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-   -   AFX FX-39DS helmet review (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=841213)

henrymartin 11-13-2012 08:39 PM

AFX FX-39DS helmet review
 
New Helmet AFX FX39DS


For the past two years, I rode in the woods with my older, simpler full face helmet. It was nothing special, a Gmax model of sorts, but it was bright red, had a dual-pane windshield (less fogging), and I did not care if it dropped every now and then. Nevertheless, it was heavy, a pain to put on and remove, and the peripheral vision was not so great. Furthermore, now that the sun sets much earlier in the day, I found myself squinting to see the trail anytime I rode in the afternoon. So, last Saturday was my last ride with the Gmax. I experienced all of the above symptoms, got home, and decided it was time to get something more woods friendly.

Despite the fact that I really like the Arai XD series of DS helmets, I can't see myself ever spending that amount of money on a helmet that gets hit by flying gravel, mud, and meets small tree branches more often than not.

I've done some research online, narrowed my choices to a few different helmets, spoke with a few guys I ride with about the goggles vs shield options, and decided to start shopping.

Since I believe in supporting a local business (nothing against online retailers, but I always try local first), I headed down to my local bike shop. 99% of the time they treat me right, and either have what I'm looking for in stock, or can get it within a few days. I forgot to mention that I headed to the shop on Monday morning at 9:15 after I found out that I would be doing a nice DS ride at 11:00. Yeah, I was in a hurry.

The shop had one of the helmets I was considering: AFX FX39DS. There were not many color choices available in stock, and wearing flat black or camouflage during hunting season is not really an option, so I ended up trying the Hi-viz yellow.

First impression: Helmet felt light, well build, with good quality padding. The shield closed tight, chin strap was fully adjustable (and has a nice quick release feature), visor has some adjustment to it, and the price was right. I grabbed it and headed home.

At 11:00, I met six other riders at a gas station a few miles from me, and immediately was subjected to jokes about them needing sunglasses due to my helmet. Whatever. :) The helmet IS bright.
At 4:00pm I was done with the ride and headed home, muddy, dirty, and tired. The one thing that was not sore - my neck. Yes, the helmet is light.

So, after the five hour ride beatdown test:

Helmet performed great. Taking it on and off with gloves was not an issue at all, thanks to the quick release buckle. I must say that I always put the aftermarket quick release on all of my helmets, but this one came with a good quality OEM setup.
It is a little noisier than a full face, especially above 60MPH (street between dirt sections). The visor did great and I could actually see the trail, even with the sun straight in front of me. Surprisingly, the visor did not create any wind issues at higher street speeds.
Helmet was very comfortable, and felt secure on my head at all times. Peripheral vision is great, clear, and natural.
The windshield has only a few open positions and was fogging a little when fully closed. I managed to find a sweet spot where it was cracked open only about 1/8", and it stopped the fogging completely. Maybe, if I was in better shape, I would not breathe as heavily when riding :) But that was the only downside I experienced. I imagine that any helmet would fog at 9mph while wrestling a bike to stay upright on rocky, muddy ground.
I took a few hits in the windshield and visor from low branches (at slow speeds) and there is no damage whatsoever to the finish or parts.




Overall, I'm very happy with it. Up until the day I researched more woods friendly helmets, I never heard of AFX, so I was a little uncertain. Now, however, I'm sold. This helmet will probably replace my Scorpion EXO1000 on most of my summer rides that combine light DS (no real dirt) and distance. I think it would be perfect for a few hundred miles on unpaved, graded or gravel roads on the bigger bike, and it just shines when on the small bike in a nasty terrain.

Brick Top 11-13-2012 10:06 PM

Thanks for the review, I have the same helmet and I am very happy with it out of the box. It does let a lot air flow over my face and at this point in season it is getting pretty cold.....well it does wake me up before work.:D

outlaws 11-14-2012 08:10 AM

I really like mine's too but wished it was Snell rated as well, I would pay a little extra for that.

TwilightZone 11-14-2012 10:52 AM

Have 1 too. Nice helmet, works well but not as nice as my Shinko, but I'm not going to pay $500 for a helmet. (bought the Shinko on sale for $330 a couple years ago).

I think DOT will do fine... I only have a DOT rated head.

Offcamber 11-14-2012 10:59 AM

I to have that helmet is the Hi-viz. It does let a lot of air flow into the helmet. this results in a lot of noise at high speed but in the warmer months its plus, not so much when its colder out.

henrymartin 11-18-2012 06:57 PM

I took it with me today on the bigger bike (650GS) for some light DS and street. Hitting 70mph in a 40F weather sure lets the cold air in. :deal I'm going to try to mickeymouse some sort of a chin curtain for the helmet and see how that works. Still awesome for the DS part, but windy on the street.

Snowbound 11-18-2012 07:26 PM

I have had mine for 6 months. I t is not as comfortable as my Arai vector ,but it does have a bigger eyeport and is bearable behind the stock shield currently on my GS.
Not a bad helmet for the money .
If I had my choice I would go for an Arai ,but that is not in the budget right now .
This helmet seems to be the best alternative ,for the price .

FlySniper 11-19-2012 11:09 AM

I've had mine since they first came out (2nd batch in country). I really like it. The only issue so far is where the ratchet that holds the shield broke, it's irritating at times but no big deal.

