MXA PRODUCT TEST: Fly Formula Helmet

January 1, 2009
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INSIDE THE FLY FORMULA HELMET

WHAT IS IT? A top-of-the-line motocross helmet from Fly Racing.


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WHAT’S IT COST? $439.95–(877) 359-2946 or www.flyracing.com.
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WHAT’S IT DO? New helmets enter the market in machine gun-like fashion. There is a new helmet introduced to the public every month. It started with the “Shoei clone” era more than a decade ago and has continued unabated ever since. Over time, the original Shoei clone marketeers got braver and drifted away from Xerox copies of the Shoei VFX. Once they stepped out of the shadow of Shoei with their own designs, the market exploded.

Fly Racing was never guilty of copying the Shoei VFX for two reasons: (1) Fly wasn’t a player in the helmet biz during the height of the clone wars, and (2) Fly’s designer Jerry Lathrop has too much pride to copy. Lathrop spent two years working on the aesthetics package of the new Fly Formula helmet. It not only boasts a number of features never before seen on a helmet, but it also breaks the $400 barrier (a first for Fly). Fly’s intentions are clear?the Formula is designed to attract the high-end attention of Shoei and Arai buyers.
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WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Fly Formula helmet.

ÿÿ (1) Fit. There are several key areas of a helmet that can create pressure points: the forehead, crown and neck. Overall, the Formula is very comfortable, but some MXA test riders felt a minor pressure point on their foreheads. As for sizing, the helmet is spot on. As a caveat, if you fall in between sizes, then we recommend that you order the next size down.

ÿÿ (2) Craftsmanship. The Formula uses titanium (a material borrowed from the Troy Lee Designs SE2), carbon fiber inlets (never before used on a helmet) and stainless steel hardware. The shell is comprised of a carbon fiber/Kevlar mix that has been water jet cut for greater accuracy. The micro fiber liner is made from Drylex. It is among the softest interiors that we have come across (a shot across the bow of the Good Ship Arai). Fly also focused on air flow, evidenced by their baronial carbon fiber intakes. The Formula has 13 separate air holes incorporated into the liner. All of these features make the Formula helmet as cool as a stiff autumn breeze.
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ÿÿ (3) Weight. As a rule a thumb, helmets that weigh at or under three pounds are considered light. The Fly Formula tips the scales at three pounds, three ounces. This is on the heavy side for a helmet with such a hefty price tag. Why isn’t it a three-pound helmet? We observed the same weight gain on the comparable Troy Lee SE2 helmet and feel that the titanium, stainless and carbon fiber pieces are responsible for the extra three ounces.

ÿÿ (4) Safety. Fly uses two different foam densities in the lining of their helmet. The crown features a soft density foam (similar to the Arai VX-Pro3), while the rest of the shell is surrounded by a more dense EPS foam. Both types of foam are thick and forgiving (a definite plus for reducing serious head injuries).

ÿÿ (5) Options. The Formula helmet comes in two designs and five color ways. It passes Snell 2005 and DOT safety standards and is available in sizes from extra-small to extra-extra-large. Fly offers different size cheek pads to customize the fit.
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ÿÿ (6) Place of manufacture. The Fly Formula helmet is made in China.ÿ

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have two quibbles: for the price we’d like it to be lighter, and some test riders complained about a pressure point on their foreheads.


Is the Formula worth the price? We think that the high-tech shell, dual-density foam, comfortable liner, up-to-date design and dedicated air flow more than justify the price. This is one of our favorite helmets.

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