help and the XR2 feels like it slices through the air as I’m riding.
The light weight of the helmet in the carbon fiber version also adds to this feeling and the light weight really does make a difference in comfort, especially for long hauls.
Score: I’ll give the XR2 an “Outstanding” for fit an comfort, although there is a big difference between the two shell sizes as noted above.
Face Shield, Eye Port and Visibility
Nexx helmets have always been known for excellent visibility and the XR2 continues that tradition. The horizontal view out the eye port is huge and I don’t see any of the helmet shell in my peripheral vision.
The vertical view is very good also.
The original XR1R face shield and its rotating and locking mechanism were a bit crude but improved slightly on the second generation of that helmet.
But the XR2 face shield system is more “normal” or mainstream, with excellent outward visibility through the eye port, good optical quality and it’s also recessed for a Pinlock anti-fog insert (review).
The face shield also includes Pinlock terminals on the inside in the recess, with external tear-off posts on the outside, but the tear-offs are included and available as accessories.
Adding tear-off posts is a bit of a gimmick, because the face shield doesn’t lock so the XR2 isn’t really a serious race helmet.
There are four or five slightly vague detents as the face shield is raised but no first small defogging position, although a light touch when closing the face shield will leave a tiny bit of an opening for some air.
The one quirk still remaining with the XR2 has to do with the face shield removal system. A removable plastic lever holds it in place and this is not an optimal solution because it’s too easy to lose the part and then you’re toast.
Nexx should either use a removal system like the one found on their European X.T1 helmet or beg, borrow, license or steal another good removal system from some other manufacturer.
That’s because any face shield system that uses removable parts just seems out of place on a helmet that has a list price in the range of $469.00 to $600.00 like the XR2.
On the other hand, if you don’t remove the face shield, you’ll probably never notice the removable part and in all other respects, the system works well.
UPDATE: I asked Nexx about the face shield removal system. They said that the removal system is called “Fastshot” and this is version 2. It includes a new safety lock that holds the visor so that is it very difficult to remove.
The idea was so that the new visor would not come off automatically; it is designed to hold it in a locked position on the removal mechanism so that even if the pieces come off (as in an accident), the visor will remain locked.
Score: I’ll give the XR2 an “Outstanding” for above average outward visibility and the sealing performance of the face shield with a “Very Good” for the removal mechanism.
Individual top vents on the Nexx XR2.
Chin vent has a nice operating feel and flows a lot of air.
Ventilation and Air Flow
The chin vent on the XR2 works well and it has a solid snap-open and closed feel, although it does take a little practice to find the small lift tabs when you’re riding and wearing gloves.
The air flows into the helmet along the top of the chin bar and helps to defog the back of the face shield.
The helmet also has a built-in chin curtain and a spoiler along the front at the bottom of the chin bar, both of which seem to help channel or focus the air coming through the chin vent.
The top vents operate independently, opening with tiny slider tabs on the top. The tabs are pretty easy to find once you’ve used them a couple of times and muscle memory takes over.
The top vents work to bring air into the helmet when the head is tilted slightly forward on an unfaired bike, but the air flow tends to weaken when the rider is sitting upright.
We also noticed that when riding behind a windscreen, even if the air is directed towards the top of the helmet, the ventilation doesn’t seem as strong as it is when riding a motorcycle without a fairing.
I’m not sure why this is.
The exhaust vent out the back probably helps pull air through the helmet and it’s small and thin but feels substantial. It’s good to see an exhaust system because some new helmets recently don’t have one, which is not a good trend.
Overall the ventilation system in the XR2 performs better than average in most riding conditions.
Score: I’ll give the XR2 ventilation system a score of “Outstanding”.
Nexx XR2 Sound Levels
The XR2 is quieter than average, in my opinion. The aerodynamics must be helping here, although it’s nigh near impossible to tell what, if any, impact the aero shape has on noise control.
The combination of the fairly comfortable liner and padding and the overall build quality just seem to work together to control noise levels. This is most noticeable when riding an unfaired bike, where the XR2 is nice and quiet (relatively speaking).
There’s no noise from the top vents or chin vent; Nexx said the channeling system in the EPS was designed to keep the air flow away from the ears and apparently that works. The ear pockets are also right-sized, which gives a better seal around the ears, which also helps.
Overall, I’d rate the XR2 as quieter than average but note that the helmet shell and internal shape has to match your head shape for optimal performance.
Score: I’ll give the XR2 an “Excellent” for slightly better than average noise levels and ability to control noise.
Nexx helmets have always been known for light weight and the XR2 is no exception. In fact, the size XL Carbon Pure is the lightest size XL full-face helmet we’ve ever reviewed, at 1365 grams (3 lbs. 1/8 oz.).
That’s pretty amazing and the reduction in weight makes a real difference when you’re on the bike and that alone has to be worth an extra $100.00 to $150.00 or so.
The tri-composite (carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass) XR2 Tornado in size large is remarkable also; it weighs in at 1455 grams (3 lbs. 3-3/8 oz.), so both are excellent results.
From “M.A.” (December 2015): “This a great review and is very detailed and honest. I completely agree with how the review was written and how the review expressed the strengths and weaknesses of the NEXX XR2 helmet.”