Icon Airflite: funky all rounder helmet with innovative shield system.
Icon like to do things differently.
Take the Icon Airflite. It’s a polycarbonate all-rounder helmet that’s designed to work for pretty well any purpose going (except maybe the track). Which often means… well… a bit dull, right?
But not so with Icon. Not only is the Airflite available in lots of funky, borderline outrageous, graphics. But they’ve added a faintly bonkers shield setup to it that’s almost twice as deep as your average shield and clips onto the bottom of the chin guard.
I guess in the fully-up position it kinda acts like a sun peak/roost guard too (maybe that’s the point?).
Like I said, Icon like to do things a bit different.
Personally, I like different. But is it different for different’s sake or different and better?
So, here’s a look over the Icon Airflite and see what it offers for your money.
- Polycarbonate all-rounder helmet
- Drop down sun visor
- Large, anti-fog main shield
- Double-D ring fastener
- Quick change shield
- 3.75lbs (1.7Kg) – slightly heavier than avg
- Sizes XS-XXXL
- Expect to pay $250-$310
Looking to buy an Icon?
It’s been both DOT certified and ECE approved (for the European market), meaning you can be confident it’ll give you some decent protection if you ever (God forbid) hit the deck. And to make sure you get the right amount of EPS lining to helmet size, Icon produce it in 3 shell sizes. That’s good.
That massive main shield isn’t Pinlock-ready (boo), but it does come with Icon’s own anti-fog treatment which I found surprisingly effective (more in shield section below).
But Icon helmets are fairly new to SHARP testing so it’s difficult to pick out any patterns. In fact they’ve only had three helmets tested to date with an average score of 3 stars (out of max 5) so maybe the Airflyte will score around that figure.
There’s a decent amount of padding inside the Airflite but there’s also lots of ventilation channels and some decent sized vent holes too, all of which can let noise into a helmet.
Early impressions from owners across the web are that it seems to be about average for helmet noise. I tried an Airflite and while I always ride wearing some of our recommended ear plugs, I found it to be very similar to something like the HJC IS 17 which is pretty good for noise suppression.
There’s a big, fat, central vent in the chin guard which directs air around the mouth and up onto the back of the shield.
It’s designed to mimic motocross helmets that have a large central vent with a cleanable filter in there but in the case of the Airflite, the main shield actually drops down to cover the chin guard vent, with the holes in the shield letting air through even when it’s fully closed.
You can’t see it in the pictures, but you actually close the vent using a slider on the inside of the guard which, despite being inside the helmet and meaning you’ve gotta navigate the non-removable chin curtain to get to it, it actually isn’t too difficult to access while riding.
Unusually for a helmet with a sun visor that retracts right where forehead vents go, Icon has managed to put a couple of forehead vents into the helmet and route the channels past the sun visor.
Those forehead vents are covered by large sliders that are very glove-friendly. And they’re fairly straight forward to use – though not as easy as single vents, until you get the hang of using your finger and thumb to open them both simultaneously.
These vents direct air through the helmet shell and into channels the run front-to-back across the crown of the head, drawing air out of the helmet through two, always-open, rear exhausts.
From my first test rides and looking at comments around the web, ventilation seems to be good.
Couple that decent chin venting with the (surprisingly effective) factory anti-fog coating and it takes a lot to steam up the shield too.
The shield on the Icon Airflite is probably the most unusual part of the helmet.
It extends down really deep and has a grille set into it that semi-covers the chin vent when the shield’s closed. The bottom of the shield then locks into place on the bottom of the chin guard.
It’s an unusual setup that looks cool and works well too. It’s easy to close and lock the shield in place and it’s easy to push the bottom of the shield with your thumb to unlock it and open the shield back up.
It’s also a very quick release shield too. You prise off the side pods using a couple of fingers at the top and pull till they feel like they’re gonna break. And once they pull off, all you have to do is open the shield until it springs off its mounts. That’s it. Great bit of design and makes for a really easy way to pull off the shield for cleaning.
Or for swapping out for the replacement smoked shield that comes free in the box.
The shield also has Icon’s own anti-fog treatment on it. We’re not usually a fan of factory anti-fog treatments and regularly extol the virtues of Pinlocks instead.
