From “M.H.”, reporting on the new ROOF Boxer V: “This will be a series of reviews, because as we all know, impressions are sometimes dismissed over time.
I presently ride BMW K1200R and prior to this bike, all my bikes were cruisers. I ride about 15,000 to 25,000 miles a year.
All my helmets were skullcaps or something real similar. After purchasing the K1200R I purchased a Caberg Justissimo flip-up. I was very pleased with this helmet, but wanted the ROOF Boxer. But it got such horrible reviews for fogging up and the latch breaking that I chose not to purchase it at that time.
As soon as I realized the new Boxer V was released, I had to have it. Now after owning the helmet now four days, it certainly is one of the most comfortable helmets I have ever worn. The venting on it appears to be very, very good — almost too good! The side nostril vents, cannot be closed and you can feel the breeze easily coming through the helmet. I tried to tape them up, and the helmet did fog up. I have become used to the breeze that comes through from the always open vents so it does not bother me any more. The helmet is still one of the most comfortable helmets I’ve ever worn, even after or during a long ride.
What I did not realize is that there are two vents on each side of the nostril, just below the visor, that can be opened up as well, if needed. This looked like just a design item, but they are functional. Even though there seems to be air flowing through the helmet in the winter I am still comfortably warm wearing it.
It isn’t clear to me how to release the latches that hold the chin bar in place. You push up on the red tab, and this opens up the snap, which then allows the snap to release. It’s probably because it is new, but this seems a bit difficult to operate, mainly when locking/closing the chin bar.
I am comparing the Boxer to the Caberg Justissimo, which is more of a flip helmet than the Boxer. The Boxer is more like a full-face helmet that happens to allow the chin bar to move out of the way, so that it is easier to put on and remove.
My explanation for this is based on the following: When at a traffic light wearing the Caberg, I would flip open the helmet for comfort, breathing or just to wipe my face. But you can not easily flip up the visor on the Boxer. It typically takes two hands, releasing the tabs on each side of the chin bar. When doing a quick ride around town, I typically only fasten down one side, allowing for the chin bar to be raised if desired.
Visibility from the Boxer is exceptional, and maneuverability, looking from side to side is also very well designed. I’m able to move my head without getting my shoulder with the chin bar.
One item that is missing on the Boxer is a metal loop tied in to the chin strap to allow all for securing the helmet. Not sure if this is intentional or a design mishap, but it is missing. Both the Caberg and the Roof have the same quick release chinstrap, but the Caberg has this loop to allow it to be secured to a bike lock.
With the Boxer, I had to buy plastic coated cable says that it will loop through the chin bar to secure the helmet to the bike. I don’t care for this, because the visor cannot be totally shut with this cable passing through the chin bar. So if it happens to rain, moisture could get in the helmet, for I have my helmet sitting flat on the rear seat with the helmet lock.
Noise level wearing this helmet is exceptionally good compared to the Caberg. Funny thing is, I can hear the bike’s engine well, but I don’t hear a lot of wind noise. This was a surprise to me, was not expecting this kind of performance. The helmet is also much lighter than I expected.”
From “H.S.”: “I bought the Boxer about a month ago. It’s a really good helmet. I absolutely love the way it feels. It’s so comfortable, it’s amazing. The foam is so soft, I love it!
Of course the helmet rides wonderfully with the chin bar flipped back, it’s awesome. I bought the tinted visor and don’t have to wear sunglasses inside, it’s great. I’ve with the dark visor at night but I usually in the dark I keep it up and wear goggles. The helmet looks amazing everybody knows all that stuff.
What this helmet lacks in is the stupid buckles for the chin bar. I cannot believe that on such an expensive helmet with so much time spent in design they opted for button buckles to lock the chin bar. I read that during a recent accident the boxer’s chin bar opened up after first impact and I totally believe that it’ll happen every time. These buckles suck!! On top of it I need both hands to close them. I need to find the perfect placement and align them just right so they will close and usually I use both hands, something that makes it annoying when I’m just entering the freeway. I’m a city rider, grew up riding bikes in Europe and I’m far from the occasional weekend rider. I need my helmet to be modular and require great performance in every aspect. I love the roof but the buckles crap is a serious flaw. I just hope the change them for a better locking mechanism.”
