The Scorpion EXO-T510 is a reasonably-priced mid-range helmet with a “kitchen sink” of features.
It’s all wrapped in a variety of colorways and finishes starting at a list price of $209.95.
The low price point does show up though in a few key areas that may or may not be a deal breaker for the interested rider.
I recall about a decade ago when Scorpion was one of the “new guys” trying to break into the motorcycle equipment market.
The joined the fray by offering a lineup of inexpensive “EXO” helmets right about the time I was ending an eleven-year hiatus from motorcycle riding.
It was around that time that I purchased a new helmet. It was a Scorpion EXO-400 in basic glossy black.
At the time, I was pretty impressed with helmet. It seemed well put together, had an interesting-looking (and operating) visor removal system and the interior smelled like chocolate.
I promise I’m not making that last part up about the smell; looking back at some old wBW reviews right now I see that it was mentioned by Bill C. in his review of the Scorpion EXO-400.
It did actually smell a bit like sweetened cocoa and I wasn’t the only one who thought so, but I digress…
Now the original EXO-400 helmets were known to run a bit small and I had to buy an XL instead of my usual L. But other than that, the helmet fit well, it was comfortable and it was quiet.
The point is that Scorpion sprung (stung?) onto the scene and right out of the box with some strong initial products.
Over the years they have expanded into technical apparel, including gloves, jackets and pants. Their helmet lineup currently shows seven different street helmets plus off-road helmets as well.
Scorpion has come a long way and has gained a reputation for value and for bringing lots of features at a price point that was previously the domain of more expensive helmets.
Often this worked out fantastically but there were some times that it didn’t work quite as well as they might have hoped.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at the EXO-T510, a descendant of the EXO-400 and one of the latest full-face helmets from Scorpion.
The Scorpion EXO-T510
The EXO-T510 is aimed at the sport-to-touring rider segments, although it would be equally at home in the commuter arena too.
It is also competing in the very crowded mid-range pricing area between $200 to $250 USD.
This price range used to be full of products that may have been somewhat compromised on comfort, build quality, features or other aspects — the things that differentiated them from their lofty cousins costing $350.00 or more.
In 2016, technology advances in materials and manufacturing are really making those differences harder to see though, if not harder to “feel”.
Scorpion has outfitted the EXO-T510 with a wealth of features that I’m not certain all exist in one place on any other helmet in this price range. At least at the time of this writing I can’t seem to find one.
So let’s see what we’ve got here:
The T510 shell is made from polycarbonate. Yes, it is a nice form of polycarbonate but it is basically a plastic shell that does not include exotic fibers of carbon or even glass.
That’s not a bad thing though and the shell does come in 3 sizes to span the head size range — very unusual in this price range.
Some riders prefer the flex of a poly shell and it can be designed to offer as much protection as composites.
Weight is the price one pays for the less expensive polycarbonate however and the size large reviewed here demonstrates that point.
It weighs 1613 grams (3 lbs., 8.8 oz.), which is a little heavy but not too bad considering what all has been packed inside — and there’s a lot.
To start, there is the internal drop-down sun shade. I have to say I have become spoiled by this feature in my helmets over the past several years and I’m not sure I would have helmet without one now.
Scorpion has also included their AirFit liner system in the T510, which employs small air bladders behind the cheek pads.
These manually-operated “air pumps” can help improve fit if one is between sizes or augment fit as the padding wears in over time.
The system works effectively enough in my experience, but overall I found it unnecessary to use as the size large fit me very well. More on fit later though…
The main face shield or visor uses what Scorpion refers to as their Ellip-Tec ratchet system.
Basically, the rotation mechanism pulls the visor against the eye port gasket during the last part of the closing rotation. In addition to this feature, the T510 sports a visor lock lever to keep the visor from flipping up at higher speeds.
Another feature I wasn’t expecting and have not seen on many other helmets (at least at this price point) are the emergency pull loops present on the underside of the cheek pads.
These loops allow emergency response workers to remove the pads easily out of the helmet, facilitating helmet removal without causing additional trauma to any possible head and neck injuries.
This is an excellent feature that more manufacturers should include, in my opinion.
Scorpion EXO T510 Paint, Graphics, and Overall Quality
My helmet is in the “Nexus” graphic in red. This is a very smart-looking graphic, with sort of a “high tech” appearance that looks good without being overly flashy.
There are other patterns available, including a nice matte finish graphic I’ve seen in person. Solid colors are also available.
The graphics appear to be decals, as the edges can be seen when closely viewing the clear coat. A small ridge can be seen. This shouldn’t be considered a flaw and it is very hard to spot unless looking for it, however.
The clear coat finish looks very nice also and it has a nice sheen to it but a couple of very small dips and bumps were present. Again this was under very close scrutiny and not something most riders would ever spot.
The T510 has several vents around the shell and the assemblies are all very snug in their positions and do not wiggle when pressed.
Likewise, the action is very positive when opening and closing them which helps give the helmet a quality feel above its price point.
