Scorpion Covert 3-in-1 Motorcycle Helmet Review
With a look reminiscent of the headgear of Gort, the robot featured in the 1951 sci-fi cult classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, the Scorpion Covert 3-in-1 helmet has a high-tech aura that gets attention, particularly in the ominous matte black finish.
To be clear, while the Covert has the look of a full-face helmet and is DOT (FMVSS 218) compliant, it is actually a half helmet with additional parts (see here for more about helmet performance standards).
Indeed, a tag included with the helmet as a reminder states, “This helmet is only a half helmet and does not provide appropriate impact protection against the face, below the ears and the neck.”
Consequently, if you are in the market for a true full-face or modular helmet check out the Scorpion helmet options in those lines. However, if you are interested in a half helmet with multiple configuration options, then read on.
The part of the helmet normally considered the chin bar on a full-face is referred to as the “mask” in Scorpion product literature. Use of the term is deliberate, in order to prevent confusion on the part of buyers who may be looking for a full-face helmet.
The mask is pliable and not equipped with any impact padding on its interior surface. It appears to be a durable polymer that could provide some protection against flying road debris, bugs and abrasion in a fall, but it is not equivalent to the chin bar of a typical full-face helmet for impact protection. The top edge of the mask has a groove with a gasket that matches the curved bottom edge of the visor.
The part of the helmet that extends below the half-helmet shell and to which the mask attaches is called a “comfort sleeve.” Using the sleeve alone with the half-helmet shell gives it the look of a ¾ shell open face helmet. The comfort sleeve is a plastic outer shell with a soft padded liner held in place with hook and loop material. As with the mask, the sleeve does not contain any impact attenuating material.
Removing the comfort sleeve is a little more challenging than removing the mask. The padding inside the sleeve is first removed, which is the easy part. Then, the outer shell of the comfort sleeve must be unhooked from the helmet shell.
There is a latch at the back edge of the comfort sleeve shell that must be pulled to unlock the comfort sleeve, allowing it to be pivoted out and the front ends of the sleeve to be drawn back, unhooking the metal stays.
To see more on how to use the features of the Covert helmet, go to: http://scorpionusa.com/collections/covert-collection/covert-solid.html
When the comfort sleeve is detached, the helmet works as a half helmet. The half helmet shell is constructed of thermoplastic polycarbonate. The impact-absorbing material is dual density expanded polystyrene. The comfort liner is a removable, washable and made of KwikWick II® Anti-Microbial material.
Installing and removing the mask is a snap—literally. The mask has a large tab on each end of it that includes a “neodymium” magnet and a slot for the push-button locking tabs to engage in.
To install the mask, simply remove the caps from the slots on each side of the comfort sleeve, slide the tabs into the slots until the locking tabs click. Then, to assure positive lock, pull on the mask on each end and you’re ready to roll.
To remove it, just push the small button on each side of the comfort sleeve and slide the mask off and reinstall the end caps. Helpful tip: have the visor in the raised position when removing or attaching the mask.
The drop-down internal polycarbonate visor is easily operated with either of two tabs on its lower edge. A smoke tinted visor with fog-resistant coating comes installed as standard equipment and a clear visor is also included.
The visor is a moderate tint that actually works fairly well even in low-light conditions such as driving into shaded areas late in the day. Of course, the tinted shield is not appropriate for night riding—so a quick change to the clear shield for very low-light riding conditions is in order.
The view out the eye port with the mask in place is somewhat smaller in the vertical dimension than some full-face helmets, but not severely so and peripheral vision appears to be about equivalent. The visors exceed VESC-8; to learn about helmet face shield performance standards, see https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2015/01/27/motorcycle-helmet-face-shield-performance-standards-explained/
Under way, the shield seats precisely in the groove against the gasket. I didn’t experience any shield rattle at highway or Interstate speed. The shield also did not tend to get pulled up in direct wind at passing speed or when my head was turned. There are no detent positions for the shield to hold it in a partially open position.
One potential problem with an internal shield could occur when insect debris or other crud gets on the shield and the rider slides the shield up into the helmet, smearing it into the helmet causing it to reappear as smudges after the shield is cleaned.
