Scorpion Exo-520 Air review. A great value full face helmet with a ton of features.

Scorpion-Exo-520-Air-featured

Scorpion Exo-520 Air motorcycle helmet review.

Scorpion has always done a good line in lower priced helmets that perform. The old Scorpion Exo 510 Air was a great example. Low price, SHARP 4 star safety rated, and owners generally liked it a lot. Except, that is, for how noisy it was. Other than that, it was a cracker and was great value for money.

scorpion exo 520 Air lemans motorcycle helmet front view
Front view of the 520 Air in LeMans graphics.

But all good things must come to an end.

So too with the 510 Air – now replaced by this helmet, the 520 Air. A bit sleeker, a bit more sculpted and, predictably, a bit more money.

Less predictable though is that they’ve accompanied the Scorpion Exo 520 Air with a version called the ‘Smart’. That’s the same helmet but with Scorpion’s own comms unit ready plugged in.

Well actually it’s a Uclear-developed comms unit with a Scorpion logo on it. But the point is it’s ready integrated into the 520 Air and ready to go. Which is handy.

So, if your interest has been piqued by the Scorpion Exo 520 Air helmet, then read on for tons of information about what it offers – and what owners think of theirs – to find out if it’s worth you buying one.

  • Polycarbonate Full Face Helmet
  • 520 Air Smart = integrated bluetooth
  • Sun visor 
  • Pinlock visor (Pinlock included)
  • Airfit pump-up cheek pads
  • Micrometric fastener (UK)
  • Glasses grooves
  • MCN 3/5 star rating
  • 5 year warranty
  • Expect to pay £160-£200 (Smart Air £275)

Best places to buy an Scorpion Exo 520 Air?

Please click below to visit the Scorpion Exo 520 Air helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, 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 from SportsBikeShop

Scorpion Exo 520 Smart Air Helmet

The 520 Smart Air is the same helmet as the regular 520 Air but with Scorpion’s Exo-Com bluetooth communicator ready-fitted.

Or at leaset the mic, speakers and wiring’s already fitted, though you’ll have to slot in the controller and the battery pack when you receive the helmet. Other than that, it’s ready to go.

Scorpion-Exo-520-Smart-Air-helmet-side-view
Scorpion Exo-520 Smart Air helmet. See the small controller unit bottom right. Apart from the comms already fitted, it’s the same helmet as the 520 Air.

The Exo Com bluetooth unit itself is made by Uclear and has a similar spec to their Motion 4 Lite headset. That’s a bluetooth 5 mesh headset designed to accommodate up to four riders. In the scheme of mesh headsets that’s really not many riders (most mesh headsets have a theoretically unlimited number of connections though most limit it to something like 16).

If you’re only wanting to connect to just a few riders, that should be fine though. It offers around 15 hours battery runtime and 800m range. It’s IPX5 waterproof and should connect to your phone/mp3/GPS etc. So if you’re after an out of the box bluetooth solution, it could well work for you.

For reference, the Smart version of the 520 Air costs about £90 more than the regular version but if you were to buy the Exo Com seperately you’d pay around £170 at the time of writing, so it’s a good deal.

And the few owners that we came across reckoned it was a decent system for their needs with good sound quality, intuitive controls and a pretty good app too.

Alternatively, you might want to check out other integrated bluetooth helmets we’ve looked at or communicator-ready motorbike helmets.

Safety

 (more about helmet safety)

Overall, Scorpion helmets have a reasonable reputation for producing some well protecting helmets. And the Exo 520 Air looks like it has the right ingredients too.

scorpion exo 520 Air quatararo replica helmet rear view
Rear view of the Quatararo Replica 520 Air.

It’s made in 3 shell sizes and it’s got a multidensity shock absorbing liner (just like your Arai’s and Shoei’s have).

OK it’s a polycarbonate helmet which basically means it’s got a tough plastic shell. But if you’ve been following our helmet reviews for some time, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not going to look after your skull because several polycarb helmets have scored maximum ratings when tested by SHARP.

In fact, the outgoing Scorpion Exo 510 Air scored 4 stars for safety when SHARP tested it a few years back – that’s just dropping one star.

