Gear: Fulmer ADV helmet

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The Fulmer ADV helmet is a bare-bones, low-cost, dual-sport helmet. It’s not as nice as, say, an AGV AX-8 Dual, but it’s ECE 22.05 rated and retails for less than $150. It’s also got a removable peak, comfortable liner and a level of quality you’d expect to find on much more expensive helmets.

Starting with the outside, fit and finish are better than you would expect. Paint quality looks great until about 5″ away when you can start to make out the pixelated shading on the silk-screen applied tribal graphics. The vents are sturdy and the open/close mechanism of the chin vent feels like one of the strongest around. The peak is attached with three steel bolts that clamp down on machined aluminum washers. Two of those are also holding the shield in place. This long and pointy helmet has a longer than average chin bar and a weight of 1625g with the peak and shield installed.

The rear vent is part Audi grill, part Cylon warrior. Whether you’re a fan of its looks or not, it doesn’t actually do much venting as it’s completely blocked by foam. Chin bar vents are the same story. The two top vents actually deliver some cool air to your head though. You’ll never be able to tell if the chin vent is open or closed with all the wind that makes it through the gap between your face and the chin bar.

Put it on and you’ll appreciate the simple plush liner. Head shape is on the round side. Side-to-side visibility is excellent and up-and-down is about average. The combination of peak and mirrored shield block out the sun exceptionally well and, with the peak removed, you don’t strain your neck and eyes trying to keep your head down. With it on, highway-speed winds can be a bit much.

The shield itself is a unique shape. Front and center is a lip for opening and closing. Easily operated with gloved hands and by the wind, it opens up as if by magic each time you turn do a head check. The odd shape makes for interesting optics. When the sun is low in the sky, you’ll get some neat halos and at night you can see your own reflection. If any of that is a deal breaker, you can always just yank the shield and wear goggles.

At freeway speed, wind noise is remarkably high. Chalk that up to the lack of any sort of chin curtain or neck roll. Ear plugs are absolutely necessary. A Quiet Rider would likely help out a lot here.

Our size medium ran a little bit big, but that shouldn’t be an issue for anyone else as you can “only buy Fulmer Helmets directly from an authorized dealer. No mail order sales. No Internet sales. No discount stores.” Fulmer’s MSRP for the ADV is $150, though you’ll also have to go to a store if you want a real price.

The thinking behind the store-only policy is that Fulmer takes helmet fit very seriously. They want you to be wearing a helmet that fits you and know that to achieve that, you need to try that helmet and a bunch of others on.

Despite its those faults, this is a sub-$200 helmet that gets the job done and is made to the light, safe, trustworthy ECE 22.05 rating. If you’re looking for an affordable dual-sport helmet, there’s really no way to beat the Fulmer ADV.

Fulmer

  • John

    How does the curvature of the visor affect your peripheral vision Sean?…
    I
    ‘ve bought two suomys so far but they come without a visor,,just the goggles so I haven’t had a chance to wear one of these yet. DOT or even snell don’t even come close to the myriad of visor requirements as the ECE standard.

    I know ECE has strict guidelines as far as how much light transmits through the visor and some guidelines as far as refraction..so I’m curious as to how this could pass the standard with such an obvious built in hindrance.

    It’s been ages since I’ve read their sheet mind you, My mind was solely on full faced road helmets at the moment so there might be some thing I didn’t catch,,but are dualsports just given a pass?,,,seems odd

  • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

    wait, so its basically a terrible helmet, and yet still you write an article on it? $$$?

    • Wereweazle

      This seems more like the type of helmet us standard (read: cheap) riders are likely to buy. I got a Fulmer for pretty cheap through a familiar dealer (more about that below) so I chose it over more expensive brands for now.

  • HolyHandGrenade!

    “only buy Fulmer Helmets directly from an authorized dealer. No mail order sales. No Internet sales. No discount stores.”

    I have a Fulmer and this fact has always pissed me off. It’s 2011 for crap’s sake, if you don’t sell on the internet you are not relevant. Fulmer wont even sell replacement parts direct, so it’s a huge hassle to get new visors or different size ear pads, etc.

    I know they have good intentions but its so short sighted on their part and a huge annoyance as a customer. They also pass on tons of free advertising – if you don’t sell online, many riders wont even know your product exists. Luddites.

    • Sean Smith

      I could have spelled it out more, but I figured that just quoting their site was enough.

