GMax GM54S Helmet
If you take of all this into account, plus considering a price tag significantly under $200, The GMax GM54S is a great modular helmet, featuring some of the toys found on the more expensive models, good build quality and appealing design.
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GMax claims to be the fastest growing line of helmets in North America. It’s a brand that has popped up recently and while they don’t yet have the same reputation as a Shoei or Arai they are certainly doing the right things in my book. You tend to find a whole bunch of cool features in their helmets that typically come only at 3x the price with the bigger manufacturers. Anyhow, I’ve owned the well respected GM54S modular helmet for some time now and I thought I’d share my review.
It’s been a long time since the only thing a helmet had to do is offer a shield for your head during the ride, or protection in case of an accident. Hopefully, you would never have the misfortune of testing that one out first-hand. Nowadays, though, with the market being flooded by a multitude of different helmet brands, creating a stiffer competition, the manufacturers are racing to offer potential buyers more bang for their buck. The money-to-value ratio is only one aspect of it. No less important is also what I like to call the “iPod/iPhone” effect.
Let me elaborate… When the aforementioned products appeared, they offered pretty much the same features as their competitors, but what they had is the edge when it came to promoting their products. They featured a revolutionary, sleek design while being extremely user-friendly, and despite specifications that were slightly above-average at best, they sold and still sell like hotcakes.
Now, you might ask, what does all this iTalk have to do with motorcycle helmets? Well, we, the customers have become so lazy and spoiled that we literally have to be told that something is good, usually by having it wrapped up in a nice red bow, or otherwise we might not notice it. Effective marketing is everything these days.
Despite all this rambling I’ve just presented, there are still a few hidden gems to be found here and there, especially when it comes to motorcycle helmets. One of them is the GMax GM54S modular helmet. For those of you who are looking to upgrade from an open-face helmet, there has been a flood of moderately priced modular helmets which offer some of the toys and features found on the more expensive full-face helmets.
Full-face helmets are great, but if you’re using your bike, or a scooter, like I do, for driving around the town at short distances, they might present too much of hassle to take on and off every 20 minutes or so. On the other hand, open-face helmets are small, practical, cheaper, but they don’t offer much in terms of protection. That’s where GMax GM54S helmet comes in, bridging the gap between the two.
Features a Plenty:
The GMax GM54S features an retractable chinbar and face-shield, which are tremendously convenient as you don’t have to take off your helmet in order to have a drink or communicate with others, and the protection level is much higher that that of a full face helmet. When I first got it, I was surprised by the size and the sturdiness of the thing, as other modular helmets I’ve come across have been a bit on the flimsy side. While the GM54S is far from bulletproof, its build quality does impress on the first glance.
The comfort of the padding is great – GMax didn’t stiff the riders there as many other manufacturers do. There is also some space over the ears if you want to put in speakers, and the entire interior is covered with DuPont “Coolmax” lining, designed to keep moisture and sweat away from the skin, allowing them to evaporate more quickly. Which bring us to the next checkbox. Ventilation.
The GMax GM54S features 5 ventilation openings at the front of the helmet and four at the back, all of them adjustable. While the air vents on some models in the same price range are there as mere decoration, here they offer a substantial circulation of air when you open all of them. What might come as a slight inconvenience is that there are so many of them, you might accidentally open some of them while putting on the helmet, which would cause the helmet to whistle at high speeds.
Speaking of noise, GM54S offers great noise reduction, which is surprising if you look at the helmet’s exterior. The chinbar and face-shield form a nice seal, so you’re covered there, too. The only exception is the whistling I mentioned, but you can simply stop and close the air vent, so I don’t really see it as downside.
Innovation and Quality:
One unique attractive feature on this helmet, besides the finish (I’m a sucker for matte black), is the presence of LED bar on the back of the helmet, which greatly improves the visibility of the rider. The feature can be further upgraded by ordering a wireless brake light kit, which connects the light with your bike’s braking system. I really do like this LED lighting system and assure you it’s not a gimmeck. The G-Max also installed an internal sun visor in the GM54S, which fits over the face nicely, taking advantage of the ample space inside the helmet, and its tint is a tad on the dark side so wearing sun glasses at the same time is out of the question. The face-shield itself offers a good angle of visibility.
One thing I ought to point out as noted by a couple of readers is that the plastic slide button which activates the sun shield prone to breaking if you’re not careful. I’m hoping GMax considers replacing with something less fragile. That said, overall I still think the many pros outweigh this issue.
If you take of all this into account, plus considering a price tag significantly under $200, The GMax GM54S is a great modular helmet, featuring some of the toys found on the more expensive models, good build quality and appealing design. I like that GMax has included just enough features to be useful without sacrificing the overall quality of the shell construction which is of course what we ultimately care about. This is pretty much as good as it gets at this price point as far as this rider is concerned.