Icon Airframe Pro full face motorcycle crash helmet review

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Icon Airframe Pro: a cool-looking aggressive streetbike helmet

The Icon Airframe Pro is Icon’s most aggressive, sportsbike-friendly full face helmet yet. It’s not quite a track helmet, but with a sportsbike focused ‘head down and in the bubble’ design and with a tear-off ready visor in the options list, it’s definitely on the way there.

It’s also a very cool-looking helmet with a range of urban and out-there graphics to match.

But is it all bling and no burble?

Here’s what the Icon Airframe Pro offers and what owners who invested their cash think of it…

Looking to buy an Icon Helmet?

We recommend either Sportsbikeshop (UK) or GetGeared (UK) for outstanding service and competitive prices, or Motoin (Ger) for quality service and decent prices (even with the current £-€ exchange rate). Please click any link to see their full range and latest prices, or see here for more info on these retailers.

Safety

They might be a relatively newcomer on the block – especially outside the States – but Icon is putting some serious pressure on the market with pretty advanced composite and carbon fibre shells along with some stunning graphics.

With the Airframe, there’s the option of either a fibreglass or a carbon fibre shell. Icon say precious little about the shock absorbing properties of the helmet but by pulling out the comfort liner, we can see it looks a reasonably conventional shell backed with an expanded polystrene shock absorbing liner in there.

There’s a double-d ring fastener underneath to make sure everything stays put and there’s an extra-wide visor to help keep your peripheral vision as clutter free as possible.

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Rear view of Carbon Airframe – note neck roll cutout (see comfort section for info)

All Icons are multi-certified so they’re legal in a wide range of countries – including both ECE (Europe/Australia) and DOT (US) certification. That gives you peace of mind that it’s not going to shatter on impact and will give at least a decent minimum level of protection.

Over and above that, a handful of Icons have been tested by the UK SHARP helmet testing scheme, including the last generation Airframe (but unfortunately not this latest version).

When that was tested it scored a great four star rating (out of five) – although two other Icons have been tested since and they scored a three and a two star rating.

Having said that, both these were polycarbonate helmets whereas both the new and old Airframes are fibreglass helmets, so maybe the four star is more relevant; but it’s hard to say until SHARP tests this newest Airframe.

On the plus side, Icon does produce the Airframe in four different helmet shell sizes which is a great thing for safety and for making a helmet that fits well – and looks right.

Helmet Noise

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This one’s the Icon Airframe Pro Halo Carbon Glory

There was hope that because this latest Airframe Pro has smaller vents and because it looks super swoopy and slippery that those features might mean it’s a quieter helmet.

Unfortunately, that’s not what owners seem to report.

You always get at least a few folks saying every helmet is quiet – and that’s the case with the Airframe. But overridingly owners say it’s noisy. Some say it’s exceedingly loud, others just a bit noisy, but the vast majority say it’s a loud lid.

Much of that’s dependent on your riding style, bike and helmet history of course – and, if you buy an Airframe Pro, stick in some good quality ear plugs and you’ll be riding around happily and without damaging your hearing.

Ventilation

Ventilation is one area where the Icon Airframe excels.

And so it should. On the front of the helmet there’s six air vents and on the rear, five exhaust vents. Now that’s a lot of venting!

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The shy and retiring Airframe Pro Cottonmouth

In the chin guard, there’s a couple of always-open vents to each side and a single closeable vent in the middle to drive air onto the back of the visor and around the mouth.

Above the visor there’s another three vents – two brow vents to either side and a larger central vent, all closeable.

All those top vents push air through the shell and distribute air through channels in the expanded polystyrene lining and onto the scalp.

Lots of helmets reckon they do this, but if you look closely it’s only in a stripe at the top of the helmet.

The Airframe pushes ventilation wider than that. And that’s borne out in owners comments that it vents tons of air and can keep you cool in even the most extreme temps. OK there’s the occasional comment that some of the vent switches are a bit tricky to find, especially in gloves. But overall, it’s all very positive.

So if you’re after a helmet that vents well and will keep you cool, the Airframe should fit the bill.

