World’s cheapest carbon fibre helmet – Should you buy it?

At approximately US$104, it is the cheapest full-face carbon fibre composite helmet in the market.

Motorcycle riding is a passion for many across the world. Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating, empowering and gives you the freedom unlike any other. The feeling of the air hitting your face and body while riding is something only a motorbike rider can understand and enjoy.

However, while relishing these feelings one should not ignore the perils of riding a motorcycle. A motorbike rider sits and rides a metal machine which weighs over 200 kgs with no protection on any sides. This can be a cause of worry for many. Despite such safety worries, motorcycle riders have steadily increased in good numbers over several decades. Thankfully along with motorbike technology, motorcyclist protection gear has advanced and become more reliable.

One of the most important safety gears for motorbike ride along with protection jackets/overalls is the ‘Helmet’. Since the most vulnerable body part of Motorcyclist while riding is the ‘head and brain’ and you don’t want to take a chance with that. A good quality Helmet will protect a bike rider’s head from impact injuries, debris and windblast. Without the helmet, a rider’s head is exposed to the most traumatic impact in an accident.

Motorcycle helmets are traditionally made from Thermoplastic or fibreglass external hard-shell and a soft thick inner liner made out of expanded polystyrene or polypropylene “EPS” foam to cushion the rider’s head. In recent years several new advances have been made in external hard-shell of helmets to increase the protection and reduce the weight of a helmet. The best has come in the form of carbon fibre helmets – hard-shell of which is made out of carbon composites. Carbon fibre is a very strong lightweight material which is five times stronger than steel. Yes, you read it correctly, it is stronger and surprisingly lighter than steel! Carbon fibre as a material is made of thin crystalized filaments of carbon which can be woven to form a cloth or can be laid over a mould and coated or mixed with resin or thermoplastics to take a permanent shape. This makes carbon fibre an ideal material for helmet manufacturing.

Leading brands helmet brands like AGV, Bell, HJC, Shoei, Scorpion and many others have introduced carbon composite-based helmets with amazing features and graphics. These helmets have quickly caught on to the fancy of motorbike riders due to their safety and weight aspects. But on the other side, a good carbon fibre helmet can burn a big hole in your pocket. Major brands retail them from US$500 or to more than US$5000, depending on the features they offer or technology used. This price range effectively puts them out of range of many motorcycle riders globally.

Axor Rage Carbon Warfare

Here comes in the picture RAGE CARBON WARFARE by AXOR, a brand owned by Vega Helmets (India). At approximately US$104, it is the cheapest full-face carbon fibre composite helmet in the market. 

There is no doubt its price is the USP here, but without the price how does this lid fare? To find out we went ahead and bought this hat.

The first impression out of the box, it is a very light helmet compared to a lot of other lids I have used or seen. AXOR says it weighs around 1080 gms +/-50gms. Weight is on a lighter side even when compared with a lot of carbon fibre helmets which usually range from 1000 gms to around 1500 gms. Thankfully this reduction in weight doesn’t mean a sacrifice on the safety parameters, as this is certified in both DOT and ECE standards. The graphics are pretty basic with neon yellow stripes design on the lid and Axor logo with regular ECE and DOT stickers on the back of the helmet. The minimalistic design adds to its street-savvy persona.

Putting it on my head was a different story altogether, I had to squeeze the head with unkempt hair in this lid with all effort. But once in, the comfort offered by the lining and the padding was worth all the effort. It fit pretty snuggly on my head offering me the safety against impact. What’s more, it comes with 2 visors for easy visibility options. Further, these scratch-proof visors are operated on a spring-loaded mechanism which ensures a wind and waterproof seal. The only drawback is that the ‘out of box’ visors might not be anti-fog clear ones, but fear not good availability of different visor shades with anti-fog features by Axor for their range (needs to be bought separately) makes it a very good choice on visibility and looks aspect.

Inside the lid, it’s pretty snug from the safety aspect, but also has enough space to accommodate my glasses (or your sunglasses). Being a close fit, it also reduces a large percentage of external sound. There is enough space for an external mic and helmet speakers to accommodate all the vloggers in us. That said, every one of these items fits without much ado or compromise in the safety and space department.

Axor says Rage Carbon Warfare is a street helmet which can be used for long rides as well. In my 100 km or so when I used it for the intracity rides, what stood out was its comfort– with its plush lining and soft padding, there was no irritation on my face. It seemed the material used inside might be moisture-wicking- I’m not sure, but it helped a lot during rides in this warm weather.

Coming to one of the most important aspects, if you ride in a hot country like me, the ventilation is important. Axor Rage Carbon Warfare comes with 5 ventilation points – the setup on this lid includes two adjustable front vents—two non-adjustable vents on the aerodynamic spoiler at the back (yes it has a spoiler as well!!) and one large port with a curtain on the chin—which directs in lots of air to your head and keeps your face breezy.

Aerodynamics in the normal lids from Axor are pretty good, their products are usually stable at high speeds and this one is no different. Carbon Warfare has a detachable spoiler made from tough polycarbonate which adds further stability at high speeds.

All in all, it’s been a pretty satisfactory week with the Axor Rage Carbon Warfare. Its geared towards the rider who rides intra-city and looks for decent comfort levels on the inside of a helmet. Although it can be used for long rides, it is probably more at home in a city street environment. There is no sense comparing it with high-end carbon fibre lids worth hundreds of dollars for it cannot compete with those. Where it wins is its ‘bang for the buck’. It offers far more than the second-lowest priced carbon fibre helmet in a price which is less than half of its nearest competitor.

Given the features at pricing it offers, I think Axor have a winner at hand in this segment in developing countries where expensive carbon fibre helmets might be out of reach for a regular rider. It also can be a decent starter helmet for new riders in Europe and America. As for me, I’m pretty happy with the money I spent on this, it can be my daily rider within the city.

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