While I love to debate safety gear, especially the lack of thereof; a helmet is probably the first piece of kit the average rider buys. Overtime I imagine I will touch on the polarizing topic of mandatory helmet laws, but that day is not today. I have had my GMax 54S for over a year now and figured I owed it the honor of an honest review.
November of 2013 rolled around rapidly after stacking up miles on the trusty Triumph that season, but I still had big plans to ride with the local RAT Pack (Rider’s Association of Triumph) a few short days afterword, but at the time the wife didn’t own a full face helmet. While there are a few motorcycle shops local to the house, we commuted out to Iron Pony Motorsports in Columbus, probably the largest selection of motorcycle gear in the tri-state. Iron Pony is huge; they have a healthy selection of motorcycle helmets to choose from, all with display models you can try on. Helmet shopping with the wife is a very unique experience; for one thing, she’s extremely claustrophobic. For that reason, she doesn’t really care for a full face helmet, and therefore didn’t plan on wearing it often, which dictated a budget price. After some humorous arm flailing “get me out of here” helmet demos, I managed to hustle the boss into a flat black modular helmet, the GMax 54S.
The wife and I happen to wear the same size helmet so I “borrowed” her sweet new GMax that ironically matched the new Speedmaster. Up until that moment, I was wearing a “gently” used Fulmer M1 Helmet (worn once… maybe). The Helmet was large, which was way to big and wobbled anytime I looked over my shoulder on the freeway; all bad. Being accustomed to modular helmets, I was very happy she settled on the GMax. I personally like the ability to flip up the chin bar at a stop light if I need to talk to anyone, or just need a breath of fresh air. The real selling point for me on the 54S was the integrated sun glasses. Not every rider likes that feature, but I prefer the ability to slide the glasses up or down depending on conditions versus trying to pull over and switch visors or sunglasses; which is a real pain, especially when you ride through a tunnel. I seldom wore the Fulmer after I got my half helmet, but one of my first complaints was how hot it was; virtually a non-issue with the GMax. I avoid stop lights like the plague (2 wheels or 4), however, for the little bit I do spend baking on the asphalt during 85 degree summer days, the GMax keeps you relatively cool. The 54S is well vented (10 vents), especially when riding on the freeways and back roads. I find the road noise inside the GMax completely tolerable, keep in mind I’m “Ramen-noodle” cheap, but other riders may not be as accepting. The same goes for the weight, while I typically ride with the half helmet, I have no complaints about helmet weight. The helmet also comes with an integrated rear LED light for increased viability, which is a cool feature, but certainly not what sealed the deal on the sale. When we bought the helmet it retailed for about $180; but we got it on sale for $150, which I think was totally reasonable for full size helmet.
For a budget helmet, you can’t beat the 54S, I have only a couple gripes. This may be better, but the “nearest to closed” visor setting is way to much. When it’s raining, foggy, or extremely cold I like to open the visor just a hair; unfortunately the space needed just for venting seems to be between the predetermined “stop” settings on the visor. If the helmet came with a pinlock visor this would probably be a non-issue, but then it wouldn’t be a $150 helmet anymore would it? The before mentioned ventilation is awesome in the summer, but can be considerably chilly in the winter. When above freezing this is a non-issue, but once the temperature dives below 32 a ski mask is mandatory equipment for rides longer than 30 minutes.
My short term helmet loan from the wife turned into a permanent gift when she decided to buy herself a new one; this time in pearl white so I wouldn’t steal it. All in all I would recommend the GMax 54S to anyone; $150, modular, integrated sunglasses, and extremely comfortable in summer weather.
- Well Ventilated
- Integrated Sunglasses
- Probably heavy compared to better name brands
- Somewhat noisy on the freeway
- Fogs up easier than my Fulmer did