RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
My search for a new motorcycle helmet began, after I totally destroyed my HJC RPHA 11. Which defended itself from my abuse respectfully for two long years. I went on my quest and after a day filled with putting different helmets on my head, I ended up with the X-Lite X-803 RS. I’ve been wearing this helmet for – again – two years now. Curious about this motorcycle helmet? Let me tell you about my experience with the X-803 RS.
“A new helmet after two years? That’s quick!” I hear you think. Yes it is, for most. How you wear it off that quickly? By wearing it every day. And putting it on and off your head multiple times a day. We are not just talking about that ride to work. But also to the grocery store, the gym and to friends. I didn’t have a car for a long time, so I did everything by bike. Include a few ‘oopsies’ and a kiss from the tarmac, and your helmet is done and dusted within two years.
If you already ride, you probably recognize it. The day you go on your quest to buy a new motorcycle helmet. I have to motivate myself to do so. Putting all those different lids on my head isn’t my favourite thing to do. But hey, it’s for a good cause. Who ever knows me personally knows I don’t enjoy spending money.. Still I rather not save money on safety. But that doesn’t mean I just spend it all. So the quest for a great helmet within my budget began.
While putting different helmets on and off, you often notice a direct ‘no’ or ‘yes’. It doesn’t feel right, doesn’t fit properly or just isn’t comfy at all. The X-Lite was a direct ‘yes’. I have a fairly oval-round head. What that means? You read all about it in our blog about buying a new motorcycle helmet. Compared to the HJC, the X-Lite fits the side of my head better.
The only downside to the fit; I am sort of between sizes. If I’d want the perfect fit, I had to have a size between the XS and the S. X-Lite doesn’t offer personal fitting like Shoes does. The XS felt a bit too tight, so I went with size S. To compare it to the HJC RPHA 11 again; I wore that helmet in size XS.
Funny fact; I wasn’t even paying attention to the price tag when I choose the X-Lite helmet. I originally wanted a plain black one, but the shop didn’t have that size in stock. Since I still rode every day at that time, I really wanted to take it home that day. So I said; no worries. Any other colourway in size S will due.
That turned out to be the Carbon version of the X-Lite X-803 RS. I’m never really impressed by ‘carbon’ editions of motorcycle helmets, but I have to admit; this one does look fancy. Since I didn’t have any other choice, I went with it. And I prepared myself for a heavy price tag.
Normally, paying for you stuff in moto land – whether you’re off buying a new motorcycle outfit or accessories for your bike – happens with your creditcard in one hand and the other hand in front of your eyes. It hurts in your heart and you try to forget about it as quickly as possible. Luckily, a few nights of sleep help you forget about it sooner than you know.
Paying for the X-Lite X-803 RS actually wasn’t that bad. I had to pay a bit less than 500 euros. €489,95 to be exact. Of course, I fully understand that is a lot of money. It is for me, too. But I did expect it to be much more, due to the obvious quality and looks of the X-803.
A pleasant price tag can mean two things; a very, very good price-quality ratio or less quality than it seems to show. After wearing the X-803 for two years (and wearing it a lot) I can honestly say; it’s the first. The price-quality ratio is more than decent.
In my first year wearing the X-Lite 803, I still didn’t have a car and rode the bike every day. I got a car in my second year, so rode a bit less. But still at least four times a week for fun. And a decent amount of 20 track days in those two years.
So I used it extensively. And when I am completely honest, I am not that mindful when it comes to storing the helmet properly. So it got sort of abused.
The X-803 defended itself from my abuse pretty respectfully. The fit starts to loosen a bit now. It’s not too loose, but just a bit too much for my taste. It that a strange thing? Not at all. The cushions just start to wear. And since I was already a bit in between sizes to start with, it is no surprise this is the first noticeable wear.
Side not; I do dare to say the interior of a motorcycle helmet of a women (who rides a lot) wears off faster than one that’s owned by a man. Especially when she wears make-up.
I do too, which is clearly visible inside my helmet. Those dirty stains on your cushions. Blegh. It’s gone after a little wash, but it does cause extra friction. It’s just not that great for your helmet.
What does stand out – and has to be mentioned – is the wear of the chin strap. The little piece of leather with the button to hold the end of the chin strap is almost completely through. And gone. This probably can be fixed by putting a new piece of leather behind it. But you won’t make it through a technical check at a race. This helmet will probably fail at all checks now.
It’s a riddle to me how that piece of leather can wear that quickly, to be honest. I don’t pull the chin strap loose in the middle or something. But on the end, like you should. But it hass worn down nonetheless. I do like the double D-ring closure by the way. I know it’s sort of personal, but it’s the safest way to close a helmet, by far. And pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
Overall I am really pleased with the X-Lite X-803 RS. The comfort and stability is top-notch, both on high speeds and low ones. Like, really good. Especially on track, I hardly notice I wear the thing. And that’s a very positive thing in my eyes.
It also provides sufficient ventilation and fresh air to keep your head cool. It’s not too cold in colder temperatures and not too hot on warmer days.
It’s not just a great helmet to wear on track. It’s also a great one for road use. Adding a communication system like a Cardo to it is possible. And to use it for music and navigation is fine. Having a chat with friends is less ideal. You hardly hear what someone is saying. And since it ventilates that well, they have trouble hearing you too.
After two years, the wear and tear isn’t too bad. Yes, the cushions start to wear a bit. But not as bad as the HJC RPHA 11 did. Only the chin strap is having a hard time.
I’d say the X-Lite X-803 RS provides a very decent price-quality ratio. The quality actually outshines the price. Honestly, you get way more quality for your money than you’d get with most other brands for helmets in that price range. And that’s a nice change in the moto world. Thinking of getting one yourself? I say; go for it!