Snowmobile product testing Fly Racing's Platinum Renaissance helmet

I was on the receiving end of many compliments while wearing my Fly Racing Platinum Renaissance helmet ($259.95) last winter. “Sweet helmet!” “Nice lid.” “How can I get one?” people said when they grabbed the visor and jostled my head to look at all of the intricate details of the paint scheme. I felt like a bobblehead doll, but I understand everyone’s excitement because this helmet is cool.

Not only did the orange helmet look great and make my head easy to see through snowdust, it was comfortable, too. The cheek pads extended toward my chin to provide a secure, comfortable fit without giving a claustrophobic feeling like other helmets I’ve worn.

One thing that wasn’t easy about this Fly Racing helmet was getting my noggin out of it because the strap and buckle wouldn’t loosen up. At least a half-dozen times I had to wait a few minutes in a warm building before I could loosen the strap. One might assume that the strap simply froze up, but I’d never been trapped in a helmet through almost 20 years riding snowmobiles until I wore this one. The Fly chin-strap is firm without much flexibility even at room temperature; softer material would prevent problems in cold weather.

I like the compact shape with a short chinbar and visor that cuts through the air with less lift and noise. There are a few small chips in the paint and spider cracks in the visor’s finish — probably sustained when I had a get-off last winter. I’m a clean freak, so I wash my helmet liner and cheek pads regularly.

Materials of these snap-in parts show no signs of wear and they’re easy to remove and reinstall. Venting is minimal with two intake vents above the brow and two exhaust ports in the rear. I blocked the chin vent with a few pieces of duct tape so my lips wouldn’t freeze.

With a Snell 2005 certification, a comfortable fit, quality materials and a cool design, this helmet is a great value. You can get a decent Snell-certified lid for $100 less, but it will probably weigh more and look like most of the helmets you see stacked up on the pool table at a trailside lunch stop.

I got the Platinum Renaissance helmet on the end of its three-year run, but for 2010 Fly Racing offers the F2 Carbon helmet as its replacement in six color and graphics options, including orange. Features are similar — and price is the same — but it has a carbon Kevlar shell with Snell 2010 certification and more vents. Fly Racing products are available through Western Power Sports dealers.

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