And the fact that a relatively cheap helmet like the 520 Air is made in 3 shell sizes is good for safety (as well as meaning fitting and looks and weight will be better optimised).

Of course, keeping your helmet safely in place and being able to see out of the visor are pretty important too.

scorpion exo 520 Air Shade helmet side view
Shade graphic Scorpion 520 Air. Note, all helmets supplied with clear visors.

To that end, Scorpion’s fitted the 520 Air with a micrometric fastener (they’re easy and safe) and really gone to town with the visor system too.

Not only do you have a drop down sun visor for when the sun’s dazzling, but the main visor’s optically correct for reduced distortion. That main visor’s Pinlock ready (Pinlock insert is included in the box) plus the sun visor’s coated in an Everclear antifog coating.

That’s great and something that not many helmet makers think to do. Big thumbs up to Scorpion for that.

And finally, Scorpion’s fitted the 520 Air with quick release cheek pads (EQRS) which make removing the cheekpads that bit easier. Hopefully you’ll never need to put them to the test but if you find yourself upside down and confronted by paramedics, it could make the difference between a neck injury or not.

We don’t know exactly how well the Scorpion Exo 520 Air will protect you in an accident yet of course. But it is ECE 22.05 certified and if/when SHARP tests it in on their test rig and publish the results, we’ll let you know on this page.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Helmet noise was one of the areas that let down the old 510 Air helmet. So surely Scorpion’s got that nailed and made the 520 Air a nice quiet helmet?

Scorpion-Exo-520-Air-helmet-LeMans-side-view
Another LeMans graphic 520 – this time in black/white.

Short answer seems to be probably not.

OK we came across several owners who reckon it’s fine. But we also came across more owners who say it’s not.

Several reckoned it gets really loud above 50mph – which is fine I guess if you’re a scooter rider or slow commuter. But a few owners said it gets properly loud at dual carriageway speeds and above.

And if you ride fast, we’ve found reports that the helmet can vibrate too. Never really come across reports of a helmet doing that before.

As to why it can be noisy? Some folks seem to think air and noise is somehow getting in on the left hand side around that sun visor slider.

Of course, if you use some decent ear plugs (as is always advised) you’ll probably be OK. But if you’re looking for a quiet helmet and are a high mileage type, it seems like you’d probably be best avoiding the Scorpion Exo 520 Air.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

Scorpion’s made the ventilation on the Exo 520 Air simple and glove-friendly.

scorpion exo 520 Air matt black full face helmet front view
Front view of the matt black 520 Air showing single top air vent slider.

The chin bar vents are operated by a single central glove-friendly slider that opens a pair of vents letting air into the helmet and onto the rear of the visor.

Same up top, with a single large slider that opens a big top vent (actually 4 small vent holes in the shell underneath that large plastic cover). From there, air passes through the helmet and into ventilation channels cut into the helmet liner, then out of that single always-open rear exhaust vent.

And owners seem to think it’s all pretty effective, passing a reasonable amount of air into the helmet as well as venting well onto the back of the visor for anti-fogging.

Visor

(more about visors)

Of course, air alone won’t vent enough to stop the visor fogging up if the conditions are bad. Usefully, Scorpion’s now added a ‘cracked open’ position on the visor to let a bit of air in while you’re riding. That’ll help.

But the 502 Air also comes with a Pinlock antifog insert in the box. Stick that on the rear of the visor and it’ll stop it fogging in all but the most horrid, cold and wet weather.

The visor on the Scorpion 520 Air is about average size, but it is optically clear so you shouldn’t see any distortion when you ride.


A couple of useful links…

Safest helmets: SHARP 4 & 5 star helmets
Great value motorbike helmets


It also has a visor lock on there so you can ride along knowing it won’t pop open when you turn your head. And whereas some visor locks are properly fiddly to unlock and open, the word is that the 520 Air’s lock is pretty easy to find and unlock with one hand.

scorpion exo 520 Air Fasta motorcycle helmet side view
Fasta graphic Scorpion Exo 520 Air with tinted pink iridium visor (optional).

