PRODUCT REVIEW: FOX V3 RS HELMET
A product the Transmoto team has tried and tested and would recommend to a mate.
WHAT IS IT?
The V3 RS (“Race Spec”) is Fox’s all-new top-of-the-line moto helmet. Compared with its predecessor – the V3 MVRS (Magnetic Visor Release System) – the V3 RS gets a bunch of important design upgrades for 2022: to its multi-composite shell, visor fastening system, EPS liner, and safety features (including the move from ‘Fluid Inside’ pods to an updated ‘MIPS’ technology to manage rotational forces, and the provision to fit an Eject helmet removal system for the first time). It’s the most technologically advanced moto helmet Fox has ever produced.
WHY WE RATE IT
- Quality of Finish – Ever since Fox’s first moto helmet appeared (the Pro Pilot in 1998), the things have been well made – whether you’re talking about the $300 V1 model, the $400 V2 (introduced in 2019) or the top-shelf V3. But the quality of finish on this all-new V3 RS, even compared with its immediate predecessor, is next level. The multi-composite shell (which uses a combo of uni-directional and multi-directional woven Pre-preg Carbon and Aramid fibres) is a work of art and now incorporates the chin-piece and eyeport components in a more robust and neater way (even though it doesn’t appear much different from the outside). Other quality touches are the strap’s new carbon fibre D-rings (which will never corrode), and the supplied carry bag is a beauty.
- Protection – Not everyone was a fan of the previous V3 model’s ‘Fluid Inside’ pods because they tended to create pressure points if the helmet’s fit wasn’t bang-on. The V3 RS has dropped the FI technology in favour of an updated MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) tethered ‘membrane’, which sits between the EPS liner and comfort liner and acts as a low-friction layer between the helmet and the head. Aside from allowing for a snugger and more comfortable fit, this MIPS technology has proven its worth in protecting against both linear and rotational impacts.
- EPS Liner – The new dual-density “Varizorb” EPS liner (which has more of a beanbag structure than the previous sawtooth design) is designed to act like the crumple zones in your car to progressively dampen impact forces across a wider surface area. And while we haven’t yet had a decent crash in this lid, the new EPS liner certainly feels like it has a lot more ‘give’ when you poke a finger into it. The other benefit of this new EPS liner is that it has allowed Fox to finally make the V3 compatible with an Eject Helmet Removal System – a feature consumers tend to expect these days when they’re paying $700 for a lid.
- Comfort – The updated shell (which comes in four sizes and four dedicated EPS liner sizes to suit) combines with the all-new EPS liner and MIPS to make the V3 RS the most comfortable Fox helmet we’ve ever worn, plus it seems to accommodate a wider range of head shapes. And to customise the fit, the standard 45mm cheek pads can be replaced by either 40mm or 50mm options (available as an accessory for $49.95/pair). Adding to comfort levels is the quality antimicrobial comfort liner, which dries quickly and does a bloody good job of not getting crusty and skanky.
- Visor – Conceptually, using three magnets to fasten the visor on the V3 MVRS was a great idea, but history has proved that its visor dislodged far too easily. To address the issue, the V3 RS gets a second-generation MVRS visor, which still uses one magnet as a centre post, but shear-off screws have replaced the side magnets. The visor is still designed to flex on initial impact before breaking away in a big hit to mitigate the rotational forces. And in our experience, this new design’s ‘breakaway’ point is calibrated much better – meaning a glance from a tree branch no longer sends the visor flying. With a more secure visor, desert racers won’t have to worry about the thing disappearing at high speeds, either.
- Weight – At 1260g (for a Medium size), the V3 RS is 150-200g lighter (depending on which size you’re comparing) than the V3 MVRS. But the key point is where that weight is lost – primarily from the chinbar area. And as a result, the entire helmet now feels more neutrally balanced (that is, less front-heavy) on your head.
- Visor Adjustability – Like the V3 MVRS models that came before it (from 2017 to 2021), the V3 RS’s visor is positioned higher than average and remains non-adjustable. Fashion-conscious young racers will dig that. But for trail and adventure guys who regard a visor as a practical shield against sun glare, the lack of adjustability may be an issue. They might also argue the V3 RS ought to come with a spare visor, or at least a pair of replacement shear-off screws.
- Visor Buzz – At decent speeds (like an open fire trail or on the road), the sides of the visor can start to resonate against the shell, and this translates into a mild buzzing sound. It’s not a biggie, unless you’re easily annoyed by stray noises – in which case, a small piece of Blu Tack on either side will sort it.
At an RRP of $700-$730, Fox’s premium new V3 RS helmet is around $50 more expensive than its predecessor. But to our way of thinking, you’re getting a much, much better helmet for that small price premium – in terms of its quality of finish, fit, comfort, component spec and high-end safety features.
PRICE: $699.99 (plain ‘Carbon Black’ model); $729.99 (the other six colourways)