A very nice, thoughtfully designed open-face helmet for medium-oval heads (25.05.2020)
After years of industrial ‘popularising’ of the full-face style helmet, there has recently been a marked upsurge in the introduction of new open-faced helmet designs, notably conforming to the so-called ‘jet’ style.
As part of a recent investigation into current open-face helmets, I purchased an LS2 OFF597 'Cabrio Via Jet Helmet', subjecting it to comparisons with Bell Custom 500, LS2 OF559 'Spitfire' & LS2 OF569 Track 'jet style' products.
The Chinese firm LS2 produces a range of these styles in various models and all of them are typically well-designed, engineered and produced, in my experience. As the possessor of a large head (measuring 21 x 16 cm and generally taking either a LRG or XLRG size, depending on the helmet) of the medium oval conformation, finding a suitable motorcycle helmet has typically been rather problematic for me in past years. As an aviation life support specialist, I am well-versed in the nuances of cranial protective helmets, so I am at least well prepared to evaluate vehicular safety helmets more objectively than most.
My inspection of certain open-faced ‘jet’ helmets offered through motorcycle retailers has revealed that the LS2 line are generally an excellent choice for ‘medium oval’ large heads like mine. LS2 is a firm that has made remarkable strides in offering ‘state-of-the-art’ protection available to motorcycle users and the LS2 OFF597 Cabrio Via model is no exception. It incorporates a built-in visor like many of its contemporaries, since eye-protection is an area that was frequently under-emphasised in prior-decade open-face helmet design, although a chief criticism of the Cabrio Via ‘drop-down’ visor is that it is a bit short, measuring vertically at 6.5 cm at mid-point (top of nose to rim of helmet) and 7.6 cm at its largest vertical distance. This rather short vertical dimension enables it to cover most of the immediate forward area in front of the wearer’s eyes, but not as completely as might be desired along its lower (bottom) edge. A slight redesign of this feature (lengthening it slightly) would be a significant improvement, in my opinion.
The Cabrio Via internal liner is typically excellent, reflecting LS2’s concerns with adequately cushioning the wearer’s head both vertically and laterally. Occipital (nape of neck) padding is quite adequate, although not as extensive as, for example, that found on the Bogotto line helmets. The temple padding cushions are configured to allow sun-glasses to be worn comfortably with this helmet, and the Perlon chin strap of the polymeric rachet-type is both secure and easily adjustable, as well as comfortably sited to fit perfectly under the chin.
The overall quality and finish of LS2 helmets are excellent and factory quality control (for a Chinese-manufactured product) appears quite good.
My large medium oval head took an XLRG size for a comfortable fit and extended wear produced no discernible pressure points or discomfort in the upper forehead area (a typical problem area for many individuals).
I am particularly pleased that the Cabrio Via Jet model is produced in high-visibility color (among a range of other pleasing colors), something that too many otherwise excellent helmet designs neglect in their slavish catering to the dull black ‘bad-boy’ look so many younger riders seem to think is so cool (not, since dull black helmets are often hard to make out against your typical street settings and are therefore less safe than more easily seen colors).
In view of the foregoing and generally speaking, the LS2 OFF597 Cabrio Via helmet deserves high ratings, in my considered opinion, but I also feel that more attention needs to be focused by the motorcycle helmet industry at large on providing better consideration of helmet suitability for wear of a range of protective eyeglasses/goggles.
At present, although motorcycle helmet retailers can generally provide very precise product information on their offerings to prospective buyers, when queried as to what sorts of eye-protection will ‘work’ with a particular helmet, quite often these inquiries draw a complete blank in response. A good motorcycle helmet seller should be able not just to sell a buyer a great helmet, but to also provide well-considered and researched information on what sorts of goggle or protective eye wear will work best with it.
While the human head’s ability to protect the brain is well recognised, it is surprising that so little attention is paid towards coordinating good eye protection with a helmet, since next to the brain, our eyes are the second most critically important sensory system we possess. No helmet will do a sightless rider the least bit of good, needless to say!
In summary, the LS2 helmet line in general and the OF579 Cabrio VIA jet helmet in particular well deserve a 4-out-of-5-star rating, and possibly even more than that. The price is also right and you really can’t do much better if you possess a ‘watermelon-shaped head’ like I do!
Very good (12.07.2019)
Arrived really well packed.
I wear glasses and I thought the sun visor might not be useable, but it is and works really well.
I also added a clear visor, which is good in the rain in Ireland ;-)
It took a few hours of wearing to get the full comfort level as the insides shaped to my head.
Overall very happy