ICON Airframe Pro Brozak Helmet – Gear Review
Top shelf motorcycle helmets like the ICON Airframe Pro command a premium price tag so as far as I’m concerned they dang well better perform like it. And after spending a few weeks with the Brozak version of ICON’s flagship head protector, I have to admit I like the direction this company is going with their products. At 3.6 lbs this ergonomically designed, aerodynamic-shaped carbon fiber composite helmet, is exactly what we’ve come to expect from these guys: Quality craftsmanship, comfort, loads of features and the requisite bad-ass ICON graphics.
Over the past 20 years I’ve worn a lot of different brand helmets, ICON among them, so I have a good idea of what works, what doesn’t and what should. However, I will admit, I’m impulsive and can be a little too eager to blow my hard-earned cash on sparkly, pretty things. So, don’t tell my wife, but this simultaneously explains why I have so much fun at the strip club, why I always have glitter on my face and why my bank account balance is always so low on Monday.
Anyway, I ordered up a prescription of Brozak without doing enough research. I was browsing my favorite e-tail store and once I saw that sick graphic with a yellow happy face emoticon mask strapped onto a grinning, toothy green monster’s skull with its brains oozing out, I knew I had to have it. So I ordered one, post haste. I’m an impulse buyer no doubt, and I wear a medium in almost every helmet brand, but once it arrived, it was way too small. Bummer. So I returned it and re-ordered a large. It showed up a few days later and even that was a little tighter than expected, but I couldn’t stand the thought of going without it any longer so I kept the large and just suffered through some squishy face until the cheek pads started to break in.
Then I discovered some clues to why it was tighter than expected. While looking for thinner replacement pads a few days into this bromance I discovered that the Airframe Pro is actually what ICON calls its Intermediate oval shell design, which explains why it was narrower than I expected. I’m still able to shoehorn my nugget into this thing because I will not be denied! I wanted my Brozac and I was not willing to take no for an answer.
It’s been so worth it. Unlike most helmets, the Brozac comes with a dark tinted shield (which is part of the $40 steeper price tag) right out of the box. I can’t help but fantasize that if ICON could only offer it with a thermonuclear yellow-chrome visor that would fill-in the happy face graphic. If so, this design would’ve been on a whole other level of cool. Oh well, life is rough. Speaking of face shields, if you haven’t changed an ICON shield before you’ll find out that it’s mindlessly easy to install, unlike some other shield systems that require equal parts innate understanding of geometry, vector concepts and Zen-caliber patience combined with a side order of luck (you know the one whose name we do not speak), to get them back together. Popping off the side panels is probably the toughest part of this task.
Anyway, the most interesting component of the Airframe Pro is the shell design. It all starts with the carbon composite construction and ends with the innovative shape that includes a cutout on the back so sport bike riders with inherently low clip-on bars and thick meat-necks don’t have to deal with the back of the helmet rubbing on their skin. Plus, the front is equipped with an integrated spoiler along the chin line, the eye-port is wide and tall to accommodate riding in the full tuck or attack position and the easy to manipulate ventilation system allows plenty of airflow. On the downside the helmet is noisy with the vents all opened-up, yet it’s air-tight when they’re closed, which means you have to choose between the rushing sounds of fresh air or the peace and quiet of stagnant air.
But this isn’t a complaint unique to this ICON helmet. It’s a testament to the tight tolerances. The fact is most of the modern vent systems make this compromise – only some are better than others. The Airframe Pro vent system, its right in the middle. But overall this helmet is right at the top of the heap in terms of everything else: State of the art helmet design, comfortable interior components, along with graphics ranging from wild & crazy, to typical ICON cool and right on down to plain Jane single colors.
When it’s all said and done, here’s the straight scoop. I dig the design, construction and pride in craftsmanship that ICON has delivered with the Airframe Pro. I am particularly fond of this graphic if you couldn’t tell. The Intermediate Oval shell design is just wide enough that I can wear this helmet in relative comfort so I finally have an ICON track helmet. The padding and liner material is very nice, but the cheek pads were real tight on my face initially. They’re starting to break in after wearing it constantly for a month, but be advised that if your head is more-oval shape than round, then my complaints about a tight initial fit, are going to be moot. ICON designs this shell to fit the majority of riders and they also offer the Alliance, Airmada and Variant for Long-Oval heads.
With an MSRP ranging from $399.00 - $430.00 there’s no doubt that the Airframe Pro is an excellent value when it comes to the higher-end helmets. Plus, it is good to know that it ticks all the necessary boxes: lightweight carbon fiber composite construction, DOT FMVSS 218 (US), ECE 22-05 (EUROPE), SAI AS1698 (Australia) and SG (Japan) safety and testing standards, washable-removable liner, actual working air vents and a nifty D-ring clasp. Would I recommend it to a friend? You bet. Will I wear it on the track? Yes. Would I let my friends wear my Brozak? Hell no. This is mine, I found it. Get away from it. It’s mine. It’s... my, my…precious…