GMax FF-98 full face motorcycle helmet review

GMax FF-98 review: a well-liked full face with rear LED light.

Gmax FF-98 motorcycle helmet derk graphic top view
Gmax FF-98 in Derk graphics showing crown vents and rear exhaust

The FF-98 is an entry-level street full face helmet by US brand Grex. It’s a polycarbonate helmet which means they can manufacture and sell it at a low price point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an ultra basic helmet. In fact, it’s got a drop down sun visor in there and there’s a built-in LED light at the rear to give extra visibility.

It might not cost much, but there’s still a whole lot of competition out there, so we’ve done a shedload of research to find out whether it’s worth investing your money into an FF-98 or whether you should be looking elsewhere.

  • Polycarbonate full face street helmet
  • Rear flashing LED light
  • Medium oval fitment
  • DOT and ECE certified
  • Drop down sun visor
  • Double-D ring strap
  • Quick release face shield
  • Sizes XS-XXXL
  • Expect to pay $150-$170

Looking to buy a GMax FF-98?

Please click below to visit the GMax FF-98 helmets pages at our recommended stores – all checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

BTO SportsShop for helmets at Amazon

Overall/Summary

From our research, it seems buyers of the Gmax FF-98 fall into 3 camps. First up are the new riders looking for an entry level helmet that’ll give them a decent all-rounder helmet without spending too much.

Second are the folks who love the idea of a rear LED light for extra visibility – as well as because it’s kinda fun and novel.

Gmax FF-98 reliance graphic motorcycle helmet side view
Red/black Reliance graphic Gmax FF-98

Third are the folks who like the fact it’s both DOT and ECE rated.

And the truth of the matter is that they’re all good reasons for buying a GMax FF-98 helmet. However you come to own one, the word seems to be that it’s a great all-rounder. If you’re a medium oval headshape (that’s most of us, right) then with its CoolMax SpaSoft liner, it’s comfortable too (read comfort section below). It’s well vented. The sun visor’s useful – and the face shield system works just fine.

It’s got a decent fastner (double-d ring) and the quick release shield’s always a handy addition. And if you like the rear LED light, there’s even an option to link it to the braking system of your motorcycle to turn it into a brake light.

All in all, whatever their reason for buying it in the first place, the majority of owners are very happy with their FF-98s so if you’re looking for a lower price full face street helmet, we’re happy to recommend it.

Also, make sure you check out some of our suggested alternatives at the bottom of the page – or read on for more information on the Gmax FF-98.

Safety

 (more about helmet safety)

The shell on the FF-98 is constructed from something that Gmax calls poly-alloy – but there’s no more information than that. That name implies that it’s a polycarbonate shell with some additions in there to maybe help with abrasion or impact resistance (as you see with some other brands such as LS2 helmets with their KPA or kinetic polymer alloy), but until I hear back from GMax, it’s difficult to tell (I’ll post here if/when I do).

Assuming it’s a regular polycarb shell, that’s actually still no problem because even though polycarbonate is a cheaper material to make a helmet with – resulting in cheaper helmets for us riders – it can actually make for some really protective helmets. That’s helmets like the HJC i10 and Scorpion Exo R420 which are both Snell certified Polycarbonate helmets, so you know they’ll give decent protection.

Still, the FF-98 ain’t Snell so it’d be good to have some more information from Gmax about what level of protection the 98 will give before we buy one.

What is good to know is that the Gmax FF98 is both DOT and ECE 22.05 rated – and that ECE rating should mean it’s been tested and certified before it’s gone on sale.

One of the interesting things about the FF-98 – and potentially, a great safety feature – is that rear LED light. It’s set into the rear of the helmet with a battery pack (2xAAA batteries) located in the rear of the neck roll – and there’s a push-switch next to the helmet to turn it on. Continue pressing and it cycles through a few different flashing modes (including the most popular knightrider mode).

Gmax FF-98 reliance hi viz yellow helmet rear view
Rear red LED (unlit) on the hi viz Reliance FF-98

The word from owners is that it’s very bright and it seems to be one of the main reasons folks are drawn to the FF-98 (though I’m guessing there are just as many who wouldn’t be seen dead in one because of that very same reason!).