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The Airframe Pro Construct in black (see title photo for white version) showing rear exhaust vents

Visor

The visor system on the Airframe is a reasonably low-tech affair. There’s no sun visor, there’s no Pinlock antifog, there’s no photochromic.

However what is there works reasonably well by all accounts.

It’s a ratchet visor with a visor lock on the left hand side. It’s quick release too – what Icon calls its Rapid Release system – so you can whip it off quickly to clean it or swap it out for a tinted visor.

And while Icon doesn’t push it in their bumf, quite a few owners comment on how wide the visor opening is, giving really wide peripheral vision. That’s probably even more useful on the road than it is on the track.

Having a decent anti-fog insert is very important for most of us. Unfortunately, the Icon Airframe isn’t Pinlock ready. It has its own anti-fog coating on it and while there’s no word on how effective it is, our experience is that antifog treatments applied to the back of standard visors aren’t that great. That might not be the case with the Airframe of course, but if pushed we’d expect it to be a bit tosh.

If having a visor that doesn’t fog up is important to you, you might want to check out our helmets that are Pinlock-ready (with many coming with a Pinlock in the box).

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Fibreglass Airframe Pro Flash Bang

Comfort & Sizing

The Icon Airframe Pro has an interesting 5-part internal comfort liner inside the helmet.

All but the cheapest helmets have removable internal comfort liners, though that’s mostly so you can take them out and wash them. But we’re seeing quite a few of the more premium brands/models offering customisable parts so you can take out the lining to tailor the fit. Adding in new panels or removing parts can help you pack out or slacken off the lining and get your helmet to fit just right. That’s important for both comfort and safety.

Well, Icon have taken things further, with every part of the comfort lining being swappable for either a thicker or thinner piece. That should help you get the fit just right – and that’ll make it more comfortable and much more user-friendly. It does cost a bit extra for the kit to customise it but it’s good to know that if things aren’t quite right, rather than just send it back for a different size, you can play around with things and (hopefully) get it bang on.

Aside from that, the Airframe’s lining uses a material called Hydradry – that’s both a wicking and antimicrobial fabric, designed to keep things both moisture and pong-free.

But does it all work? Well it very much seems so because most owners reckon it’s a really comfy helmet.

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Bonkers Brozak graphics

As long as you’ve an oval rather than rounder head shape (the Airframe’s designed for oval heads) and follow our guide to get a helmet that fits right, you should be fine. Though note, a number of Airframe Pro owners reckon Icons size a bit small, so you might need to go for a size larger than normal.

One other cool feature of the Airframe is that rear cut away at the bottom rear off the helmet (in the neck roll). That’s there to stop the helmet interfering with the collar of your jacket or hump (or back pack if you wear one), and lots of owners said it works great and really helps in freeing up head movement.

And if you’ve a big head and need a more extreme large fitment sizes, you’re in luck, because the Airframe is available in up to size XXXL. Yay!

Looks & Graphics

Icon puts a lot of effort into the design of all their gear, and the Icon Airframe Pro is no exception. OK, there are aggressive helmets out there, but the Airframe is a really aggressive looking full face and comes in some quality, out-there graphics.

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Just to prove Icon can do sensible graphics too, here’s a plain gloss black Airframe

You can have both a raw fibreglass and raw carbon helmets where their weave is exposed (the Construct and Carbon respectively). There’s the camo-effect Deployed Camo and the bonkers cartoon/monster Brozak (above). The Halo are available in lots of colours as are the Airframe Pro solids which are in black, white and Rubatone (a matt rubberised version).

But as always there’s new graphics coming out all the time – as well as retailer discounts. So to see these, click our recommended retailer links below and we’ll drop you straight on their Icon Helmets pages so you can take a look.

Best places to buy an Icon crash helmet?

We've chosen some of the best places to buy from - whether it's an Icon or any other helmet/gear.

If you want piece of mind when you buy, SportsBikeShop is based in the UK and offers outstanding service (9.8/10 on Trustpilot) including 365 day refunds. They have competitive prices and are our recommended retailer for quality of service.

Or try Motoin (Germany). They get great feedback (4.9 and 4.5 out of 5 on Idealo and eTrustedshops at the time of writing) though note, there's a delivery charge so factor that in (see here for details).

