The new Scorpion EXO-700 “Neon” motorcycle helmet was announced one month ago, in October of 2008. The original press release from Scorpion is included below.
Scorpion recently sent us a production Neon so we could take a closer look, and this is our report.
Why all the coverage on the EXO-700, a helmet that we first reviewed way back in December of 2004? Well, it’s all about the color…
We’ve been promoting the use of bright and highly visible colors for motorcycle clothing and accessories since the very beginning of webBikeWorld in 1999.
Motorcyclists need all the visibility they can get, whether it’s from lighting, clothing, reflective stickers and decals or helmets, and many of our reviews and articles explicitly or implicitly address this issue.
Wearing a brightly colored helmet is one of the best things a motorcycle rider can do to increase visibility because the helmet is the highest visible point on the combined motorcycle and rider unit.
A brilliantly colored helmet can make a real difference.
Next time you’re out and about, look for motorcycles and you’ll probably notice that the riders wearing brightly colored helmets usually catch your eye long before those wearing black or dark colored helmets.
Fortunately, there are many more helmet color choices in 2008 than there were nearly 10 years ago, and the new Scorpion EXO-700 Neon is definitely the brightest, most eye-popping color we’ve seen.
We want to publicly thank and congratulate Scorpion for making the EXO-700 in this Neon color and we hope it’s just the beginning of a new color revolution!
Let’s hope also that other manufacturers will take up the challenge — there can never be too many exciting, brilliant and safe motorcycle helmet colors .
For example, there are many interesting patterns that can be created with retro-reflective materials (and we have a very interesting example of that coming soon); paints and — how about this — even electro-luminescent helmet shells?
In the meantime, the Scorpion EXO-700 Neon features a blazing lime-green-yellow paint that honestly looks like it glows just when you need it most — dark morning and evening twilight commutes. These are the conditions where the lime-green-yellow safety color really pops.
Now I don’t profess to be an expert statistician or color theorist, but some casual searching for topics involving safe colors or most visible colors for motorcycle helmets will bring up a variety of studies and research.
In the U.S., one of the most cited studies regarding the most noticeable colors for vehicles is the Solomon and King “Influence of Color on Fire Vehicle Accidents” paper, published in the Spring 1995 edition of the Journal of Safety Research.
This study helped establish the trend towards lime yellow fire trucks (Influence of Color on Fire Vehicle Accidents. Authors: Solomon S.S. King J.G.. Source: Journal of Safety Research, Volume 26, Number 1, Spring 1995).
Another study, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (of the U.S. Department of Transportation) states, in part:
“It is noted that the color red, used for fire fighting equipment, is one of the least visible of vehicle colors. Optometrists note that, for its high visibility, lime yellow should be used by fire and rescue teams, as well as favored by trucks and car buyers.
Lime yellow falls in the middle of the color spectrum (Schuman 1991).” Shuman M, Traditional Red Colors Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, April 1991;2: 22-24.”
Some of the studies I have found, such as the “Motorcycle Rider Conspicuity and Crash Related Injury: Case-Control Study” in the BMJ (BMJ, ex British Medical Journal), published in January of 2004, seem to indicate that black is the worst possible color in terms of visibility (i.e., wearers are involved in more crashes), while yellow and white are the most visible.
Silver is also apparently not a good color under many real-world conditions, because it tends to blend in with the background colors of the road surface.
To illustrate the visibility of the Scorpion EXO-700 Neon, we took some photos in low light conditions, comparing the red EXO-700 with the EXO-700 Neon.
Although this type of photography is extremely difficult, and the camera does not capture the light spectrum the same way the human eye sees it, the difference in the Neon’s appearance and how much more of the helmet is visible are readily apparent:
Unretouched photos of the Scorpion EXO-700 Neon (L) vs. Red. ISO 400, f5.6 at 1 second with diffused light from a single window.
Our experience indicates that the lime-green-yellow color used on the Scorpion EXO-700 Neon is definitely more visible than any other helmet color I’ve seen or that we’ve compared it to.
We’ve tried orange, plain yellow, red and white helmets in comparison and the Neon appears to almost have a self-induced glow.
At noon on a sunny day, with light “temperatures” around 5500K, most colors tend to become washed out, and this is probably the only time that the “Neon” lime-green-yellow color doesn’t “pop” as well it does during the rest of the day.
