MC Tested

A ver­sa­tile hel­met for com­mut­ing

Motorcyclist - - Contents - —Ju­lia La­palme

A mod­u­lar hel­met for our pho­tog­ra­pher, crash-tested gloves, and a high-tech HUD.

THE FIRST TIME I squeezed a mo­tor­cy­cle hel­met over my nog­gin I was sud­denly over­come by claus­tro­pho­bia. Cheek pads push­ing in tightly, chin guard only an inch from my mouth, the face shield down, nar­row­ing my view of the world. I wanted that thing off ASAP. So when it came time to buy a hel­met I went mod­u­lar, think­ing the flip-front would give me more room to breathe and the abil­ity to chat with fel­low rid­ers at stops. Fast-for­ward a dozen years and mod­u­lar hel­mets like the Klim TK1200 Karbon Mod­u­lar Hel­met are even more desirable.

As the res­i­dent pho­tog­ra­pher at Mo­tor­cy­clist, I’ve dis­cov­ered flip-face hel­mets are su­per handy for shoot­ing pho­tos from a bike, which is where the Klim has proven it­self es­pe­cially use­ful. Made of car­bon fiber, Klim also claims this hel­met is lighter than any other hel­met in the mod­u­lar cat­e­gory. At 3.26 pounds, the ver­sa­tile Karbon weighs up among full-face hel­mets, so even af­ter a lengthy free­way com­mute aboard a naked bike my neck doesn’t ache from fight­ing a heavy lid. Wind noise is rea­son­able, es­pe­cially for a mod­u­lar.

Klim claims an in­ter­me­di­ate oval fit, which suits my skull just fine without de­tectable hot spots or gaps in the pad­ding. Vis­i­bil­ity out the face shield scores well for pe­riph­eral vi­sion, but top-to-bot­tom vis­i­bil­ity could be bet­ter. Here it ap­pears Klim made an ap­pre­ci­ated com­pro­mise be­tween vis­i­bil­ity and chin pro­tec­tion.

Equipped with a quick-re­lease “mi­cro-met­ric” buckle, users set the length of the chin strap of the TK1200 and the buckle of­fers eight teeth to make mi­cro ad­just­ments from there. For bet­ter or worse, this means no D-rings to deal with. The sys­tem is con­ve­nient un­til you re­al­ize there’s noth­ing to hook on an un­der-seat hel­met lock.

At $600, the TK1200 Karbon is priced in line with the top of the mod­u­lar mar­ket, a price ap­pro­pri­ate for its high-qual­ity fit and fin­ish and con­ve­nience on and off the bike. I’ve long since over­come my hel­met claus­tro­pho­bia, but the TK1200 is so com­fort­able and ver­sa­tile that it has quickly be­come my go-to hel­met for every­day rid­ing.


A ver­sa­tile hel­met that’s light­weight, com­fort­able, and rel­a­tively quiet. A great buy if you have the cash.


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