So, in case you’re wondering: that guy in the adjacent lane, with the “extreme” graphics on his multi-colored helmet? Yeah, that isn’t me. I have an aversion to screaming logos and garish graphics. Is it too much to ask for full-face protection without X-Games styling? And is it overreaching to insist on a dual-sport helmet that works as well on the street as it does on the dirt? With its Variant Construct Helmet, Icon says yes to both counts. Lear more in this Icon Variant Construct Helmet Review.
Designed as a street/dual-sport hybrid, the Icon Variant Construct has an intermediate oval shape, huge eyeport, elongated chin, and prominent peak to deflect dirt, rain, and sun. There are several variations of the Variant; the Construct is thusly named for its off-white, exposed fiberglass/carbon fiber finish, which contributes to the futuristic, industrial appearance. It’s seriously hardcore, like a Stromtrooper beyond Thunderdome.
As a hybrid, it offers the best (and worst) of both worlds. Like an off-road helmet should, its ventilation is top-notch and the fit is snug. And like a good street helmet, it offers superb optics and all-day comfort. Best of all, with looks and performance such as this, you might expect it to be a much costlier piece of gear. At $370 it’s pricey, but reasonable.
The moisture-wicking liner is removable and washable, as is the chin shield. The massive eyeport and bulbous shield provide superb field of vision, limiting the amount of motion required for head-checks - welcome, because the sharp peak can catch the wind, particularly at speed.
The Variant ships with both clear and smoke shields, treated for anti-fogging. Changing them is slightly tricky and time-consuming (it takes a few minutes), but once you get the hang of it, the process moves along. Still, the plastic screws that require removing for the swap don’t seem all that sturdy, and picturing one snapping off, rolling away, or bouncing clean out of sight isn’t all that hard to do. The helmet comes with a keychain tool to assist in the swap-out, but a coin would also do in a pinch.
The multi-inlet ventilation system is on full display when you remove the liner. All seven air channels are visible, including the one that shoots air to the shield to fight fogging (it also features chin vents for the same purpose). It works great; the downside of any dual-sport helmet is that they’re designed to ventilate like dirt helmets at low speeds, but they perform that way on the street, too - resulting in a lot of noise feedback above about 60 mph. The Valiant is noisier than a full-face street helmet, for sure - but not as loud as your typical D-S lid.