In addition to dawn and dusk, the Neon color really works well on cloudy days or in fog or rain. This is when you need the utmost in visibility on a motorcycle, and after wearing the Neon helmet in those conditions, it feels both foolish and unsafe to wear anything else.
Now all this would be moot if the Scorpion EXO-700 was a helmet that no one wanted to wear. But it has been one of the biggest sellers in the Scorpion inventory — which, by the way, has expanded tremendously since the EXO-series was first released back in 2004.
Since the EXO-700 was first released, Scorpion created the EXO-1000 (review) and the EXO-400 (review), one of the best deals for a high-quality helmet in all of motorcycling.
And Scorpion has also recently released a complete line of motorcycle clothing — in fact, we’re in the process of reviewing the new Scorpion XDR “Commander” 3/4-length jacket, and we’ll have that report coming soon.
We had a few nits to pick on the EXO-700 back in 2004, but all credit to Scorpion — they’ve made incremental improvements on this helmet and all their other products, and the quality of this EXO-700 Neon is flawless.
New vs. Old: 2009 Scorpion EXO-700 vs. 2004 edition.
Pretty much everything we said about the red EXO-700 we reviewed in 2004 holds today. The helmet uses an advanced fiberglass and Kevlar “matrix” shell that meets both DOT and Snell safety specifications and it has very good ventilation.
The visor is now very easy to remove and replace with the Scorpion “SpeedShift” removal system, and the circular visor removal button on the side is now rubberized, making it even easier to grip.
The visor also has a large tab on the lower left, which makes it very easy to find when wearing gloves and it’s very easy to lift and lower. The visor also smartly pops open just a crack for ventilation, and the Scorpion “EverClear” anti-fog system really does seem to work.
The EXO-700 line also has a number of optional accessories, including a chin curtain, various colored visors and different sized liners and cheek pads.
This new EXO-700 seems to have a slightly modified fit compared to the original red EXO-700 we reviewed nearly 4 years ago.
The size XL Neon shown here runs about 1/2 size smaller than expected; this XL should fit a neutral to long oval head shape of about 59 to 61 cm circumference.
The Scorpion website lists an XL as fitting a 61-62 cm head, but we think that may be a tight fit, based on this example. But just as you should for any motorcycle helmet, make sure you try it on before you buy.
Scorpion has taken one of the most popular motorcycle helmets available and made it even better with the choice of this brilliant “Neon” color. If you’re as concerned about motorcycle safety as we are, the EXO-700 Neon deserves your attention.
The new color has just been released and should be on dealers’ shelves soon at an excellent listprice of only $209.99.
From “B.S.” (September 2009): “About 8 months ago, I bought a Scorpion EXO700 “Neon”. At first I raved about this helmet, both the overall quality and the eye popping color. I’d been searching for a true “Hi Viz” helmet for years.
I even submitted a nice short review (below). The first ride I took with this helmet in the rain changed my mind.
The gasket/face shield has a poor seal, just above the eyebrows, and therefore water just streaked, no, make that POURED down the inside of the shield.
The so called “no fog” treatment failed to do anything and my vision was so distorted I had to eventually open the shield about half way, ride through the rain, and get my face wet.
Just so you and the readers know, I was riding a 2002 BMW K1200 LTC. It has some of the best weather protection of any motorcycle.
I contacted Scorpion and complained about the seal and they told me how to adjust it so it would fit tighter. I followed their instructions but there was no room to move the shield back or make even the slightest adjustment.
I re-contacted them again and asked what, if anything, could be done. (I was hoping they’d tell me to send it to them for a gasket fix)
This was their reply; “Some time going up or down will provide the adjustment needed. A 100% seal will most likely not occur; a mild gap is common on these helmets”.
Therefore, I’m stuck with a helmet that can only be used when there is NO chance of rain during my rides. This is disappointing to say the least. Most of us mere mortals can only afford one helmet to last several years.
With this being said, I wouldn’t purchase another Scorpion helmet unless they can fix this issue. BTW, I’m not the only customer who’s had this same complaint.
Just thought your good followers @ WBW would want to know in case they’re considering this helmet.”
Editor’s Note: Just for the record, there are few/no helmets that are completely waterproof or even close.
