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By Riders, For Riders, 250 Million readers for over 16 years.
Hard to find a better helmet for the price
For over 15 years that Total Motorcycle has been on the internet, we get the question, "What is a good budget helmet you can recommend". Well, today, we take a look at the Icon Alliance Dark, a helment with some very impressive features and safety standards for just a MSRP of $150 or less.
Dewayne Jasper over at Motorcycle House.com was kind enough to let us review one of their Icon Alliance Dark helmets they had in stock for this test. Motorcycle House is located in Walnut, CA and carries a carry a complete line of premium and popular brands for riders all over the world (including Viking Bags, Tour master, River Road and Answer. From Luggage to Motorcycle Jackets and Parts) and combines the best selection of products with unrivaled service and extremely competitive prices.
From order to delivery (California to Texas) it took just 3 days for the helmet to arrive. Some riders are afraid of ordering a helmet on line as it is unknown how it will arrive through the mail to your door... after all, a helmet is ONLY GOOD for one hard hit. In the case of ordering it from Motorcycle House.com, the helmet arrived double boxed and was packed extremely well. So no worries about hidden damage there!
The Icon Alliance Dark came with the original box, care manual, soft bag and two visors (a clear and a smoked). It was really nice to see a smoked visor included in the box as many riders enjoy the versitility of riding with one rather than wearing sunglasses.
Construction quality of the Icon Alliance Dark was impressive, the fit, finish and feel of the helmet spoke of a much more expensive helmet rather than a $150 budget one. The matt (matte) black of the helmet was very uniform and had a "rubbery traction feel" to it. The vents were easy to operate and the visor featured a helmet lock that no amount of wind would blow open!
On the Road
Each riders head shape will vary and it's important to understand what head shape you are BEFORE you order a helmet from any brand. Rather than re-invent the wheel here, I would like to refer you to this excellent PAGE from webbikeworld.com explaining how to find the correct shape to match your head is crucial for both safety and comfort. The Icon Alliance Dark is a medium oval headform fit.
The impressive features of the Icon Alliance Dark on the road were...
The fog-free and distortion free visor was great as it allows you to naturally see what's around you without distortion and thus making a ride turn your head around to see more clearly.
The Hydra-Dry liner was very comfortable, almost like putting your head in a pillow. A very nice upgrade to what budget $150 helmets usually come with... Styrofoam and thin padding.
Matte black finish is outstanding as well as the very nice "futuristic" design of the helmet. I had no issues with cars not seeing me in the matt black helment in the day nor at night. Although for safety reasons I have to recommend a colored helmet for night riding as it would be safer.
And lasty the air venting system was easy to operate with gloves on and allowed the air to pass thought the helmet even on very hot days.
The not so good features of the Icon Alliance Dark on the road were...
ProLock shield locking system. It is both a positive and a negative here. The positive is it won't at all flip up and surprise on you in windy riding conditions nor when looking around at highway speeds. The downfall is the little silver bar that keeps the visor firmly in place is hard to operate with (or without) gloves on. Causing quite a bit of inconvenience if you want to flip it up while riding or while talking. I would prefer to not have this feature myself on the helmet.
Hydra-Dry liner had it issues on very hot (45°C / 110°F) riding days causing the helmet to become quite hot with the hyrda-dry acting as insulation.
Visor lift - I felt while riding with the Icon Alliance Dark the visor never retracted high enough up and out of the way of your vision causing you to see the curved lip of the visor at all times. It was quite distracting coming from a helmet that didn't have this issue.
Front vent construction. I feel this is a weakness as the air vent "on/off door" at the front of the helmet could be better made and designed. It seems more of an afterthought that would allow rain to come into the Icon Alliance Dark when opened and the flap would eventually brake off from use.
If you were glasses - While the Icon Alliance Dark does have eye-glass arm slots (good) the amount of comfortable side padding from the Hydra-Dry liner caused wearing glasses to be slightly uncomfortable. Of course, uncomfortable ness will vary based on your head shape, but as a regular eye glass wearer, it wasn't the best experience.
The helmet is good for those who want a good budget helmet with all the bells of whistles of a much more expensive one. But I'd suggest considering the not-so-good features of the helmet before you buy. If you wear glasses regularly while riding, I would first check this helmet in person with your riding glasses. If you do not wear glasses while riding, you will enjoy this helmet even more.
Thus, I would give this a 2 out of 5 for those wearing glasses and a 3 out of 5 for those who don't. The price and features are outstanding making the Icon Alliance Dark stand out from its competition. It is just a shame a few things keep the Icon Alliance Dark from achieving a much higher score.
From the ICON
Back in black, fade to black, none more black, you've heard them all. This time we've dropped the clichés and gone straight to jugular conviction - the Alliance Dark Helmet combines the most popular attributes of the award-winning ICON helmet line, for less. Matte black Rubatone finish, free Dark Smoke ProShield, removable Hydradry wicking liner, medium oval head form, World Standard certifications and ICON's innate reputation for pure awesome. All for the princely sum of $150. The streets have demanded, and ICON has answered.
Evolved. Refined. Perfected. Icon has never been satisfied with the status quo - which is why we created the new Icon Alliance helmet. Based on the proven Alliance SSR, this nexgen helmet is fitted with a multitude of key revisions. The first revision is the new EPS liner. We've listened to the customers requests and reshaped the EPS liner into a more oval geometry.
This new headform increases rider comfort by slightly elongating the entire inner circumference. Combine this geometry with our removable Hydra-DryTM wicking comfort liner and the the result is a nearly perfect rider focused enclosure. To further increase rider comfort we've revised the entire venting system. Much like a finely tuned motor, we've reshaped and enlarged the intake and exhaust ports for increased airflow. Additional ventilation ports have also been added to the lateral aspect of the helmet to further increase ventilation. The shield itself has been upgraded to Icon's distortion free Pro-ShieldTM. The Pro-ShieldTM features the ProLockTM shield locking system, graphic enabled sideplates, fog-free coating, and a no-tools shield change interface. Continuing with our commitment to excellence, the Alliance is constructed with premier manufacturing processes and stringent quality assurance procedures. This, combined with rigorous testing, assures that the Alliance meets or exceeds the highest safety standards in the world (DOT,ECE,SG,SAI).
Remember: a helmet will not protect you unless you are wearing it, the helmet
is fitted properly, and the helmet is securely fastened on your head.
Icon Alliance Dark Helmet Review Key Features:
All world standard, meets or exceeds the following: DOT FMVSS 218 (US), ECE
22-05 (EUROPE), SAI AS1698 (AUSTRALIA) & SG (JAPAN) safety and testing
standards. Does not ship with SAI OR SG Certification stickers unless purchased
from an authorized dealer in that country.
Injection molded polycarbonate shell for strength
Long oval headfoam
Wind tunnel tested and refined
Molded twin channel supervent for increased cooling
Rear exhaust ports prevent heat buildup
Removable molded breath deflector reduces shield fogging
Chin venting system reduces shield fogging
Fully removable/washable HydraDry interior
Quick-change for-free Proshield with sideplates
Prolock shield locking system
Dark Smoke Shield Included
Icon Alliance Dark Helmet Review Construction:
Q. Is this helmet Snell AND DOT approved?
A. Our helmets pass international standards (ECE, DOT, SAI, SG), and after extensive research have chosen not to certify our helmets to Snell standards. The ECE (European) standard is internationally recognized in 52 countries. Our helmets also pass DOT (United States), SAI (Autralia), and SG (Japan).