From “O.K.”: “I live in Ireland and I’m one of those “all year around” riders. After a lot of research I got myself a “Boxer” and after one month of riding all I could do is to try to save somebody a great deal of distress by sending this letter to you and hoping that you’ll print it somewhere.First thing to know about “Boxer” – it’s not a lid for a fast – long – serious riding. No vents means zero visibility at cold day (especially night) or rain. Move visor up a bit – the wind blows into your eyes. So, you have a misty visor or eyes full of tears. Plastic straps to lock the chin guard – useless. Very difficult to align, break easily and then you have two options – to buy a new chin guard which is expensive, or to ride without straps which is unsafe.
To close/open the chin guard you’ll have to stop, take your gloves off and use your BOTH hands. Try to do it while riding – you’ll crash – too fiddly, it’ll take all your concentration away – to try to align the snappers and so on.
The option is – not to lock it, then you can flip it back using one hand while riding. The closing mechanism (the buckle) is pressing against the Adam apple, (unless you have a very thin and long neck). You could leave the lid unlocked, then you’ll not choke, but again, it’s unsafe.
All of that for 350 euros …..!!! If you potter around the town in a sunny day, trying to impress somebody – that’s the lid for you. Otherwise, I suggest you stick with the classics.”
From “K.S.”: “Hi Rick, I’ve been wearing my Roof Boxer for a couple weeks now, and have a few comments and photos to share with your other readers. It deserves to be said again — the styling of this helmet is fantastic, and is greatly complemented by a dark or iridium visor. The iridium goggle-shaped visor, with its vertical rainbow, is just awesome – I’ve included photos with it, and with a clear visor plus tinted window film.
I get a lot of looks when I spin the chin piece all the way to the rear to have a sip of water at the red light, or pop into the convenience store for something (flip-ups are new to this market anyway). However, this swings a significant amount of the helmet’s already hefty weight to the rear, which makes it feel ungainly, and the shape becomes very non-aerodynamic, so I although it feels ok to ride with it open briefly, don’t expect to really ride with it much or at speed as an open-face.
I tend to leave it open in the alleys before getting out to the main road, and find it easy to reach back and spin it closed with my left hand, then snap each side shut in turn, as long as the snaps to lock the chin guard in place line up. But they often don’t line up, because of the play inherent in the final position of the chin guard. I would say I have trouble lining them up about 1/3 of the time, although I think I’m finally getting the hang of which direction to push, to coax them into engaging.
I also worry that they will pop open if the chin guard takes a direct hit in an accident, leaving the face exposed to a second hit (e.g., if rolling), as with another reviewer here, “D.B.”; but as a low-speed commute rider, such a multiple-hit accident is unlikely, which is why I went for it even after reading his story. I do think Roof should redesign this, replacing the snaps with some other closure mechanism. Note that the quick-closure mechanism for the chin strap appears quite rugged, being metal, and it is much more convenient than double-D rings.
The infinite range of visor positions is superb, as I like to get just the right amount of air. (It’s hot and humid here in subtropical Taiwan, so riding with the visor closed is generally unbearable, except in the dead of winter.) On the Boxer, when the visor is first cracked open, because of the goggle-like shape of the visor, the opening first appears as a triangle at the nose, which lets the air in right where it is needed — nice, although a bit odd-looking. However, this can let bugs in, more so than a vent with a screen, so I must say I wish Roof had put good vents in the chin piece; there’s plenty of room for them.
Staying with mechanics a moment, the aluminum pivots and screws on the Boxer are excellent! I’m tired of the cheap, crappy plastic ones on Taiwanese helmets (and on the Roof Bumper), which eventually break. It is very easy to change the shield using just a coin, and I must say, I prefer this to the supposedly “quick”-change systems on my other helmets; I’ve never found the need to change a visor while on my bike, and wouldn’t be carrying a spare anyway.
So I’d rather have an easy to use, durable screw-based system like the Roof Boxer’s than a fussy, fragile one like my Arai’s, which I’m afraid to use. I’ve included a photo showing how to remove the visor; after unscrewing and removing the chin guard, you just peel off the flexible vinyl base of the visor from its pivot point.
