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Tanker Clown
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you never heard of Kabuto before, don’t feel too underinformed. Previously, Kabuto was known as OGK. In other words, they’ve been around for a while.



OGK was formed as a company in 1948 in Osaka, Japan. They made initially made grips for bicycles and motorcycles. Known then as Osaka Grip Manufacturing.



In 1982, OGK began to manufacture motorcycle and bicycle helmets. In 2006, the company was renamed, OGK Kabuto.


The name Kabuto comes from the Japanese word for a specific type of armor helmet worn by the Samurai class. In old Japanese, Kabuto refers to exactly that helmet but over time it came to mean any combat helmet.



Anyway, I’ve seen Kabuto helmets on various web stores for a number of years now, but never really aspired to own one. I’d heard they were very light, which I’d also heard of the older OGKs. I’d tried an OGK and it just didn’t fit me well.



This past weekend, at Laguna Seca I was looking through some leathers in the Pilot sales tent when I happened to look over and see a helmet with the colors of the Italian flag on it.


It was perched on its box which had a sign taped to it that read “$100”


Now, I was not in need of a new lid, but at $100, I figured it was worth a look. I found it was my size so I asked to try it on. As I slid it down over my dome, I felt immediately comfortable. It is in fact, as light as I’d previously heard. Done deal. I bought it on the spot.



I wore it to the track on Sunday and it was extremely comfortable. It vents quite well at speeds above 30 MPH. Below that….well…..the shield needs to be cracked slightly open for there to be any airflow.



It did come with a pin lock shield and insert….it needs it. At a stop in cool, humid Monterey, my shield fogged almost immediately. As yet, I’ve still not installed the pin lock visor. (ordering a tinted shield first!)


Aerodynamically the helmet is quite good. At least the equal of my Scorpion helmets. Sound wise, it doesn’t seem any noisier but then, I barely cracked 55 mph on the way to the track. Anyway, here is stock image of it:



Developed in a wind tunnel, with lightweight composite construction, and designed for all day comfort, the Aeroblade III is loaded with features.

Sharing the same SAF quick-change shield from the FF-5V-with an included PINLOCK anti-fog lens insert-makes riding in any weather as close to fog-free as it gets.

When the temperature rises a COOLMAX interior and adjustable ventilation with side outlet trim will keep you cool and is easily removed for cleaning.

Patented Wake Stabilizer anti-buffeting technology allows high speed and long distance riding without the fatigue of fighting the wind.

Shell:

  • Advanced Composite Technology (A.C.T.) shell material is a combination of hyper glass fiber and high-strength organic fiber that provides a light weight shell with increased strength
  • Two (2) shell sizes
  • Dual density impact absorption liner
  • Wake Stabilizer (Patented) controls airflow around the helmet
These are on closeout at several sites I routinely visit for around $200. I've even seen one on Amazon for $59. So, if you're in the market for a new lid, and don't want to spend the money the other Japanese manufacturers command, the Kabuto is a mid tier helmet going for a low tier price. Can't really go wrong with that.........sean
 
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Tanker Clown
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8,633 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Follow Up

I've worn the Kabuto several times in the last couple weeks since returning from Monterey. Most recently, I wore it yesterday/last night as I knew we were going to be at the track for both bright sun lit conditions and dark, unlighted road riding home.

The previous impressions are mostly still valid, though after spending several hours with the Kabuto on my head, I now appreciate how light it is much more than before. The clear visor does sort of suck in the bright sun, and wearing sun glasses underneath does not work at all like I remember. Definitely need a tinted shield.

On that note, I've looked around on the web, and the only way to track one down, is to order it online from Japan. So far, I've not located anyone stateside who has a dark smoke visor/shield on hand. From Japan, you're looking at anywhere from $65 to over $100. Not cheap.

Aerodynamics are stellar. We rode in some rather windy areas on the way to Calistoga and while I could hear an intermittent whistle, the helmet was dead stable. I wear ear plugs but the perceived noise level was no greater than any other helmet I own. However, in town, at low speeds....anything under about 35 mph, the vents are all but useless. You have to open the face shield to get any air flow at all.

For comparison, it was only in the mid 90s yesterday and in town, I was miserable. Later, after the race, JRocket and I rode back down Silverado Trail enroute to the city of Napa. We encountered a bit of fog, which was a surprise, but the chill that came with it, that was a bigger surprise. We were decked out in mesh gear to deal with the heat of the day and it did get a bit chilly. The helmet though, comfort didn't seem to change much with the temps. It was nice and cozy inside with a few of the vents shut. In the lower humidity, it didn't even approach fogging on the internal surface of the visor.

My verdict is, it's a good helmet. Not great helmet, but a good one. At the current close out price point it is being offered (Aeroblade III) you can't go wrong.
Comfort: 7 out of 10
Aerodynamic stability: 10/10
Weight: 10/10
Fit and finish: 9/10
Availability of accessories: 3/10
Internal Airflow: 7/10
Shield clarity: 8/10
Field of vision: 7/10
Value for money: 10/10

I rated comfort and internal airflow due to how little air flows through at low speeds. With regard to fit and finish, that might be better rated if divided in two separate categories. Finish is first rate. Easily equal to any top of the line helmet.

