The Feature-Packed AFX FX-50 Helmet Will Keep You Ahead of the Pack
Bursting on to the scene in 1996, AFX thought that the motorcycle crash helmet scene had gotten fat and complacent and decided it needed shaking up. The AFX FX-50 does just that. If you are on the hunt for a cleverly thought out lid that won’t break the bank, this feature-packed helmet will keep you ahead of the pack.
Their idea was to produce excellent helmets, with innovative designs that were accessible to everyone. The products they created back in the mid 90’s filled that criteria, but critics complained that quality was very much at the lower end of the spectrum.
Over 20 years down the line, and after a significant investment in new equipment, AFX is hitting their target of quality and value out of the park. This development is especially apparent in helmets like the FX-50.
The model was launched in 2011 and remains pretty much unchanged, following the ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’ logic.
On the subject of the visor, it appears to be pretty much a styling exercise rather than for any specific function. It could be argued, however, that the cutaways help stabilize the helmet in fast-moving airflow.
Conventional stud attachment visors fit lower down on the helmet, almost level with the forehead acting as a first line defense against the sun.
Due to its design, the FX-50’s visor mounts significantly higher, taking away some of its usefulness. It certainly gives the helmet a distinctive profile though, so it’s done its job.
At high interstate speeds, it could probably become a bit of an issue. This helmet will undoubtedly be bought by riders with a windshield or city commuters though, so it’s unlikely to be a problem.
As you would expect, the visor can be removed altogether if you only want the clear shield. The supplied, color-coded covers can then be used to cover the gaps.
Talking of the side covers, the ones fitted to the helmet as standard are yet another nice design feature. The covers are reflectors to help with visibility in the one area of the motorcycle that isn’t lit up. The FX-50 gets another decent sized horizontal reflector mounted at the back too.
Two shell sizes are available, one covering XS-M and the larger one taking in L- XXL. This system avoids the dreaded pinhead look when only a single shell size is available and the size differences made up with large EPS liners.
Comfort in Mind
The inner liner is specifically built with comfort in mind and is thicker than usual. With that in mind it’s fair to assume that sizes run a little on the small side, so be extra diligent when measuring.
The anti-microbial material gives the liner a fleece-like feel and is hypoallergenic. Riders in warmer states will also be pleased to hear that the liner and cheek pads are removable for washing.
The helmet has ear pockets for Bluetooth systems but depending on your speakers, may be a tight fit due to the location of the EPS liner. If you’re thinking of buying a hands-free comms system, it is best to take the helmet along with you and test it for fit.
The FX-50 joins a long line of open face helmets that offer a dual face shield. This system has one full cover outer shield and a drop down inner sun shield. It’s just a pity that many top of the range helmets don’t have the FX’s ease of use.
The dark smoke sun shield operates via a slider located on the top of the helmet. You can leave the slider mechanism anywhere along its length, and it stays in place. This feature is handy when the sun is low on the horizon or is strobing through trees.
The main shield is scratch-resistant, compound curved and optically correct. At 2.2mm thick, its got a good firm feel and you also get that all important UV protection.
You won’t find a molded-in lug on the shield, so moving it into one of its three solid feeling detent positions is a finger and thumb job and no big deal.
A gasket runs around the top of the eye-port for the shield to fit snuggly against and comes down low enough to be level with the bottom of your chin.
Talking of the eye port, because the bottom of the helmet curves and extends slightly lower than other three-quarter helmets it gives the impression being somewhat enclosed.
In reality, the opposite is true, as this feature allows the area around the eyes to be slightly deeper cut, and the result is excellent peripheral vision.
One more point to raise while we’re taking a tour of the eye port, and that’s the chin strap arrangement. This system employs a ratchet style Microlock, that is operable with one hand, which is a neat trick.
With any three-quarter lid, you’re guaranteed a face full of air every time you open the throttle, which is probably why some manufacturers skip over venting.
Again, this is another area where the FX-50 scores. Whether you’ve got the face shield open or not, there are times when you need all the airflow you can get.
With this in mind, you’ll find a chimney vent on the top of the helmet that can be open or closed and four small exhaust vents at the rear, which suck out warm air when you’re on the move.
The FX-50 comes with an advanced lightweight composite poly-alloy shell that tips the scales at just under three and a half pounds. That may seem comparatively heavy for an open face lid, but in real-world terms, that translates to a double safety rating.
Putting Safety First
Some helmet manufacturers are happy to stay with the US market only DOT sticker, but if you see that backed it up with an ECE 22.05, you can bet that your head is in safe hands!
If you want further proof that AFX put their money where their mouth is, the helmet gets a limited lifetime warranty, and that’s a perfect note to end. So rest assured, the feature-packed AFX FX-50 helmet, will keep you ahead of the pack.
Images taken from: “https://youtu.be/LfJhngoyQSM”, “https://www.shoputahharley.com”