As for fit, I found the shape of the Boxer to be much too round for my abnormally long oval head, but since this is true of all helmets, I had no choice but to take a hot wire cutter (Tippi) with a shapeable blade, and scoop just a little of the EPS foam out of the forehead and back until I could wear it. Now it is very comfy. (Editor’s note: modifications of motorcycle helmet liners are not recommended for reasons of safety).
The visor and chin guard are a bit closer to my face than in other helmets, and I have a relatively small nose and face, so to those Westerners with projecting chins or noses, you’re out of luck. I believe this is a problem inherent to the perfectly spherical shape of the Roof, which is what allows its chin guard to rotate to the rear. I think the Roof will fit the average Asian extremely well, given their rounder heads and less 3-D faces.
Due to the fact that the velvet liner of the chin piece slides with some friction over the visor surface, I worry that this will put more wear on the visor (especially on the finish of an iridium) than normal; and if a bit of dirt or grit gets in there, it will probably scratch badly.
So instead of closing the visor before the chin piece, I am doing the opposite, which minimizes this rubbing, but results (intentionally) in a poor seal, meaning more air flow. Fine for the tropics, but riders in cold or rain beware. You will at least need to keep the helmet clean, e.g., using a helmet bag, to avoid this.
Despite leaving the visor cracked open, I have not had any problems with it flipping open at speed when I turn my head (something that has happened with my KBC Racer). However, during monsoonal and typhoon rains, I’ll have to leave it closed, and then the lack of vents will probably be a big problem. I may have to cut new vents and reinforce them with Kevlar, which is not too difficult to do. (Definitely not recommended! – Editor)
The Boxer is a bit loud, partly due to the lack of a chin skirt, and even more so because the visor simply has to be left partly ajar for air; Roof really should add vents and a skirt to solve these. It’s also a tad heavy, but acceptable. To end on a bright note, the fit and finish are superb, and the hot candy-red is a real eye-opener (I chose it for safety, since my bike and clothes are black).
Overall, it’s one of my favorites in my collection, and I do highly recommend it for anyone going for fair-weather, low-speed rides, especially city commuters. But due to the possible safety problem with the snap mechanism, I wouldn’t race or ride at highway speeds in one, personally.
wBW Visitor “M.Y.” reports on his purchase of a ROOF
Roadster helmet: “Hi Rick: I’ve been using the Roof Helmet for a few weeks now – here’s the opinion:The Roof Roadster has to be one of the coolest looking helmets on the planet – a bit of Top Gun meets Starship Troopers stuff (in a retro sort of way). I ordered mine in Matt Black and that was just what I received.
Much to my surprise it was lighter than expected and the fiberglass shell seemed to have more flex in it than any other helmet I’ve owned. Was it “cheap feeling” or simply “different” – I still am not sure.
The Good: The helmet fit just fine, the visor was nicely done and worked very well in the bright sun. I felt comfortable and “protected” but not claustrophobic. The “quick release” strap was indeed a quick release system and a single button was all that was needed to free myself (a wonderful thing if your hands are frozen or have gone numb from a buzzy bike).
The Bad (?): I noticed was that the visor came down right on my nose – being more of a Cyrano de Bergerac than a Michael Jackson, this was not the ideal situation. I also found that the “close in position” of the visor made me feel like my nose, mouth were totally unprotected (of course they were, why should I have been surprised?) – in fact the visor felt more like a pair of sunglasses.
Some people like that “face in wind” feeling – I do too, but not at speeds over 40 mph, so on the highway I needed a bandana to keep bugs, dirt and other things out of my nose and mouth (no problem really).
On The Road: No bad at all. Helmet stays in place, visor remains in whatever position I put it in and I feel just fine! I wave to Alien Craft as well as F-16’s and find that I am well received by both. No point discussing wind noise on an open faced helmet.
Final results – 7 out of 10. I’d bought an FM Monterey Helmet at the same time and I must say that when it is time to ride, I go for the FM.”
