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The X-Lite X-551 crash helmet is made by Nolan and aimed at supermoto on/off road adventure riders. It’s an interesting combination of full-faced helmet with an integral slide down sun visor as well as a removable/adjustable peak.
- 3.5Lbs/1.6Kg (medium weight)
- Not Snell/SHARP tested
- Great for ventilation
- Pinlock anti-fog visor
- Only average for noise supression
- Integral sun visor
- Typical price range: $330-$430
If you’re after something a bit different from the usual full or open faced helmets, you might fancy giving the X-551 from X-lite a try. Plus if you’re riding something like a GS12 or a Multistrada and want something that suits the look, this could be the baby.
The X-551 has been ECE 22.05 approved for sale in the EU, however it hasn’t been Snell/SHARP tested yet so we’re not really sure how well it’ll perform in the real world (or as close as we can get without headbutting an A-road!). However, looking through all previous SHARP tests, no X-lite helmet has scored lower than 4 out of 5 and they came 5th in our review of the safest crash helmet brands, so the X-551 is hopefully going to perform well too.
Reports are that the X-551 is about average for sound proofing. The peak, vents and underside of the helmet all add a bit of turbulence which is always noisy, and the amount of noise does of course depend on the sort of bike you ride and your riding position (a naked at 110 is going to be a tad noisier than stuck behind a barn door fairing). But that said, it’s not a particularly noisy or quiet helmet – bang in the middle according to most riders.
The helmet is made in three different shell sizes – which is a good thing. Manufacturers of cheaper helmets try and get away with having to create fewer physical shells, instead padding out a larger helmet with more lining to fit smaller heads. X-Lite using three different shell sizes means that the X-551 will fit more optimally, and stop you looking like a lollipop if you wear smaller sizes. They’re also arguably safer. The X-551 is available in sizes XS – XXL.
Looking to buy an X-Lite helmet?Because Italian X-Lite helmets aren't widely available in the US, we recommend you check out either Sportsbikeshop (UK) for outstanding service and 365 day returns, or FC-Moto (Germany) for the biggest range. Please click either link to see the latest designs and deals or see here for more info - including shipping charges.
The X-lite has great ventilation from multiple chin vents and three forehead/crown vents. All vents are pretty easy to use even in gloves. The top vents use a swivel plate – press down at the back to open and the front pops up to act as a little scoop. Simple and effective. Users rate it as really good for ventilation – both to keep the head cool or keep it from misting up in cold weather.
It’s got two visors – the main shield that users say is particularly optically clear and gives a nice wide view – and a drop down sun visor, operated with a slider on the side of the helmet. The main shield comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert (these are bang on if you ride in the cold or rainy weather) and the ratchet is nice and firm, locking the shield in four positions that stay there in the wind blast. The sun visor is optically pretty good too and it’s easy to use with a slider. If you’ve got a big snout, some riders reckon the sun visor can catch on it though as it’s set quite far back.
Good quality lining with removable cheekpads so you can micro-adjust the helmet if you find it’s not fitting quite right. Provided you give the helmet a trial so there aren’t any pressure points, users reckon it’s a really comfy place to be.
Peak, Aero, Finish
Onto the rest of the stuff. The peak’s really useful for keeping the sun out. It’s adjustable and removable too if you don’t need it. With all that plastic stuck up front, you’d expect it to create a real racket in the wind. But apparently not. It does make some noise of course, but folks reckon much less than you’d think. They also say the finish of the helmet is great – the water based paint gives a lovely glossy and lacquered finish that’s up there with the best.
It’s a reasonably cool looking helmet that’s got some great features such as the sun visor and easy-to-use vents. It performs well in pretty well all respects and is a reasonable buy at the price point. It’s not really outstanding at anything though, other than its ventilation, but buy one and it should perform pretty well for you.
For other helmet reviews check out either our Crash Helmet Reviews or Safest Crash Helmet reviews sections! And, as always, if you have experience of the X-551, please add your thoughts in the comments section below – cheers!
Best places to buy an X-Lite crash helmet?
Because Italian X-Lite helmets aren't widely available in US stores, we've chosen two of the best places in Europe to buy from - whether it's an X-Lite or any other helmet/gear.
If you want piece of mind when you buy, Sportsbikeshop is based in the UK and offers outstanding service (9.8/10 on Trustpilot) including 365 day refunds. You can also take advantage of great deals because of the $-£ exchange rate.
FC-Moto widely offer the best range of helmets in Europe and score a decent (8.7/10 on Trustpilot) - and are based in Germany. If you want the biggest selection and competitive prices, we recommend you buy from here.
Please click any link/picture to visit the X-Lite helmets pages where you can see all the latest color schemes and prices too, as well as take advantage of the $-£ exchange rate. 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)! You can read about all our recommended retailers here.