Summary: The French-made Roof Boxer V8 range of crash helmets are well built, cool-looking and incredibly versatile. They have a good safety rating and owners are generally very happy with them. This Roof helmet might not perform quite as well as a dedicated full or open faced helmet, but they’re not far off. A great buy.
- SHARP 4 Star rating (not Snell tested)
- Not distributed in the US?
- Flip up helmet offering full & open faced in one helmet
- 3.75Lbs (1.7 Kg) weight
- Removable lining and cheek pads
- Looks very cool!
- Typical price range: $350-$400 depending on model/retailer
The Roof Boxer V8 is the latest Roof helmet in the Boxer range. Actually there’s a range of Boxer V8s, with subtle differences but more or less functionally the same, so we’ve tried to cover them all here. The first model (just called the Boxer) was introduced in 1995 and this is the third variant. Enough time and enough versions to iron out any niggles from previous versions? We’ll see…
The Boxer V8 will sell to a certain extent purely based on its looks – it looks damn cool. It’s a flip up helmet (similar in function to the excellent Shark Evoline) where the chin guard and visor can be pulled up and rotated round to the back of the helmet. So you can ride with it configured as a full faced helmet, or jet style (with the tinted visor down and no chin guard) or open faced. Very flexible and users who buy the V8 love this flexibility – though many owners do tend to have alternative full faced helmets for if they’re going long distances – and the roof does have its drawbacks (more later).
The Boxer’s shell is fiberglass and is obviously well constructed as it scores four out of five on the Sharp tests. Looking at the Sharp website, it fails slightly only on the side impact tests (where many helmets seem to be marked down and drop a star). That possibly happens when manufacturers try and save weight a little by thinning the walls in areas where they believe impacts seldom happen (in actual fact, research shows they happen about equally front, rear and sides).
That said, folks report the build quality of the Roof is great. The moving parts, of which there are surprisingly few, are constructed and screwed together well. We’ve heard reports of paint chipping easily, but they seem to be pretty isolated so generally, word is that it’s well built and finished.
Noise. Flip up helmets do have more nooks and crannies and are generally less aerodynamic than full-face helmets. Which means they tend to be noisier because there’s more stuff sticking into the wind for it to catch on and buffet. The Boxer is pretty well noise-insulated for a flip up helmet, but noisier than most full faced helmets. So probably OK for bimbling around in but if you’re riding at higher speeds or for longer durations, push in the ear plugs and you should be alright.
Roof listened to the moans of the first gen Boxer owners by adding vents to the chin guard and the forehead for the V, and have apparently improved them again with the V8. Reports are that they’re pretty clunky to operate and, not quite as good as they could be. Ride a boxer in the rain in full faced mode and without any kind of anti-fog faceshield insert, and you’ll struggle to see out. Two of the chin vents are open all the time and do ventilate (whether you them to or not!) and two are closeable, but together, they ain’t enough to clear the mist in rain. To be honest, that’s a problem with many helmets so probably shouldn’t put you off too much. Plus folks say you do get used to a slight draft from the always-open vents in the chin guard too.
Owners do say they’re really comfortable helmets. I’ve heard reports that Roofs do come in slightly odd head-shapes (read our guide to buying a helmet that fits) and the internal comfort padding is slightly thinner than many. But they are comfortable and they do have removable and washable linings and cheek pads. The fastener is the seatbelt style (which I’m a fan of) and there’s no reports of any problems, so all good here.
To operate the chin guard, there’s a spring-loaded flap on either side of the helmet. Press the flaps in and pull and it releases the guard from the shell (it’s kind of a glorified press-stud) which can then be rotated to the back of the head. And once it’s there, the helmet still doesn’t look too shabby. Roof have done a great job making a helmet that looks sweet in all its guises.
So drawbacks are that the Roof is slightly noisy, slightly prone to misting when it’s raining and that’s pretty much it. But all round, it’s a great helmet that’s well liked by owners, and if you’re looking for coolness, safety and versatility, well worth a look. But, given the slightly odd head shape, worth trying before you’re buying.
For other helmet reviews check out either our Crash Helmet Reviews or Safest Crash Helmet reviews sections! And if you‘ve got a Roof Helmet – including the V8 – we’d love you to let us know what you think. Please comment below – thanks!