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By: Michael Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Just as neck braces have been a touchy subject for the past ten plus years, lately it seems as though helmets and concussion technology have now become a hot button topic as well. As I’m sure most readers know, a lot of helmet companies have come out with their own type of proprietary technology that helps with rotational impacts and low speed crashes in their high-end helmets. In fact, many helmet companies only offer high end expensive helmets and don’t want to be associated with “less expensive” models. While I understand that most people think that you have to spend over $500 on a helmet to protect your head, let’s be realistic, everyone needs good head protection but we don’t all have $500 to spend on one piece of riding gear. Most lower price point helmets are of the old school technology with a simple shell and eps liner but now Leatt is making a push into the lower price point market with better technology.
The Leatt GPX 3.5 helmet comes in at an entry level price (at 179.99) while offering some of the technology that has went straight into their higher price point GPX 6.5 helmet. While the 3.5 helmet is less expensive than the 6.5, in my opinion the 3.5 is a better-looking helmet. The one I received was black and white with a touch of red and since it is a lower price point helmet it only came with a soft helmet pouch instead of a nice bag. Not a huge deal right? The eye port on the 3.5 is on the smaller side however and goggles with nose guards can sometimes be a pain to maneuver into place. You will have to just take your time and not get overly excited to get out on the track or trail. The visor is adjusted by the top center bolt and has minimal adjustability, which again is not a huge deal to the consumer that Leatt targets this helmet for. The only other downside to the 3.5 is the cheek pads; while I like the way all the pads clip into the helmet nice and easily, the cheek pads have one flaw. When I would take my helmet off after long sweaty motos, six out of ten times the cheek pads would un clip and come out just from my cheeks dragging along them. It was more annoying than anything, but it literally took me 10 seconds to snap them back in.
The 3.5 is DOT and ECE certified and is internally lined with small “turbines” which are 360 ̊ moving discs constructed of an energy-absorbing shape and material. These turbines are designed to reduce rotational acceleration to the head during a crash and help minimize the likelihood of a concussion. The visor is a breakaway style to help with the roll of the head along with the concussion technology, and the cheek pads (that come out too easily) have “emergency removal” pull chords in case of an accident. The 3.5 is also neck brace compatible and comes in at 2.8 pounds. When wearing the 3.5, the helmet pads are very plush to the face and don’t seem to get sopping wet with sweat after long rides. The fit is true to other brands as I was sent a large and it fit just how I prefer. The ventilation through the helmet was on par with high end helmets (like the 6.5) and the noise in the ear pockets was muffled and not too loud.
To be totally honest I didn’t know the price of this helmet when I got it from Leatt, but when I discovered the price tag I was shocked. Usually low end helmets look just that, low end; but the 3.5 looks like a high end helmet and according to the research done by Leatt, the technology is indeed high end https://www.leatt.com/product_uploads/ce_certificates/2019/Helmet%20GPX%203.5%20-%20CE%20Certificate.pdf (https://www.leatt.com/product_uploads/white_papers/TURBINE_WHITE_PAPER.pdf).
The bottom line is that luckily I didn’t get to test out the concussion technology of the 3.5 and for that I am grateful. That being said, before using the 3.5 I was somewhat skeptical as I assumed that “less expensive” helmets were all crap and that the only way to have good protection was to spend a lot of money. However after wearing the 3.5 and looking into the technology that went into it, I’m beginning to think I may have been wrong. Before wrapping this up I need to address the elephant in the room, there is a picture out there (I think it started on Vital) of someone in Europe crashing in this helmet and it really made the helmet look bad. In my personal opinion it’s hard to judge what a helmet looks like after a crash without seeing the crash happen and studying the actual outcome. Did the picture look bad? Yes, but the rider walked away from a pretty nasty looking crash and to that I would say that the helmet looks like it did its job in protecting the rider.
I think that it’s great that Leatt decided to put some money into a lower price point helmet to help keep the working man safe. Let’s face it, as much as we all want the brand new $500 helmet, we aren’t all making the kind of money it takes to have $500 laying around. With an MSRP of $179.99 Leatt is leading the way in keeping every rider safe, not just the top lever racers and I hope they start a trend in getting other brands to redesign their lower end helmets. This will help raise the bar in concussion protection across the price point board. If you have anymore questions about the Leatt 3.5 Helmet feel free to reach out to me at Michael@keeferinctesting.com