I am a snowmobiler, and I’m proud of it!”
That’s what the graphics on the 509 Evolution helmet seem to scream every time I pull this lid over my receding hairline.
The graphic on the helmet features eight different action scenes of sleds jumping, carving, climbing and soaring through the air. Let’s face it, most other MX-style helmets that snowmobilers wear are designed and styled to appeal to dirt bikers, and maybe — just maybe — the manufacturer will work in a few additional colors to appeal to snowmobilers. Not the 509 Evolution. Its graphics are aimed at us, and that made it a popular conversation topic with fellow riders all winter long.
Graphics aside, the Evolution is a rather ordinary helmet. It’s a decent-fitting, affordable lid with good venting for the snowmobiler who prefers this setup over an easier-to-fog traditional full-face design or a heavier and more cumbersome modular.
Built with a polycarbonate shell that allows it to meet DOT standards, the Evolution is moderately stiff, with a fair amount of flex when squeezed between the hands. The five intake ports (a huge one in the front center, two others in the side of the chin and one above each eye) and five exhaust ports (a big split port on top of the helmet, two in the center of the back and two more at the base in the back) move a lot of air. That makes this a good helmet for the snowmobiler who works up a sweaty head while riding, and maybe not such a great choice for more passive riders or those with a cranium less accepting of cool air.
That said, the Evolution features a built-in wind guard made of flexible rubber on top of the chin bar, plus an easy-to-install insert covers the front three vents and the rider’s nose to protect the rider’s face from direct blasts of cold air.
The size XL I wore weighed in at 3 pounds, 6 ounces on our postal scale, far more than the expensive carbon fiber helmets Snow Goer has tested but mid-pack with more traditional and affordable MX helmets. The inner lining is soft and smooth, meaning the helmet slides on easily over a head sock. The liner and cheek pads are easy to remove for a spin in the wash machine. The helmet is fastened on the head by a standard ‘D’ loop system, which is attached to long leads.
At $179, the Evolution is expensive for its style and weight. There are two things I’d like to see changed. First, the visor can only be utilized in the most far-forward/lowest position because the top plastic screw that is supposed to hold it in place will only tighten in that one spot. Also, the helmet’s finish is subpar. Upon close inspection, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the big, obvious ridge showing where the graphic was applied and then clear-coated over. It seemed more attention to detail would have resulted in a better-looking product.
Ultimately, it was the coolness of the snowmobiling graphic that made me most happy with the helmet — I even found myself wearing it in the summer aboard other powersports products just so I could have the “I’m a snowmobiler and proud” appeal. When paired with mirrored and polarized 509 Aviator goggles (pictured), it formed a tight, fogless, good-looking and problem-free setup for the majority of my daylight riding last winter. It’s available in sizes XS to XXL, and in five different color combinations, most accentuating black and white, but some working in pink to appeal to the ladies, or tough guys.