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.
- X-Lite’s latest racing/track helmet
- Composite fiber or full carbon fiber versions
- Pinlock anti-fog included
- Double-D ring fastener
- 3 shell sizes
- Sizes XXS-XXL
- 5 year warranty
- Expect to pay $589-$729
Looking to buy an X-Lite?We recommend you check out both Revzilla (PA, USA) for outstanding serivce and free delivery (orders over $39.99), and SportsBikeShop (UK) for outstanding service and 365 day returns (and great £ prices, but note, you'll need to factor in delivery and import costs here - see here for more info). Please click either link to see their full range of helmets and latest deals.
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.
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.
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.
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!
So, on the shield front, the X-803 has pretty well got it all covered.
Comfort and Sizing
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.
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.
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 an X-Lite crash helmet?
We've chosen two of the best places to buy from - whether it's an X-Lite or any other helmet/gear.
We've also got an amazing store in the UK where you can take advantage of $-£ exchange rates to find a great deal. Sportsbikeshop offers outstanding service (9.8/10 on Trustpilot) and has 365 day refunds. Don't forget you'll have to add shipping (at the time of writing that's around $25 to the US) and any import duties.
Please click any link/picture to visit the X-Lite pages at Revzilla (US) or Sportsbikeshop (UK) where you can see all the latest designs and deals. 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)!
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.
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 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 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!