RideApart reviews the Scorpion 900X Transformer helmet.
For 2014 Scorpion took a very good helmet in the 900 and made it lighter, simpler, and dropped the price by $100. Did it make it better or did they just cut corners?
The 900X Transformer helmet is a modular, flip-face, design that incorporates an internal sun visor and a surprise feature we will discuss later. Made from a Polycarbonite shell and using Scorpion's Air-Fit liner it should fit a wide variety of riders.
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Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The 900X we received is plain black. Nothing fancy, the finish is smooth, no defects, and all of the edges are finished nicely. In mixed riding it has held up well with no marks or scuffs from daily use. The liner is plush and soft to the touch. Scorpion has always had a very comfortable liner that wicks moisture away pretty well.
Overall, I'll rate the 900X as "Excellent" for paint and quality. (There are no graphics to judge.)
Fit, Internal Shape and Liner
Fitment is typical Scorpion. They fit round or Earth shaped heads very well. For me it's a balancing act - minimum one size up to fit my long oval head shape, but that does leave some forehead pressure. As mentioned above the liner is really comfortable, and one of my favorite parts of the helmet is the cheek pad design. The ear pocket is incorporated into the cheek pad and the padding is in front of the ear closest to your jaw. This takes all of the pressure off of the ear itself and leaves plenty of room for a communicator.
Overall I would rate the Fit, Shape, and liner as “Excellent”.
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Face Shield, Eye Port and Visibility
The face shield works well, the detents are smooth to operate, and fitment is OK. What we don't like: the shield will not stay open at anything over a walking speed. Scorpion designed it this way to make sure it closes when riding for protection. We call it annoying, particularly in warm weather behind a wind screen. Make sure to close it with a good hard shove or it will whistle when moving. Once sealed it is waterproof and quiet.
One negative is the shield fogs easily. Less than 30 seconds stopped at a light in cooler temps and you are blind from the fogging. This is despite having EverClear® coating on the shield.
The internal sun visor has a single down position and works with a slider attached to the side of the helmet. It works OK and offers enough tint to make riding in direct sunlight bearable. The helmet we tested puts a bit of a yellow hue on the world, almost like those "HD" driving glasses. This is not a detractor to the overall usefulness, just different from most other sun visors. It starts off very stiff to actuate and breaks in with use, becoming smoother to operate over time.
Visibility out of the eye port is “Average.” The field of vision isn't obstructed but when looking to the extreme left or right I could see the side plates. Depending on where you ride that could be an issue.
The 900X gets an "Average" rating for face shield, eye port and visibility.
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Ventilation for a touring helmet could be better. When we asked Scorpion about this they stated they made a conscious design decision. They sacrificed max ventilation for a quieter helmet for long distances. With only two vents, one in the chin and one on the top of the helmet, it just isn't enough even on cooler days. We would have preferred more ventilation to the minimal additional sound it saved.
The 900X gets an “Below Average” rating for ventilation.
The 900 X isn't noisy but it isn't super quiet either. Which makes the argument above about less ventilation for less noise kind of moot. Most touring riders need a helmet that can withstand large temperature ranges. Being noisy comes with the territory when all the vents are open; that's why so many distance riders swear by ear plugs.
Overall for noise I would rate the 900X “Very Good”. It is better than most and certainly better than the competition at the same price point.
One thing that makes the 900 Transformer and now 900 X unique is the modular chin bar. Being a modular helmet isn't unique; there are a ton of other flip-face helmets. The 900X allows you to remove that chin bar entirely, replace it with a $15 peak and use this helmet as a 3/4 face with an internal visor. This certainly fixes the ventilation issues we had with it.
The 900X in size large weighs 4 pounds 2.2 ounces. That puts this on the heavier end of the scale. The modular construction adds heft for that versatility.
The 900X is a “Very Good” helmet with some nice features. The modular chin bar, drop down visor, and comfortable liner make it a great value not just because of price but also its versatility. In the end Scorpion did improve the 900 helmet when they made the 900X. They upgraded every feature, lowered the price($199), and made a good helmet better. That's a winner every time.