Our sport seems to be dominated by products originating on the Pacific Rim. From the motorcycles that we ride to the gear we wear, oriental style is practically impossible to avoid and has become the status quo. Perhaps this is why anything Euro seems incredibly different and cool by comparison. If you’ve reached the point where you’re no longer willing to look like a Transformers robot when you gear up, you’re ready to graduate to the Nexx level.
When we first spotted the Nexx line of helmets at the Indianapolis Dealer Expo last February, we guessed immediately that this was a European brand. The Portuguese company’s continental sense of fashion is immediately apparent. Rather than searing your retinas with mind-numbing graphics, Nexx has a subtle way of calling attention to itself via innovative design and understated color schemes. The thoroughly classy Café Racer paint scheme shown on our test lid would be totally appropriate if you were contemplating a ride aboard a Brough, or perhaps a NorVin. OK, we’ll admit that the riders of those 50’s sporting machines didn’t actually wear full-face lids, so instead, how about a modern BMW or Ducati? Riders of these brands seek a certain level of restraint and tastefulness in order to set themselves apart from the hordes and somehow, Nexx seems to fit that vibe.
Aside from its classic good looks, the first thing you’ll notice about a Nexx Helmet is its unique visor retaining system. “Quick Release” seems to have been completely left off of the XR1R’s design brief. We asked a Nexx USA representative about this and were told, ”Industry-wide, the vast majority of helmet warranty claims comes from damaged or malfunctioning quick release systems. Nexx has avoided this problem by designing a visor retaining system that will not break.” If not quick-release, this hardware is at least quite handsome.
While we’re on the subject of visors, it’s important to mention that Nexx claims their XR1R to have the largest eye port in the industry. We’ll agree that it certainly is big! Peripheral vision is essentially unlimited in the XR1R helmet and the upper edge of the port seems to be higher than average as well. We felt that forward vision while in a high speed tuck was excellent with this Nexx lid. The visor itself has a positive locking system that insures it will not flip open at speed and we found this to be very effective all the way up to the high triple-digits that modern Literbikes can deliver. Nexx visors are also pre-drilled for the Pinlock anti-fog system. The XR1R comes equipped with a clear shield, while an optional 80% tinted shield offers protection good enough for even the brightest days. Visors cost $59.00.
As you further examine the XR1R helmet, you can’t help but notice how light it is. Our test helmet is the Tri-Composite model, which comes in two shell sizes. The Small through Large size weighs in at 1300 grams, while the XL through XXXL lid comes in at 1350 grams. The Tri-Composite version of the XR1R costs $419.00 for solid colors and $459.00 for graphics. If you’re feeling flush, $599 will get you the Carbon Fiber version, which is manufactured in the same two shell sizes and weighs 1200 grams or 1250 grams, respectively.
The interior of the Nexx XR1R is exceptionally easy on the eyes. With perforated, suede-like fabric, contrasting stitching and reflective materials tastefully combined, you’re left to suspect that there’s a Lamborghini owner somewhere wondering who stole his seats. While comfy as can be, this fabric is not the best we’ve experinced at wicking away sweat. A shim kit comes with each XR1R to allow its owner the ability to custom-fit the helmet to taste. We found our lid to be perfect right out of the box so did not use these shims.
Riding in the XR1R was deceiving. While light, the Nexx lid seemed a bit on the huge side when we first held it in our hands. This would likely be due to the fact that our XL sized test helmet shared the same larger shell that would be used all the way up to an XXXL. After setting it on the table alongside other brands of helmet that fit the same tester’s head, you could clearly see the size difference. That feeling of enormousness disappeared completely once under way. We quite liked the Nexx XR1R’s fit and found it to be pleasantly on the quiet side for a vented helmet. As for airflow through its vents, the XR1R was merely adequate. Fit-related comfort was high and that huge eye port, while not especially impressive at rest, simply blew our minds at speed. It really is better when you can see more of what’s in front of and alongside you! The last and most important thing we learned about this Nexx helmet is that it has incredible high-speed stability. We’d been using the lid on a 100 degree day At Road America, where our GPX Pro was showing us to be achieving top speeds nearing 170mph. Eventually, we’d thoroughly soaked the XR1R’s liner with sweat and decided to switch to a dry helmet of another brand. Suddenly, at speeds above 130mph, our tester’s melon was flopping around like he was a Bobblehead Doll. At slower tracks, we hadn’t noticed this difference but Road America’s long straights proved the Nexx to be a superior product when our velocity went triple-digit.
The big question is clear. With pricing from $419 for a Tri-Composite solid on up to $599 for a Carbon Fiber model, the Nexx XR1R is competing head to head with some very, very nice helmets. Is this lid worthy of the company it’s trying to keep? That point might be up for argument in a motorcycle showroom. Approaching the braking zone of Road America’s Canada Corner while bar to bar with another rider at 165mph though, there is absolutely no doubt. The Nexx XR1R is worth every penny.