By fit, I refer to the parts and pieces that bolt on or attach by other means rather than how it fits my dome. Mostly it feels of very high quality but there are a few doo dads that don't quite meet that standard. The breath guard and chin curtain for example don't really feel as well made as the rest of the helmet. I've had the breath guard nearly fall out just while carrying it.

All that makes me mark it down somewhat in relation to the rest of the helmet. If you are in the market for a new lid, and don't want the same old, same ol; check out a Kabuto. You won't be disappointed, not for a hundred bones or less..............sean
 
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Tanker Clown
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Long term follow up to the initial review:
I've been wearing this helmet off and on for around 3 years now. Most of the initial impressions still hold true as do the first round follow up impressions.

Where I've found this helmet to excel is in daily use. Some time back I started riding to work much more regularly than I've done in previous years. I miss riding the bicycle but due to the fires etc... the air quality has been quite poor. The less time I spend out in it, the better.

Anyway, I've been wearing the Kabuto on a daily basis as my more high end helmets take much more effort to pull on and take off. The Kabuto slips right on without any effort.

Also, of late the days have started to get shorter again and now it is still dark when I leave for work. This pretty much requires me to either wear my Bell helmet with it's photo chromic shield or swap shields on my other helmets.

My Bell is heavy. Far heavier than my other helmets, including my Kabuto. The Kabuto shield system though is by far the easiest and quickest to change. I take the tinted shield to work and swap it out before I leave for home.

It is super easy. Push in a button on the outside of the shield and pull up. That's it. It disengages in a split second. I just do one side at a time and have a shield swapped over in well under 10 seconds.

Install is just as easy. Push in the button, slide the shield down until you hear/feel it click and done. I wound up ordering a dark tinted shield from Kabuto Japan for $65 shipped to my door. Well worth it in the end.

It is a dark tint, no joke. That makes it completely unsuitable for riding at dusk or dawn. It is perfect for riding directly into the sun on the way to, or the way home from work. The dark tint makes riding on the super bright sunny days that are the norm during summer here. That said, see below.

There are still things I don't necessarily like, for example I still don't think it vents all that well. Almost non-existent at legal speeds. The saving grace I guess boils back down to the shield and its latching mechanism.

There is an over center type latch at the bottom of the shield where it meets the chin bar. This has to be pushed down with some force to make it latch. This is to seal it and keep it from popping open when you do a head check on the freeway or at high speed.

However, it also can be used to keep the bottom of the shield propped open slightly allowing additional air flow. This is perfect in hot weather and at road legal speeds. In fact, it will remain that way even at highway speeds until you decide to latch the shield.

All in all, I think I got one hell of a bargain buying it for such a low price and the Aeroblade III is still for sale on various internet sites for bargain prices. I think you get a lot of lid for your money on this one. I highly recommend one if you can find one.
 

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Tanker Clown
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Another follow up on this helmet. It's been my daily helmet now for about a year. Something I've not really done since the days when I only could afford a single helmet.

Everyday I'm seemingly more impressed with it too. As I wrote previously, the shield system is amazingly simple and easy to use. So easy I can actually swap shield without taking the helmet off. In less than 20 seconds even.

The ventilation system that I thought sucked before, I've found that it must have just been user error. The shield has a lock system similar to that found on an Arai.

Without using the lock, the visor has an unlimited range of minor openings. Even when dropped all the way, it remains open slightly to de-mist in the morning and provide some cooling air flow in the afternoon. Even when the heat has gotten up into the high 90s.

I only thought to write about it because this week I swapped out to my Scorpion EXO 2000R and found I actually preferred the Kabuto.

I've begun to see Kabuto helmets on racers now too. World SSP300 champ Adrian Huertas wears one. Hikari Okubo, Kaito Toba and Yari Montella riding in MotoGP support classes all wear one too. Not that it has much to do with my decision to buy the one I have....but it does reinforce the fact that it is a good quality helmet.
 

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Hope I'm not out of line barging in on your review, if so this can be deleted.

I've used a Kabuto Kamui helmet for several years. Bought it off Ebay for around $100, maybe less. It's pretty comfortable, has an internal sun visor, and the pinlock insert. Seems to be pretty good quality, have not noticed any deterioration. Riding with it is comfortable and it's quieter than my old Shoei.

My only gripe is that it while it's not stifling, it doesn't have a functioning high air flow option - there are vents but I can't really tell any difference with the vents open or closed. But that's really only a 2nd order concern, as the airflow really isn't too bad "as is".
 

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Tanker Clown
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No worries. I’m not sure which one the Kamui is. Been looking at the newest one…can’t remember the name right now. Uses the same shield as the Aeroblade though the helmet is more race oriented.

It’s double and then some what I have into the Aeroblade though.
 
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