After testing and really coming to enjoy the Leatt GPX 4.5 gear I was excited to try their GPX 6.5 carbon helmet. For starters, who doesn’t like getting a new helmet and on top of that, it’s a helmet that matched my gear. Leatt has integrated their 360 degree Turbine Technology into this ECE and DOT certified helmet to try and limit injury from rotational forces.
The first thing I noticed when viewing the Leatt was its small shell size. It almost reminds me of a full face mountain bike helmet. The reasoning for the smaller shell is simple; the less mass the helmet has, the less force is transferred to your head. Obviously there is a fine line between cushion and mass, but Leatt feels that their smaller shell is safer. One of the reasons that the shell can be so small is because the V-shaped impact foam is molded directly to the shell. The small turbine structures used in the helmet are designed to deform or collapse when forces reach a certain point, to help cushion the blow to the riders head.
Fortunately I never got the chance to really test out ALL the safety technology Leatt put into this helmet since I didn’t have a bad crash while wearing it, but here’s what I can tell you. The helmet is small and very light, which is nice because it doesn’t make you feel like a bobble head. I noticed the smaller shell instantly because I had to adjust my goggle strap tighter than I do with most other helmets I have in my rotation. Speaking of goggles, this is where I had my biggest complaint. The eye port/nose guard of the Leatt helmet was barely large enough to fit the array of goggles I use. The Blur magnetic goggles were tight in the eye port and had to be somewhat pushed into place in order to seal to my face. Any wide peripheral goggle like the Scott Prospect and Oakley Airbrake never really sealed well enough to keep dirt/roost out. For riders wearing smaller framed goggles like EKS Brand, 100 percent Accuri and Scott Recoil this wasn’t an issue. The helmet liner/cheek pads were comfortable, snapped in nicely, and after multiple washings didn’t show any signs of wear. One cool (pun intended) feature of the Leatt is the ventilation. This is the best ventilated helmet I’ve worn in quite some time. Another feature I absolutely love on the V-16 is the hydration hose clip which is built in the chin bar. Instead of having to use a hook and loop strap, or drill holes and zip tie your hydration hose, you can just snap it into the chin bar.
After riding with the V-16 for quite sometime, I can say I am pleased with the light weight feeling it gives when being worn. On top of that, since I’m an off-road guy I have to say I love the hose clip as well as the excellent venting the helmet offers. On the negative side I don’t think the V-16 is very aesthetically pleasing in my personal opinion. I feel like the small shell gives the helmet a very awkward, small and un-natural look (this could be partially due to my giraffe like neck). The smaller goggle port also makes it tough to find the appropriate goggle to fit inside the Leatt lid. In terms of functionality and safety I have no problem saying that the Leatt is a high quality helmet that has a lot of thought and technology put into it. With a retail price of $599.99 it is in the range of most premium high end helmets, but can you really put a price on keeping your head safe? -Michael Allen
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