X-lite’s new X-803 Sportsbike Helmet

Chas Davies WSBK Replica X-803

X-Lite’s top dog racing helmet – the X-803

The X-803 is the successor to Italian maker X-Lite’s X-802 and 802RR. They were great track helmets that were well liked, gave good protection and worked well on the track where riders from Brit Chas Davies to Italian Danillo Petrucci used them in anger in WSBK and MotoGP.

Well, now the X-802 range has been shelved, replaced by the X-803 that’s been developed alongside X-Lite’s current crop of MotoGP and WSBK riders including Danilo, Chaz and Ducati test rider Casey Stoner. So, X-Lite sportsbike helmets have certainly got plenty of racing and design know-how poured into them!

As we noted in our review of the outgoing helmet, the only thing the old X-802 was really missing was some of the latest features such as EQRS. But in all other respects, it was a stonking sportsbike helmet.

Having said that, if you’re after a new sportsbike or track helmet, then there’s lots of choice out there because this is where most of the top makers put most of their R&D effort; meaning there’s some fantastic helmets available.

In which case you might wanna click through to our top 10 best track helmets.

So, the X-803’s got its work cut out to really bring anything new, different or better to the party. Let’s have a look what it offers.

Looking to buy this X-Lite?

We recommend Revzilla (PA) for outstanding service and free shipping, and 2 Wheel (CA) for great service, free shipping and returns. Please click any link to drop onto their X-Lite helmets pages or see here for more info about our recommended stores, including a quick snapshot of their T&Cs.

Other than the fact the X-803 is DOT certified in the US (ECE certified in Europe) all we can do is look at the helmet’s construction and features to second-guess how much impact protection it’ll offer.

There’s two different helmet constructions available. The first ‘basic’ version is a composite shell. Of course, X-lite as a brand was set up by Nolan to focus on composite shelled lid production so it should be a good ‘un.

But there’s also a slightly more trick full carbon range of X-803s which should be a smidge lighter weight – and have bits/lots of carbon weave showing (depending on the design) so it looks cool.

The old X-802 composite helmet was independently safety tested by the UK SHARP labs and scored four out of five stars – which is a great result. In fact, SHARP has tested nine composite fiber X-Lite helmets over the years and seven have scored four stars while two scored a maximum five stars.

Rear view showing adjustable spoiler

So, I reckon we’re on pretty solid ground expecting the new X-803 scoring either four our five stars in the SHARP test, should they test it!

So, it should give decent protection. But there’s more to helmet protection than just impact protection.

As with most track helmets, X-Lite say the X-803 has a really wide shield; designed to give the best possible view when you’re elbowing your way past other riders on the track (or they’re trying to elbow their way past you!). Which is of course great for road riders too – the more peripheral vision the better/safer on the road.

It also comes with a Pinlock anti-fog in the box. Again, they’re awesome to keep your vision clear and mist-free and help keeping you out of trouble on the road.

One of the biggest upgrades to the safety of the X-803 over its predecessor is the inclusion of EQRS or Emergency Quick Release System. It’s probably a must for a modern track helmet and great to see the X-803 is getting in on the action too.

And finally, like pretty well all track-focused helmets, the X-Lite X-803 comes with a double-d ring fastener. Click the link if you want to find out more about them.

Noise suppression isn’t usually top of a sportsbike helmet designer’s agenda – so most out-and-out track helmets can be quite noisy.

Front view of the Davies Replical X-803

The outgoing (outgone?) X-802 was about average for noise, which actually wasn’t bad for a sportsbike helmet.

And we’d expect the X-803 to be similar. Especially because the X-803 has a net interior, to aid air flow, and an improved ventilation system which means it will quite probably let more noise into the helmet along with more air.

When we hear more from owners on noise attenuation, we’ll let you know how it fairs. But if having a quiet helmet is a priority for you when buying a new helmet, you might want to look at our quietest helmets pages and choose one of those.

The X-803 has a stack of front vents, designed to keep riders cool during the most demanding days at the track.

There’s a pair of front chin vents with a couple of passive chin exhausts to the side of the chin bar.

Up top, there’s a twin forehead vent just above the shield and a pair of crown vents, each with their own sliders to open/close the vent.

x-lite x 803 crash helmet inside view
Internal view showing EQRS (red tabs) and mesh lining

Of course, to get a decent flow through any helmet, the front vents need to be married to a rear exhaust vent or two to help remove all that fetid, stinky air. Thankfully, the X-803 has a decent sized exhaust vent tucked underneath that adjustable rear spoiler.

Inside the helmet, you’ll find decent channels in the internal polystyrene lining to allow the air to circulate, backed by a mesh comfort liner, again designed to allow more air through to the scalp than conventional solid liners.

All this constitutes what X-Lite calls its RAF or Racing Air Flow system. It worked well on the X-802R so there’s no reason to think it’ll be any different on the 803.

The shield’s a key component on every helmet, and the ratchet shield on the X-803’s no different.

Like any sportsbike helmet, the X-803 is designed to be used in a sportsbike tuck position. So the shield on the 803 gives improved vertical and horizontal visibility with X-Lite saying they’ve widened the shield still further from the X-802s already wide shield port to give even better peripheral vision.

X-lite say they’ve improved the silicon shield seal on the X-803 too to improve noise/water sealing. But other than that, it seems to be more or less the same as the 802. Which is not a bad thing since the 802R ticked pretty well every box going for its shield!

