Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon Review [Adventure Helmet]

The Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon is a full-featured, lightweight, carbon fiber, adventure-style helmet in the $500 price range. It has an intermediate oval head shape with ample ventilation and good aerodynamics. It sports a peak that doesn’t vibrate on the freeway and comes with a clear faceshield, a smoke faceshield, a Pinlock antifog insert, a chin skirt, and an action-camera chin mount.

Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon Review: Adventure Helmet

When I get a new helmet, I crawl all over it to get to know it. I take it apart, looking for any gotchas, such as small parts I might fumble and lose in mud or sand. I like the Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon’s toolless shield mechanism for mounting and unmounting, though it requires a firm grip to get it on and off. I wouldn’t want to be installing it with muddy hands.

When removing or installing the faceshield, the peak must be tilted up and out of the way, and the central twist lock on the top of the XT9000 that allows you to tilt the peak could fall out of its detent when muscling the faceshield. The left and right twist locks do come out, though you would have them in your hand and know they are loose.

I normally take the peak off an adventure helmet if I plan to ride on the freeway for several hours. Although an adventure helmet peak usually catches wind or vibrates on open roads, the XT9000 helmet is rock solid at highway speeds.

There’s no buffeting or vibration, sitting or standing, on the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike at freeway speeds. Interestingly, with or without the peak installed, there is no difference in wind grab when doing a head twist for a lane check. While the elongated nose of the XT9000 will catch the wind when placed sideways to it at 70 mph, the peak doesn’t change the aerodynamics. The durable peak provides ample sun blocking, plus roost protection when your riding buddy decides to give you a rock shower.

Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon Review: Motorcycle Helmet

With the peak removed, be sure to fill the twist-lock hole at the top with the supplied rubber plug. If you don’t, the empty mounting hole will whistle when the faceshield is raised at all speeds above 25 mph. The rubber plug is small and can be misplaced, so I have designated a special pocket in my tank bag for the Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon’s little parts.

When riding with the temperature at 38 degrees, it is easy to feel where the airflow goes inside a helmet. The chin vent control is on the inside of the chinbar and controlled with a gloved-thumb-friendly up/and down slide switch. The forehead vents, left and right of center, are controlled with glove-friendly sliders. At 38 degrees, I feel the chin vent sending air to my chin and flowing to my forehead.

Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon Review: Adventure Motorcycle Helmet

I rode without the Scorpion Exo XT9000’s impressively effective Pinlock insert to test the effectiveness of the chin vent air movement to prevent my hot breath from condensing on the inside of the faceshield. At a stoplight, the shield does fog. However, by the time I safely accelerate to 35 mph, the faceshield is clear again. Once I finished testing airflow, on went the Pinlock for the winter and spring.

For cold-weather riding, the entire space between my chin and the chin bar is covered with a removable chin skirt. The removal of the chin skirt provides significant airflow on warm days. The cheek pads and upper Kwikwick III comfort liner are easily removable for comm unit installation or handwashing. Independently, the cheek pads are quick-release with prominent RED pulls for medical personnel use, just in case.

The top two vents, assisted by the peak directing air, sent 38-degree air down and in. At about 30 mph, I can feel the air hitting my hair, and the cool at the back of my head where there are four venturi effect exhaust vents—two high, and two low. The multi-density EPS liner has deep channeling that efficiently routes heat up and out the back on warm days.

The eyeport provides 190 degrees of horizontal field of view and a 100-degree of vertical field. Goggles fit comfortably with the faceshield removed, and the rear double ducktail of the helmet holds the goggle strap in place from slipping up or down. Some goggles might even fit with the faceshield installed and in its raised position. Although there are no specific eyeglasses channels in the moisture-wicking cheek pads, I don’t have any issue keeping my glasses in place. The clear and smoke faceshields are good optically, and the smoke looks especially good on my white gloss 3K carbon fiber shell.

Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon Review: Price

We always recommend that you have a new helmet fitted by a professional. I am the average intermediate oval head shape, so the Scorpion Exo XT9000 fits snugly. There are no hot spots, even after riding an entire day. The cheek pads fit my face perfectly and didn’t squeeze my cheeks into my molars, as some new helmets do. If you are using a comm unit, the speaker pockets will accommodate your 6mm-deep, 50mm-diameter speakers.

Should you find the cheek pads a little loose fitting, either when new or after a few years, the Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon has inflatable air bladders behind the cheek pads to help you adjust just the right fit. The pump is on the chin, just below the chin vent slide. To release the air bladder pressure, there is a push button just to the left of the red pump ball. Any concerns about the durability of the air bladders should be assuaged by Scorpion’s five-year-purchase/seven-year-manufacturing-date warranty.

The shatter-resistant, UVA-B blocking faceshields have a one-inch cracked-open position. From there, there are several micro-adjustments to mid-rise open, and then fully open. Because I am an ambidextrous and incessant shield raiser and lowerer, I appreciate the finger ledges on both sides of center. However, the shield’s raised ledge and the peak’s front are close together. When the shield was fully raised, it took me a few rides to find the right place to aim the side of my finger to land cleanly on the ledge of the shield when I wanted to lower it. Getting on the freeway the first time, I kept yanking down on the peak, having missed hitting the faceshield ledge.

Under 40 mph, the Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon is pretty quiet. It starts picking up wind noise to about 65 mph, then levels off. Cruising around town, I don’t feel the need for earplugs. However, I wear ear protection when taking a several-hour ride above 45 mph.

Many adventure bike riders use an action camera to re-live their “hold my beer” moments and to share the amazing scenery we ride through. A section of the XT9000’s chin skin comes off, and you can install an action camera mount that is held securely by a screw. I installed mine to test the location and ease of use. Unfortunately, when I went to take it off, I couldn’t remove it without peeling off the stick-on base that was blocking access to the screw. So, your decision to mount the action camera on the chin is semi-permanent. Taking off the center chin skin does expose more surface area for airflow, so that is an option even if you don’t use an action camera.

The Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon is dual certified—DOT and ECE 22.06­­­— weighs just 3.7 pounds, and is well-balanced. It doesn’t leak in heavy rain (tested), and hot-weather ventilation is a design feature. The XT9000 comes in three shell sizes to cover heads ranging from XS to 3XL. There are three solid colors and seven graphic choices. This is a well-thought-out adventure helmet designed for extended wear in all types of weather.

Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon Fast Facts

  • Sizes: XS to 3XL
  • Shell material: Carbon fiber
  • Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Certifications: DOT FMVSS No. 128; ECE 22.06
  • Colors: Matte Black; Gloss Black; Gloss White
  • Trailhead graphics (+$30): Hi-Vis; Orange; Red; Dark Red; Matte Gold, White; Phantom

Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon Price: $500 MSRP

Scorpion Exo XT9000 Carbon Test Photo Gallery