GetGeared is another recommended UK retailer, with a no-quibble 365 day returns policy, free UK delivery and scoring 4.8/5 on eKomi.

Please click any picture/link to visit their Icon pages where you can see all the latest colour schemes and prices. And if you buy from any, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site). Click here for more info on our recommended retailers.

Click to visit Sportsbikeshop
Click to visit Icon at SportsBikeShop
Click to visit Get Geared
Click to visit Icon at Get Geared)
Click to visit Icon at Motoin
Click to visit Icon at Motoin (then use site search)

Icon Airframe Pro videos

First up, the official Icon helmets trailer – that’s a moody 2m long look around the carbon Airframe Pro. Below that, a more detailed 5m video.

Other stuff – audio, weight, aero, warranty

If you’re looking to use a bluetooth communicator with your Airframe Pro, that’s fine as long as the speakers are pretty thin. There is a cut-away in the EPS liner to slot the speakers in there, and one owner said it works fine with their Sena. But another said they can feel it’s very tight in there even though their bluetooth sticks to the helmet shell without any problem.

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Rear view of the Deployed Camo

One of the big selling points of the Icon Airframe that it’s light weight. That’s especially true for the carbon fibre version that weighs in at 1.36Kg (3lbs) whereas the fibreglass version is actually a bit heavier than the average fibreglass helmet at 1.53 Kg (3.4lbs).

Onto aero, and the smaller, more aggressive profile of the Airframe (one of Icon’s design aims) seems to have contributed to making a helmet that’s got great aero characteristics. Most owners reckon it’s got great stability, doesn’t lift and has little buffeting.

Finally, unfortunately Icon offers a paltry one year warranty on their helmets. With many manufacturers offering 5 year warranties these days, that’s a bit disappointing.

Overall/Summary

Most owners are going to be grabbed by how cool the Airframe Pro looks – and how crazy the graphics are. And why not, we all love a cool-looking helmet.

But beyond that, it’s gotta work well. And in most respects, the Icon Airframe Pro delivers.

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Intimidating full carbon version

It’s not the quietest helmet and it doesn’t offer some of the bells and whistles of some other helmets (check our alternatives below if you want some of those). But it’s comfortable, has great fitment flexibility with its customisable lining, it’s got wonderful ventilation and while that visor’s a bit basic, it gives a nice wide view of the road. It’s got great dynamics on the road too, so you can riding along in a buffeting-free zone while looking super cool in your Airframe Pro.

OK it’s a bit noisy and we can’t be sure how great that impact protection’s going to be until SHARP (or Snell) run some tests on it. But it’s the look of it along with that decent price point that’s probably gonna sway things for most buyers. And if you’re already sold, check out all the designs on our recommended retailer’s sites above, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if you’ll have many happy years together!

Crash Helmet Buying Guides

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Icon Airframe Pro?

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The Airframe Pro Halo is available in green, blue, black and red

If you’re after a mid-priced full face helmet, there’s a massive range to choose from. So let’s narrow it down a bit to some of the safest and best rated helmets out there.

First up is HJCs 5 star safety rated FG-ST. Just like the composite version of the Airframe Pro, The HJC is a fibreglass full face helmet too, but it’s a bit cheaper than the Airframe, and comes with a Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog in the box.

Then there’s the AGV K5S – SHARP 4 star safety rated, sun visor, carbon composite shell – and for less money than the Icon (though the graphics may not be quite as cool!).

Another Italian thorougbred is the 5 star safety rated X-lite X-702 GT. Yep, it’s more of a touring helmet, but it’s fairly light, pretty quiet and has great ventilation. Well worth checking out.

Finally, if you’re after something carbon and sporty, then how about the LS2 FF323 Arrow? It’s MotoGP developed, light, comes with a Pinlock, optically-correct visor in the box and is SHARP 4 star safety rated. And you get all that for about the same price as the Airframe.

Other full face helmets

There are lots of alternative full face crash helmets. You can check out our Top 10 full-face crash helmets list to see our best rated helmets. But we also recommend you take a look at all our full face crash helmet previews and reviews as well as our safest motorcycle helmets page where you'll only find helmets that are SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there.

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