The “KwikWick II” liner is made from a smooth moisture wicking material that, while not “plush”, is still very comfortable and feels good against the skin.
The liner is removable and washable and it is easy to remove with solid locking snaps and hook-and-loop fastener holding it in place.
(Note: In the packaging with this EXO-T510 there was a separate note in the documentation packet stating that the liner is not washable and warns not to wash.
We contacted Scorpion and they said that this notice was not meant for the EXO-T510 but for the “Belfast” helmet.
Only a small number of these notes made their way accidentally into the packaging.)
Score: Overall I’d give the Scorpion EXO-T510 an “Excellent” rating for overall fit and finish. See the ratings category in the summary table at the end of the review.
Scorpion refers to the internal shape on the T510 as “intermediate oval” and I would say they are correct. On the Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page I would call it a slight to medium narrow.
The T510 makes use of three different shell sizes, which is welcome at this price point because most other brands only using two.
More variety in shell sizes makes for a better potential fit and less chance of ending up with a “spaceman” helmet look.
This size large fits my slightly narrow head very nicely with a very snug fit. I like that feeling in a new helmet because I know it will break in after some time on my head.
As I expected, after a few rides it had broken in nicely and it now feels snug without being too tight.
This proper fit means that I don’t have to engage the AirFit air pump bladder system to get a good fit. I did try to pump it up just to see how someone with a narrower jaw or somewhat smaller head might adjust the fit.
To make it easier to remove, the air pressure can be released using a small silver button on the inside of the chin bar. I did find that after about an hour or so the bladders would lose some air pressure, so the system does leak down a little over time.
I’m not sure if this is typical or just a poor seal on this particular example.
Although the overall fit is very good for my head shape, there is one aspect that is a bit of a bother to me. The padding over the brow is low on my forehead, right on the edge of the eye socket.
This is lower than what I experience in most helmets and has the effect of limiting vision at the top of the eye port.
If the liner was available in different sizes, this might be easy to alleviate but I couldn’t find any alternative padding sizes on the Scorpion website.
It might be possible to install a size medium head liner but I’m no certain which shell sizes use which liner sizes.
In the end, this is entirely subjective and relates to my particular head shape, but it is the first time I have found a helmet that fits me in every other aspect but which has this issue.
It could also be important to the sportbike owners, who might find their vision limited in a full tuck, but the T510 is directed at the touring or sport touring crowd.
The eye port opening on the EXO-T510 is a bit narrow from top to bottom. On my head, this helmet tends to sit low on the brow making the already narrow vertical view even more limited.
The EXO-T510 — like most other helmets these days — has a small breath deflector that sits between the nose and the face shield.
This can reduce visibility of the instruments, depending on the bike. But the deflector is removable and I did so pretty early on.
The side-to-side view is what I would characterize as average. It’s not great but it’s not bad either.
There is one bit of distraction though, that appears when the internal sun visor is deployed.
There are small frame pieces on the edges of the sun visor that jut forward and downward. They can be seen out of the corner of the eye when looking forward.
This can be a little distracting at first but I did grow accustomed to it over time.
Score: I’ll give the T510 a “Very Good” for outward visibility and the sealing performance of the face shield.
The face shield on the T510 is what I would call “very good” optically and gives a pretty low distortion view of the outside world.
It measures about 2.5 mm thick, so it is flexible but it doesn’t flex too much when opening the using the tab at the left of center on the visor.
There are four open positions for the face shield plus fully closed. The first opening is rather large, being about one third of the entire range of opening. Not so good for de-misting or defogging.
[UPDATE:There is a “city mode” or city defog position, pull the face shield lock lever on the left side forward and it will crack open the face shield for city mode. If you pull it up, it will lock the face shield down.]
Part of this large initial opening issue may be due to the “Ellip-Tec” system that makes the face shield close tightly against the gasket as it rotates down to the closed position.
Rotating the face shield to the full open position exposes the visor removal lever that looks suspiciously like a scorpion tail. The removal system does work very well and the face shield pops off and snaps back in with ease, making changes a literal “snap”.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a locking lever on the left-hand side of the face shield that locks it in the closed position.
This lever operates smoothly and solidly and definitely holds the face shield down if you try to raise it without unlocking it first.
Scorpion has their own anti-fog coating they call “EverClear”. This coating appears to be pretty effective in preventing the typical fogging you might experience on a cool morning ride.
For example, on a very cool morning at about 38 degrees F (just over 3 degrees C), I was waiting at a traffic light and found that while the face shield wasn’t fogging, a significant amount of larger water droplets appeared in the lower center of the visor.
I wouldn’t characterize this as “fog”, but I don’t think anything short of a Pinlock would have prevented this type of moisture buildup.
The Scorpion EXO-T510 uses a lever on the left side that pivots around the back edge of the main face shield to operate the internal sun visor.
The lever takes a bit of pressure to start moving and then it rotates smoothly to lower the sun visor into position.
There is enough drag in the mechanism to leave the sun visor in position in between the top third and the lowest setting.
