A motorcycle helmet is the most critical piece of gear you need when riding motorcycles; the problem is the market is flooded with helmets to choose from.
Icon is known for producing helmets with outrageous graphics and unusual styling; a perfect choice if you want something different.
The Airflite is no exception to its ethos with its insane graphic options and supersized visor that comes down to cover the chin bar.
We have gathered all you need to know about the Icon Airflite helmet in this review, so let’s take a look.
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The Airflite sits mainly around the £250 price point, with some designs like the plain Matt Black being closer to £200.
In Icon’s helmet range, the Airflite is their middleweight helmet, with the Airframe Pro models being more expensive and the Airform being the budget range.
Safety and Construction
The Airlflite is an injection-moulded polycarbonate construction, one of the most common helmet construction methods and materials.
The result is a very tough outer shell with good impact resistance properties.
More expensive helmets are often produced with a multi-composite shell composed of fibreglass, carbon fibre and aramid fibres.
However, polycarbonate helmets shouldn’t be completely ruled out as they are still considered very effective and perform well in an impact.
The best polycarbonate helmets still achieve five-star ratings in SHARP safety tests.
As you can see, the polycarbonate shell (left in image) is lined with a polystyrene EPS liner (right in image) which is pretty thick. The combination is well suited to offer adequate protection.
Shell Sizes – Protection Considerations
Icon offers the Airflite in 3 shell sizes, which means you can get a helmet that properly fits you in the correct size.
Often cheaper polycarbonate helmets have just one or maybe two shell sizes across the entire range.
To account for the different sizes, they just make the EPS liner thicker or thinner depending on what size they are producing; this can lead to XXL helmets, therefore, having a really thin EPS liner which potentially means it is less effective.
The 3 shell sizes of the Airflite mean the EPS liner can stay relatively thick for good protection regardless of helmet size.
Icon has gotten three stars on the SHARP safety rating scheme for the Airflite. It is ECE 22.05 approved and meets the US’s requirements to pass DOT testing.
In the impact tests run by SHARP, the back and top of the helmet produced the best results for protection, whereas the sides and forehead offered average protection.
Other good protective features include an oversized visor which gives you excellent vision all around, and an internal sun visor to avoid being dazzled on sunny days.
A Double-D ring retention system is the best you can get and is the only system accepted by racing bodies for riders’ helmets.
Overall the Airflite is a pretty average helmet in terms of protection.
Where Icon helmets really come into their own is in the style department.
Their graphics are notoriously wild and out there; for example, take the Pleasuredome 3, which features a Mad Max-style scene with a gun-toting, samurai sword-wielding lady rider.
If you are looking at Icon helmets, you have probably been attracted in the first instance by the crazy graphics with names such as Uncle Dave, Skull 18, Synthwave Purple and Battlescar 2.
There are some more muted, simple designs if you don’t want to stand out too much.
The Airflite makes for an excellent Streetfighter-style helmet as it is pretty aggressive in design.
Another big bonus for the Airflite is the ventilation system.
It has taken inspiration from Motocross helmets with a prominent chin guard central vent that directs air to the mouth area and up toward the interior of the visor.
Although the visor drops to cover the chin guard, holes in the visor accommodate the airflow through to the chin vents.
There is a slider on the inside of the chin guard that can close the vent if you wish. It is a bit tricky initially, but you soon get used to it.
There are also large forehead vents that are glove-friendly.
These push air into channels that run front to back across the head and through exhaust vents at the back.
Sometimes with an internal sun visor, the ventilation system can be obstructed by the mechanism and loses its effectiveness, but Icon has constructed the channels to avoid the mechanism and allow air to flow freely.
The excellent ventilation means it is a great Summer riding helmet, and the visor is pretty hard to fog up despite not being fitted with a Pinlock.
The visor is the standout feature of the Airflite.
It is shaped to come down and cover the chin guard and locks in place at the bottom.
It offers excellent visibility and is very easy to use. Unlocking the visor to push it back up is just a case of using your thumb to press the button and raise it.
Icon has also implemented a quick-release visor system, so you just pop the pods off and open the visor wide until it pops off the mounts.
It makes the visor super easy to clean or swap out for the smoked visor that comes free in the box.
Clear replacement visors start at around £40, but you can also get racing-tinted visors in various colours.
The visor, however, has been treated with Icon’s Anti-fog coating.
There is also an effective internal sun visor.
Comfort and Sizing
The Airflite comes in 7 sizes from XS-3XL.
Across the size range, there are 3 shell sizes to accommodate this.
Icon is pretty good at matching the size that they state, and with a full-size range, most people should be able to find one to fit.
In terms of comfort, the Airlfite is lined with a removable/washable liner that uses Hydradry (Icon’s own branded liner); it is moisture-wicking, breathable, and quite plush.
You might find that the helmet is a bit of a squeeze to get on, but once it is on, it is comfortable with no pressure points. It is the opening that is a little snug, but not something that is an issue when you are wearing it.
There is a cut-out at the rear of the helmet to accommodate jacket collars and back protectors, but this is particularly useful for those with a speed hump on the back of the leather jackets. It won’t tilt your helmet forward when riding.
You can also contact Icon directly if you want to swap out your cheek pads to get that perfect fit.
At 1.7kg, it is slightly heavier than average.
This is something you will want to consider when looking at the Airflite, the way the helmet fits, however, may counteract the extra weight.
I found that the helmet would suit those riding a sportsbike or naked sports where you are in a sporty stance with your head down slightly.
The weight is tilted to the front of the helmet and therefore wants you to naturally bend over; this is likely the extra weight of the large visor, big chin piece and the fact it is sculpted at the back, which reduces the weight there.
The Icon Airflite is quite a noisy helmet despite having thick, plush padding.
It is largely down to the large vents at the front of the helmet, and extra noise is the sacrifice you make to have a well-ventilated lid.
It is nothing a good set of ear plugs couldn’t solve!
Fitting a Bluetooth comms kit shouldn’t be an issue with the Airflite. There are internal recesses to accommodate speakers and room at the side and in the chin bar for a microphone.
The mic is best tucked into the side out the way of the vents for the best clarity.
Overall the Icon Airflite is a funky offering to the mid-range of motorcycle helmets.
It is a good polycarbonate lid that offers adequate protection for everyday riding situations.
It excels with its style, ventilation system, sizing and comfort but is let down slightly by how noisy it is and the fact it is a little heavy.