Topic: Affordable AND Great Dual Sport Helmet  (Read 2857 times)

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Affordable AND Great Dual Sport Helmet
« on: 02/19/18 02:48PM »
I've been shopping for a good, yet affordable Dual Sport helmet for a while.  I really didn't want to invest $300-$400 on a helmet when I wasn't sure if I was going to stick with the sport.  So my budget was around $100.  I was pretty much resigned to putting up with a cheap helmet because well, what can $100 buy nowadays right?

Why buy a dual sport helmet?  As other more experienced off road riders on this board have told me, although a DS helmet is NOT necessary, it sure as hell makes a big difference in function and comfort when riding off the beaten path.  A traditional full face helmet simply is too hot, restricts too much vision, and does not allow enough airflow to the lower jaw for deep breathing when riding off road.  I found this out the hard way.

So when fellow member OOTV sent me an enthusiastic text about a great DS helmet for $100, which got good reviews, I was all over it.  The helmet is made by GMAX and it's called the GM11D:

I normally don't do reviews unless I'm REALLY impressed with something special. Well this is one of those times.  So what's so special about this DS helmet?  Because its performance is well beyond its price range would suggest!

The good: 
1)  This helmet is amazingly quiet behind my puny little windshield on my Suzuki Dr650.  It actually is approaching the quietness of my Shoei X12 racing helmet behind the same windshield.  I have no idea how that is given the helmet's fit isn't anywhere close to being as snug as my X12.  Yet it is THAT quiet; all the way up to 80 mph.  YMMV depending on what bike you ride.
2)  The eyeport is HUGE, as with most DS helmets.  But the shield is crystal clear.  OOTV described the shield clarity as being so clear that you may doubt there is a shield out front.  I have to agree.
3)  The helmet vents very well, especially the area around the lower jaw.  I can breath easy even with the shield closed and even though there is a chin guard.  There is plenty of airflow in the nasal area, allowing me to breath easily with shield shut at no more than 25 mph off road, yet this air flow does NOT swirl around my eyes and dry them up.  Go figure.  Also, the vents on the chin guard, the forehead, the middle top, as well as the exit vents at the rear CAN be opened or closed.
4)  Technical reviews of this helmet from Revzilla say it is heavy.  Yet the helmet felt light to me and never became an issue.  It doesn't feel any heavier than my Shoei X12 (which is light) although it did feel heavier than my Schuberth S4 Sport Helmet, which is very light.
5)  The cheek pads and upper lining can be removed and replaced.  The cheek pads can be replaced with smaller or bigger pads to customize the fit to the user's head.
6)  The cheek pads have pockets for communicator speakers.  But they are not BIG pockets.  So YMMV depending on which communicator you have.
7)  GMAX also sells a double layer face shield to eliminate shield fogging, as well as a thicker, bigger chin guard for winter riding. 
8)  The Peak has large openings at the rear to allow lots of airflow through the Peak so it minimizes helmet lift at highway speeds.  This works really well and I didn't have to angle my head downwards just to keep the wind from catching the Peak.
9)  The Peak can be removed via three screws that can be turned using coins.

The Bad:
1)  The Peak does catch side winds.  Since I rode with it on very windy, blustery day, I could feel the wind catching the Peak from the sides, which kept shaking my head a bit from side to side.  However, as soon as I got out of that gusty area, the wind buffeting from the Peak calmed down to the point where it felt like a normal helmet.  So under normal riding conditions this should not be an issue.
2)  The chin strap is located a bit too far to the rear of the helmet.  It didn't bother me since I wear a neck tube all the time.  But I can see this being an issue for riders who do NOT wear a neck guard.
3)  The faceshield can ONLY be removed by unscrewing the 2 screws on each side.  A small coin works on them.  But they are NOT quick release like the more expensive helmets.

So that's it for my comprehensive review of my first Dual Sport helmet.  If you're looking for one around $100 that punches well above its price range, look no further than the GMAX GM11D.

The helmet looks bad-ass in black with a dark shield.  I got the Flat Black.  Note the huge openings behind the Peak.
by rogue_biker, on Flickr

Looks like a space helmet!

by rogue_biker, on Flickr
« Last Edit: 02/19/18 02:57PM by Rogue »

Offline OOTV

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Re: Affordable AND Great Dual Sport Helmet
« Reply #1 on: 02/19/18 03:36PM »
Although I cannot comment on the air flow as much as Rogue, as the motorcycle (Triumph Tiger 800) I’ve been using my helmet with has a large wind screen to protect me from headon wind but can say the one thing that really impressed me was the face shield and large view port. I had to double check a few times to make sure the face shield was closed as it was so clear, it didn’t appear to be so.

Like Rogue, I used my street helmet (Shoei GT-Air) on my first ride and immediately new I wanted something more DS oriented and considering I only have the Triumph on loan for a while, I knew I didn’t want to spend a boat load of money for a DS helmet, just something that wouldn’t break the bank and could be a decent second helmet. Of course the first place to go for inexpensive helmets is Cycle Gear, I.e. Bilt, but even those were not 100% to my liking and actually a little more than I was expecting to be honest. One benefit to the GMAX GM11 over some of the other DS helmets, is the ability to convert it to a street helmet by visor removal and hardware kit. So two for two with this helmet.

As one would imagine, going to the Internet is where you look for reviews and deals and I stumbled upon this one via a few video reviews, all which were very good. The first version I found was on closeout for $89 but when my order was finally processed, the version I bought was no longer available, not sure what to say about that but I ended up grabbing a current model but with my discount it came out to just over $100. I knew Rogue was also looking for one so I told him about the helmet and the price and low and behold, he bought one too!

TLDR: I agree with Rogue, great helmet, great price and sure seems to check all the boxes for me!
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Offline Throttle Chopper

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Re: Affordable AND Great Dual Sport Helmet
« Reply #2 on: 02/20/18 02:02PM »
Great review.  I too was looking for a cheaper helmet when I picked up my Honda and settled on an AFX 39, which was essentially a Fly-branded Trekker helmet for ~$50 less.  DS helmets do a much better job of flowing air, and that visor may act like a sail in a headwind can protect your face when charging down the trails especially single track where small branches can intrude on your path (mine has saved me a couple of times).  Also the flexibility of being able to wear goggles underneath and flipping up that visor also makes these helmets a must off road.   
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