After a winter strapped on the skulls of Snow Goer staffers, we were left with mostly positive impressions of the Z1R Rail helmet. A favorite feature of the Rail helmet was its bright, highly visible paint job. The design is bold, but not gaudy and makes lead riders easy to spot through snowdust.

The Z1R Rail features a removable, washable liner with cushy Nylex pads around the wearer’s cheeks. The pads hold the helmet comfortably in place, but they occasionally disconnected from the helmet. We just had to reach into the helmet and snap them back in place, but it was an annoyance, nonetheless. The Z1R Rail is a DOT and Snell M2000 approved polycarbonate helmet.

The helmet strap featured a snap that prevented the extra length from flapping in the wind. Rubber pads around the eye ports helped hold goggles in place.

A four-port ventilation system kept heads cool by drawing in air at the forehead, across the top and exiting out the back. The forehead vents could be closed if the air was too cold. A chin bar vent allows extra airflow to a wearer’s mouth, but that was too cold for winter use. We closed it off with a piece of tape.

A common complaint was that the helmet’s chin bar and visor were too long. The long chin bar allowed extra room for the breath deflector, but it often bumped into a sled’s handlebars when leaning into a corner. The long visor worked well to block the sun during late afternoon rides, but it often caught wind and pulled our heads back. Though, we were able to adjust it down so it caught less air, some wanted a greater adjustment range.

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A breath deflector that’s held in place with a hook-and-loop fastener is available as an accessory for $8.95.

We opted for the breath-box accessory, but preferred to wear a No-Fog mask or balaclava that provided more complete protection against debris and cold air. Z1R helmets are distributed by Parts Unlimited to many snowmobile dealers across the Snowbelt.

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