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
- SHARP star safety rating 4 out of 5
- 1.6 Kg
- Sizes XXS – XXXL
- Prices typically between £280-£350
Update: the X-Lite X-1003 has now been discontinued. For a great alternative, check out our Top 10 Modular Helmets page.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The Chin guard opens by pressing a couple of buttons (X-Lite’s dual-action system) below the front vent, with thumb and finger together. Once open, it’s possible to lock the chin guard into place using a little slider to the left – useful if you like to ride with an open face for long periods without the worry that you chin guard/visor could slam down at any moment.
As noted above, X-Lite, along with several other Nolan Group company members, are one of the few helmet manufacturers whose flip-up helmets haven’t (so far) flipped-up on their own during SHARP crash helmet testing. So we’re hopeful that the X-1003 carries on that tradition.
The interior lining of the X-1003 is antibacterial and removable/washable. Owners rate comfort levels highly, with no problems reported even after long hours in the saddle (that is, as long as you get the right fitment in the first place).
One strong point for glasses-wearers is that the X-1003 has both a glasses groove and adjustable cheek padding to help you get the fitment just right and avoid having the arms of your glasses pushing into the side of your face. That’s a cracking feature and owners like it so top marks there X-Lite.
Looks & Graphics
There’s not a massive range of graphics available – maybe X-Lite think touring types are a bit conservative. There’s the usual blacks and whites and silvers, and there’s a choice of high vis yellow/orange and the rather classy tourers to choose from. Most are shown up and down the page.
Here’s a 10m look around the above helmet: the X-lite X-1003 in Tourer graphics.
The X-1003 is about average weight for a flip-up helmet, coming in about 1.6Kg. It comes with a micrometric fastener and a 5 year guarantee which is good. It’s designed to work with X-Lite’s own X-Series BX4 plus communication system. There’s precious little information out there about how well it works with other 3rd party communicators, so if that’s important to you, I’d say it’s worth checking out in a shop before you buy (or buy from a retailer with a no-quibbles returns policy).
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.
The X-Lite X-1003 is a reasonably priced, composite-shelled modular helmet that performs well in every area. It’s packed with useful features, well made, is SHARP 4 Star safe and dual-homologated for use as both an open face and full face helmet. And if you’re after exclusivity, you’ll be hard pressed to see another X-1003 owner around. It comes with a 5 year X-Lite warranty too. It’s a highly recommended crash helmet that owners like.
There’s plenty of alternatives out there. The Lazer Paname is an excellent value, four star rated modular helmet that’s slightly heavier but also around half the price. You might also look at the Caberg Duke or Tourmax – both cheaper than the X-1003 and both awarded a maximum five stars for safety.
Definitely want an X-Lite?
Here you'll find all our X-Lite crash helmet reviews and previews including full face, flip-up and open face helmets.