So we were really surprised at how effective the Icon fog-free FliteShield shield was at stopping fogging. In fact it seemed about as effective as a Pinlock on our test journeys, though admittedly it wasn’t particularly cold or humid when we tried it. But in the absence of a Pinlock, Icon’s treatment seems very good.
Whether it’ll last or not after a few washes, we can’t say at this stage.
The sun visor on the Airflite is operated by a slider right behind the left hand shield pivot and we found it drops down nice and low and was pretty easy to use. It’s a bit stiff to get the sun visor moving at first – part of the mechanism to stop the sun visor dropping down when you don’t want it to – but once you get the hang of it, it works a treat.
Like most sun visors, it’s not anti-fog so if it’s cold, don’t expect it to stay mist-free when you drop it down. But when we used it riding into the sun and things had warmed up a little, it was about average tint meaning it was dark enough to cut out most of the sun and let us ride along without distraction.
So all good with the sun visor we reckon.
Comfort and Sizing
The Icon Airflite is made in 3 helmet shell sizes and in fitment sizes XS-XXXL.
Inside, there’s a comfortable helmet removable/washable liner using Icon’s regular Hydradry material that’s moisture wicking and breathable.
I found it a tight squeeze to get the Airflite on, but once there it was bang on in terms of fitment and comfort – giving my head a gentle squeeze without any pressure points.
It’s designed to fit people with medium oval head shapes – so if your head’s oval rather than a rounder shape, it should be good for you.
And if you do buy one but find the fitment not quite right or needs some customizing, thicker and thinner cheek pads are available from Icon to tailor the internal fitment.
Looks & Graphics
Icon ALWAYS paint their helmets in funky graphics and the Icon Airflite is no exception.
You can see the Airflite Fayder in the video below (also available in black/orange) and you’ll find the Krom Airflite further down this page in grey – again, there’s an orange version available too.
There’s also the delightfully crazy Chinese Dragon inspired Airflite Good Fortune as well as a bunch of plainer but equally edgy graphics such as the Rubatone and Quicksilver. Oh, and of course there’s plain gloss white and black versions.
Click through to our recommended retailers to see the latest deals on all these designs as well as any others that’ve been released since we wrote the article.
Best places to buy an Icon helmet?
We've chosen one of the best places to buy from - whether it's an Icon or any other helmet/gear.
Both are recommended retailers for quality of service and if you buy from either, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site).
Icon Airflite video
A ten minute tour of the Icon Airflite Fayder.
Other stuff – fasteners, audio, weight, chin curtain, warranty
The Airflite comes with a double-d ring fastener (easy to use old-style fasteners).
It has speaker pockets inside and enough room in the chin guard for a microphone.
It weighs in about 3.75 lbs (1.7Kg) which is a bit heavier than your average polycarbonate helmet, though not too heavy to cause any discomfort.
It comes with a removable chin curtain and non-removable breath guard fitted to the helmet.
Icon Airflites come with a standard 1 year warranty.
If you like the aggressive motocross-inspired looks and want a decent all rounder, then the Icon Airflite should fit the bill. It feels well built, has a quality quick-release shield system with a factory anti-fog coating that actually seems to work. It’s designed to work with medium oval heads and the removable/washable lining with spaces for comms unit speakers are all good quality. Couple that with an effective drop down sun visor and ventilation system and Icon seems to be onto a winner.
Crash Helmet Buying GuidesFor (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.
Good Alternatives to the Icon Airflite?
There’s some great full face helmets out there to suit a range of wallets.
Cheaper than the Icon is the Shark Ridill. That scored 4 stars for safety when tested by SHARP and its got a sun visor and Pinlock shield too. It’s also got a glasses groove for if you wear glasses/shades and comes with a 5 year warranty!
For about $100 more than the Airflite, you can get a Shoei RF-SR. That’s a Snell Certified, SHARP 5 star safety rated composite fiber full face helmet with EQRS and Pinlock. They’re highly rated too.
Or for slightly less than the Icon, you could pick up an HJC FG-17. That’s a ‘race ready’ fiberglass full face that’s SHARP 4 star and Snell approved. Should work better on a sportsbike too if that’s what you ride.