Funny thing is, it buffets less than my Icon street helmet even at freeway speeds.

singletrak 11-24-2012 06:03 PM

I really like my AFX 39, I have had it for about 5 Months. Like others have said, I really like the air flow this helmet provides. My only complaint is the vents don't seem to close very well. In cold weather there is alot of air flow even with the vents closed, maybe to much air flow for some. For the price you can't go wrong.. maybe pick up a balaclava for cold weather riding to keep head warm.

Singletrak

Midnightventure 11-24-2012 06:37 PM

I wore mine for about 100 miles in a heavy rain. Didn't have the visor mounted which might have made a difference. It was almost like not having a faceshield. Even with all the vents closed it let in a lot of water. Next time I think it might rain I will put the visor back on and see if it makes a difference.

henrymartin 11-25-2012 08:46 PM

AFX FX-39DS helmet update


So now that I've done a few rides with the helmet, I figure it would a good time for an update. I still like the helmet. As a matter of fact, I like it quite a bit. It's great, especially off-road, while conquering the gnarlier dualsport routes.

Since my last post, I used the helmet on three rides, all of them with temperatures below 50F degrees, and the last two started at around 30f degrees. Needless to say, the air is pretty cold when riding, and gets even colder at 70 mph. This helmet is great off road as it lets in so much air. The same, nevertheless, can be rather inconvenient when riding at higher speeds on the pavement. I realize this is not the right helmet for any long distance trips over pavement, but I find myself reaching for it more often than not. So, to deal with the air issue, I came up with a simple idea - chin curtain. I mean, my Scorpion has one, why should this helmet not have one?

After searching my gear pile, I found a piece that solved the problem. The piece in question came off an older Gmax helmet, and it was originally used as an over-the-nose piece, probably to prevent the breath from fogging the windshield. It has a 3/4" plastic edge with some snaps in it to attach it to the Gmax helmet. Well, I took the snaps out, bent the soft plastic in the middle, and inserted it between the helmet shell and the impact material. Voila, we have a chin curtain!

To test this, I used the helmet on a 4 hrs DS ride that included some class VI roads, some short pavement sections, and a lot of unpaved, graded forest sections. With the curtain in place, my shield fogged up a lot on the slow, rough sections. But, once I cracked it open a little, it was fine. On the faster, 40-60mph sections it performed as I had intended - restricting the airflow from underneath. The helmet is still pretty loud, but much quieter than it was. Also, going 60 in a 40 degree weather no longer freezes my chin.

So, AFX, if, by any chance, you are listening: Consider adding a chin curtain to an already good product - it will only make it better.

The nice thing about this homemade solution is that the nose piece has a piece of soft metal inside (to allow you to shape it to your nose profile), which means I can bend it either in or out to increase or decrease airflow. Here are a couple of pics:



buls4evr 11-28-2012 06:32 AM

I also have one of these helmets. What I like is lots of ventilation, great peripheral vision compared to a street full coverage helmet, price.
What I don't like ..... Neck strain at speed. In the rain your face still gets pretty wet. The helmet is physically HUGE and you hit your head on every tree branch you are near as a result. The visor is flimsy for impacts and the shield detent adjuster breaks eventually on both sides so the shield just falls down. The biggest dislike though is in the dust. Riding as anywhere other than first rider your shield will get dirty both inside and outside. So , I still prefer an MX helmet /goggles for real dirt riding where I am not leading. The design sucks dirt right into your eyes. Of course you could remove the shield and wear goggles,but an MX helmet is a lot lighter, smaller and your goggles fit your face poorly in the 39. It is a compromise like much of DS stuff.
I still use it all the time. And I don't like the chin strap...D Ring type please AFX.

henrymartin 11-29-2012 09:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buls4evr (Post 20133411)
I also have one of these helmets. What I like is lots of ventilation, great peripheral vision compared to a street full coverage helmet, price.
What I don't like ..... Neck strain at speed. In the rain your face still gets pretty wet. The helmet is physically HUGE and you hit your head on every tree branch you are near as a result. The visor is flimsy for impacts and the shield detent adjuster breaks eventually on both sides so the shield just falls down. The biggest dislike though is in the dust. Riding as anywhere other than first rider your shield will get dirty both inside and outside. So , I still prefer an MX helmet /goggles for real dirt riding where I am not leading. The design sucks dirt right into your eyes. Of course you could remove the shield and wear goggles,but an MX helmet is a lot lighter, smaller and your goggles fit your face poorly in the 39. It is a compromise like much of DS stuff.
I still use it all the time. And I don't like the chin strap...D Ring type please AFX.

I love the chin strap. All my other helmets, I always install the quick release buckles.

As for dust - the little curtain I installed should help with that. Fortunately, they don't call me Mr. Tourguide for nothing - I lead most of the time. :lol3

I never owned a MX helmet, so I can't compare the size, but I find it easier/lighter than a full face helmet.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

dhb400 12-08-2012 05:40 AM

I just got this helmet too. Things I noticed, lots of wind noise, shield does fog in cool weather. Also, as other have said lots of wind enters the helmet from underneath...and dust. I am going to start using goggles in cooler weather. I like the way the helmet looks and I like the chin strap ratchet. I think for the price it is a pretty good helmet.


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