Review of the Scorpion EXO 500 Air full face helmet

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The Scorpion Exo 500 Air is a medium-priced full face polycarbonate helmet. It’s got some interesting features – including integral sun visor and inflatable cheek pads, and comes with a Pinlock anti fog insert out of the box. But how is it rated by owners – on things like noise, comfort and build quality? And how safe is it? Read on and find out…

  • Now discontinued – deals to be found – check our recommended retailers below
  • SHARP 4 star safety rating (out of 5)
  • Average weight (1.6kg)
  • Fitted with Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog
  • Wind-tunnel tested & designed
  • Integral sun-visor and pump system
  • Sizes XS – XXXL
  • Typical price range: £130-£200 depending on model/retailer

Safety

The Scorpion Exo 500 Air scored a sound 4/5 on the SHARP safety test, dropping marks only slightly for side and forehead impacts.  That’s a pretty good score, showing that the Exo stands a good chance of doing its job in an accident. The helmet shell is constructed from polycarbonate and is manufactured in 3 different shell sizes, covering the usual fitment sizes of XS – XXL – but it also goes right up to XXXL, which is pretty unusual. As a rule of

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Scorpion Exo 500 Air in ‘Crust’ white/chameleon colour scheme

thumb, more expensive helmets tend to be made in more shell sizes, so getting this on a medium priced lid is a good thing and adds to safety as well as looks (the helmet will generally look better on your head – see our guide to helmet shell sizes for more information).

Given that it’s a lower-priced helmet, it’s pleasing to see that owners are happy with the Exo 500 Air’s build quality, saying that it’s well constructed with panels and vents fitting nicely together, all improving ownership and use, and contributing to safety. The 500 Air comes with a micrometric strap fastener – they’re regarded as pretty safe and easy to operate (and we like them too!).

Helmet Noise

The Exo 500 has been designed with a wind tunnel, which has the double benefit of producing a helmet with reducing buffeting and noise levels. Owners say the Exo works well in both areas. Only a little buffeting is noticeable in strong winds or at high speed, and it’s a very quiet helmet, though owners do reckon that helmet noise increases a little if the forehead vents are open and if the head’s down in a racing-tuck. But overall, it’s a quiet helmet.

Looking to buy this Scorpion?

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Size

The Scorpion Exo 500 comes in seven sizes – including XXXL. There’s two things to be aware of though if you’re thinking about ordering one. First, lots of people reckon you need to order a size above normal as Scorpion haven’t quite got their sizing right. So if you’re usually a medium, it’s probably worth ordering a large.

Secondly, the Exo 500 Air comes with an internal air pump (hence its name). On the inside of the chin guard, you’ll find a red bulb which you can use to pump air into the cheek pads to inflate them and improve fitting. However, most folks reckon they don’t bother with the pump – only one or two people who found the helmet a bit loose either after buying the wrong size or after finding the cheek pads had lost a bit of their firmness after wear, found it useful to pump up the pads.

Either way, it’s there if you need it, although one or two people with larger chins said their chins rubbed on the bulb which was a bit uncomfortable. If that’s you, might be worth trying before you buy, or ordering from a company with a no-qualms return policy.

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Rear of the matt black Exo 500 Air showing twin exhaust vents and both visor switches.

Ventilation

Ventilation is good. The chin vent is really simple to open, even with winter gloves, and pulls lots of air into the front of the helmet – which is really useful for keeping the visor clear. The forehead/crown vents are a bit more fiddly as the switch is small and tricky to operate and there’s also two of them which is a bit of a pain. Other than that, they pull enough air into the lid to keep your head cool on hot days and the couple of rear exhaust vents do their job at pushing air out of the back. All good on the ventilation front.

Visor

The Exo 500 Air has a couple of visors – the external, clear main visor and an internal sun visor, operated by a switch to the left of the helmet.

