Airoh Helmets Aviator 2.1

Vital Rating:
Light Weight Performance
Vital Review

It’s hard to believe or even imagine now, but there was a time when racers wore open faced helmets…as in their mouths were completely exposed to the elements. Then people figured out that getting teeth knocked out every time they rode kind of took some of the fun out the whole experience. So, then someone came up with facemasks…a novel solution to tooth smashing, but it wasn’t exactly doing much for smashed jaw prevention.

Finally the full-face motocross helmet came into being, and until some genius invents invisible and breathable EPS foam and carbon fiber, we probably won’t be seeing a full-head helmet anytime soon. Until then, we are left with a continuously refined concept on which every helmet company has their own take. One of the more unique takes available today is the Airoh Aviator 2.1.

For anyone outside of the United States or for those who follow the FIM World Motocross GPs, Airoh helmets should be familiar; a good portion of the MXGP field sport Airoh lids, including current champs Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings. Up until the last couple of months, the only people wearing the Italian helmets in the United States were Marvin Musquin and the Rockstar Energy Racing team. Now LeoVince is handling U.S. distribution for Airoh helmets, so the presence of these unique lids will no longer be an anomaly in the States.


The first thing that stands out with the Aviator 2.1 is the weight, or lack thereof. To confirm my surprise, I threw the Airoh onto a scale and the large size model clocked in at 2lbs. 14oz. To date, it is the only helmet I have ever worn that weighs less than 3lbs.

Aside from the weight and standard accouterments (removable/washable liner, plastic visor screws, front and rear ventilation) the Aviator 2.1 has some uncommon features as well such as top ventilation ports and multiple included bolt-on accessories.

The Aviator 2.1 comes with a 2mm hex wrench attached to a lanyard, a GoPro mount molded specifically to the Airoh's contours, and a visor extender and vent covers for muddy conditions.

The most intriguing and common sense accessory is a clear bolt-on visor extension that follows the same molding queues as the visor itself. No need to go with the ancient-yet-for-some-reason-still-practiced technique of duct taping a goggle lens to the front of your visor for a mud race. Just screw on the visor attachment and you’re ready to attack the elements. There are also two mud covers for the top vents to help keep water and dirt out.

What I was most interested in testing out with the Avitator 2.1, aside from just experiencing wearing such a light-weight helmet, was the ventilation. Along with the unique top ventilation, the Airoh has multiple intake and exhaust ports including some molded into the eye port gasket.

When wearing the Aviator 2.1, the first aspect that I noticed was with the sizing of the eye port itself. While most goggles work with the helmet, I did have a tougher time getting outrigger-style frames to fit properly. The additional problem caused by an excessively snug fitting goggle is reduced ventilation, which can make the helmet itself feel like it does not flow air very well. However, the reality is that the eye port is a little on the small side and, in my experience, is better suited for traditional non-outrigger goggles.

Away from using the proper eyewear, how does the Aviator perform on the track?

Obviously, being the lightest helmet I have ever used doesn’t hurt, and every ounce counts when it’s on top of your head. Think of the number of times per lap that you experience a heavy impact. Every ounce of weight a helmet has is directly transferred to the user’s head and neck. Over the course of a 30-minute moto, those impacts and weight can really add up. The less weight a rider has to deal with, the less fatigue they will endure during a moto. The weight is a minor difference at first, but if you ride with a different helmet, and then throw the Aviator 2.1 back on, you can definitely tell the difference.

I should also note, that the Airoh fits true to size. Ninety-nine percent of the helmets I use are larges, and the large Aviator 2.1 fit perfectly with a nice contoured feel…no hot spots of any kind. Also, even with my big schnoz, the nosepiece still felt like it was the proper distance from my face. Of course everyone’s head is different.


When it comes to ventilation, as you may have gathered, the Airoh has more vents than just about any other lid I have come across. Do all of those holes work? Yes…kind of. The helmet flows air quite well, just not as well as I thought considering the number of channels, ports, and openings. If you have read any of my previous reviews, then you’re aware that I sweat quite a bit…probably a bit more than the average bear, and I would honestly still expect my head to be sweaty after a 10-minute moto even if the helmet were made of dry-ice.

Nevertheless, my perspiration was still managed well with the Airoh during longer motos, just not exceedingly so. This could also partially be an illusion caused by the moisture wicking fabric used in the liner. Like some modern polyester fitness gear, you do not necessarily perspire less than with cotton, but the sweat is carried away from your skin, allowing it to cool, and therefore cool you down. Unfortunately, the “cooling” effect can add up to a bit of a clammy feeling. Eh, it’s a small price to pay for functional sweat management.


There are currently two major schools of thought when it comes to helmet shell design. One follows the belief that minimal angles and extrusions mean improved safety as there are fewer chances for any part of a helmet to snag on the ground or elsewhere during an impact. The other school does not necessarily ignore this mantra, but leans more to the understanding that there an infinite number of ways someone can crash, and in Airoh’s case, design anything with an angle to be flexible and with the ability to breakaway. The Aviator 2.1’s visor is far more malleable than most, and the plastic visor screws will shear in an impact.

The other major angle on the shell is on the back of the helmet at the bottom. As many other helmets have done, this has been incorporated to create a better interface with a neck brace, both during regular riding and in the event of a crash. On the crashing end, the cheek pads also have a quick removal system for EMTs for easier helmet removal.

Overall, I am impressed with the Airoh Aviator 2.1. The build is definitely high-end Italian quality, with a number of accessories I have never seen included helmet before. While I was a little disappointed with the breathability, the helmet still vents above average…I had just expected more considering all of the ventilation ports. Minimal weight and a good fit are pluses for me. The extreme angles are aesthetically pleasing, but I do believe fewer angles help increase safety, even if only a marginal amount. The Airoh is also one of the more expensive brain buckets on the market.

If you’re looking for a solid helmet option with some street cred (well, more like European cobblestone alley cred), the Airoh Aviator 2.1 might be worth a try.

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-Bayo Olukotun


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