I’m a bit of a motorcycle accessories addict and the Icon Airframe Ghost Carbon Helmet is probably one of my prized possessions. Living in Thailand where most things are so cheap allows me to splurge every now and then and I think a helmet is definitely a motorcycle accessory worth splurging on. And while you can certainly buy cheaper helmets that offer just as good protection, I personally think the Icon Airframe Ghost Carbon is worth every dollar.
Icon can make some pretty gaudy gear, especially some of their jackets that look like dirt bike gear converted for street use. Bright and tacky in my view and while i wouldn’t call the Airframe Ghost Carbon understated in its appearance, it doesn’t yell out, “Look at me” like some teenager with an unhealthy dose A.D.D . In fact from a distance it really looks like a plain black helmet (albeit with a tinted yellow visor – more on that later). Up close however and you can see this is a helmet with a lot of attention to detail.
I think the carbon looks great. It looks modern yet I think will date well. And while the design does look aggressive, to me it’s still a matter of function over form – there’s nothing unnecessary about what Icon have implemented here. The air intakes and exhaust ports may look comically large on first glance but you grow used to them and after wearing the helmet for a while, you’ll appreciate their purpose. That carbon used on the shell means the helmet only weighs a smidgen over 3 pounds (1.5kg) and it really helps reduce neck fatigue on long rides.
The name Airframe may give you a clue as to what this helmet excels at and that is air flow. Damn, it’s good. There are two massive vents on the top of the helmet and they really do a great job of keeping the temperature down at speed. The downside is that you also get a fair bit of wind noise because of that, but it’s a compromise I’m happy to make in a tropical climate. Just put in ear plugs. Icon go a step further and line the helmet with a quality wicking material called HydraDry. It’s removable and washable and not only helps keep the sweat off you, but reduces that lovely helmet smell we all endure.
Despite that noise generated by the helmet when riding fast, I was surprised at how stable the Icon Aiframe Ghost Carbon is at high speed. I’ve generally found that a noisy helmet equals a helmet that tries to rip my head from my body at anything above freeway speeds. But no, it’s surprisingly aerodynamic. Icon has really designed the air vents well so that the air flowing through does so in an efficient manner. Kudos to them.
The yellow visor is another great feature and not as gimmicky as I thought it would be upon purchase. Unlike a tinted visor, the yellow optical visor can be used both day and night. It cuts down glare in the day like a tinted visor and actually enhances your vision in darker light. You’ll probably still want to wear sunglasses in extremely bright conditions but I gotta say I’m a convert – no more tinted visors for me if I can help it.
At $500, it certainly isn’t cheap and considering the normal Airframe helmets cost almost half as much, you could still get a great helmet and save yourself a few hundred bucks. But as I said, I like to splurge and I have no regrets with the Icon Airframe Ghost Carbon.