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Monday, November 17, 2014

SOL SM-1 Solid Black Modular Helmet - Review

Today we are going to review the SOL SM-1 Solid Black Modular Helmet. SOL has a plethora of options available in it's helmet line up catering to a large number of rider needs, and SM-1 has been their most preferred helmet in the modular helmet  lineup (only to be replaced by the recently launched SOL SM-2) of beautifully designed helmets. We really wanted to put some miles with the helmet before we put on this review, and since we have put 700 km + while using this helmet, so here's the review.

Design and Build
Being a non Carbon Fiber modular helmet, one thing is for sure - it's a little heavy. So, if one is looking for a light modular helmet, well, try something else, but not this. Having said that, the design, the build quality is nothing short of stellar.


Here are some of the official specs - 

.New Premium one hand easy to use chin bar push to open jaw mechanism and sure close jaw operates smoothly and efficiently.

.New design jaw positioning allows easy opening/closing with excellent balance when the jaw is in the fully open position.

.Optimal sized INNER SUN LENS with anti-fog and hard coating has easy open/close feature.

.Lightweight DOT approved Thermo-Plastic Alloy shell.

.Rear L.E.D. light /vent system is flush mounted with the shell and unobtrusive with optional coloured or tint lens colours.

.New Screwless easy shield removal.

.Excellent shield sealing reduces wind noise.

.SOL "NO BULL" VENTING with the INTERIOR and STYRO-DESIGNED FOR CONTROLLED AIR FLOW.

.SOL adjustable Intake and Exhaust Venting System.  Top, side and rear venting reduces fogging and sweating by allowing hot air to escape from the mouth area and top of head.

.Adjustable chin vent directs air upward across the inside of the shield to help reduce fogging.

.Large Eyeport for improved range of vision.

.DuPont COOLMAX comfort liner and cheek pads move the moisture away from your body and the fabric dries quickly. The added performance keeps you dry and comfortable.

.Removable/washable interior and adjustable cheek pads allow for more comfortable sizing.

.Deluxe ear pockets for better fit and comfort.

.Built in speaker pockets for communication systems.

.Snap-in motorcycle or optional snowmobile chin curtain for added warmth and quietness.

.Optional Snap-in maximum seal breath guard reduces fogging.

.Soft padded chin strap.

.Painted shell with high-tech water decals and high quality clear coat finish.

.Protective aesthetic lower rubber moulding.

Long story short, this helmet has effectively incorporated all the features, that one would look from a premium, well designed and implemented helmet.

The weight aside, the motorcyclist won't complain a single bit having this lid on (even the weight is not that big an issue).

Fit and Finish
We got the Size M for the helmet and we were told that this is Universal Size that SOL offers for this helmet. The helmet fits in flush, with the well cushioned cheek pads pressing against your cheeks and restricting lateral or vertical movement of the helmet. The best thing about the padding this helmet provides is the ear scoops. Even with specs on, you would feel no discomfort around your ears which is a great boon specially during long rides.

The helmet also provides with pockets for in-helmet communication system, so that if you go for the Scala systems (or any other in-helmet communication system for that matter), then compatibility is not even an after-thought.

I personally like the Matt Black finish (I personally find it more artistic), but SOL offers this helmet in a multitude of graphics options to choose from.

SOL provides Double D rings internationally, but for India, they have modified the helmet strap locking to a Quick Release latch, after they received feedback from a lot of Indian clients that they are not comfortable using the Double D rings. It's good that SOL acted upon the feedback, but Double D provides a better locking mechanism and should have continued with it.

Usage and Comfort
We cannot emphasize enough the convenience of the one hand operation helmet jaw opening and closing mechanism, it's just so easy and convenient and above all the operation is butter smooth.

The operation of the outer most visor has three levels and is also smooth to operate. Once locked in, the visor provides amazing insulation from wind and noise.

Carefully placed inlets and exhaust vents keep air-flow inside the helmet stream lined and creates a very pleasant environment inside the helmet. Specially the vents around the nose and the chin of the helmet do an amazing job of circulating the warm breath out of the helmet as fast as possible, keeping fogging inside the visor to a minimum. The vent sliders are of very high quality and are not brittle. We had a situation, where in due to some misunderstanding one of the sliders got dislodged and to our surprise, the clips of the slider were intact (which we though should have broken but they didn't), and with just a little effort, it was back on. It's good to see this quality in such small component.


I have done 200 + km in a single stretch, and apart from a mild tingle around my jaw area, I felt absolutely nothing while having this helmet on. Being DOT certified, one can be rest assured that high speeds remain fun rather than being a concern at least from the helmet's stand point.

The helmet also comes with a Sun Visor, which does an amazing job of restricting the glare. This is one area where we felt the operation is not as smooth as we would have liked. The slider switch of the Sun Visor is a bit stiff (which it needs to be), but there's there no quick release of the Sun Visor, meaning, if you want to put the Sun Visor up, you would have to do so by pulling the slider all the way back up. This does prove to be a bit of an inconvenience.


The rear LEDs on this helmet work amazingly to provide additional visibility, specially during the night and low visibility situations. This has got three settings - Continuous illumination, Slow Flicker and Rapid Flicker.


Some might think it as a gimmick, but trust me, it can prove to be that required difference given a bad situation.

After market support
The cheek pads are removable and washable. Both the Outer Visor and the Sun Visor are easily replaceable. All the required spares and accessories are very easily available from the dealers or on-line.

I would have personally liked to have a rear spoiler on this helmet, but unfortunately that's not even available as an option (knock knock D.I.Y time!!)

Verdict
At around INR 8k, this is an amazing helmet in the sub 10k category and is every bit worth the money (for a product that's made in Taiwan) and if one is looking for a versatile and safe helmet for daily use.  For Track Days, well, there are better and more options and specialized brands.

Thanks to Bykez.com and Gaurav Aneja for going that extra mile and providing us this helmet.

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13 comments:

  1. Very nice review. Other reviews also say the helmet is heavy. What is the weight of the helmet?
    Also, what kind of battery is used to power the LEDs? Where is it located? Is it water proof? How about the replacement and life of the bbattery?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarvajit for your feedback. So, here are the answers for your queries -

      1) Weight of the helmet : Exactly 2kg
      2) Kind of battery : Two AAA batteries
      3) Where are they located : Just above the LED strip covered under a screw secured door
      4) Is it water proof : Yes
      5) Replacement and Life of the batteries : Easy replacement and the battery life would depend on the usage and the quality of the batteries used.

      Delete
    2. You said modular helmets are heavy. 2Kg is substantial. I am talking about lightweight helmets like 1.5Kg. But 1.8Kg should be ideal. That said, I really liked this helmet!

      Delete
    3. Ken Da,
      Consider that this is a non-CF helmet, houses two AAA batteries, has a twin Visor system, even though heavy, they did an amazing job to keep the weight rounded within 2kg and still make it so comfy. The Studds Ninja weight an entire planet and uncomfortable comparatively speaking

      Delete
    4. Great review. Any heads up on where this would be available in Delhi?

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
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Item Reviewed: SOL SM-1 Solid Black Modular Helmet - Review Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal Chakraborty
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