£50 for a decent full face helmet? Surely not? Well the MT Thunder is a budget full face crash helmet from Spain that retails at a tiddly £50 (a bit more for a fancy paint job) and it’s making waves among people who normally wouldn’t be tempted away from some of the bigger brands. Is it a decent lid for learners? What about more ‘serious’ owners who wouldn’t usually shake a soiled stick at a helmet without the words Shoei or Arai written on it? Let’s see…
- Budget full face helmet
- Scores 4 out of 5 stars in the SHARP helmet safety test
- Micrometric fastener
- Kids to XXXL sizes
- Typical price range: £50-£70
Safety & Shell
Well first off, the Thunder scores a very respectable 4/5 in the SHARP crash helmet test. That’s fantastic for a lid at this price point. To put it in context, that’s as good as an Arai RX-7 GP, a helmet that sells for around 12x the price! It’s better than a Schuberth S2 that’s 9x the price! OK, it might lack some of the features of those lids, and it might be a little less carefully put together, but in pure safety terms, the MT certainly holds it’s own. The Thunder is also manufactured in three different shell sizes and is available in fitments from kids sizes, all the way up to XXXL – again that’s at least as good if not MUCH better than helmets costing many times the price – and means, in general, that the helmet is safer to use and will look better when you wear it than many other helmets that come in fewer shell sizes.
The locking mechanism is your regular micrometric fastener – which we’re a fan of as they’re really easy to use and reliable. The Thunder also comes in Double-d fastener form and if you’re after a track day helmet, you’ll need to ensure yours comes with this to qualify for the ACU gold sticker you’ll need.
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The MT Thunder isn’t the quietest helmet around. It’s lacking in some of the wind tunnel testing and careful aero sculpting that pricier manufacturers manage. However, it’s not the noisiest either. And, as usual, it’s as much about what you’re used to and the bike you ride as the aurally-insulating properties of the helmet. I mean, tuck in behind the barn door fairing of your BMW tourer and your lid will feel as quiet as if you were punting down the Cam on a summer’s afternoon. Hurtle up the A1 into a headwind at 90 on your naked Ducati monster, and you’ll feel like your head’s inside a kettle drum. However, all things being equal, the Thunder drops a mark or two for noise compared to the quietest helmets around. It’s widely regarded as about average by most owners.
Ventilation & Visor
This is a strong point for the Thunder and mentioned by several owners. Even though the vents look basic, with a single chin and forehead vent (both closable) and a smattering of rear exhaust vents, users reckon that ventilation is very good. Both vents are fairly easy to find with gloved hands and channel air over the head through to the exhaust vents at the rear. If you’re using the helmet without any anti-fog on the visor, the ventilation isn’t sufficient to keep the visor fog-free, but that goes for all helmets; so you’ll need to invest in an anti-fog insert if you regularly ride in colder weather. The visor works well with a positive ratchet, and is easy to remove/change using a system similar to many Shoei helmets. Open the visor, pull the lug down and the visor will be released – simple and effective.
MT seem to have covered all the major bases with the Thunder – including comfort, with owners reckoning the Thunder is a really comfortable helmet. Obviously, you need to ensure you get the size right in the first place, but when you do, owners say it’s particularly comfortable with it’s internal shape being very forgiving and offering plenty of space. The interior lining is removable and washable and, although it’s not quite as plush as many more expensive helmets, it’s reasonably light and, for the price, owners are more than happy.
Looks & Graphics
The MT Thunder is a neat looking helmet that comes in 10 different colour schemes, including the usual gloss/matt black and white. There’s also a fluorescent orange version for folks who like to get noticed and a couple of other designs – the Roadster 2 is a single design that comes in a number of different colour schemes, plus there’s the in your face Thunder Italian and the Thunder butterfly that’s very stylish and will probably appeal more to the ladies. All in all some nice designs.
Not only is The MT Thunder a great budget full face helmet, it’s a great full face helmet full stop. Many owners buy them who are new to the world of motorcycling, but there’s an increasing number of people trying out lower price helmets as alternatives to the higher price well known brands. And why not? The MT Thunder performs well in all respects and is an excellent buy – and probably up amongst the best value for money crash helmets you can buy.
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