Icon Alliance Motorcycle Helmet Test
Icon’s Alliance full-face helmet had an initially tight fit across the forehead, but became comfortable in less than a week of daily wear. After the initial break-in point, the overall fit is very comfortable without any pinch points.
My head is more of the long, oval shape instead of the Charlie Brown round shape, and the Icon Alliance securely and comfortably conforms to my skull without feeling squeezed. The padding is firm but still pliable, and provides good insulation against wind and road noise while still allowing the rider to hear traffic noise.
The Icon’s chinstrap is comfortable and padded, and uses a plastic snap to secure loose end from flapping in the wind. Unfortunately, the chinstrap snap on the short side came off after less than a month’s use, which is pretty annoying for generally well-designed and comfortable helmet.
The Icon Alliance’s eyeport dimensions seem to be wider and taller than average. The width allows for greater peripheral vision, akin to a dirt bike helmet. The design height allows more sunlight into the helmet’s interior, which is a plus and a minus. The plus is a more open feel—your head does not feel like it is in a small cave; the minus is that when riding into a rising and setting sun, the ability to use the helmet as a visor by lowering your head is not as effective as a more standard size eyeport.
The faceshield seals up well against the Icon Alliance helmet. There is a post on the chinbar that allows the drilled hole in the face shield to snap over it and keep the face shield locked down for extended high speed stretches.
Although this mechanical design is great for keeping the face shield in position for highway speeds, the design inhibits comfortably lifting up the faceshield at stoplights or in slow moving traffic conditions where increased air ventilation is needed.
Adjusting the Alliance face shield through its five position points is a fairly effortless task, while still feeling solid at all of the position points. Though the position stops feel soft, the face shield stays in the selected position, even at nominal highway speeds.
A less obvious design feature is the helmet’s rear, which extends further down the neck than other helmets. This feature is especially helpful on cold days by preventing cold air from coming down the neck and into the jacket’s interior.
The Icon Alliance’s design, as is typical for full-face street helmets, provides minimal wind drag at highway-type speeds. Even in windy riding conditions, there is nothing out of the ordinary outside of the typical buffeting from wind gusts.
Icon’s description for airflow design mentions molded twin channel upper vents for increased cooling located at the helmet’s top. A plastic flap on the chin bar’s front opens and closes, rear exhaust ports prevent heat buildup, and adjustable side intake ports on the lower chin bar, which the adjustments are inside of the helmet.
Additionally, the Alliance’s airflow design is sufficient to prevent fogging on the face shield in humid conditions. However, do not expect noticeable differences in heat removal when the outside temperature is above 85 degrees. Riding with this helmet in the North Texas summer heat (90 – 100F) still required me to flip up the face shield at stops and in slow moving traffic; I also needed to keep the face shield cracked open to increase air flow when riding on surface streets and highways.
Unlike some helmets that require a Pinlock system to eliminate fogging in cool humid conditions, the Alliance face shield is coated with an anti-fogging compound that really does work. Additionally, the lower breath deflector, which is a rubber-compound piece on top of the chin bar, can be removed to allow the rider’s breath to dissipate fairly quickly. The chin bar’s vent also can be opened to allow cooler external air to further reduce fogging effects.
In routine commuter use the Icon Alliance’s face shield is easy to move through its positions without any catching on the stops. The shield also securely snaps down to the helmet onto a metal post located on the upper left section of the chin bar; Icon calls this the ProLock Secure Shield Locking System. However, releasing the face shield from the Prolock system requires the rider to be at a feet-down stop since the required force to tug the shield will throw the rider’s balance off.
Aside from wiping down the face shield and the Alliance’s exterior with a clean, wet cloth, the other two maintenance items that usually are done are cleaning the helmet’s liner and pads and replacing the face shield. A HydraDry liner and cheek pads wicks away sweat to help keep the rider’s head cooler in warm temperatures. But like any material, these items need periodic cleaning to maintain their performance.
The design of the Icon helmet’s liner and pads is such that they are fairly easy to remove by gently tugging on the snaps that hold them in place. Although the liner is pretty straightforward to install, fastening the cheek pads is a bit more difficult and requires some patience to make sure they are properly seated.
Removing and installing the faceshield does not require any special tools, which is in keeping with Icon’s claim. However, for first time effort of removing the face shield the rider needs to refer to the owner’s manual to understand the specifics of removing the faceshield and its attached sideplates. Installing the face shield after cleaning or for a new face shield is simple and quick.
After six months of near daily use, the Icon Alliance’s exterior is still in good shape without any chipping or noticeable marks. The liner and cheek pads are in excellent shape and maintain their moisture-wicking capability even after dealing with five months of North Texas heat and humidity. The face shield positioning is still smooth and secure in spite of going through temperature cycles ranging from 100-degree heat to 25-degree cold.
If you live in an area with extreme temperature swings, and you ride in all of them, the Icon Alliance helmet is an excellent choice. Styling ranges from flat black (Rubatone) to some pretty wild graphics (Chieftan and Shakki), and even feminine graphics are available, along with 8 Proshield styles. Starting at $136 for the solid red and blue colors (and up to $250 for the most intricate designs), the Icon Alliance is an outstanding helmet value.
For additional information, visit Rideicon.com.