Those ticks included Pinlock anti-fog in the box with external Pinlock adjustment, quick release shield system, and shield lock with ‘cracked-open’ position for a bit more ventilation.

So, on the shield front, the X-803 has pretty well got it all covered.

X-Lite has increased the size of the chin area on the X-803 in response to owners of the old helmet moaning a bit about room being tight around the mouth. Good one for listening X-Lite.

Rear view of the SBK Official version

The interior lining of the X-803 is, as usual, removable and washable (including the lining on the straps). And X-Lite has used netting around the crown area to allow more ventilation to circulate around the head. That, combined with X-Lite’s ‘Racing Experience’ active carbon lining, which includes a carbon weave inner and was introduced with the old X-802RR, should help keep most riders pretty cool and wick away sweat nicely.

Looks & Graphics

The X-803 is following lots of other track helmets’ designs with its rear helmet shape and adjustable rear spoiler. But it’s definitely less ‘out there’ something like than Shoei’s top of the range X-Fourteen or AGV’s Pista GP-R. So if less extreme styling’s your thing, then the X-803 might well fit the bill.

Having said that, the X-Lite more than makes up for it with a range of race replica graphics including two Davies, four Melandris and a single Checa, Stoner, Petrucci, Bastianini, Pirro and Camier replica – most of them available in either the composite fiber shell or carbon fiber version.

Other than that, there’s a stack of other classy designs in both versions with the good ole plain pure carbon versions as well as the Puro Sport and unusual tinted weave of the Nuance carbon fiber helmets catching my eye in particular.

Leon Camier Replica

If you want to see all the latest designs (and deals!) we suggest you click through to our recommended retailers below to see what’s on offer.

Best places to buy this X-Lite crash helmet?

Revzilla are based in Philadelphia and offer outstanding service (at the time of writing 9.8/10 at Reseller Ratings) as well as 30 day refunds and free shipping on orders over $39.99 to 48 states.

We also recommend 2 Wheel who are based in California, have excellent customer ratings at Google Customer Reviews and offer free deliveries to US Conti 48 as well as 1st free return delivery if your gear (incl helmets) doesn't fit.

They are two of our Recommended Stores for quality of service and if you click one of our links and buy from them, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site).

Click above to drop onto their X-Lite helmets pages or *quick view store T&Cs here.

X-Lite X-803 Video

Here’s X-Lite’s own helmet launch video featuring Ducati WSBK’s Chaz Davies at Mugello.

Other stuff – aero & buffeting, breath guard, warranty

The first thing to mention here is that X-Lite has redesigned the aero on the X-803 to improve stability and air-flow. That includes an adjustable rear spoiler which you can alter according to your riding style.

The X-803 comes with a large anti-fogging breath guard. Combine that with the chin vent which directs air onto the back of the shield and the Pinlock anti-fog insert and we’d be amazed if there’s any problem with fogging on the 803!

Finally, the X-Lite X-803 comes with a 5 year warranty – that’s as long as you’ll get from any manufacturer.


The X-Lite X-802R was a great helmet and it looks like the X-803 has built up on that solid base and X-Lite has added a few sensible improvements to make what we hope will be an even greater helmet.

Plain gloss white version shows up the detail…

We’d be surprised if it doesn’t score either four or five stars in the SHARP helmet test (see safety section above), taking it right where it needs to be in terms of impact protection. And with an excellent shield system – including a Pinlock in the box and generous aperture for good all-round vision – along with improved aero and internals and the addition of EQRS; the X-Lite X-803 may well have everything you need from a track helmet.

Not only that, but like many of the higher profile track helmet competition, it’s MotoGP-developed yet available for a much lower price on the ticket. So, if you’re after a new sportsbike/track helmet, we say the X-Lite X-803 has got to be worth a look.

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.

Good Alternatives to the X-Lite X-803?

There’s a stack of quality alternatives if you’re after a track helmet. You can see our top 10 rated sportsbike helmets here – this list only includes helmets that have been SHARP safety tested and score well in all our safety categories.

But if you’re after a few names to check out here and now, then first up has to be the Shoei X-Fourteen. The X-Spirit is one of the best-loved and most iconic racing helmets out there at the moment. It’s SHARP 5 star safety rated (of course!) and highly thought of in just about every aspect (maybe with the exception of price!) and it’s a great track or sportsbike helmet.

Shark’s Race-R Pro is another superb SHARP 5 star safety rated helmet. The Pro carbon version is very light weight and prices end where the X-Spirit’s start, meaning it’s a much more cost-effective option.

Finally, how about the LS2 Arrow. It’s MotoGP-developed, SHARP 4 star safety rated; comes in either full carbon or fiberglass versions and works really well on sportsbikes. It’s much cheaper than both the Shark and Shoei too. Happy days!

Looking to buy this X-Lite?

We recommend Revzilla (PA) for outstanding service and free shipping, and 2 Wheel (CA) for great service, free shipping and returns. Please click any link to drop onto their X-Lite helmets pages or see here for more info about our recommended stores, including a quick snapshot of their T&Cs.

Definitely want an X-Lite?

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

Other full face helmets

There are loads of alternative full face crash helmets. You can check out our Top 10 full-face crash helmets list to see our best rated helmets. But we also recommend you take a look at all our full face crash helmet previews and reviews as well as our safest motorcycle helmets page where you'll only find helmets that are SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here