Get Down With Our Top 2 Value Helmets
The Scorpion EXO-R410 versus the HJC CL-17
Who earns the top spot as our favorite value-priced helmet?
We incessantly plug these two helmets because we can’t decide which is better! So we’re going to explore the similarities and differences between the two now so you can decide for yourself. If you own one of these helmets, let other shoppers know what you think in the comments section below!
The EXO-R410 and CL-17 Toe-To-Toe
BOTH the R410 and the CL-17 have a Snell safety rating.
A Snell certification indicates the helmet has voluntarily submitted to and passed a rigorous set of safety tests conducted by the independent and non-profit safety testing body the Snell Memorial Foundation. In contrast, a DOT rating is a minimum safety rating and is required for all helmets considered legal in the United States.
BOTH the R410 and the CL-17 are under $200.
BOTH the R410 and the CL-17 have polycarbonate shells.
Polycarbonate is a kind of thermoplastic and is commonly used in the construction of helmet shells. You will notice a considerable price difference between helmets made with a polycarbonate shell and those made with a composite, or fiber-reinforced, shell. Depending on the manufacturer’s unique process and recipe, composite shells may offer considerable advantages over polycarbonate shells, such as lighter weight, greater strength, and more efficient impact dispersal. But today, technological advancements have allowed polycarbonate shells to be made considerably stronger than they have been in the past, thus more able to ensure that the helmet’s impact-absorbing EPS liner does its job. As a result, we now see more lower-priced, Snell-rated polycarbonate helmets on the market.
Our two polycarbonate helmets:
CL-17 size medium: 3 pounds, 10 ounces
EXO-R410 size medium: 3 pounds, 6 ounces
(Compare these weights with the Snell-certified, composite Shoei RF-1200, which weighs in at 3 pounds, 6 ounces in size medium.)
BOTH the R410 and the CL-17 have very simple shield-change systems which allow for quick, on-the-go shield swaps. Numerous tinted and mirrored shields are available and sold separately for each helmet.
Now For the Good Stuff
The EXO-R410 shield has an anti-fog coating that prevents fog buildup. The CL-17 comes stock with a Pinlock shield and no anti-fog coating.
Anti-fog coatings like the one on the R410 can breakdown over time. You can extend the coating’s life by making sure you never use any chemical cleaning product on your shield- just wipe it clean with water and a soft cloth. The CL-17 comes equipped with a Pinlock shield, which is part of the highly effective and simple Pinlock Fog-Prevention System (click here to learn more about Pinlock). The only problem? In order to make it work you have to purchase the thin Pinlock insert separately. This will cost you about $25.
From the outside, the R410 and CL-17 look like they have similar venting systems: each has two adjustable top intake vents and two exhausts at the rear; an adjustable chin vent and two associated exhaust vents on the sides. The CL-17 also has the additional forehead vent. But even apart from this extra feature on the CL-17, it turns out that these two helmets flow air very differently.
Rewind: Airflow 101
Not all helmet ventilation is created equal. Direct airflow vents and what many refer to as ‘venturi’ airflow vents are distinctively different and can be used alone or in combination to keep your head cool. The main top vents on many helmets are angled channels cut through the helmet’s shell and EPS liner to provide a direct path for air to flow into the helmet. Alternatively, venturi-type airflow is indirect and induced when fast-moving air is forced through an enclosed space, like an intake vent, creating a vacuum effect in its wake.
So Who Does It Best?
The CL-17 does indeed have an adjustable vent on the forehead, which the R410 does not. Many riders really enjoy this feature, as it flows plenty of fresh air onto a serious hot spot. The CL-17 has six direct air vents: two controlled by the adjustable forehead vent, two on the temples, and two exhaust vents in the back. Pretty straightforward, right? Now, let’s compare this system to the R410’s. If you remove the internal liner in the R410, you’ll see ten holes cut into the crown section of the EPS liner, compared to the six holes of the CL-17. But only four of them, the front two intake vents and the back two exhaust vents, are direct airflow vents. The other six do not go all the way through the EPS and the shell, but instead provide a shallow channel for hot air to be carried away from your head. Cool air enters the helmet, flows onto your head and through the air channel, and pulls hot air away from your head through the six venturi holes. The hot air is then forced out through the exhaust vents.
So where does that leave us? Well, helmet manufacturers have a compelling reason to limit the number of direct vent holes in the forehead and front portions of their helmets because they can weaken the EPS and shell in these critical areas. But direct vent holes provide abundant, flowing air, and riders love that. At the end of the day, both helmets have passed Snell strength and impact tests and meet a very high standard, and both have effective, albeit very different, ventilation systems. And that very unsatisfactory conclusion leads us right into our next point:
Shape: fit is the #1 reason to choose one helmet over the other.
We hope you had fun reading all about the differences between the EXO-R410 and CL-17. And now that you’re prepped to impress your Road Rider helmet associate with your astounding knowledge, let’s talk about the most vital part of the story. These two Snell-certified helmets fit differently, so all you have to do is pick the one that feels great. The safest helmet for the job is always the one that fits you the best and feels comfortable.
Most Scorpion helmets tend to be on the narrower end of the spectrum while HJC helmets tend to be more rounded. Visit Road Rider and try on the CL-17 and R410 back-to-back to feel which shape is up to the task of protecting your dome. HJC also makes a CL-17 Plus which is available in sizes 3XL-5XL and is thrilling news for jumbo craniums.
*The helmet weights listed on roadridermca.com are a result of our own in-store weighing using the same scale each time.