FromVisitor “JDV”: Roof Helmets: First time I saw a Roof helmet was in 92-93 in France. I have now owned one since ’96 (phone order them straight from France). I will not buy any other helmet. I’ll spare you the “cool looking spiel”. Its functionality beats any other helmet, period: I’ve owned Shark open100, Nolan n100, Shoei DuoTech (all open faced) and none is nearly comparable to the Roof. Here is a little comparison between all of them – 1-10 scale, 10 being best:
Roof has revised its “Boxer” line (including the Roadster), Boxer being the original design: fewer glued pieces, more integrity to the foam. I’ve owned 5 different Boxers over the years (currently have 2) and (in the past) I did notice some manufacturing inconsistencies. As far as homologations (approvals), and this is strictly my 2 cents: screw DOT. Look for Snell or ECE 22.05 (European norms are the toughest standards on the earth).”
“P.H.” Writes: “I have been a fan of Roof ever since the Diversion hit the streets. The Diversion served me well through 3 years or so, being used everyday for commuting plus holidays etc.Just before Christmas I decided to change it and looked at the Boxer. I was completely taken by it’s looks especially the “Star” with it’s terrific black & silver paint job. I parted with £245.00 and walked out of the shop a very happy man.
Next day I put on the helmet and started off to work, the outside temperature was around 6 degrees and damp. It was then that realisation dawned that I had made a big mistake. After 100 yards I was struggling to see through the misted up visor, I pushed the visor up a fraction and received a blast of cold air right into my eyes. As my daily commute involves going through London traffic, I can ill afford to have distractions let alone restricted vision. I went out & bought a Diversion and will keep the Boxer for the summer.
Why isn’t the visor anti mist coated like the Diversion which is brilliant.
Boxer buyers be warned. Also they come up slightly larger than their hard fronted brothers !!
“M.W.” writes: “I read with interest the comments about Roof Boxer helmets and I’ll add my own. Flip up #1 was an HJC, very comfortable for my oval head but after two falls from the seat of my Bandit several small half circle plastic bits fell out and that was the end of the chin bar lock down. Flip up #2 was a Nolan 100e, which was fine and had a good metal to metal pin lock down.
Flip up #3 was the ROOF Boxer, always looking for better but three weeks into our affair the plastic snap strap broke off at the flex joint, three months later the other was gone. These companies must be able to do better!! I’m back in the Nolan 100e and believe it is the best around but I’m about to go back to a full face.”
“K.R.” writes: “Just my 2 cents worth to add to your online reviews of the Roof Boxer helmet. I’ve got this helmet in silver, and another full facer. Personally, I think the Boxer is the most convenient of all helmets made. It’s much more like an open faced when you flip the mouth guard around the back vs. one of the more standard flip-ups.
And it takes seconds to turn it into a full facer again. My other full facer (Nolan) has vents and fogs up much less, but other than that, the Roof is the superior helmet in every way. It’s light, cool looking and functional in a way no other helmet can touch. Hope that helps.”
wBW Visitor “D.B.” crashed whilst wearing his Roof Boxer helmet and copied webBikeWorld with these comments which he also sent to the authorities in the U.K. (see the Roof response below):
“Sorry, but I feel so strongly enough about a potential risk with a particular motorcycle helmet design, through my own personal experience and narrow escape, that I must raise awareness of a possible design problem.I feel very strongly that the ‘approved’ helmet design exposed me to necessary risk. So strongly in fact that I must try and contact the right ‘authorities’ to complain about this potential safety risk as I perceive the safety design is flawed and it could well affect others, now and in the future.
I purchased a new Roof Boxer ‘flip-up’ helmet last year because of its looks, style, strength etc. etc. etc. and having researched quite a bit on ‘the net’ before buying one – I overlooked one important factor – full face protection! Having looked back at the selection process I relied on 2 important points/assumptions; a. if it is sold in the UK then it must be approved by MH Gov, somewhere b. the claims of safety by the manufacturer
I recently had an accident, a rolling low side which dropped me face down onto the road and then rolled me and resulted in the helmet contacting the road 4 or 5 times and obviously the Roof Boxer took a few hits at the front, side and back. Basically it did its job, thankfully, but more through good luck than adequate, inherent safety design.
What really concerns me is that the first hit on the chin piece and visor caused the chin piece to lift up and had I taken a second hit on the face instead of being rolled and hit at the side and rear of the helmet, well, you can imagine what would have happened had my jaw/lower face hit the road directly!
