Roof Desmo crash helmet review

Roof desmo crash helmet
Roof Desmo - cool looking flip up helmet.

Summary

The Roof Desmo is a very clever helmet that looks pretty cool and imposing too. It’s well finished and feels good quality. The chin guard can be moved from full to open-faced positions and back with just one hand. It’s slightly below average for noise suppression, pretty aerodynamic and very easy to get along with day to day. It’s not been Snell/SHARP tested so we can’t really know how well it performs in an accident. However, apart from the fact that Roof dealers seem to be few and far between it’s a good performing modular helmet that’s well worth a look.

  • 3.75lbs/1.7 Kg
  • Sizes XS to XXL
  • ECE 22.05 approved
  • Flip up helmet
  • Thermoplastic composite shell
  • Typical price range: $350-$450 depending on model/retailer
Roof Desmo crash helmet in matt black photo
Roof Desmo with chin guard down and shield closed. Looks pretty mean huh?

Safety

The Desmo hasn’t yet been Snell or SHARP tested, so it’s not really easy to say how effective it’ll be in a crash. Having said that, previous Roof helmets (including the Boxer, the R010 Diversion and the R010 Daytona) scored either three or four stars out of five. So the chances are the Desmo’s pretty good too. It’s also dual-homologated – meaning that it’s been ECE approved as both an open faced and full faced helmet. So if you have an accident with the chin bar down, it should perform more or less like a full face helmet.

Noise

It’s not massively noisy for a flip-up helmet, but it’s not massively quiet too. If you’re used to a full face helmet, you’ll probably find it a bit noisy. It’s OK if you use ear plugs of course, and, as always, it depends on what sort of bike you’re riding and whether the wind is routed at or over the helmet. In general though, I’d say it’s probably about average among modular helmets for noise suppression.

Size

Some folks reckon that Roof helmets are a little short, front to back. With the Desmo’s chin guard down, I find my chin presses against the inside of the guard a little, so that’s probably true. However I find it comfortable and it helps keep the helmet positioned correctly whereas some other helmets slip around a little when your speed goes up. While the interior is fully removable and washable, Roof also provide the cheek guards in different sizes to help you get just the right fitment. Size Large was about bang on for me and about the same size as my regular Shoei.

Ventilation

One of the main downsides for the Roof Boxer was the lack of ventilation. So Roof have made a particular effort to improve it with the Desmo. It’s got a double vent in the chin guard, a vent at the top of the helmet and another exhaust vent to the rear. The front chin vent is really effective. It’s a little fiddly to operate – there’s two small tabs inside the vent and you push one up and the other down to open the vent. Once open, the airflow is directly into your mouth. The top vent is spring-loaded. You push down on the two little panels to open the vent; and to close it, you push back on a tab behind them and the vent panels pop back into place to seal the vent. That works OK. The vent at the back is sealable too but probably not something you’d change when riding along as it’ll be too awkward. Overall though, the ventilation is great – good enough to keep things mist-free in the winter and cool in the summer. Bang on.

Shield & chin guard

Roof Desmo matt black helmet photo side on
Chin guard swivels to the rear out of the way.

The shield mechanism on the Desmo is ace. The shield itself is a big old bendy thing in the style of a helicopter pilot’s, but despite this, it’s optically pretty good. It’s also anti-scratch (obviously) and has an anti-fog coating. When the chin bar is down and in position, the shield sits snugly in a rubber gasket, sealing things tight and keeping water out. There’s a tab at the top of the shield that you push up to open the shield (I found this a little odd at first but got used to it pretty quickly). The shield doesn’t have any ratchets, instead it slides up smoothly and stops in place wherever you put it. With the chin bar backwards and using the helmet as an open face, the shield pulls down to act as an eye-shield. If you’ve got a rather large snout, like me, then having the shield fully down can push up on your nose and squash it a little against the inside of the shield! However, I find that if I don’t pull it down fully, it’s still effective and leaves my honker to stick out in the small v at the bottom of the visor.

Worth mentioning is the really clever ‘desmodronic’ visor mechanism that moves the shield out of the way of the chin guard when you push it back round the back of your head and brings it forward again when you pull it down. It’s really nicely done and works well.

Comfort

So far so good. I’m usually a 60cm Large and that’s what I bought the Desmo in. It’s a totally perfect fit and very comfortable with no pressure spots  for me. The inner fabric is good quality and fully removable. As mentioned before, the shield can press against larger noses and the chin guard can press against the chin. So it’s fair to say if you’re over-endowed in either the nose or chin department, it’s probably worth trying before you buy.

Other stuff

The Roof Desmo has a micrometric fastener which is still relatively unusual but works well. Push a plastic ratchet-strip into its retainer and it clicks firmly into place. To release, you just pull a material tab and the ratchet releases and the chinstrap opens. It’s very simple to operate and works well. The chin guard mechanism seems pretty durable and it looks like some solid metal bits and bobs are used so hopefully it’ll be solid. However, it does rely on friction to keep the shield open and that means parts rubbing against each other; meaning I’d expect some wear and tear to take place. Roof does include a spare set of nylon fitments though together with a key-fob hex key that fits the nuts on each side of the helmet, so that’s a welcome inclusion. There’s also a pretty nifty helmet bag in the box too. To see the full range of paint jobs Roof Desmo helmets follow this link.

Alternatives

For other alternatives, check out our Roof Boxer V8 review and the Roof Boxer Classic review. You can also see reviews of other flip-up or modular crash helmets here.

For other helmet reviews check out either our Crash Helmet Reviews or SHARP 4 & 5 Star Crash Helmet reviews sections! And if you‘ve got a Roof Helmet – including the Desmo – we’d love you to let us know what you think. Please comment below – thanks!

Slightly Dodgy Roof Desmo Video

But it gives you a good idea of what the Desmo’s like and how the shield works

Here’s another with a bit more info…

Definitely want a Roof?

Here you'll find all our Roof crash helmet reviews and previews including full face, flip-up and open face helmets.
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