Battle-Scarred – The Icon Variant Battlescar Helmet

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The Triumph Tiger 800 XC’s front tire hits a ridge under the fine silt dust and washes out to the left. There is no warning, no chance to correct, only my plowing sideways off the bike towards a large rock and a gate post, while the Triumph flops to its side. The rear spoiler of the Icon Variant Battlescar Helmet connects with the rock, absorbing the impact and leaving the shell unscathed.

Chalk another point up for the Icon as I pop the lid off, there are some fresh scratches allowing the helmet to live up to its name. To my eye a bit of character wear adds legitimacy to the Battlescar’s look, not that it was shy about making a bad ass impression. I’ve had people track me down to ask about it.

Most recently, while consulting in Rhode Island, a fellow rider spotted me in the local grocery store. He later tracked my loaner bike to the office, it was not a subtly branded affair, and a couple days later came in to talk to “the guy with the badass helmet.” Before that it was a duo of costume designers for a Sci-Fi film shooting in Vancouver. So to say the Battlescar has a look is an understatement. As long as I keep it on and keep my mouth shut, I’m cooler by association.

The Battlescar has stepped up and saved my cranium an inappropriate number of times, and it’s suffered for it. There was a spill into disintegrated granite behind Mount Shasta, when on a series of whoops the KTM 990 Adventure R’s engine cut out sending me into the abrasive grit. Or, an ill-fated episode of attempted MX riding that ended with me on my back. It’s not that I crash a lot, it’s that our version of adventure riding often gets adventurous. Hot, sweaty and adventurous, which is where the Battlescar steps up again.

The Variant (as I’ve stated before) is well vented, breathes nicely and, most importantly when the sweat-stench grows to asphyxiating, the pads remove easily for washing. An act which is well overdue.

Sadly though, the Variant Battlescar is showing off the effects of “a season” being the first helmet I reach for and the last I put away. The velcro on the neck of my Alpinestars‘ Durban Jacket has chewed into the right chin-cheek pad. The snap that keeps the strap from flapping was ripped out in one spill or another and lost. The visor? A replacement wouldn’t go astray; disintegrated granite, sand and occasional marsh-i-ness has worn it. It may not sound it, but by the standards of the past 40,000 kilometers on and off-road the Icon Variant Battlescar Helmet has held up amazingly well.

Maybe then, I can find a replacement visor and some fresh pads. There’s life in the Battlescar yet, but what’s this? Flipping through the Icon catalogue there’s something new, the Variant Carbon Cyclic Helmet. At 1650 grams it’s lighter by around 150 than the regular Variant, and the materials stiffer and better able to withstand an impact, or as I’ve come to view them, “occupational hazards”. Perhaps then, the Battlescar has just become a winter helmet, but the Cyclic white… Man, that would look good in snow.

Variant Carbon Cyclic Helmet

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