It’s a standalone light out of the box, but GMax do sell an optional wireless brake light kit that you can wire into the braking circuit on your motorcycle to turn it into a helmet brake light – which is kinda cool.

Price seemed to be about $50 when I looked on Amazon. And if you do like a helmet with an emergency stop light built in you’ll find a few other from Nolan helmets on our ESS page.

OK onto other safety stuff.

There’s an old-style double-d ring fastener which is just fine. They’re a bit fiddly compared to some of the more recent fasteners such as a micrometric or fidlock system but they’re still the preferred fastener for motorcycle racing helmets so they’re very secure as long as you tie them up well.

The Gmax FF-98 also comes with a drop down sun visor which, not only can be very useful for making your ride more comfortable – but if the sun’s low or dazzling, being able to quickly drop it down is good for safety too.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

The FF98 doesn’t have anything specifically designed to make it a quiet helmet. There is a chin curtain included which can stop noise (and wind) blowing up into the helmet from below. But that’s about it.

Gmax FF-98 motorcycle helmet matte black side view
Solid matte black Gmax FF-98

According to owners we found who talked about helmet noise, most seemed to think it’s OK for noise suppression, though because it’s a more entry-level/cheaper helmet, many owners weren’t too experienced so it’s arguable didn’t really have much to compare it against or were slower riders.

There weren’t any owners calling it a noisy helmet though, so overall we’ll call it about average for helmet quietness. Of course, that’s always going to be a very subjective call and if you’re a fast rider on a naked bike (or a naked rider on a fast bike for that matter!) you may well experience it as a bit noisier than average I guess.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

The Gmax FF-98 has a good array of vents that owners find give a reasonable amount of ventilation through the helmet.

There’s a single chin vent to directs air onto the back of the face shield. It’s closeable with a large switch/panel that’s easy to find and operate in gloves.

Up top, there’s a pair of individually-operated crown vents that take air through the helmet shell and circulate it around the head using ventilation channels recessed into the internal polystyrene liner.


A couple of useful links…

Top 10 full face helmets
Snell certified helmet reviews


That’s a pretty standard system these days, used in most full face helmets ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive carbon fibre helmets.

Gmax FF-98 motorcycle helmet titanium rear view
Rear exhaust vent spoiler and LED light strip

Flow through the helmet tends to rely on having larger channels and a good number of rear exhaust vents – so it’s good to see that the FF98 has 6 rear exhausts to let air exit the helmet.

Overall, FF98 owners we came across reckoned it flows a decent amount of air both to the head and onto the back of the face shield.

Face Shield

(more about shields)

The face shield itself is fairly standard. It’s not Pinlock-ready (so if you ride somewhere cold/rainy/humid that might be problem and you may well suffer from fogging) though if fogging doesn’t seem to be a problem for you, word is it does vent a good amount of air to the rear of the shield to help remove light misting.

The shield is quick release which is good – so you can remove the shield for cleaning and snap it back in without any tools. And it’s UV400 according to Gmax so should offer 99-100% UV protection.

The opening tab on the shield is on the left hand side. My preferred location is in the center or one on each side – but I’m sure you’ll cope with just the one tab on the left.

Overall, we didn’t find any complaints about how the shield operates when researching the FF-98 so all looks fine here.

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

Same goes for the sun visor. A few owners said it works great – the operation is nice and smooth and we didn’t find anyone complaining about it not coming down low enough which is a common complaint of many sun visors.

Gmax FF-98 motorcycle helmet gloss black side view
Sun visor fully down on gloss black FF-98

We did find a couple of people saying it’s not very dark though. Again, that’s a common complaint – but helmet makers aren’t allowed to tint the sun visor too dark in most countries because it can restrict vision too much.

So, if you live somewhere real sunny, you might well find it’s not dark enough. But it’ll still be useful for when you get caught out by the sun without sunglasses or a dark tinted shield.

One great thing about the sun visor on the FF-98 is that it has an anti-fog coating which is something not many manufacturers think to add, so that’s really handy.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Inside the Gmax FF98 you’ll find a fully removable and washable comfort liner that owners seem to rate highly.

It features CoolMax and SpaSoft fabrics. SpaSoft is a fabric brand name covering a variety of fabrics. In the case of the FF-98, it includes bamboo charcoal fibers which are designed to eliminate odors, are antistatic and antiseptic. The CoolMax element is a polyester fabric that’s moisture wicking so pulls warm moisture away from your head and so keeping your head a bit cooler.

