It’s not for everyone and while its looks may be polarizing, it is a popular helmet with webBikeWorld readers and many owners throughout the world.
It’s hard to believe that the Roof Boxer was first unleashed on the world way back in 1995.
The design was as radical as they come at that time and, well, it’s still pretty radical today.
There are several other dual-homologated helmets that have been developed since then, but there is still nothing like the Roof Boxer.
It’s absolutely unique — no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Roof makes no excuses — the company is also unique, and proud of it. A good example of Roof quirkiness is the Roof Bamboo (report)! That’s right — a helmet made out of bamboo!
Surely the Roof Boxer isn’t for everyone. But if you’re willing to take the chance — and if the helmet fits your head shape — you will definitely be in for an adventure!
The V8 improves on the original Boxer in a couple of important ways, but it retains the same shell design, fully rotating flip-up visor, dual homologation and the tight internal fit of the original…which is either good or bad, depending upon your outlook.
The original Boxer had no air vents — a major problem. The Boxer V added chin vents and a top vent, which helped.
The Boxer V8 is nearly identical to the Boxer V, but it has improved ventilation and the V8 adds locking side snaps to hold the rotating flip-up visor in place.
So let’s take a closer look at the Boxer V8.
But before you do, note that you’ll have to pretty much suspend your normal motorcycle helmet evaluation criteria to consider the Roof Boxer line of helmets, because they are so different than anything else available.
The Roof Boxer V8: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The paint and graphics on the Boxer helmets we’ve seen has always been pretty good, but the “Grafic” color pattern on this V8 is exceptional.
You can probably tell by the photos, but the semi-matte finish and the bold black, red/orange and gray colors look great.
The paint is very nicely applied without a single flaw that we can detect. The Boxer family of helmets comes in so many different colors that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but the “Grafic” design shown here, in red/orange/black, is definitely our choice (the Grafic pattern also comes in white/black/gray).
There’s not much to the Boxer V8 in terms of moving parts; indeed, the design probably owes its long life to simplicity.
All of the parts work well, with the exception of the top vent, which seemed very balky at first but somehow got smoother over time, after about 20 openings and closings or so.
The top vent switch and “doors” for the front and rear vents do seem a bit weak, but no more so that many other helmets we’ve reviewed.
Otherwise, the helmet is pretty solid feeling overall and better than we remember from our original Boxer or the Boxer V, which are long gone from the webBikeWorld inventory.
The rotating flip-up visor on the Boxer V8 is a manual device with no springs or front latch system, which adds to the sturdy feel of the helmet shell. But, the release mechanism is unusual, to say the least.
We’ll describe it in more detail in the next sections, but suffice it to say here that the system does lock the rotating flip-up visor firmly closed, which is better than both the original Boxer and the Boxer V.
Otherwise, the moving parts, face shield and overall quality on the Boxer V8 is very good to excellent when compared to other flip-up helmets we’ve reviewed. But again, we think the paint and graphics on this Boxer V8 “Grafic” are outstanding.
Score: We give the Roof Boxer V8 an “Excellent” rating for paint and build quality. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.
Roof Boxer V8 Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Liner
We’ve worn the Roof Boxer, Boxer V and Boxer V8 in L and XL sizes. The internal shape hasn’t changed much over the years since the original Boxer, but it has changed.
The Boxer V8 seems to have the most “normal” internal shape of the Boxer family, with what we’d call a neutral to slightly narrow internal shape. But the configuration of the helmet shell also allows it to work pretty well on slightly round head shapes too.
The only difference to be aware of is the sizing, which tends to run small.
This size large Boxer V8 is said to fit a 60 cm head, but we think 59 to 59.5 cm would be about perfect, unless your head shape tends towards slightly narrow.
Anything over 60 cm though may want to go for the size XL, which is said to fit a 61 cm head.
The liner of the original Boxer and the Boxer V was made from cotton, an unusual but comfortable fabric for a motorcycle helmet lining.
The lining in the Boxer V8 is removable and it feels like the lining in the originals, but there is no information on the Roof website to describe the fabric type.
The helmet is lightly padded but the fabric is very soft and comfortable, which helps.
The helmet shell is as minimalist as they come, and the Boxer V8 is definitely the helmet for anyone concerned about the “fish bowl” look of a too-big helmet.
The minimal shell size and thin internal padding make the Boxer V8 feel much more like an open-face, 3/4-length or even a Jet or half helmet, rather than a classic flip-up. Again, this is either a pro or a con, depending on your outlook and needs.
The Boxer internal shape has always been less forgiving than other helmets, so if your head shape doesn’t match the internal fit, there just isn’t as much freedom of movement inside to get it right.
The opposite of this would be the Shoei Neotec (review), which is so thickly padded that it will accommodate a very wide variety of head shapes, usually without problems.
The Boxer V8 does seem a bit more neutral and forgiving than the original Boxer, however, even though the shell design and shape has changed very little over time.
The Boxer V8 ear pockets are slightly small, but we were able to speakers from a variety of intercom systems without a problem.
Also, the standard intercom helmet shell clamps fit very easily on the Boxer V8 and standard Boxer helmet shells, making this an ideal flip-up for intercom use.
