Have you ever heard the saying, “Price is only an issue at the absence of value?” While that’s true in many cases, sometimes the “issue” is that we simply can’t afford top of the line gear. That’s why ADVMoto has gathered three budget adventure helmets priced under $200 for your consideration – The GMax GM-11, AFX FX-41DS, and HJC’s new DS-X1.
The GMax GM-11 Adventure comes in at $120 for the solid and $130 for the multi-color. The AFX FX-41DS starts at $136 and goes up to $175. Rounding out the three is the HJC DS-X1 at either $170 for the solid or $190 for the Lander color scheme. All three represent outstanding value for dollar and feature lightweight polycarbonate outer construction weighing in at less than four pounds.
Both the HJC and the AFX have a neutral fit accommodating both round and oval shaped heads. The GMax seems to fit round heads the best, at least from our testing. The HJC is the easiest to wear with glasses and even states that it's designed for glasses in their specs. Number two would be GMax GM-11 and the AFX is the least comfortable with glasses, although they will fit.
The visor on the HJC fits and sounds like you're closing the door on a fine German car. It has a positive seal and closes with confidence. While the AFX closes nicely and positive, there is a clear air gap between the shield and the seal which will cause wind noise and possibly leak. The GMax’s visor detents have the least positive feel of the three when you close it, but appears to seal better than the AFX with no visible gap between the shield and seal.
If ventilation is what you want, consider the AFX. 17 vents will provide plenty of air intake to keep you cool and exhaust the heat when riding in hotter climates. Even though there are plenty of vents on the AFX, we find they are hardest to operate. The GMax has 13 vents that open easily, but they don’t feel as robust as the HJC.
The HJC has only 9 vents, but they all open with ease and the switches have a positive open/close feel. All three are nicely styled with integrated vents which will work to keep your head cool and the inner liners dry. Speaking of which, all of our budget helmets have removable, washable, moisture wicking interiors. Also worth noting is the HJC is nearly one pound lighter and has the highest overall build quality.
The GMax and HJC both have traditional D-ring straps, while the AFX uses a quick ratchet strap which some love and some hate. D-rings are known for their reliable retention, while ratchet straps make it easier to secure the lid, even with gloves on.
Want to wear goggles for your dual sport ride? The HJC and GMax have the largest eyeports and are the easiest to use with goggles. Both seat and seal well against your face and have very little interference with the shield fully raised.
The AFX provides the least amount of room for goggles, and we simply could not get them to fit with the limited space. With the AFX you may have to remove the shield if you want to use goggles.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
For $120 you get what you pay for with the GMax GM11 Adventure. At this price-point, you get fantastic value, but don't expect the finishing touches found on more expensive lids.
While the AFX FX-41DS looks like an aggressively styled dual sport helmet with an integrated sun visor, a virtual cornucopia of ventilation and other features, it's got a few drawbacks. It's more street oriented and likely to be noisey due to gaps in visor and vent seals. Also the exaggerated neck contour won't allow it to sit still on flat surfaces.
It's hard to fault the HJC. It's the most expensive of the three at $190. The DS-X1 has the cleanest fit and finish with very positive visor operation and seal. If you can spend closer to 200 dollars and the shape fits your head, the HJC DS-X1 is your best bet.
All three of our sub $200 adventure helmets have modern dual-sport styling and features at prices to suit any rider's budget. Despite their pros and cons, all three offer a good to excellent value depending on your needs. Five years ago, getting a quality helmet at this price-point was unheard of and we hope to see more quality entry level gear like this in the future.
Where to Buy:
|HJC DS-X1||AFX FX-41DS||Gmax GM-11 Adventure|