X-Lite X-1003 flip-up/modular crash helmet review

X-Lite X-1003 flip-up/modular crash helmet review


The X-Lite X-1003 is X-Lite’s composite-shelled flip-up touring helmet. We’re particularly interested in the X-1003 because on a recent review of SHARP crash helmet test data, all the chin guards on all the modular helmets produced by three divisions of the Nolan Group (X-Lite, Nolan and Grex) stayed closed through 100% of the test impacts. Which is, scarily, very rare (one manufacturer’s flip up scored an alarming 17%!). So if it performs well in other areas, the X-1003 could be one of the best bets yet for a flip-up lid.

  • Composite shell
  • Integrated sun visor
  • Dual homologated
  • UPDATE: SHARP star safety rating 4 out of 5
  • 1.6 Kg
  • Sizes XXS – XXXL
  • Prices typically between £280-£350
  • Now discontinued – great deals to be found. Check our Recommended retailers below.
*Safetyp>The X-Lite has passed the European ECE 22.05 safety standard which all motorcycle crash helmets must pass before they can be sold in the EU. And as of September 2015, the X-1003 was tested by the SHARP helmet safety scheme and, as we anticipated, it scored 4/5 stars – meaning it’s been independently shown that it should do a good job of protecting you in most accidents (it’s also worth noting that X-Lite are our 5th safest crash helmet maker, with Grex and Nolan also in the top 10).


X-Lite X-1003 in fluo orange, chin guard up showing drop down sun visor

Couple all that with the fact that, typically, the chin guard of Nolan Group flip-up helmets generally don’t come open under impact and we’d say that you’re probably getting one of the safest flip-ups on the market. Even though the SHARP test reported that the chin guard of the X1003 stayed locked during 97% of test impacts, we’d say that’s a very good score which you can have confidence in: even the five star rated Caberg Tourmax and Duke only managed 87%.

X-lite use a dual action system to open the helmet – meaning you have to press a couple of buttons to open the chin guard – which may account for some of this high score.

One other thing to note here is that the X-1003 has been dual-homologated (called P/J homologation in Euro-speak) meaning that it’s been ECE approved for use with the chin guard both up and down. Not all system helmets have been dual homologated so that’s another tick in the safety box.

The X-1003 shell is made from composite fibres. Composite lids usually offer a good compromise between weight and safety, and aren’t as costly as carbon/carbon composite helmets. In this case, the X1003 is about average weight for a flip-up helmet so there’s arguably not a whole heap of benefit, except for perhaps longevity. X-Lite don’t say what the composite is made up of (paper, fluff and glue is a composite!) but the fact that X-Lite helmets come with a 5 year warranty probably means they’re confident their lids will last.


Fluo yellow high vis X-1003

The X-Lite X-1003 is produced in 3 helmet shell sizes (a good thing – read why here) and comes in a massive range of fitting sizes, all the way from XXS – XXXL!

Looking to buy an X-Lite?We recommend either Sportsbikeshop for outstanding service, or FC-Moto for the lowest prices. Please click either link to see their full range and latest prices. Helmet Noisep>Modular helmets are usually noisier than full face, and the X1003 is about par for the course for a modular. Nothing massively to worry about here –  it’s moderately noisy – though if you’re after a quiet helmet, check our quietest helmets section. And, as always, stick some ear plugs in and you’ll be fine.

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Front view showing chin and top vents

X-Lite use what they call their Touring Ventilation System in the X-1003, but in all honesty it’s a fairly bog standard vent system; however owners reckon it works well. There’s a chin vent and a couple of vents on the top of the helmet. Both are toggle panels that are really easy to open/close with gloves, with the chin vent shoving air behind the visor and the top vents pushing it onto the scalp – with the rear exhaust vent there to remove the stale air. So all good with the venting.

Visor>The X-1003 has a main clear visor and integral drop down sun visor.

The main visor closes with a central tab and has a couple of ratchet points. Notable features are that it’s been designed with a very wide aperture for good peripheral vision and is Pinlock ultra wide anti fog insert-ready (though it doesn’t usually come with one in the box, unlike many helmets).

The sun visor is operated by a slider to the left hand side. It works well, with the only slightly negative comments being that it could be a tad darker; but then that’s a moan that’s common about the sun visors from many manufacturers, not just X-Lite. The issue is that there are legal limits on how dark a tinted visor can be in many countries, so the hands of helmet manufacturers are legally-tied.

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Chin guard fully opened and sun visor down on gloss black X-1003