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Product Review: Icon Variant Dual-Sport Helmet

Chaparral Motorsports
January 14, 2013

[caption id="attachment_22736" align="alignright" width="400"]Icon Variant Dual Sport Helmet The Icon Variant is marketed as an "Enduro" helmet, and it lives up to its name - this helmet is right at home on dual sport motorcycles that can handle both asphalt and the outback.[/caption]

Different styles of riding demand different styles of motorcycle helmets, and while its certainly possible to mix-and-match helmets with bikes, some models simply look right together. The [mageProductLink sku="038-0101-4746" title="Icon Variant Full Face Dual-Sport Helmet"]Icon Variant[/mageProductLink] is marketed as an "Enduro" helmet, and it lives up to its name - this helmet is right at home on dual sport motorcycles that can handle both asphalt and the outback.

The Icon Variant offers excellent build quality, with a mixture of fiberglass, carbon fiber and Dyneema making up the helmet shell. Overall weight is somewhere in the middle of the pack compared to similar helmets, but it gets the job done. The Variant is available in several different color options, although riders can also pay a bit extra and get an "[mageProductLink sku="038-0101-4725" title="Icon Variant Etched Full Face Dual-Sport Helmet"]etched skull[/mageProductLink] " on their helmet if they so desire. The helmet meets DOT and ECE 22.05 safety standards, with Icon claiming that is has passed Japanese and Australia standards as well.

Full face helmets like the Variant can be a bit uncomfortable for some riders, but fortunately Icon provides plenty of chin space so that riders don't feel smothered. Off-road adventures can last for hours, so it's important that the helmet is up to par in the comfort department. Fortunately, the Variant measures up, with a wide range of available sizes and plenty of interior lining to keep the rider's head cushioned.

Ventilation can be just as important as the actual material a helmet is made out of, but Icon does a good job addressing this issue. While some helmets may have trouble circulating the air, that's not a problem for the Variant. A rear exhaust system coupled with chin vents and a port on top of the helmet will keep riders cool, even on hot summer days. The Variant's chin vents are covered in a metal mesh that also protects the switch for opening the vents, so those looking to get cool can flip open the face visor with the touch of a button.

That being said, the Variant isn't the quietest helmet a rider will come across. Some of this is due to the excellent ventilation - noise gets into the helmet along with oxygen. Icon does a good job of keeping the noise down, however, and most riders will likely not have an issue with it.

[caption id="attachment_22735" align="alignleft" width="400"]Icon Variant Dual Sport Helmets - Lineup There are many color options and styles to choose from, so you get to choose your variant of the Variant.[/caption]

One area riders might have an issue is with the faceshield. Visibility through the shield is great, but riders may have some issue replacing the face shield, as the procedure can be complex. The face shield also butts heads with the so-called "sun peak," which juts out from the top of the helmet. It can be tricky to remove the face shield because of the helmet's overall design, and the sun peak is the main culprit. Even worse, this part of the helmet can get caught during races and begin to lift up or vibrate. While safe, this can be annoying for riders who experience it.

Overall, the Variant is another solid entry into Icon's motorcycle family, as the helmet's overall quality coupled with its low price tag is an opportunity that can't be beat. Although the Variant may not "wow" riders out of their chair, it's a fantastic helmet for any rider to own.

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