This may not be by design but it seems to hold position well enough, though I cannot say how well it will hold over time.
An interesting feature is a small set screw that rests between the sun visor deployment lever and the main face shield lock. This screw has three positions that can be set to adjust the lowest point at which the internal visor will stop.
This is a nice option that allows you to customize how low you like your sun shade to go.
In the lowest position, the sun visor covers very well, leaving only a small (.25 inch) gap between the bottom of the shade and the chin bar.
While the coverage is good, the sun shade itself is what I would consider medium dark and I would prefer it be a bit darker.
A nice touch is that the internal sun visor is also coated with the same EverClear anti-fog coating used on the inside of the clear face shield. This is something that has been overlooked in many other helmets I’ve used in the past that have an internal sun visor like this.
Ventilation was definitely a priority in the design of the EXO-T510 and the helmet has four vents on the front and top of the shell, plus a large exhaust vent in the rear.
Starting with the front, the chin bar has a large sliding cover that opens a two-position vent.
The first position opens smoothly and easily and uncovers air passages in the chin bar that direct air up onto the back of the face shield.
Another strong tug down on the sliding cover opens the second position, which reveals two direct holes through the chin bar that direct the air flow to the rider’s face.
There is some open cell screen material that can be seen in these passages to filter out particles (and small insects).
On top is a large central vent that also opens in two positions. In this case, the sliding cover either fully reveals or partially covers two vent holes that flow air through the shell and through holes in the EPS foam of the interior.
In addition to the central vent on the top of the helmet shell are smaller vents, one on each side flanking the main vent on the left and right. These open with a rocker-style action.
Press one of these at the rear of the rocker opens the front intake to allow air to flow.
All of these front-facing vents do their job well and when they are open, they provide a good amount of fresh air flowing into the helmet.
The efficiency of the exhaust vent in the rear is difficult to gauge and I don’t exactly feel a strong rush of air running over the top of my head. But I can confirm that there is an open path for the air to flow, as I can see light through it using a flashlight.
The helmet liner does have cutouts in the appropriate places to provide a clear channel to let air in and through.
Score: I’ll give the EXO-T510 ventilation system and operation of the parts a score of “Very Good”.
This is one area that was a bit disappointing for me. The wind noise in the T510 can get pretty loud as the speed approaches 45 MPH and it gets louder at highway speeds.
The quality of the noise is not “boomy”, with most of the wind rushing noise staying in the low-to-mid range. The generous neck roll is likely the key to keeping the low frequencies controlled.
Part of the volume increase may be due to the speaker cutouts, which are placed directly in the EPS foam.
They are covered only with a thin, unpadded section of the KwickWick II liner material that doesn’t do much to dampen the noise rushing past the shell surface.
Even with speakers in place, the noise level isn’t changed noticeably.
There is another small but distracting sound in the form of a whistling noise at the top of the helmet. After a bit of experimentation, I discovered that the source is the top left vent.
Opening the vent eliminates the whistling and as long as it stays open, it isn’t a bother. Apparently, the vent on my helmet sits slightly higher when closed versus the opposite side, so it could be just an issue with this particular helmet.
Placing a small piece of tape over the front of that vent did eliminate the whistle.
Keep in mind that noise levels will vary, depending on the rider’s position when riding and the size and shape of the windscreen (if there is one).
I wore the EXO-T510 on three different bikes and very little difference was found, either riding an unfaired bike or behind a windscreen.
Behind a large touring screen, the noise levels would likely decrease, but I don’t have access to a big touring bike.
I did evaluate this with and without ear plugs, to make sure I was hearing all that was going on and with ear plugs it is still noisy, but not uncomfortably so by any means.
Overall I’d grade the EXO-T510 in the “louder” category for noise levels for the lower portion of the helmet and “average” for the upper area. The upper area of course suffers worse with the top right vent open.
Score: I’ll give the EXO-T510 a “Neutral” rating for average overall noise levels.
Speaker and Intercom Installation
Behind the liner near the ears are cutouts for helmet speakers. This area is covered with a soft-ish plastic cover that surrounds the ear area and sits between the EPS material and the liner.
The speaker pockets are a bit on the small side at 66 mm in diameter. This may seem relatively large for helmet speakers but there isn’t a good path for the speaker wires to exit from the side of the driver housing.
The plastic cover makes it more difficult to modify this space to accommodate a larger speaker and its wire.
Speakers like those found on some Cardo intercoms would likely fit, but speakers from UClear with their integrated microphones would not be an option.
Rather, the diameter of the speakers is nearly the same sizes as the speaker pocket molded in the EPS, so I had to snip a piece of the plastic cover and create a small path in the EPS layer in order to fit the speakers.
This size large EXO-T510 weighs 1613 grams (3 lbs., 8.8 oz.). This is a bit on the heavy side for a full-face helmet and it places it in the range of some flip-up helmets, which are typically heavier.
Still, the weight of the EXO-T510 is nicely balanced and I don’t get the feeling that it is heavier than average.