A Roof Boxer V8 Helmet Review
Star Wars meets Top Gun in a modular helmet that works
Claude Morin designed the original Roof Boxer Classic modular helmet back in 1995, but Roof helmets have had only minimal exposure in North America, so the product is new to most of us. The latest version of his design is the Roof Boxer V8 helmet and it includes a number of advancements that improve functionality, but retains the original “fighter pilot” appearance.
The Roof Boxer V8 modular helmet remains true to designer Claude Morin’s original architecture, but includes improvements in functional areas such as ventilation.
The original Boxer had no vents at all; the Boxer V8 has four non-closable rear-facing exhaust vents and two closable vent ports in the chin bar. The result is excellent ventilation inside the face piece and little problem with visor fogging. Fogging is further prevented by the anti-fog coating on the visor, which also has a scratch resistant coating. Crown ventilation is provided by an intake vent atop the helmet, which is opened by single slide control that simultaneously opens the exhaust port at the rear. Crown ventilation with this system is minimal but wind noise is also held to a minimum.
There are seven visor options available for the Boxer V8 helmet. Unlike most shield designs, the Roof helmet face shield is curved and scalloped to interface tightly with the chin bar. Instead of the common molded-in tab or button protruding from the lower left edge of the shield for raising and lowering, the Roof helmet uses a metal stud through the shield at the midpoint of the top edge. This works well enough, once you get accustomed to it, but a little extra length to the stud would make it easier to use and the chin bar would still be in no danger of interfering with it when it is rotated over the top of the helmet. The shield has no distortion even at its edges, and the standard shield has a very light smoke tint that works well without posing vision problems in low light. The visor pivot system is metal and the precision friction fit makes the shield motion smooth and positive.
The business end of any helmet is the shell, which in the case of the Roof Boxer V8 is described as a composite fiberglass and resin. The exterior finish (this model is matte Graphic Orange) is excellent with no visible flaws in the surface or in the paint application. The interior is plush, removable, washable, and should the need arise, replaceable. The helmet carries ECE 22-05 P certification for full-face mode and ECE 22-05 J for open face use. To enhance low-light and night visibility, the helmet is shipped with four pre-cut retro-reflective stickers designed to be applied front and rear and on each side of the helmet behind the chin bar.
The design of the shell and chin bar is perhaps the most distinctive aspect of the Roof Boxer V8 helmet. They are designed such that the chin bar can go past the overhead stop point common among modular designs to swing about 180 degrees fully to the rear of the helmet. In use, this has the effect of allowing cleaner air movement around the helmet when used in open face mode, giving the feel of a regular open face helmet. With the chin bar retracted in open face mode, there is a noticeable weight bias change to the rear, but it doesn’t have an adverse effect, even after several hours of riding.
The Boxer V8’s chin bar can swing all the way to the rear allowing cleaner air movement around the helmet when used in open face mode.
When the chin bar is in the full-face position, the helmet is remarkably stable even in wind speed conditions that tend to cause noticeable buffeting and noise for many helmets. With the chin bar down, the visor seats snugly into the pliable top liner of the chin bar making a positive seal and secure engagement, though there is no mechanical lock to hold the shield in the lowered position. In use, the arrangement works well, with no wind leakage, no whistle and no unplanned shield lift or movement. When the chin bar is lowered, the orange and black locking tabs are lifted away from the shell slightly to allow the locks to clear the metal pins the locking tabs attach to. Pressing the locking tabs in toward the shell results in an audible “click” when the tabs engage the posts and lock on. Once locked in position, there is absolutely no slack or movement of the chin bar. To raise the chin bar, press up on the orange buttons on the bottom edge of the locking tabs, lift the tabs away from the shell and swing the chin bar forward. No chin curtain is provided; due to the close-to-the-rider architecture of the helmet, none is necessary.
Roof specifications say the Boxer V8 weighs 1,650 g (±50g), which puts it about in the middle of the field among other modular helmets.
In full-face mode, the Boxer V8 fits close to the rider, which may contribute to minimal wind noise and very little buffeting, even at Interstate speeds.
Roof doesn’t have retailers in North America at present so getting your hands on a Boxer requires ordering online. With so many of us shopping online for nearly everything these days, that doesn’t really pose a problem, even where getting the sizing just right is concerned. Roof has a satisfaction guarantee on its website — and that not only applies to the quality of their product, but to getting the right fit.
For the Roof helmet in this review, I used the sizing guide on the Roof website (Roof Helmets) and it proved to be accurate. Roof doesn’t indicate if it subscribes to the “long oval” typical head shape design in vogue these days, but it is evident the company did its homework in getting the sizing right. The fit of my unit (60cm around the crown of the head or a “large” on the size chart) is snug in the fully seated position and there is no unnecessary slack that might allow side-to-side slip or front-to-back rotation.
The retention system is a nylon strap with padding on the rider side and a quick-release buckle system instead of the common double-D ring. The loose end of the adjustment strap is retained in a buckle of its own eliminating the need for securing it with hook and loop or snap closure.
The recommended retail pricing for the Boxer V8 model is €399, which is about $523 (USD) at the current exchange rate, but the actual dollar amount will change with the exchange rates, so you’ll appreciate being able to use the currency calculator on the Roof Helmets website. Shipping is quick via international express at €45 or about $58 USD.
At that overall cost, the Roof Boxer V8 helmet is competitive with most of the better helmets on the market, be they modular, open face, or full-face. The Roof Boxer V8 is perhaps uniquely effective in terms of performance in both full-face and open face configurations, but it’s most distinctive feature is that “fighter pilot” look in full-face mode.
Note: There will be a fresh run of the Roof Desmo helmets coming out by about the end of October. All the existing Desmo line models are now sold out, so for those wishing to order one directly from Roof there is hope on the horizon! Clicking on each individual model in the Roof Desmo helmet model line gives the information about availability and potential buyers being able to get on their mailing list for availability information.