So, just in case any others get attracted to this very stylish helmet that looks the part, but in my recent experience, does not deliver safety first (and last), I have written to the above addresses in the hope of;
1. getting an explanation how, what I now feel is an ‘unsafe’ helmet design, is allowed on the UK market where others are likely to be swayed to select this type of ‘fashionable’ helmet.
2. what safety standards’ tests are done to ‘flip-up’ helmets in particular that could allow this situation to arise in the first place.
3. raise awareness in case others are exposed to similar circumstances but potentially with more disastrous outcomes than mine.
4. if there are no standards or tests, then there should be and, helmets that do not pass these UK tests should not even be allowed to be manufactured/imported, let alone sold, thereby reducing the temptation at source point.
The design flaw I think is in the 2 side straps that hold the ‘flip-up’ front in the down position of this specific helmet. They seem inadequate when the front piece takes a hit ‘on the chin’ causing them to flex and then pop open and thereby allow motion and friction at contact to do the rest. When I looked at the helmet afterwards I felt sick to think that my face could have been so easily exposed during the accident. I thought I had automatically bought an ‘approved’ safety design and so concentrated on practical and fashion features – big mistake.
I feel so concerned that the ‘star-wars’ design totally clouded my judgment of the actual safety of the helmet, which, after all said, is it’s only real purpose, that I believe strongly enough that ‘flip-up’ helmets like this should have special/additional safety tests to ensure that the rider is adequately protected above all else, including the obvious appeal of the Roof Boxer helmet style and looks.
When I ride my bike I have a whole load of emotional passengers with me – wife, kids, family, friends, colleagues, job responsibilities, financial commitments etc. etc. and even though I thought I had purchased a suitable, ‘approved’, safe helmet, somewhere in the safety testing/approval process I feel let down and that me and my ‘passengers’ were all exposed to unnecessary additional risk.
Looking back on the whole experience it just makes me wonder if the whole concept of ‘flip-up’ helmets is flawed under certain, but common, accident conditions and hopefully it will make you all also think about checking/improving ‘flip-up’ helmet safety standards and in particular, the consequences of allowing such designs onto the UK marketplace.”
Sorry to hear about your crash, “D.B.”; glad to find that you came through with minor injuries. webBikeWorld has been a strong proponent of safety testing for flip-up helmets. In the U.S.A., the voluntary Snell Memorial Foundation hasn’t responded to any of our emails asking about when they will let riders know if these types of helmets are more or less safe than open face helmets (some of which are Snell approved).
Snell claims that they will test a flip-up when a manufacturer sends them one, but why not test one or more nowand give us some idea of the value of these helmets? Alternatively, how about coming up with a standardized test for flip-up helmets?
UPDATE: We received this response to D.B.’s comments from Mark Oldroyd, the importer and distributor of Roof helmets in the UK. Mike wrote: “I welcome all reviews good and bad, this way we learn much about the different experiences of motorcyclists in many different situations. I myself both ride on the road and race on circuits in the UK. I am glad that the Roof Boxer reduced the injuries that DB would have suffered in his unfortunate accident, but I would like to point out and clarify some of the points he has raised.
Firstly that the helmet is tested to the European Standard of ECE 22-05, this standard is the only standard agreed by the United Nations. It replaced the old European Standards and included all the best elements of the old British Standard (BSI type A). The highest UK standards, further to this the helmet has recently been tested by the largest motorcycle publication in the UK, Motorcycle News. The magazine had BSI test all available helmets, in these tests the Roof Boxer Scored exactly the same as the Arai Quantum and was classed in the highest group of protection even though it was a flip front helmet…”.
“I am sorry that DB seems unhappy with his helmet and what he considers its performance, but both myself and the designer of the helmet are both motorcyclists and have both worn Boxers throughout, I have still found it to be unbeatable piece of design and function and would welcome any further testing against any competition. I would say that for Racing, I use the Award winning Roof Diversion (Full Face), as its qualities for in noise reduction and safety are of an even higher standard than the Boxer. I remain at your disposal for any questions you may have and look forward to any further points of view.