Out of the box and ‘shining like a new dime’, the weight and finish of the Raptor gave a pleasing ‘quality feel’ to this feature rich flip-front helmet. In bright white with grey and silver air vents to the chin, cheeks and top and with neat exhaust vents at the rear, the external appearance was one of a well finished product in a mildly Darth Vader style.
The visor is double-glazed, promising reduced misting on cold morning starts or wet days. MT don’t use the pinlock system, but rather their own insert which seals round the outer edge and doesn’t impede on vision. The visor itself opens on a staged ratchet system and whilst riding would generally remain up until excessive forward speed or gusty wind forced it closed. Without any apparent access to tensioning screws I wondered if the hinge would wear loose letting the visor flop closed, but so far so good.
The flip-front assembly has a solid feel to it, unlatching easily to cool hot heads in traffic, closing is effortless, securing with a satisfying clunk. The release button on the chin – unlatched with positive downward pressure, pivoted the chin piece and visor in a smooth upward action, without noticeably changing the helmet’s balance. Open or closed the helmet balance remained the same, confirming the literature’s “Centralised Weight Distribution” claim. Moving off in traffic the front could be worn open until exiting the ’30 signs’, any faster and the airflow noticeably started dragging the helmet.
On the left side there’s an angled slider – with a raised knobbly grip, to lower and raise an inner sun visor. The slider had a positive feel to it lowering and raising the tinted visor in a single smooth action, and on bumpy roads it didn’t start to fall. Before getting this Raptor I always wore dark glasses in either open or full-facers, but glasses of any kind and helmets can be tricky and this combo was no exception. The fit of the MT is so snug, even the thin rubber ear pieces of my Police shades gradually brought on a pain of Chinese Water Torture-like proportions. Taking the glasses off, the pain quickly dissolved. The solution, remove glasses and use the inner sun visor, took a little getting used to after all these years, but I’m comfortable with it now, though with the clear visor up and the sun visor down, the wind flow is disturbed enough to make my eyes water.
The chin strap fits well over the tough nylon ratcheted tongue, mating with a firmly sprung latch mechanism with its ‘easy grab’ red nylon release strap. OK so the loose end on the right side was a little long and initially tapped annoyingly on the side of the lid, but rolled up and secured with a Post Office rubber band, the end tucked neatly into the strap enclosure. ‘Topping the bill’ on the chin strap, faux velvet strap covers – with small Velcro tabs, ensure a very comfortable chin strap experience.
Inside the helmet the lining is a moulded velvet material concealing a ribbed expanded-polystyrene impact liner. A slotted design in the faux velvet ensured sufficient ventilation and rarely did I get very sweaty even on bright sunny days. The under-chin padding sealed the gap enclosing the whole face without any noticeable draughts. Around the base of the helmet a soft perforated leatherette material gives a nice finish to the underside.
I ride wearing soft rubber ear plugs but even without them and at speed, the wind noise wasn’t offensive. There were no noticeable whistles or whines and the visibility out of the visor sides was clear and largely undistorted, nor was vision impaired for the over shoulder life-saver glance.
Most of my riding is done in the Indian sub-continent, but just over 3,000kms on an Aprilia Pegaso in the UK this summer, delivered a range of weather conditions from chilly through hot sunshine to heavy rain. At no time did I feel visibility was compromised, and repeated left glove windscreen swipes didn’t damage the visor surface at all.
On several different helmets I’ve used Interphone and Scala intercom systems and I wonder if the Raptor is so close fitting that the ear-pieces would fit. There isn’t really enough room inside to accommodate even a slim ear piece, if this is an important consideration you might want to reconsider.
All in all it’s hard to fault the Raptor and at 1.7kgs it’s a middle weight helmet with attitude. What do I like best about it? It’s comfortable on long rides, provides several levels of ventilation, the sun visor makes up for a tight fit for the sunglasses-wearer, it looks cool and in white adds that all important visibility factor.
For me the flip-front is perfect for traveling as I can easily ask directions of strangers and don’t have to remove it for a quick fuel refill. The MT Raptor is heavier than a top quality helmet from Shoei for example and the fit may not suit everyone’s head, but for only £119 it’s worth trying if you are in the market.
Available in White, Silver, Black and Matt Black