One of the first helmets I ever owned was a Scorpion. I don’t even remember the model number anymore, but I remember I bought it because it was all I could afford as a poor college student. It fit fine when I tried it on at the store for a few minutes, but the honeymoon period quickly ended by the time I rode home from the store – the shell gave my intermediate-oval dome a massive pressure point directly on my forehead. To add insult to injury, after only a few months sitting on my shelf, the liner started coming loose and the rubber seal between the visor and the shell started to come off. In the end, the experience left me with a sour taste in my mouth, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn a Scorpion since … and still have fingers left over.
Fast forward about a decade and the opportunity arose to try another Scorpion helmet – this time the EXO-R2000, Scorpion’s premier lid, tried and tested on the MotoGP battleground by the likes of Jack Miller in Moto3, Mika Kallio in Moto2, and Alvaro Bautista in the premier class. I figured ten years is enough time for me to forgive and forget, and it should be more than long enough for Scorpion to sort its quality control issues. Not to mention, if some of the world’s best riders trust the EXO-R2000 to potentially save their lives, then I could find it in my heart to give a second chance.
Starting at $369.95 for solid colors and moving up to $429.95 for the Bautista replica, the R2000 meets Snell M2010 requirements and represents quite a value for someone looking for an upper-tier full-face helmet at almost half the cost of Scorpion’s Japanese rivals. Of course, none of this means anything if it doesn’t fit, and when it came time to don the flagship EXO, I was pleasantly surprised. For one, it fit my head, and it fit well. Secondly, but equally as importantly, the quality is worlds better than I had expected.
Four different shell sizes and six EPS liners are responsible for the comfortable fitment around my dome. However, through the use of its Airfit Liner Inflation System, Scorpion took an extra measure to ensure a snug fit occurred along the jaw bone and cheek area as well. Basically employing an air bladder within each cheek pad, a few squeezes of the pump inflates the bladder to give you a snug fit each time. When it comes time to take the helmet off, a simple press of the release valve next to the pump on the chin bar lets all the air out.
Apart from the fit, Scorpion credits its proprietary TCT, or Thermodynamic Composite Technology, for blending fiberglass, Aramid and poly-resin fibers into each shell. Wind tunnel testing was used to create the teardrop shape for optimal aerodynamics. On the road the shape works well, as buffeting is kept to a minimum. Turning one’s head at speed, say, to check for traffic before changing lanes, is easily done even on naked bikes without any wind protection. At 3 lbs, 8 oz, it’s weight is distributed evenly and doesn’t feel cumbersome while riding.
Inside, the antimicrobial KwikWik II liner fabric is soft to the touch and helps wick sweat away on hotter days to keep you cool. The liner is also completely removable and machine washable. Speaking of keeping cool, the R2000 features six intake ports across the front and numerous exhaust ports in the rear to flow air through the helmet. There’s a noticeable amount of air that enters the helmet, and with the two-stage vents you can really fine tune the amount of air that comes in. The more expensive Japanese helmets will flow more air, but that said, ventilation on the EXO-R2000 is great for the price range it occupies. Be warned: opening the intake vents, especially the chin vent, introduces a noticeable amount of wind noise into the helmet. Those who wear ear plugs, like me, won’t be bothered much by it.
Since the 2000 was meant for the track, the wide eyeport gives great field of view, especially in a tuck position. The fog-free shield has been a Scorpion staple since day one and offers 100% UV protection. However, what really blew me away is the inclusion of a dark tinted visor with every EXO-R2000. It comes in its own carrying pouch, and just adds to the value proposition Scorpion is providing. The spring-loaded ratcheting system allows you to raise or lower the shield in five different intervals, and once fully closed, it forms a seal with the eyeport, keeping water away. Shields are easily changed in seconds without tools and can be locked in the closed position with a sliding tab near the left side pod. Moving the tab in the opposite direction raises the shield slightly to introduce air-flow at low speeds.
While I haven’t actually made impact with the ground while wearing the EXO, I’m confident it will keep me safe. Scorpion were also wise to fit the 2000 with an emergency release system, allowing emergency medical personnel to quickly and easily remove the cheekpads to safely remove the helmet from an injured rider.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the EXO-R2000. Scorpion has come a long way since I last tried its products, and it shows. The 2000 fits my head very well, cuts through the air as well as anything out there, and best of all, is a relative steal for anyone looking for a top-level lid. Plus, the free dark shield is a nice touch. It’s quickly becoming my go-to helmet whenever I head out the door. Something I never thought I’d say.
Available in sizes ranging from XS-2XL, www.scorpionusa.com is where to go for more information and to find the dealer nearest you.