Gmax FF-98 osmosis full face helmet bottom view
Fully removable liner – looking below the FF-98 Osmosis

Most FF-98 owners seem to rate it highly for comfort. A few said they size on the small side – so if you’re somewhere in between sizes and not sure which to buy, go for the larger size.

But if you’re somewhere near a medium oval headshape and you buy the right fitment size (check our motorcycle helmet fitting guide) there’s a good chance you’ll find it’s a comfortable helmet. A few owners said theirs felt tight at first but they do break in reasonably quickly.

Obviously, you should always buy from a store that’ll do no-quibble returns (like our recommended stores) but if you prefer, Gmax do sell a full range of cheek pads to adjust the fit further if needed – for about $20 a go.

If you’re looking to fit a bluetooth headset, there are speaker pockets in there as part of the cheekpads. We’ve heard from owners who’ve successfully added 3rd party bluetooth intercoms in there (including a Sena 20s) so if you’re looking to fit one in your next helmet, you should be fine with the FF-98.

You’ll find other helmets that are know to work with 3rd party bluetooth kits or have bluetooth headset integration here.

Looks & Graphics

Gmax FF-98 reliance blue motorcycle helmet side view
Blue version of the FF-98 Reliance graphic (optional smoke shield)

The Gmax FF-98 is a pretty sleek and modern looking full face. If you’re after solid colors, it’s available in gloss/matte blacks as well as a nice shiny titanium. For graphics there’s the Reliance in hi viz yellow, blue or white – and there’s a Derk which is kinda the same graphic but in sand.

At the time of writing, there’s also the striking Osmosis graphic (2 colorways) and you’ll find examples of them all up and down this page – but if you want to see any later graphics, our links below will drop you straight onto the Gmax FF-98 pages at our recommended stores so check em out!

Best places to buy a GMax FF-98?

Please click below to visit the GMax FF-98 helmets pages at our recommended stores – all checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

BTO SportsShop for helmets at Amazon

Gmax FF-98 video

You’ll find a lightning fast 2m look around the FF98 from Bikebandit below.

Other stuff – weight, glasses, chin curtain, warranty

The Gmax FF-98 weighs around 3.6lbs (1.6Kg) which is round about average for a full face polycarbonate helmet – so you shouldn’t really have any weight problems.

Gmax FF-98 motorcycle helmet gloss black top view
Gloss black FF98

While there aren’t any dedicated glasses grooves inside the FF98, we heard from a few riders who find the FF98 good with glasses – including one who mentioned that the sun visor drops down without interfering with their glasses too.

There’s a chin curtain and breath guard in the box which is good as they help with demisting and keeping air out from beneath.

All Gmax helmets come with a 3 year warranty (manufacturing defects) which is actually very good for a lower priced helmet.

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.

Looking to buy a GMax FF-98?

Please click below to visit the GMax FF-98 helmets pages at our recommended stores – all checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

BTO SportsShop for helmets at Amazon

Good Alternatives to the GMax FF-98?

HJC i10 semi flat black crash helmet top view
Semi flat black HJC i10

Click the links if you’re looking for a Top 10 full face or a Top 10 modular helmet. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a lower price full face similar to the Gmax, then we recommend checking out some of these helmets.

scorpion exo r 410 titanium motorcycle helmet top side view
Titanium Scorpion EXO-R420

First up is the HJC i10 – it’s as cheap as the Gmax but it’s Snell approved, has a Pinlock-ready shield and is liked for it’s great ventilation and comfort.

Shark Ridill

The Scorpion Exo R420 is another Snell helmet but this one’s got EQRS with an Everclear antifog shield. It’s known for being very comfy too – and costs about the same as the Gmax.

For something a bit more unusual, you might want to look at the Shark Ridill – that comes with a super easy micrometric fastener, Pinlock antifog insert, glasses grooves – and it’s slightly lighter than the Gmax.

Scorpion Exo R710

Finally, the Scorpion Exo R710 is a fiberglass full face that’s a bit more sporty than the others – it’s light too with excellent ventilation, a 5 year warranty and amazing value as standard.

Want to review your helmet?

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