A very nice lid for very reasonable money
AFX. For many of us, those three letters call up fond memories of childhood. Back in the day, kids in every corner of America set up AFX HO-Scale slot car tracks in their basements during the winter months and had mini race leagues. While we're not talking about the same company that made everyone's favorite toy cars, those three famous letters have found their way into the motorcycle sport, adorning helmets which we can wear as we act out our second childhoods. Talk about coming full circle!
Although you may not have heard of AFX, the brand has been in business since 1996 and has its US headquarters located in California. At the Indianapolis Dealer Expo, we came across their booth and checked out the full-faced street helmets on display. What initially caught our attention was an FX-95 model helmet in "911 never forget" graphics. This lid was a limited edition with a run of nine hundred and eleven individually numbered units. A part of the sale of each would be donated to the 911 charity www.tuesdayschildren.org. AFX asked if we'd like to do a track test with one of their mainstream graphic choices on an FX-95 and of course, we said “yes!”
The AFX FX-95 retails for between $99.95 and $104.95, depending on graphics. It's made of what the company describes as "an advanced lightweight composite poly-alloy”; translation, “plastic.” There was a time when such helmets were to be shunned but this is the new millennia and these days, poly helmets can survive a wallop just as well as their composite brothers. If you're starting to mutter that old saw about people with $100 dollar heads wearing $100 helmets, consider this: The FX-95 meets or exceeds both ECE 22.05 and DOT FMVSS-218 motorcycle helmet safety standards. That means it's legal for road use anywhere in the world. “What about Snell,” you ask? While many American riders think that the Snell standards are the be-all, end-all method of helmet testing, bear in mind that this foundation's main concern is racecar drivers. When doing flips while strapped inside a roll cage, a car's pilot may whack the same part of his noggin against the machine several times; therefore, to pass the Snell test, a helmet must survive multiple blows to the same location. Motorcyclists don't crash in that manner. We tumble, usually hitting a different part of the lid with each bounce. Because the ECU and DOT standards were written for motorcycle riders, they don't require such strength. This equates to a helmet which is softer and can absorb more impact with each hit, translating into a better cushioning effect for the fragile brain encased within.
The AFX FX-95 is an inexpensive piece of equipment which has many upscale design features. The helmet liner and cheek pads are removable, washable, and are made from hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial nylon. The flush-fit, optically correct, side-coverless face shield is also scratch-resistant and UV coated. The helmet's weight is 1590 grams. Shields are available in light and dark tint, as well as several mirrored finishes. The AFX DOT/ECE-approved cam buckle quick-release chinstrap retention system is very unique in the helmet world. To complete the package, the FX-95 comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
We tested this helmet in two very different sets of conditions; first in hot, humid, 80 degree temps at Talladega GP in Alabama and then on a cool, damp weekend in the 50s and 60s at Putnam Park in Indiana. Both scenarios had the right conditions to make your visor fog; however, this did not happen. The quick-release chin strap is simply a pleasure to use. Once you set it to your individual preference, all that is needed to release the helmet is to pull on the small buckle. This allows the user to put on and take off the helmet while wearing gloves. If you've ever been nervous enough before a race to put your gloves on first, you'll totally appreciate this feature. Fit and visibility are very good, the helmet flows a fair amount of air without being overly noisy and the liner does a good job of wicking away sweat.
There are those who will stand high on their mountain of righteousness and cast derision on a helmet like the AFX FX-95, simply because it is moderately priced. How dare you trust your head to a helmet that costs less than $500? Those are the same people who refuse to replace their expensive lid after a gentle crash. Better a damaged $ 5 C-Note lid than a fresh one for a hundo? We think not. The FX-95 is comfortable, works well, offers interesting graphics choices and costs less than a full tank of fuel in a big pickup truck. If you're short on cash, trying to get your bike back together after a crash and also need a new helmet, here's your answer. The AFX FX-95 is inexpensive enough that you'll still be able to afford one if money is tight. We think that if you try this helmet, you'll be quite pleasantly surprised by what a nice piece it is. As far as we're concerned, that's serious value.