Helmets that have a separate external shield can prevent that if the rider keeps the external shield down when using the internal shield. The Covert does not have an external shield so the internal shield got plastered with bugs on my first time out.
Result: The Covert design provides for enough clearance between the shield outer surface and the shell so no smearing occurred at all when I raised the shield with the debris still stuck to it and then lowered it. After cleaning the shield, it could be raised and then lowered without any residue showing up.
The retention system is a 1-inch-wide nylon chin strap with conventional double D-ring buckle equipped with a snap for holding the loose end in place.
The mask ventilates the area of the eye port with four non-closable vents. A fine mesh material lining the inside of the mask prevents bugs and road debris from entering the vents and a light cloth material overlies the inside of the mask and the smallest pair of vent openings. Unlike many half helmets, the Covert comes equipped with two closable crown vents that operate with a single, positive slide control that is easily operated with gloves on.
The comfort liner has four holes intended to admit the air to the helmet’s interior. However, the absence of any exhaust vents out the back of the helmet to allow air to flow through the interior may be a limiting factor in ventilation. Air movement in the helmet shell with the vents fully opened seemed minimal.
To get a better assessment of air movement into the shell, I rode with hair damp, which gives a much more accurate sense of whether evaporation is taking place by allowing me to feel the cooling effect of any air movement. To my surprise, I could feel a notable cooling particularly at the front of the helmet crown, but there was even some cooling going on at the two holes through the comfort liner in the back.
It seemed that if the inlets were a little larger and the comfort liner had more holes to the helmet interior, the effectiveness of the ventilation may be noticeably better, even without rear exhaust vents. Leaning forward into a “sportbike” riding posture improved things at the front vents even more.
In the Scorpion sizing chart, my size (60cm) is a large and that is the size delivered, but I found the helmet to be unusually snug. If your size is at the top of the range for each size, you may want to order one size larger than you usually would and if cold-weather use with a balaclava inside is a possibility, going up at least two sizes may be in order.
On a bike with no windshield, with the comfort sleeve and mask in use, wind noise is present similar to having a car window open at the same speed, but at a somewhat higher pitch. Not deafening, not a howl, but definitely noticeable. Depending on speed the half-helmet configuration without the attachments does seem more prone to lift than with the attachments in place.
The vents at the crown and mask do not make any buzzing or whistling noise whether face-on into the wind or when the rider’s head is turned. Buffeting side-to-side is very minimal without a windshield.
In use with a low windshield, the fully configured helmet responded to being in the turbulent slipstream as well as any helmet I’ve used, though the wind noise is a bit more pronounced as you might expect when the half helmet alone is in use. Tucked in behind a full-height windshield, wind noise is about average, though in half helmet mode, it may be a bit more noticeable if you are accustomed to a full-face or ¾ coverage helmet.
Backed by a five-year warranty, the Covert 3-in-1 helmet is a clever, well-made innovation on economical head protection for riders who want options.
For those who prefer a half helmet but want one that can be configured for a different look and varying riding conditions, such as using it as a ventilated half helmet in hot weather but being able to add coverage for cold-weather riding, the Covert 3-in-1 is a versatile option.
Scorpion Covert 3-in-1 Quick Specs (as reviewed):
- Distribution: See the Scorpion website: http://scorpionusa.com/
- Configuration: Half helmet with comfort sleeve and mask attachment.
- Country of origin: China.
- Shell material: Thermoplastic polycarbonate. Color options: matte black and gloss white.
- Available shell sizing: XS (53-54 cm) to XXXL (65-66 cm). See the Scorpion website for sizing information.
- Weight: 3.5 lbs. (1,585g) (all components in place, by direct measurement).
- Certifications: DOT (FMVSS 218)
- Shield/visor: Drop-down internal polycarbonate, clear included and smoke tinted, fog & scratch-resistant coating installed. Reflective visor options in Gold Mirror and Silver Mirror coatings also available at additional cost.
- Retention system: Nylon chin strap with double D-ring buckle
- Special features: Textile carrying bag included. Removable, washable KwikWick II® Anti-Microbial, hypoallergenic Comfort Liner
- Warranty: Five years
- MSRP: $209.95 USD