Leatt: GPX 5.5 Carbon Helmet Reviews:
Do you value your noggin? It’s likely that you do. The helmet is the most important safety device that one wears in almost all contact sports with power sports being no exception. So, a case can be made to search out the most protective and comfortable of the many options available to off-road & MX enthusiasts. In line with this thinking, I jumped at the chance to test Leatt's highly anticipated GPX 5.5 Composite Helmet, something they refer to as, "Ground-breaking head and brain protection!". Is it?
The Leatt GPX 5.5 Composite Helmet has a slew of neat aspects built into it. Its physical size is slightly smaller (up to 24% claimed) than more traditional helmets, and it's also very light in weight at 1390 grams (3.06lbs.). As you'd expect, the helmet is also designed to fit perfectly with Leatt neck braces and hands-free hydration kits. The key feature of the helmet is its 360° Turbine Technology. These little blue turbine shaped discs are made from Armourgel®, a material that progressively hardens when exposed to force, absorbing energy. Further, they are strategically placed around a multi-density V-foam that has the ability to displace impact forces to the side, not just inward towards your head. For those that prefer to learn by watching, here's a great video on the product's key features:
For testing, I did some woods riding in the cold (low 40s°F) and warm (high 70s °F). In the colder weather, I didn’t feel too much unwanted cool airflow. I never got myself into a situation that induced sweating, but I never felt too cold or too hot. As baby bear said, "Just right". In the warmer weather, ventilation was very good as there are some pretty large exhaust holes in the shell. No helmet is perfect with ventilation, but the GPX 5.5 was as good or better than other helmets I have worn. During testing, I rode in fairly dry conditions, but I wondered if the large ventilation holes may let in some water or mud in more extreme conditions?
Fortunately my riding didn't force me to test the protective properties of the helmet. Luckily for us, Leatt has gone through the rigorous of safety testing prior to production. Here are a couple of PDFs from the Omega Safety and Protection Research Center in Italy for those that really like to dig in before buying protective gear:
1. Certification Testing
2. Research Testing
Notable Features & Stand-outs
The Leatt GPX 5.5 Helmet is easy to put on and remove, the cheek pads and cloth material used seem to reduce the effort, gliding over your skin. For sizing, I was on the upper limit of a medium. It was snug, but not too tight. As far as comfort goes, I found it to be acceptable and I imagine with time it will get better once the pads are broken in some. The shape of your head makes a big difference in fitment, mine being oval shaped. My Dad and I have the same measurements, yet slightly different skull shapes . His impression was a perfect fit, as he has a slightly more rounded profile than I do. Depending upon the shape of your head, you may find some pressure points up top from the padding design. To be honest, when I first picked up the helmet, it felt kind of cheap. Its weight, plastic parts, and small design led me to believe that this was a lower-end helmet with a big price mark-up. Only after I spent some time riding with the helmet did I come to appreciate it.
I found the visor to provide plenty of roost protection and visibility, but the adjustment screw is not very glove friendly. The padded helmet liner is easy to remove and install for cleaning. There is plenty of space on the top of the helmet to mount a camera provided you have a curved base.
Throughout the testing, I never noticed the weight of the helmet, which is a good thing. After a few hours in the saddle, some of my other helmets would start to feel heavy after fatigue set-in. Not so with the GPX 5.5, even after long days of riding. I don't wear a neck brace, so I can't comment on its compatibility.
For goggle fitment, I exclusively wear Oakley O Frame goggles and the fitment was pretty good. I didn’t notice any issues with the combination. Your particular brand choice could affect the seal and feel on your face, so when you try the helmet, you should also bring your goggles to test.
The overall quality of the helmet seems high and at the price of $449 USD, it should be. I have no doubts that this helmet will reduce the force of impact should you find yourself eating dirt, which is why I would have no problem paying the price for the Leatt GPX 5.5 Composite Helmet. All crashes are different and while no helmet can provide perfect protection, Leatt has put in the engineering, design, and materials together that stack the deck in your favor of walking away from a crash. Should this happen, Leatt wants you to send in the helmet for an evaluation so that they can determine if it will continue to do its job or needs to be replaced. I think this is cool, showing Leatt's dedication to rider safety.
Cost of entry.
I must say, I'm impressed with the Leatt GPX 5.5 Composite Helmet. Most of my past helmets have been in the $150 - $250 range and I was hesitant at first about the price of the Leatt. But after reading about the engineering, materials, and design of the helmet, as well as some time with it on my head, I have no problem with the price tag. You only have one head, so you might as well take the best protection available. Is it worth the price tag? To answer that, you must ask yourself what is your head worth.