I hate to admit it, but I’ve been riding motorcycles for over 30 years. I can’t possibly be old enough to have been riding that long can I? But the unfortunate reality is that I have been riding that long and during that period, I’ve ridden with many, many helmets.
My most recent helmet has been the KLIM Krios Karbon Vanquish. I’ve been riding with it for a little over a year. A recently finished 3 week trip through Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa on smooth pavement, hugely potholed pavement, loose gravel, deep sand, and dirt has settled my thoughts and conclusions on the Krios.
At the risk of providing a spoiler at the beginning of the review, I’ll let you know that I have decided to part ways with my Krios helmet. So let’s find out why.
There are some positive traits to the helmet and let’s start with them. First, the Krios Karbon Vanquish is a very good looking helmet. Its shell is all carbon fiber in the case of the Vanquish, KLIM has chosen to show the carbon fiber weave off. Using a matt like finish and certain trim elements, the carbon fiber is shown off very nicely. Oooh, it’s pretty.
With the looks of the helmet out of the way, let’s talk about some of the performance attributes, shall we? Frankly, the first thing that drew me to KRIOS was its advertised weight. According to KLIM, my medium Krios weighs 1460 grams +/- 50 grams (3.2 pounds +/- 1.8 ounces). Using a postal scale, mine came in at 3 pounds 5 ounces, just about on Klim’s claimed weight. That makes the Krios among the lightest ADV helmet out there.
As an example, if you were to hold a similar top of the line ADV helmet in your opposite hand, the weight difference is immediately noticeable. It’s only a few ounces, but over a 400-mile plus day, that small weight variance makes a big difference.
The Krios is a comfortable fit for my oval/roundish head. It fits snugly and grips my head in all the right places. It didn’t give me the crushed cheeks feel that you can sometimes get with other helmets. In addition, the ear pockets are quite roomy. If you are the type of person that likes to have communications and/or music (I’m holding up my hand here), there’s plenty of room in the ear pockets to put your speakers in.
Even with those large ear openings, the Krios is quiet for an ADV type helmet. I don’t have any means to get into decibel ratings etc., but I can say that it is quieter than any other ADV helmet I’ve owned and I have owned several.
Another thoughtful touch is that KLIM includes a Pinlock visor insert with the purchase of the helmet. If you are not familiar with Pinlock, it is an anti-fog insert that attaches to pins already on the visor. When inserted, it creates dead airspace between the outside of the visor and the inside of the visor. It’s the dead airspace that prevents your visor from fogging and with the Pinlock inserted into the Krios, there is no fogging whatsoever.
While fogging wasn’t an issue on the aforementioned Africa trip, I live in Vermont and fogging can be an issue almost all of the year. Never once did the visor fog with the Pinlock installed.
When it’s time to take the visor out for cleaning or outright removal, a single knob makes removal a breeze. Just turn the knob clockwise and the visor pops right off. There’s no need for tools or a coin etc. to get the visor off. It’s a thoughtful touch.
If you want to ditch the visor (and potentially ride with goggles), the eye port is plenty wide for good peripheral vision and will accommodate a set of regular sized goggles easily.
So if all the above is so positive, why have I decided to part ways with the Krios? It boils down to riding performance.
There are a number of areas where certain attributes of the Krios make wearing it uncomfortable, difficult to wear and inefficient. Let’s talk about them now.
One of the things I didn’t think about when I bought the Krios was the actual shape of the shell. It’s very round, very wide and quite large overall. I think a lot of people haven’t thought about this since I have yet to find a review where anyone mentioned the outer shell shape and its effect.
Because the shell is so large and round it catches a lot of wind. Especially when the wind is from the side. Gusty winds will have your head moving side to side like one of those bobblehead dolls. The side surface is relatively flat and it catches a lot of air.
Even for short stretches of riding, the helmet buffeting offsets any increase in comfort due to the helmet’s lightweight. If you have miles to cover and you have to do it in all weather, in my opinion, the Krios is not a good choice. If you look at an Arai XD-4 and a KLIM Krios side and you’ll quickly see how much more side area and overall width there is on the Krios.
Another area where the Krios failed for me was in moving air through the helmet. The aforementioned trip had me riding in temperatures well over 100 degrees F all day. It’s times like these that you can appreciate a helmet that moves air well. Unfortunately, the Krios is not such a helmet.
When you look at it, you will see what appears to be a large vent at the front of the chin bar. While that vent does move air, it moves it over the visor to reduce fogging. It does not let any “cooling” air through to the rider.
There is also a vent near the top of the helmet that can be opened and closed. This vent leads to two small holes which travel through the polystyrene. But that air is blocked by the helmet liner. The net result, no discernable air movement through the helmet.
It’s possible that air is moving between the shell and the impact protection material and out the rear vent. But that also is of no help in moving air to the rider and through the interior of the helmet.
When it’s hot, I often will ride with the visor open to get as much airflow as possible. So it’s nice if the visor stays open as you ride. In the case of my Krios, that wasn’t a possibility. Anytime my speed reached more than 60 MPH, the visor would slam shut. With wind gusts, it slammed shut at less than 60 MPH. It was so irritating that I ultimately resorted to duct taping the visor open. Ugh.
Poorly designed peak
The final straw for me was the helmet’s peak. That little piece of plastic is a hugely important part of an ADV style helmet. Its design is to allow the rider to reduce glare or block the sun. Unfortunately, they also have a tendency to catch air and cause buffetting. Manufacturers will often place vents in the peak to reduce its tendency to buffet.
KLIM has incorporated several large vents in its peak to help reduce buffeting. Unfortunately, they are so large that when the sun is low, the peak does a poor job of blocking glare and the sun. When I dipped the peak to block the sun, in more than one instance the sun came straight through the vent and into my eyes. It was almost like there wasn’t a peak. Bummer.
So that’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the KLIM Krios Vanquish helmet. I would be remiss if I did not mention the following:
- The helmet is DoT/ECE certified.
- Its cheek pads and helmet liner are removable and washable.
- Finally, the peak has up down adjustability.
When all is said and done, I believe that the KLIM Krios Karbon Vanquish is just OK. But at its current price point presently between $490 and $550 there are better and less expensive ADV style helmets out there.