The main visor has both left and right tabs at the bottom which is a nice touch as most helmets make you open the visor how the designers want you to, rather than personal preference. There’s a small three-way switch to the left of the visor that gets mixed reviews. First off, it’s a bit small and fiddly to use when you’re riding and when you’ve got thick gloves on. Secondly, owners have mixed opinions about how useful it is. The switch allows you to firstly lock the visor, secondly to push it forward for a cracked visor (the visor moves slightly forward to crack open top and bottom) and thirdly to allow it to freely open and close on its 3-position ratchet. If they sound useful features to you, then it’s all good. Personally, it sounds like it’s fixing a problem that doesn’t really exist. There are plenty of lids out there that have great visors without fiddly switches – but each to their own. Some people find the ‘crack it open’ feature useful, especially to help defogging.

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Striking Air Thunder white/black colours

On that note, the visor of the Exo 500 Air is Pinlock-ready – in this case it has a recess on the internal side of the visor that fits a Pinlock Max Vision visor. The pinlock is fixed using the two posts in the usual fashion and sits in the recess to stop movement and to create a tight seal with the visor. They work really well and owners reckon there’s no problem with fogging on the 500 Air.

The internal sun visor doesn’t have a Pinlock but is coated on both sides with an anti-fog preparation which again, owners say works well. The sun visor is operated by moving a lever to the left hand side of the lid. It’s mostly fine, although most people seem to complain that the tint’s bit light. Also, it doesn’t operate quite as well as the best sun visors in that it’s tricky to move it to an intermediate position (not fully up or down). But on the whole, helmet-owners are pretty happy with the sun visor.

To view other helmets with internal sun visors, check out our helmets with sun visors page.

Finally, the visor removal system isn’t the best in class but it’s pretty easy and, importantly, it’s tool-free. Twist the hubs at the pivot point of the visor and it pops out – takes about 10 seconds in all.

Comfort

The Scorpion Exo 500 Air is comfortable. It’s got a decent quality lining that’s removable and washable and, providing you get a helmet that fits in the first place, owners say it’s really comfortable. It’s also hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking (but then most are these days). The vents keep your head cool and one or two owners report that it’s easier than previous helmets to get on or off. So all good here.

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The Exo 500 Air Laces colour scheme in black and magenta. Nice.

Looks & Graphics

We’ve selected what we think are some of the best colour schemes on the helmets on this page. Scorpion produce the Exo 500 Air in the usual range of plan gloss and matt whites/blacks, and they also do some striking and vibrant schemes that are higher vis but look cool too – such as the Exo 500 Air Thunder in yellow/black or black/white.  They produce some subtler, classier colours like the magenta Exo 500 Air Laces (to the right)- as well as the Shoutier Air Crust. They can all be found on this page.

Video

Here’s a 2-3 minute video showing you some of the key features of the Scorpion Exo 500 Air.

Helmet Buying Guides

If you’re looking to buy a new crash helmet, you might want to check out our useful guides page – including all about the SHARP crash helmet safety testing scheme – and our 10 things to look out for when buying a helmet.

Best place to buy this Scorpion crash helmet?

Please click below to visit the Scorpion helmets pages at our recommended stores including the Scorpion helmets at J&S Accessories on Amazon UK. And if you buy from either, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site).

Buy Scorpion from SportsbikeshopShop for Scorpion helmets at Amazon

Click above to drop onto their Scorpion helmets pages or *quick view retailer T&Cs here.

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Popular Gloss black version of the Exo 500 Air

Overall

The Scorpion Exo 500 Air retails at a decent mid-range price point and offers lots of helmet and features for the money. Owners rate it highly for comfort, noise and ventilation, while it’s been well rated by SHARP for safety (4 stars out of 5). At this price point, you might be forgiven for expecting a few corners to be cut – but no, owners say it’s well built and finished, and it includes extras in the box like a Pinlock anti fog insert which really help if you live in colder regions. Overall, the Exo 500 Air is a great helmet offering a great mix of useful features and performance at a competitive price and is well worth looking at if you’re looking to buy a new full face helmet.

Alternatives

There’s lots of alternatives available. You might want to check out our top-10 helmets list that rates helmets in order from the highest rated to the lowest – in terms of comfort, noise, value, safety and features. Or you might want to check out a list of the safest helmets – those that scored a maximum 5/5 SHARP safety rating. There’s also a list of other medium-priced helmets (those priced between £100-£250).

Definitely want a Scorpion?

Here you'll find all our Scorpion crash helmet reviews and previews including full face, flip-up and open face helmets.

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