A boom mic is best though, so you can use it when the flip-up visor of the Boxer V8 is rotated all the way back to open-face mode.
Note that one of the biggest (smallest) differences and/or disadvantages of the Roof Boxer V8 (and other Boxer variants) is the very short internal front-to-back distance of the helmet shell, due to the minimalist design.
If you have a “normal” head shape, you’ll probably find that there is very little or no room inside of the chin bar and your chin will be touching the back of it.
This is much different than most flip-up helmets, so be aware that when you close and lock the chin bar on the Boxer V8, there may be very little air space between your chin and the chin bar.
It’s a tight fit, which is another reason why the internal shape is much less forgiving than other helmets.
Score: We’ll give the Roof Boxer V8 a “Very Good” rating for fit and internal shape, although it’s not as forgiving as some helmets and the padding is thin.
Roof Boxer V8 Rotating Flip-up Visor
There are very few moving parts to break or fail on the Boxer V8 (e.g., visor buttons, latches and lift tabs), which is one of the reasons why some world travelers have chosen the helmet for long-term adventure riding.
The flip-up visor locking mechanism employed on this helmet is definitely different than any other motorcycle helmet sold today. It is surely the most quirky aspect of owning a Boxer V8.
The rotating flip-up visor has no springs or latches — at least nothing like any other flip-up helmet we’ve seen. The V8 variant has two locking tabs, one on either side of the helmet, which hold and lock the rotating flip-up visor in place.
To release the tabs, press upwards on the red spring-loaded bar and pull outwards. The metal snap disengages from the metal post on the helmet shell and the flip-up visor can be rotated back to any position.
It’s held by friction and it can be rotated all the way to the rear of the helmet, where the helmet can be worn in the “Jet” or open-face configuration.
This procedure is illustrated in the video below. It takes a few tries to get a feel for where the tabs line up with the posts on the helmet, but once you do, it’s very easy to close and lock the rotating visor.
Also, pushing up on the tabs to release the lock is pretty much done in one movement.
But the tabs seem to do a very good job at holding the rotating visor in the locked position. We could not pull the visor loose once the tabs are closed and locked, even after trying a lot of force.
So although the system looks very different and may not seem to hold the visor in place, it seems to be very effective.
In fact, it may actually work better than the systems used on many flip-up helmets, which use cheap and flimsy screws on plastic posts that can easily break (see our HJC Sy-Max II helmet latch failure report as an example).
And the Boxer and Boxer V8 are dual homologated, so they are ECE approved in Europe for riding as both a full-face (with the visor rotated down and locked) or “Jet” open-face (with the visor rotated all the way back)
The slightly tinted clear face shield is also a manual operation and holds in any position with a friction fit. It can be lowered for use as a face shield when the Boxer V8 is being worn in the Jet configuration.
The face shield has a sharp metal post at the top, which hasn’t changed since the original Boxer, and is used to raise or lower the face shield by hand.
The instructions call for lowering the rotating flip-up visor first, then lowering the face shield in place afterwards.
When closing the face shield over a closed flip-up visor, the last few millimeters adds a lot of resistance.
But this allows the face shield to be left open slightly for defogging, although the air that comes in streams right on the rider’s nose. So only a tiny amount of opening is needed.
The face shield on our helmet measures 1.99 mm, about 0.02 to 0.04 thinner than average.
Several optional tinted face shields are available, in mirrored and other tints. The rotating flip-up visor must be removed with an aluminum screw to replace the face shield on the Boxer V8.
Visibility is about average in the Boxer V8.
The minimal shell design keeps the shell closer to the rider’s face which allows slightly better outward visibility than would otherwise be the case if the inside of the shell had more padding, keeping it farther from the rider’s face.
Score: We’ll give the Roof Boxer V8 a “Very Good” rating in this category for the face shield and eye port design.
The original Boxer had no ventilation at all — no top vents and no chin vents. This was a definite disadvantage and the Boxer V improved on that by adding a dual chin vent and top vent channel.
The Boxer V8 ventilation system is very similar to the system used on the Boxer V.
There are four small slots on either side of the chin bar that are always open, but which point towards the rear, so they don’t do much other than to relieve internal pressure.
The chin bar on the Boxer V8 includes vents on either side that can be opened and which actually provide a good amount of air flow (see photo above).
The helmet has no chin curtain though, so a lot of air flows up from underneath, although the tight fit of the chin bar prevents some of this.
The top venting system is a Venturi channel. The slider opens the front and rear vents simultaneously.
The slider was very balky on our helmet at first, but after several rides and about 20 back-and-forth movements of the slider, it seemed to loosen up and the vents work more smoothly.
The front and rear vents don’t open very wide, however, and the helmet liner blocks most of the air from flowing directly on to the rider’s head.
But the system definitely is much better than the original Boxer and probably not all that much different from the average flip-up motorcycle helmet.
Score: The Roof Boxer V8 ventilation system gets a “Very Good” rating, with average ventilation top and bottom.
