LEATT 8.5 & 9.5 Moto Helmet Kit REVIEW
Reviewed by Sourpatch & Drew Rohde
Photos by Sourpatch
Leatt’s 8.5 and 9.5 Moto Helmet Kits are the brand’s new premium helmet offerings. When it comes to dirt biking, there is no piece of gear more important than a proper-fitting and safe helmet. We do not think we are alone when we admit that picking a helmet is an equal focus on budget, style and safety, and year after year brands keep pushing the limits and making cooler dirt bike helmets with more safety tech and features. Leatt checks off every box when it comes to the products they offer, from helmets and more. We were lucky enough to receive both of Leatt’s 9.5 and 8.5 helmet kits for this review, so let us see how they stack up.
The major difference between Leatt’s 8.5 and 9.5 helmets lies in the helmet shell material, goggle pairing, weight, and naturally, price. The 8.5 helmet has a composite shell and comes with color matched Velocity 5.5 goggles. Meanwhile the 9.5 helmet has a carbon matrix shell and comes with Velocity 6.5 Iriz African Tiger goggles. Unlike the 9.5 Moto Helmet, that only comes in Black/Raw Carbon, the 8.5 Moto Helmet is available in four color configurations. The large 8.5 Moto Helmet kit weighs in at 1,375 grams and retails for $449.95, while the medium 9.5 Moto Helmet Kit tips the scales at 1,312 grams with a price tag of $549.95. Now let us take a look at the similarities.
Both the 8.5 and 9.5 Moto Helmets are DOT certified and hold the new 2021 ECE 22.06 certificate. Included in all Leatt’s helmet offerings is their 360-degree Turbine Technology. Leatt’s Turbine Technology is meant to reduce peak brain acceleration in a crash by up to 30-percent. This brain injury reduction technology also reduces up to 40% of peak brain rotational acceleration. In addition to the 360-degree Turbine Technology, Leatt uses a four-density impact foam for further impact force reduction. If you do end up taking a heavy digger, Leatt has equipped both helmets with Emergency Removal cheek pads, allowing the helmet to be removed without causing further injury. Leatt uses a fixed breakaway visor on the 8.5 and 9.5 helmets, the idea behind the breakaway visor is that in the event of a slide, the visor will snap off rather than drag on the ground, potentially snagging something and risking further injury.
Protection is obviously the name of the game, but no one is going to wear a helmet if it is not comfortable and Leatt did a stellar job in that department. The 8.5 and 9.5 Moto Helmets use a Pro-Fit modulating liner, which conforms to the shape of the wearer’s head and provides ample comfort. Combined with the beanie-like fit of the liner, Leatt used soft-to-the-touch X-Static Inner liner and pads to give an interior that is near perfection. Leatt designed their moto helmets with large ventilation channels to provide plenty of airflow at any speed to keep your head cool.
In addition to the helmets coming with their own goggles in the kit, Leatt also includes a clip-on visor extension for those days you find yourself in the mud, or if you are like us, and spend your evenings chasing the sun. Leatt also includes a very nicely padded helmet bag that also has a built-in goggle pocket. A definite bonus and nice compliment to your purchase.
When Drew and I cracked open our respective helmet boxes, we were floored with just how good the new 8.5 and 9.5 helmets looked. The red 8.5 is an absolute attention grabber and amplifies the sleek lines Leatt designed into the helmet while the drippy black on carbon 9.5 does a poor job at attempting to fly under the radar…and that is not a bad thing. The helmets feel as good as they look, we could not believe just how soft and comfortable the pads are and given how thick the pads are, they provide a secure fit. Meanwhile the Pro-Fit liner provides a snug fit around our skulls, preventing the helmet from any unwanted movement.
We have been riding in the 8.5 and 9.5 helmets for a couple months now and they still look as good as they did when we first pulled them out of the box. The temps surrounding most of our rides have been in the 30’s to high 60’s, we cannot complain of being too warm or too cool when on the move, meaning the helmets provide on equal balance of ventilation and warmth. However, once the warmer temps start to arrive and we notice that not to be the case, we will be sure to update this review with our findings as summer is just upon us.
In the kits, Leatt includes a set of their 5.5 goggles with the 8.5 helmet and a set of Velocity 6.5 goggles in the 9.5 helmet. Obviously, these goggles fit well in the eye port of the helmets. However, getting them in requires some finesse compared to some other helmets out there. Due to the short chinbar of Leatt’s helmets, the goggles need to be tipped in with the nose down and nose guards will have to be removed from most goggles if you’re running a size Small or Medium helmet. A nose guard probably is not needed on the goggles due to how close the nose piece is, but we still like having the sun protection. Speaking of sun protection, the short visor is something worth discussing. For enduro/trail or outdoor applications, we believe the visor is just too short. Sunset trail rides prove to be blinding, even with the little visor extender and since the visor is not adjustable, we’re stuck riding slower or getting a sore neck from tilting our heads down enough to get some protection.
That brings us to our last topic, the overall size and weight of the helmets. Drew and I both wear size medium helmets, the over shell size is quite large, one of the downsides of all the added safety features in helmets today. We cannot really knock them on shell size though, as they are on par with most of the competition. At 1,375 grams for the large 8.5 and 1,312 grams for the medium 9.5, they are light but still 262+ grams heavier than the medium Kali Shiva 2.0. We are almost certain they could shed some weight if the helmets were ECE-Certified only and ditched the outdated DOT requirements, but that’s an entirely different debate.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Leatt’s 8.5 and 9.5 Moto Helmet Kits have almost everything going for them. They are extremely comfortable, come outfitted with Leatt’s 360 Turbine technology to mitigate rotational forces and in our opinion, are some of the best-looking helmets on the market today. The value is equally impressive, with the helmet kits you get the crash hat, a set of matching Velocity 5.5 (8.5 Kit) or 6.5 (9.5 Kit) goggles and an impressively nice helmet bag all for $449.95 (8.5) or $549.95 (9.5). There are only two issues we have, however. The helmets have a short, fixed visor, which makes early morning or late afternoon rides an issue. Similarly, the short chinbar, like that of the recently reviewed 3.5 helmet, may make fitting goggles tough on some faces. We would recommend going into your local Leatt dealer and trying a helmet on before buying.
$449.95 – 8.5 Moto Helmet Kit
$549.95 – 9.5 Moto Helmet Kit
1,375 grams – 8.5 Moto Helmet
1,312 grams – 9.5 Moto Helmet
Protection / Safety Features
On-Head Fit and Feel
Looks / Finish
Some may not like the Short Chinbar
Short, fixed visor
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