Scorpion ADF 9000 helmet review

Truth be told, even though we sell a lot of helmets here at Motolegends, we don’t offer a huge variety of models; and indeed we don’t even stock many brands. For us, Shoei and Arai stand head and shoulders above every other helmet when it comes both to protection and quality of construction. If we felt we could get away with it, these are the only two brands we would sell, but not everybody’s head will fit into a Shoei or an Arai. And not everybody is in a position to afford one. Which is why we also offer a couple of styles from Schuberth, and a couple from Shark.

For us, one of the main criteria has always been that we should be able to tailor the fit of a helmet. That’s why people come to Motolegends from all over the country. They want their helmet to be custom fitted, and so that has nearly always been a mandatory on any helmet we take on. The problem is that, the brands we have mentioned aside, there aren’t many helmet manufacturers that offer this facility.Shoei motorcycle helmet internal pads and linings

For some time the importer has been trying to impress upon us the quality of the Scorpion product. For us, however, the inability to change the internals was always a bit of a stumbling block. But we have decided to take on their latest adventure helmet for two reasons. First, it is one of the few proper, adventure helmets that comes with a drop-down, sun visor. But secondly because we couldn’t really find a valid reason to dismiss Scorpion’s Airfit system that allows the rider to alter the volume of the cheekpads.

So, for our first foray into the world of Scorpion helmets, let us tell you what we think of the new ADF 9000.The ADF 9000 in detail

The ADF 9000 has a composite shell. As with all brands, Scorpion has given their particular shell construction a fancy acronym-derived name, but basically composite means a combination of carbon and other organic fibres. As far as we’re concerned, this is the shell construction you would expect on any high-end helmet. (Carbon helmets, btw, are not better; they are just lighter and noisier)! The ADF 9000 weighs about 1600 grams; and that’s more or less what you would expect. Obviously, the helmet meets the latest ECE 22-06 safety standard.

Impressively, given its price point, the helmet comes in three shell sizes across its six labelled sizes. Now both Schuberth and Shark helmets only come in two shell sizes; and that is less than ideal. Even with differently sized eps liners, the received wisdom is that you need at least three shell sizes to get a proper, snug fit across all sizes.Scorpion ADF9000 no peak

The ADF 9000 is one of those helmets that can supposedly be worn in a number of configurations. With or without a peak. With or without the visor. And potentially, in the latter case, with goggles. The problem, we have often found, is that off-road goggles will not fit into the visor aperture of such helmets. But that’s not an issue here; the very largest Klim goggles are easily accommodated. And what makes all these configuration changes so easy is that no tools are required. The main visor just pulls out. Whilst the peak can easily be unscrewed by hand. The helmet comes supplied with a larger MaxVision Pinlock 120. Another indicator that Scorpion wants to be taken seriously.Scorpion ADF9000 with goggles

Now one of the reasons we were initially drawn to the ADF 9000 was that it comes equipped with a drop-down, sun visor. Some of the more established helmet manufacturers have been slow to recognise the importance of this on an adventure helmet. Obviously Arai will never fit a sun visor because, well, they are Arai. But even Shoei has allowed design dogma to rule its thinking. In their world, a helmet with a peak is for riding off road, and therefore a drop-down, sun visor is not appropriate. But in a world dominated by adventure bikes, riders want a helmet that will work as well in the Mojave desert as on the M25. The fact, of course, is that 95% of adventure bikes never actually stray from metalled surfaces, and if this is where you do most of your riding a sun visor can come in mighty handy. The drop-down, sun visor on the ADF 9000, it has to be admitted, is a pretty clunky affair; employing a system that is a million miles from the beautiful, infinitely adjustable detente mechanism to be found on a Shark helmet; but it still works, of course, albeit in a slightly binary fashion.

Because of its off-road pretensions, the helmet has a larger than normal outer visor. Of course, it needs this to accomodate large, off-road goggles, but the by-product is a pretty decent field of view. Interestingly, the helmet comes with a second, tinted visor in the box. It’s a nice touch.Scorpion ADF9000 tinted visor

Scorpion ADF9000 运动相机下巴板

These days, a lot of people are concerned about noise. Well, the ADF 9000 will be better than many helmets, but if you really wanted to cut out noise, you’d go for a flip-lid. Or even a sports-touring, full-face. And that’s partly because the extended chin of an adventure helmet is always going to allow more air to come into the helmet. It’s about horses for courses. If you want all the features of this particular helmet, and at this kind of price, you may have to be prepared to make sacrifices. And quiet may be one of those sacrifices. Earplugs, of course, would always help.

In terms of comms., the helmet has deep recesses for speakers, which is good. As a company, we tend to prefer Sena because nearly all the major helmet brands work with them. But we actually rate Interphone’s Sena-powered UCOM units over Sena’s own because they’re so much more compact. So, in truth, that’s .Scorpion-ADF9000-UCOM

Which brings us to fit, comfort and so on. We think the internal fit is still quite oval; more like a Shoei than a Shark, but it will only be after we have fitted the ADF 9000 to a few customers that we will be able to reach a more definitive conclusion in this regard. The interior padding is very comfortable, yet still feels substantial and reassuring in the way that the paddding in, say the Krios Pro, does not. The linings are perforated for breathability. There’s a plushness to the feel, but we are still not in Shoei territory here.Scorpion-ADF9000-airfit-button

The Scorpion’s USP in this arena, however, is the Airfit system. There’s a red pump button inside the chin, just below the vent slider. Press this repeatedly, and air will be pumped into the cheekpads to tighten the fit. When we first saw this demonstrated some years ago, it felt a bit like cheating to us. We weren’t convinced. Yet looking at it now with fresh eyes it seems to work pretty well. And in most cases, we feel, the system will help us achieve the ‘chipmunk cheek’ effect that we seek. To release air from the cheekpads there’s a small plunger that you press. Interestingly, there’s a split in the chin curtain that allows you to reach the pump and release valve. What the Airlift system doesn’t allow for is reducing the thickness of the cheekpads for those who are fuller in the face. Still, nothing is perfect!In conclusion

We are helmet snobs.

We simply don’t like, and don’t trust, cheap helmets. Some people suggest that all helmets protect the same because they all have to meet the same minimum standard. But that’s like saying all bikes can be judged alike because they all pass the same MOT! Clearly not all helmets are the same; and some are much more protective, and much better quality, than others.

We tend to have greater faith in those brands that supply helmets to Moto GP riders, because those helmets have to meet the even higher FIM standard. We have, in the past, worked with lots of other helmet brands, and there are quite a few we have dropped for reasons of both quality and fit. We take helmets seriously. And we don’t take on new brands lightly. We have been talking to the Scorpion importer about their helmets for three or four years. And so we have taken on this one model as a bit of an experiment. If it works, we may take on others.

The ADF 9000 seems to tick all the important boxes. Let us be clear, a Scorpion is not an Arai; nor is it a Shoei, but we think it’s a good helmet. And a very good one for the money. We are hopeful that the Airfit system will allow us to achieve the snug fit we always look for.

But what the ADF 9000 offers that the premium, adventure helmet makers do not, is a drop-down, sun visor; and, as most road riders would acknowledge, once you’ve ridden with a drop-down, sun visor, you won’t want to ride without one.

Finally, price. The helmets start at £300, and go up to £330. And for that you get a lot of bells and whistles. If you can’t justify an Arai Tour-X or a Shoei Hornet, then the Scorpion may be worth a look.


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