This helmet is like a party girl with all the fixins.
This is what I said to Grant at Ron Angel Wholesale.
“Grant,” I said. “This X-903 is like one of them fully loaded party-girls. It’s got features you didn’t even think you needed, and then you dig around a bit more, and suddenly…”
“You go to some pretty good parties, huh?”
“Now and again.”
“I should come with you.”
“You’ll do nothing but interfere with my creative process!” I replied.
All that aside, X-Lite’s new X-903 Ultra Carbon arrived just as winter did. Which was fortuitous, I guess.
I jammed it on my head without reading any of the instructions and away I went. About 10kay into the ride, I realised it had an internal drop-down sun-visor. And not just any sun-visor. But a sun-visor that did not interfere with my magnificent aquiline nose. This is a must in terms of drop-down sun-visors as far as I’m concerned. If it rests on my nose while I’m riding, I will be discomfited and everything may end up in a paddock.
But this one’s excellent. It has multiple height settings, and is made from optically perfect Lexan, so any blurred vision is you having a stroke, not the visor.
The external clear visor is Pinlock ready, and your Pinlock is in the box your helmet comes in. Fit it immediately. Ride fog-free.
But there is more to that amazing external visor. It is optical Lexan, of course. But it is the magnetically-assisted fitting of the visor which blew my mind.
People who know me well, know I am a technical retard. Simple things confuse and bewilder me. Simple things like removing and replacing visors. I can invariably get them off. Getting them on again is usually an exercise in violence and swearing. And broken things.
I was astonished at how easy this X-903 visor comes on and off. You take it off by pushing down two small tabs. Putting it back on is the sorcery. It literally clicks into place assisted by magnetic force. You cannot bollocks this up. I could do it even after three beers at the Walcha Motel last weekend demonstrating it to my mates.
The visor system is rugged and it kinda does everything but hiss with a vacuum seal when you click it into place and prepare for speed. I also like how you can open it a notch and it sits there, opened a notch, while you’re still belting along at speed.
One of the best visor systems on the market.
Ventilation is at the chin and on the top – and there’s tonnes of it. Seriously. This is a stunningly well-ventilated lid with an exhaust flume out the back to suck out the evil humors.
One of its most salient features is the Liner Positioning Control (LPC). So you can actually adjust the liner to have the helmet sit higher or lower on your head. You do this via the little black button marked ‘LPC’ at the back of the base of the helmet.
The helmet is already loaded to accept Nolan’s new-generation N-Com communication system (for $419). Grant keeps offering to hook me up with this. I keep hanging up on him. I gave the last N-Com system to Al for his Nolan and he loved it. But he likes to listen to music and talk to people when he rides. I just like to hear my own screaming.
The X-903 comes with Nolan’s own emergency-release system. Just pull the red tabs either side of the chin-piece and the cheek pads come out leaving the helmet in place. Don’t do this. This is for the paramedics, OK?
It’s a compact-looking helmet, which I love. I’m not a fan of those over-sized mongrels – they make you look like a bobble-head.
Importantly, the X-903 comes in three different shell-sizes. So from XXS to Med is one shell-size, L is a slightly larger shell-size, and XL to XXXL gets a third shell-size. Each shell size also comes with six different EPS sizes – so each helmet is properly configured from proper fit, which means proper safety. You’ll note than many manufacturers just pack in more foam and call it a “different size”. Not Nolan.
There is an appropriate feeling of quality construction with any X-Lite. This is a top-notch helmet. The carbon-fit lining is luscious (and of course it is washable, etc).
I found it to be relatively quiet. I’d class it as a quiet lid – but results will always vary depending on what you ride and the shape of your skull.
It’s light, despite being packed all the party features just like that beaut bird in the red dress you saw at that barbecue you went to. Carbon fibre, girls – so the weight comes from the stuff inside, like the drop-down visor.
It handles wind-blast very well, and I did not find my head being buffeted even when I turned to see if that was a police car following me. So the aerodynamic box is ticked, as I would expect it to be on an X-Lite.
I loved the graphics. It matched the Diavel I was riding perfectly. Normally, I like my graphics to have snakes and dragons and maybe daggers, and be a bit lurid and lairy. Or just plain evil, like that magical X-903 I have. I think X-903 straddles that world – it’s sexy without being lairy.
And I’m probably of an age where that might be a consideration.
But probably not.
Try one. Be amazed and impressed.
HOW MUCH? Plain is $749. Graphics is $849.
Check out www.ronangel.com.au if you want to see the full range of colours available. Or maybe I could just give you Grant’s home phone number…
By Boris Mihailovic