The visor mechanism on the 520 Air is Scorpion’s Ellip-Tec II system which means the visor pivot should pull the visor back against the seal when it’s closed to keep air and water out.

Does it work? Well, we’ve heard from owners who say it’s great as well as owners who say theirs let water in, so I guess it’s a mixed bag. Probably about average for a helmet at this price point.

It’s worth noting that despite most of the photos on this page showing tinted visors, all 520 Air’s are delivered just with a clear visor (tinted visors are extra).

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

There’s a handy drop down sun visor on the 520 Air too. The slider’s fitted just behind the left hand visor pivot which is a reasonably handy place to locate it and means the bottom edge of the helmet’s free to mount a bluetooth controller if you’re looking to add your own.

Scorpion-EXO-T520-Factor-side-view
Sun visor fully lowered on this 520 Factor helmet

The sun visor doesn’t drop down the lowest we’ve seen which might annoy some folks.

But it certainly will keep the worst of the sun out if you get caught out, and it does add an extra layer of UV protection when you’re riding.

Usefully, Scorpion’s coated the sun visor with an antifog coating too which is something not many makers offer.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Inside the helmet, Scorpion’s added pretty well everything you should look out for in a motorbike helmet.

First up, the basics. It’s a fully removable and washable liner. It’s also moisture-wicking and antibacterial (called their KwikWick II liner – basically, Scorpion likes to name everything!).

They’ve also added EQRS or emergency quick release cheek pads in there, so if you have an accident, the idea is paramedics can pull the red tabs at the bottom of the helmet and slide out the cheekpads without aggravating any injury.

scorpion exo 520 Air matt black motorbike helmet rear view
Rear view of the matt black 520 Air

There’s also glasses grooves inside the helmet, designed to let you slide your glasses in there without them digging into your head. And we heard from a few owners who reckoned the 520 Air’s great for glasses, so it works well.

The liner in the 520 Air and 520 Air Smart are the same, which means there’s speaker pockets inside the standard 520 which should accommodate most speaker systems.

So that’s all good. But the main feature inside the 520 Air is probably the AirFit system. Essentially, it’s a tried and tested system you’ll find inside all Scorpion’s Air helmets where there’s an air bladder located behind both cheekpads.

These bladders can be inflated by pressing a small rubber bulb inside the chin bar that inflates and pushes out the cheekpads to tailor the fitting a little and tighten up the inside of the helmet if you find it a bit loose. There’s also a release valve next to it.

It can be helpful if you’re riding fast or the helmet padding loosens over time, in which case you can pump up the airfit to tighten things up and stop the helmet lifting.

Most Air helmet owners don’t seem to use it very often but a few owners certainly find it useful and like the system.

It’s also widely regarded as a very comfortable helmet, which is key, meaning it’s good for long hours in the saddle so should work whether you’re commuting or touring.

Overall then, Scorpion’s fitted pretty much everything you can find inside a modern helmet into their mid-price 520 Air helmet.

Looks & Graphics

Scorpion usually sells their helmets in a ton of different graphics, and the 520 Air’s no exception.

scorpion exo 520 Air fasta motorbike helmet side view
Another 520 Air in Fasta graphics

If you’re after a graphic version, there’s the Fasta, LeMans, Cover, Shade and Laten designs available. And if you’re a MotoGP fan, Fabio Quateraro’s a Scorpion helmets rider and you can get a Quateraro Replica in the 520 Air.

Strangely, if you’re after a plain helmet, there’s only a matt black helmet available – so no gloss black, no white, no other solid/plain colours, just matt black. Weird.

If you’re after the 520 Smart Air, then at the time of writing it’s only availabe in matt black too.

If the Smart or regular helmet comes out in any other colours, you should be able to click the links below to drop straight onto their Scorpion Exo 520 pages to quickly see what’s available and any deals to be had.

Best places to buy an Scorpion Exo 520 Air helmet?

Please click below to visit the Scorpion Exo 520 Air helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, 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 from SportsBikeShop

Scorpion Exo 520 Air Video

Here’s a quick 5m look around the Exo 520 Air from Sportsbikeshop.