From “J.G.” (September 2009): “I have been waiting for years for someone to make a high visibility helmet like this one. From a visibility standpoint there is nothing like it on the market. When I walk into my garage, day or night, the Neon is the first thing that catches my eye; it is unavoidable.
Fit and finish on my helmet were as expected for a $200 helmet, though I needed the 15 mm cheek pads to get the fit right. This helmet fits a bit tight for a medium; tighter than my Shoei or HJC.
I returned my first Neon for warranty replacement due to a poorly installed visor seal. In the rain it would not only leak to the inside of the visor ( as most helmets do) from the center top, it would actually blow golf ball sized bubbles right between my eyes.
Talk about a distraction! Scorpion replaced the helmet with a new one which works great. T
he only negative thing I have found wearing a Neon helmet is that when tucked into my sportbike, head on tank bag as I ride much of the time, the helmet casts a neon hue over my instrument panel and inner wind screen.
At least I can see myself coming! A big thanks to Scorpion for making this helmet.”
From “J.S.” (September 2009): “Regarding the complaint of fading in the Florida sun (below), I suggest that if the owner had used the cloth helmet sack that comes with every Scorpion helmet, there may have been no fading at all. If nothing else, it will stay cleaner.”
From “T.D.” (August 2009): “In regards to the reader (“R.R.”, below) that tested the Neon helmet in the sun for fading:
Fluorescent pigments by their nature are going to fade over time quicker than other pigment colors, particularly when exposed to UV rays. The fluorescent pigment interacts with the UV light to create that bright glow and it wears out over time.
There is no real way around this so a neon yellow helmet will end up being pale yellow eventually all fluorescent colors will fade.
The only way to slow it down would be to store the helmet in a dark place when not in use. I’m not saying that makes this a bad helmet just that the buyer must know it will fade and they will have to take a little extra care of their helmet if they want to slow down the fading.
Putting it out in the sun would make it fade the fastest.
I have worked in the art field for about thirty years and know something about pigments. I don’t work for a helmet manufacturer.”
From “R.R.” (May 2009): “I purchased a Scorpion EXO-700 in High Viz Neon in the middle of March, I haven’t been wearing it every day, but recently I’ve been leaving it clipped to the side of my bike in the bright Florida sun.
The paint on that side is fading! It’s really obvious where I recently (1 week ago) removed the warning sticker. I’ve put in call to Scorpion Warranty so we’ll see what happens.”
Right side is fadedl
From “GA” (April 2009): “I bought the Neon EXO-700 a few months ago, and I love the color. Did I say I loved the color?
BUT….the fit…..sigh…..my lips are pressed against the inside of the chin bar. Break-in didn’t help. It’s an XL, and the XXL is too big. So I went to a Shoei Multitec Yellow.
But I hope other helmet manufacturers get on the Hi-Viz bandwagon.
I called over a dozen vendors, and that Neon EXO-700 was sold out in all but two. There IS demand for hi-viz, and as the over-40 riding crowd grows, I believe that the hi-viz demand is growing. WHY no safety orange colors? WHY?”
From “de St. C.” (April 2009): “I recently purchased the Neon EXO-700 and I have to say it is one of the best helmets I have ever worn. My experience ranges from top of the line Arai and Shoei helmets for racing and street and dirt.
This Scorpion easily ranks up with the cream of the crop. I liked it so much I went out and got one of their dirt helmets for my dual-sport and have to say it feels even better… but I digress. The materials and good and simple D-ring, the loose strap “snap” on its own tab etc., all premium.
My long oval head shape fits comfortably – I know I will have some break in but after a few weeks it is fitting like a glove with no hot spots or pain.
The interior is top notch and easily removed and replaced or washed ( I always tear down my helmets to see how they go together before I ride with them).
Most importantly the balance/weight of the helmet is quite good – the spoiler helps to keep my head calm. With my previous helmet, if I ducked down about a half inch, while riding, I could feel and hear a quieting.
To my surprise, that is gone and replaced with a much quieter ride, both sound and turbulence, no matter how I sit on the bike. I can only assume it is the more pronounced spoiler working away.
Visor – is great!!! Easy on and off and adjustable just fine. If you like notched adjustments. Which until now I did not but it works the way it is supposed to work and comes on and off very easily.