    • guest

      We read these comments and always appreciate honest feedback and constructive input. As for internet sales that applies only to helmets and very often we sell or warranty replacement parts through customer service shipped directly to the owner of the helmet.
      We believe due to the personal nature of proper helmet fit which is shown by many examples here in comments that t is not backward thinking to ask someone to get fitted before buying.
      As for pricing a less expensive helmet that offers the same level of protection as higher end helmet has a place in the market. What would you rather replace at your next track day get off? 600.00 or 200.00? Yes bells and whistles are nice but being able to offer quality protection for reasonable money has been a major focus for us at Fulmer. We appreciate HFL being honest in the review and consumers are always encouraged to offer feedback at our site or Cust service #.
      Keep riding.

  • stefano

    ha. cylons. nerds and stuff

  • Wereweazle

    I got my Fulmer for $65 from a dealer that likes me. When I first got it, it was my favorite helmet ever. As time goes on I find fewer reasons to like it. Just last week I had it up to Interstate speeds (70-90) for the first time since getting it. Most of my riding is in-town commuting and it’s done perfectly there. However, the helmet is absolute SHIT in the wind. The noise is horrible and it pushes itself all around. It is aerodynamically retarded. Plus, look over your shoulder at all and it feels like the helmet it trying to snap your neck and lift off your face at the same time.

    I think this may have just become my in-town only helmet as the ventilation is pretty good and I really like the look of it.

    • http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305107 stickfigure

      Isn’t this going to be a problem with any helmet with a sun visor?

      My Airoh S4 isn’t great for shoulder checks at 90mph either, but I’m willing to forgive it every time I ride west in the late afternoon (which, being a left coasty, is every freaking trip).

      • Wereweazle

        Ah, forgot to mention, mine isn’t the one above. I was just making a comment on Fulmer helmets in general. I wear a matte black N3.

    • Sean Smith

      More expensive helmets either get wind tunnel testing, a talented aerodynamicist to work on the design team or both.

      • Wereweazle

        Even the cheap Bell I have does way better than the Fulmer, but it just fits a little too snug so I usually just let the girl wear it. I was just really disappointed to find out how terrible it was. I’ve had to perfect the technique of looking down across my arm instead of over my shoulder so the wind just pushes the helmet back on my head.

      • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru

        Word. My Variant doesn’t lift at all.

        • noone1569

          Mine does, about 90.

  • Jeremy

    I’d love to see some more reviews of sub-$200, ECE-spec helmets.

    • Alix

      +1

    • http://krtong.com KR Tong

      There’s a local company in the south bay called Kali that has a sub $200 helmet, but I hear good things about their Naza lid, which I think is only $270 for solid colors.

      • Sean Smith

        Their ads are hilarious too. The company is called Kali Protectives, and they’ve got a squid on a stickered up CBR600RR in a white t-shirt, wearing their helmet and no other gear.

  • lvmoto

    A solid helmet for the money it seems, looks pretty cool too!

  • Josh

    The AFX FX-39 seems to be getting the most love in the budget dual-sport category right now, but it’s cool to hear about the Fulmer. The visor opening during head-checks at speed seems like a deal breaker to this commuter, though…

  • Todd

    I’ve had this helmet for about a year and I’ve been pleased with it. My usage is for true dual-sport riding where I go from fire-roads, to single track technical stuff, to twisty pavement, etc. on my 620 KTM. Yes, it’s noisy, and yes your head will feel the beak at speeds, but that’s true of my MX style helmet too.

    What this helmet allows me to do is to switch from goggles to faceshield with just one hand. I have a set of goggles and a “Quickstrap” installed. I can wrap the goggles around the back of the helmet (one handed) when I just want to use the faceshield. When I’m back in the technical stuff I can just raise the shield, unstrap the goggles and pull them around to the front and re-velcro. The shield can also be lowered with goggles on, though I rarely do that.

    This adds some versatility to the helmet which matches my dual-sport riding. If looking for strictly street usage, then I wouldn’t use this helmet. Likewise, for the so-called Adventure-Rider Ewan wanna-be types who spend most of their time on the street and some occasional forays onto gravel roads, I don’t think this helmet is a good match.

    FWIW, I looked at the AFX-39 as well (some of my riding buddies have those as well) and I think the Fulmer is a little nicer and appreciate that I can close the front vent in colder weather and in the rain.

  • snowejob

    That is the ugliest helmet I have ever seen! I don’t care what it does or doesn’t cost.