Other stuff – fasteners, bluetooth, weight, warranty

In Europe, the Scorpion Exo 520 Air is fitted with a micrometric fastener. They’re super easy to use fasteners and safe as houses as long as you check it’s done up tightly each time.

If you’re looking to fit a bluetooth headset to your 520 Air then you should be fine. Obviously if you’re looking for a quick out-of-the-box solution, then you might want to consider the 520 Smart Air which comes ready to rock with an Exo-com kit (mostly) pre-fitted.

scorpion exo 520 Air Tina Chameleon crash helmet side view
This one’s called the Tina Chameleon.

If you have your own set, then there’s speaker pockets in the helmet and space for a microphone and wiring. There’s also space to attach your controller to the outside of the helmet, so you should be good to go.

The Scorpion 520 Air isn’t the lightest weight helmet out there. In fact it’s pretty heavy for a full face helmet, averaging out around 1.6Kg (3.6lbs). Still, even though it’s a smidge heavier than your average full face, no one we came across found it a problem (it’s still lighter than your average modular helmet).

Finally, Scorpion covers all their helmets with an excellent 5 year warranty which is just about as long as you can get.

Overall/Summary

The Scorpion Exo 520 Air is a great full face helmet at a really good price. Just a shame about it being noisy.

It has a ton of features for the money: EQRS, Pinlock, optically correct visor and sun visor to name a few. And lots of owners love their helmet.

Scorpion-EXO-T520-Nama-Sushi-Black-Chameleon-Top-view
520 Air Nama Sushi graphic

Plus if you’re looking for a lower cost helmet with bluetooth already fitted, then the 520 Smart Air might well make a lot of sense.

The only fly in the ointment is that, like its predecessor the outgoing 510 Air, a few owners found theirs noisy. Not all, but some owners found it noisy, whistly and a few reported it even vibrates at high speed.

Which won’t be a problem if you’re a slower rider or looking to use it for steady commuting where it should be a great value, useable helmet. But I guess the main probem here is that you won’t know if it’s going to be a problem for you on your bike until you’ve ridden in it – at which point you can’t return the helmet.

Which is a shame because in every other respect, the Scorpion Exo 520 Air is a great helmet.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides & Top 10s

For other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various Motorcycle Helmet Buying Guides - or have a look at our Top 10 helmet lists where we've got the Top 10 rated helmets overall along with Top 10 Budget/Top 10 Safest/Top 10 Full Face/Top 10 Modular/Flip-up/Top 10 Sportsbike/Track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Scorpion Exo-520 Air?

We’ve got lots of other ways you can find your ideal full face helmet. You can check out our Top 10 full-face crash helmets list to see our best rated helmets or head over to our Smartish Filters pages and zoom in on helmets with your ‘must have’ features.

HJC C70 lianto hi viz motorbike crash helmet side view
HJC C70 Lianto

You can browse through all our full face crash helmet 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. Finally, check out our helmet gallery to find a lid that takes your fancy.

scorpion exo 1400 air torque red motorcycle helmet side view
Scorpion 1400 Air

If you’re after particular suggestions, you should check out these helmets below – all great helmets with excellent safety ratings.

AGV-K6-Multi-Hyphen-red-white-blue-motorcycle-helmet-side-view
AGV K6 in Hyphen graphics

The HJC C70 is another polycarb helmet with sun visor. But the HJC’s SHARP 5 star safety rated and cheaper than the Scorpion so well worth checking out.

arai profile v motorcycle helmet calm red side view
Arai Profile V

If you want a Scorpion, the 1400 Air is a great value sports touring helmet. It’s available in composite and carbon fibre versions so it’s light weight and it has a sun visor and EQRS too and is SHARP 4 star safety rated.

AGVs equivalent is the AGV K6. It’s a bit more expensive but it’s a carbon/kevlar helmet that’s SHARP 5 star rated.

Finally, if you want to go more premium, the Arai Profile V is a fibreglass full face that’s SHARP 4 star rated. Comes with a Pinlock and it’s designed to be easy to get on and off.

Best places to buy an Scorpion Exo 520 Air?

Please click below to visit the Scorpion Exo 520 Air helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, 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 from SportsBikeShop

Star Ratings

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