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January 28, 2011
Official AFX Helmet Information can be seen HERE
The AFX FX 37DS has entered the market in competition with Shoei and Arai for the price conscious rider. I spoke with Doug Hill, president of AFX helmets and he had some interesting things to say -
"We brought this helmet to market exactly because the dual sport market has been looking for a affordable alternative to some of the bigger and more expensive helmet names. At AFX our specialty has been about providing a very good quality product at a price the average person can afford. We don't pay for endorsements and we don't sponsor big name racers, so sometimes we don't get the notoriety of the big names but we do have a lot of happy customers and we have saved a few lives. "
Doug's background is in motorcycles, both MX and dualsports so he's very familiar with what the dualsport world wants and the company reacted well to the dualsport explosion that's been going on the last few years.
The helmet I chose to review is flat black, mainly because the color will lend itself nicely to what I want to do with it. Currently the helmets come in three colors, Flat Black, White and Silver. There is a tinted face shield listed and they are available for $29.95. Speaking with a dealer , Adam from Motorcycle Depot located at 231 Airport Blvd Suite D,Aurora,Co,80011 http://www.motorcycledepotonline.com/, he's had some good things to say about the helmet. The big one is the number of AFX FX 37 DS helmets he has sold in a relatively short time they have been available. He told me they almost have a cult following so far and he expects to sell quite a few of them and does keep them in stock.
Pulling the helmet out of the box, the first thing I notice is how light the FX37DS is. That's a great thing considering a lot of the guys that would buy this are usually in the saddle for long periods of time. I would say the quality and workmanship is on par with 95% of helmets I've owned or have seen. This isn't a $400 helmet after all. That being said, I do like how it was thought out in many areas. I ride all year long and as such it tends to get cold here in the northeast. You can tell quickly if a venting system really works or not when it's 34 degrees out and you're cruising at 70 mph. I felt cold air coming through all the vents during my ride. In the summer time this will be a great help in keeping your head from sweating as much as a street only helmet would make you.
Noise level and View
I generally ride with ear plugs in myself but to get an idea of what level noise is heard at highway speeds, I first wore my street helmet, then my MX helmet with goggles and then the FX 37DS without earplugs. I really couldn't tell much difference between the street helmet and the FX37DS as far as noise level is concerned, they were about equal. What really sets it apart is your field of view, it's humongous ! You can literally see just as far to the sides with the FX37DS on as you can with it off. That should help in seeing things coming at intersections or on the trail. The visor doesn't seem to be so large that it would get in the way and I did notice it doesn't produce a lot of drag or noise, at least it doesn't catch the wind nearly as much as on my MX helmet. Wearing glasses or sunglasses isn't a problem at all, I had no problems wearing my sunglasses during my ride. Another good point is the space inside the ear pocket, it's large enough for helmet speakers or the ear speakers with things like ipods if you wanted to listen to toons or had a comm system.
The FX37DS has a total of 11 vents and 4 exhaust ports.
The vents are located like most any MX helmet, one big one on the chin bar, 2 smaller vents on either side of the chin bar, Two near the rear of the helmet , two just above the eye port under the visor and 4 smaller vent scoops located just under the lip of the helmet above your eyes that are used mostly when you would be wearing goggles. The exhaust ports are on top of the helmet located under a scoop like structure that I suspect uses a venturi effect to help draw hot air out of the helmet. Riding in the cold, I could tell that the vents on the chin bar worked very well as did the vents above the face shield. All the vents are open, you can't close them. This has its good points and bad points depending on how you look at it. I look at it as good. Why? Because every helmet I've seen that had vents that close, the vent openings were so small that I really thought they were more for looks than anything else. These vents work very well. Now could they make it so the vents could be closed, sure they could, but that's one more thing to break in my opinion.
We all hate a stinky helmet and of course there are any number of sprays available to "refresh" your helmet but that's a temporary fix at best. With the FX37DS you just pull the liner and cheek pads out and toss them in the washer on a gentle cycle, add fabric softener that smells good to you, and you're done. Line dry the pads and reinstall.
Up until this point I like just about everything with the FX37DS. There are a few nit-picky points that I hope are addressed-
First is the strap keeper that snaps the free end after you strap on the helmet. While it is easy to work, using gloves would be difficult if not impossible, more importantly it's too far up the D ring strap. The snap is right up next to the cheek pad which makes it hard to find since it's on it's on little strap instead of being connected to the main strap. The chin strap could be moved about a half inch forward of where it's currently located, it feels like it's a bit too close to the neck. The other thing I didn't like was the face shield doesn't seal tightly to the helmet. I didn't hear any annoying whistles like I have heard on other helmets but it could present an issue if you get caught in a heavy rain and water starts to migrate up the inside of the face shield. In its defense, riding in cold weather makes the face shield almost impossible to fog. Lastly, there are no clear instructions on how to change the face shield, unless directions come with the replacement shields, this could prove a problem. Incidentally, as of this printing, replacement shields are available.