Of note also is how quiet the helmet is – even with the visor open – I get none of that buzzing or vibrating and it is much more pleasant riding with the visor open. I can unequivocally also say that the anti-fog coating works perfectly. I do not know how long it will last but for now it is working fine.
If I have a con it is a constant, slight venting on the top of my head – I have a shaved head – the spoiler has three vent channels – two of which have switches and the one in the center does not.
Very slight and fine in any weather than my Canadian spring – I will put a little piece of tape over it in the fall.
Overall a great helmet with an amazing price – and of course that wonderful, wonderful neon.”
From “G.S.” (3/09): “Yesterday I purchased a neon Scorpion EXO-700 at my local bike shop and what a fantastic helmet!
I went in looking for a Shoei TZ-R (review) in orange but, not surprisingly, they would have to order it. Walking out knowing that I could order the helmet myself, something caught my eye, literally.
A large sized neon Scorpion EXO-700 was resting high up on a shelf and standing out amongst all the other helmets. I asked the sales person to get it down for me and he politely said, “Great helmet, good choice”.
I was still thinking I was going to order the orange TZ-R off the web but decided to compare the fit and quality of a non-orange TZ-R to the neon EXO-700. Both are high quality DOT/Snell helmets, fit great, and feel nearly identical in size (large = large).
The features on the EXO-700, however, are far superior to the TZ-R, including an anti-fog visor, about 10 more vents, and removable pads. Scorpion gives you all this for $75-100 USD less than the Shoei.
Becoming a more “responsible” rider and living in a sprawling metropolis made me want a high visibility helmet. My web research only returned one helmet for high visibility colors- the orange Shoei TZ-R.
I was really surprised to learn this but excited to learn that there are actually two high visibility helmet models out there- one in each color!
So, I thank the guy who called the helmet manufacturers requesting high vis colors, and I thank Scorpion and Shoei for making them. I chose the Scorpion because it is more helmet for less money. Maybe the rest of the industry should step up to the plate.
Now, if there was only an EXO-1000 in neon or orange. That flip down tinted visor…”
From “L.H.” (December 2008): “Let Scorpion know that I also will be in line for the modular Neon helmet . Riders in the UK and elsewhere have put safety & visibility before so-called fashion for a long time now.
I suppose the wearing of black clothing & leather might be a camouflage attempt and as an exercise in Social Darwinism I’m all for it.”
From “Brian” (November 2008): “Several months ago, I contacted many of the top helmet manufacturers and asked them if they would consider painting a helmet “HI VIZ or NEON lime/yellow”. HJCs answer was, “we have no intentions of doing so anytime soon”.
Arai didn’t respond at all and Shoei said, “no, we aren’t looking at that color in the future”. Scorpion just simply responded,” we’ll send your request and suggestion to R & D”
For years, I have been preaching the benefits of Hi Viz motorcycle apparel. Especially the helmet. When I asked the 4 companies if they would custom paint one for me they all said no. You would think that with all the variations of colors that these companies make, they would jump on the opportunity to be first. I even offered to buy the first one one the market.
It appears that I’ll have to dig up the money and make good on my promise. Maybe Scorpion listened and decided to give it a try. I doubt I’m the only person to contact helmet companies and ask for this so I’m not singing the blues. Quite the contrary.
I join you and send a BIG thank you to Scorpion for being innovative, forward thinking and down right smart. Apparently my, or should I say our requests and suggestions were taken seriously.
I went to their site to see if there was any additional information but it hasn’t been posted yet. I don’t care. As soon as I can find one on line, I’ll be wearing one! Now, if Scorpion will hurry up and make a modular in this color, I’ll have to have one of those too!
So, all the rest of you helmet manufacturers take a good look. This is what you should’ve done.
In my opinion, Scorpion has just elevated itself to the top of the helmet world. They have achieved the almost impossible with a reasonably priced helmet that is also top quality, that’s finally, HI Viz.”
Response from Teri Gorrell, Media Relations & Rider Support, Scorpion USA: “Thank you Brian for the suggestions and for the compliments! All of the staff here at Scorpion Sports prides themselves in not only customer service, but also in being motorcycle enthusiasts!
We ride, we listen to your suggestions and we make good things happen for riders like ourselves. The Modular helmet is on the way, stay tuned for Spring 2009!”