Roof Boxer V8 Sound Levels
Like the Boxer V, the minimal shell design of the Boxer V8 give the helmet more of an open-face quality when it comes to controlling noise levels, so the Boxer V8 is slightly louder than the average flip-up.
The minimal shell shape also means that there may be more turbulence around the bottom of the helmet than with other designs, but this is a tradeoff for the utility of the Boxer dual-homologated design.
Of course, when the flip-up visor is rotated all the way back, the Boxer V8 transmits about the same amount of noise as any other open-face, 3/4-length style helmet.
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.
Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit, the type of motorcycle and windscreen, wind speed and direction and even the rider’s clothing.
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.
Score: The Roof Boxer V8 gets an “Excellent” rating for low weight with good balance.
The Boxer V8 has a small “microlock” chin strap retainer that gives a secure feel. The padding is minimal, feeling more like an open-face helmet than a typical flip-up.
The helmet meets the ECE 22-05 safety standard only and Roof helmets are sold in Europe only.
webBikeWorld Overall Opinionator: Roof Boxer V8
Definitely unique styling.
Very nice range of colors and graphics.
Excellent paint quality.
Comfortable liner fabric.
Advantages of the dual homologation.
Sturdy shell feel with minimal moving parts.
Minimal shell design (which is also a plus, depending on your point of view).
Short front-to-back internal distance.
Internal shape and padding means the helmet is less forgiving for some head shapes.
The Roof Boxer V8 revels in its differences. It may not be a helmet for everyone and you may like it or not, but the basic design has been on sale for coming on a decade and it has proven to be very popular with motorcycle riders around the world.
The only real issue with the Boxer V8 is the internal shape and fit, which, due to the design and the minimal padding is less forgiving for some head shapes. So as always, make sure you try before you buy.
But if it does fit, the Boxer V8 is a sturdy, utilitarian helmet that can be worn in either the closed or open position. This fact, and the minimal number of springs, buttons and moving parts, makes the Boxer a favorite of many adventure riders.
Note that this Boxer V8 was sent to us by Boxer Helmets.com in Italy, who discounts Roof helmets and ships worldwide. We have no other interest, financial or otherwise, in this retailer.
From “P.J.” (August 2012): “This is the first time I’ve sent a review into wBW but I’ve made use of your helmet reviews for many years so thanks for the good work!
I’ve owned a Roof Boxer V8 for over a year now, riding probably about 5000 miles wearing it.
I bought it because I wanted a helmet that could convert fully from full to open faced, unlike a more tradition flip up helmet that leaves its chin bar sticking straight up like a sail (my previous flip was a Lazer Revolution).
The Roof however fitted perfectly so while accepting it represented more of a compromise for everyday use compared to the Evoline, went ahead and bought it.
Overall I’ve been very impressed with it. It’s great around town and looks (to me anyway) amazing both in open and full face modes but it isn’t a perfect helmet for all weather conditions.
Just cruising around, I’d say up to 50-odd mph (on a faired bike) the large helicopter pilot style visor does a good job of keeping wind out of your eyes and swiveling the chin bar quickly converts it into a secure feeling full face lid for faster riding than that.
The chin bar locking clips took a bit of getting used to but now I can open and close them with my left hand easily enough even in winter gloves.
It’s not as convenient to do as other flip up helmets with a single button but I now find them easy enough to flip up when I’m approaching town and lock down again when I head for the open road.
I use a dark visor with it most of the time, in preference to the clear (very lightly tinted) visor that came as standard.
The visor is secured with screws (can be changed using a coin) and obviously this isn’t as convenient as the more common quick release mechanisms used by most other helmets these days (Shoei for example).
Venting is ok to keep you cool in hot weather (fat chance of that here in Scotland!) but (and here is the main negative point of this helmet) does little to keep the visor clear of misting at low speeds or in wet or cold weather.
This is mainly due to the sharp curve of the visor preventing any airflow over much of its inside surface. Low speeds you get away with by flipping up the chinbar to provide all the air you could want.
Not a good option however at high speeds in driving rain.
The only way around this is to open the visor a crack to allow more air in, which means letting in a strong blast of air and water.
Any significant distance in heavy rain wearing this helmet becomes a bit of a challenge, trading off comfort for some limited amount of visibility.
I live in Scotland and ride all year round and for the reason of visor misting alone, the Roof has become my fair weather helmet and I’ve bought a cheap full face helmet (by LS2) with Pinlock (review) to see me through the all too common rainy days… it was less than 1/3 of the price of the Boxer.
Noise-wise I find the helmet a bit noisier than average despite its good fit but I almost always wear earplugs so this isn’t a big concern to me.
The only other thing I’d say is if you carry a pillion regularly, be aware that when the chinbar is flipped fully open it extends your helmet backwards further than usual.
This increases the chance of your passenger headbutting the back of your helmet with theirs if they aren’t paying attention on those long rides.”
From “R.S.” (April 2012): “As with the Boxer V (I purchased your review helmet), the design could use a little padding on the inside center, opposite the chin, and have the chin bar release accomplished with only one hand.
However, it may be purposeful in design for the release to involve the two locking tabs, possibly a safety feature of being able to only release when stopped.”