I’ve owned AFX FX39 DS Series 2 (that’s a mouthful!) since the start of the year and it’s high time I did a review on it. My review will cover both the medium and large sizes.
For those who don’t know much about AFX, they are a smaller helmet company based in California, USA and London, Canada. From what I can see, they only sell in Europe, the USA and Canada ATM. They specialise in producing affordable helmets that aren’t crap, sounds good to me!
I’ve used the helmet previously on my KLR650 and now my KLX250S. My typical riding involves riding approximately an hour of road to get to off road sections. Alright enough waffling, let’s see if the helmet is a buy, wait for a sale or don’t bother.
Features and Price
The FX39 DS is a dual sport/adventure helmet. It has all the bells and whistle too, especially for its price of $129 USD. What you are getting is basically a cross between a motocross and street helmet. The helmet is made of composite poly-alloy, has a three position face shield (open, half open, shut), an adjustable visor and removable cheek pads and lining. The helmet has four adjustable vents, 3 on the top and one on the chin. They have two settings, open or shut.
The large helmet comes in at 1.59kg’s, neither heavy nor light. AFX do two shell sizes for the FX39 (more on that later) and you can mix and match cheek pads and liners to try and get the right fit. AFX say there is room for speakers, but I wear ear buds so I never tested it. I will say that taking the liner out of the large you should be able to, the medium I struggle to see any space for them.
The helmet is ECE and Dot approved. My medium helmet (Jan 2020 build date) has a seat belt style clip where my large (mid 2017 build date) has a d-ring system.
As I mentioned earlier, the price is $129 USD. I got mine for a bit cheaper, $125 with taxes from memory. I have seen them for as low as $95 online, so keep your eye out if you want a bargain. The FX39’s competition is the Sedici Viaggio Adventure, GMAX GM11D, Fly Dirt Trekker and O’Neal Sierra. I’ve tried out the Fly and O’Neal helmets and found them to be much cheaper feeling, I haven’t had a chance to try out the others.
Fit and Comfort
I’ll start by explaining why I have a have a medium and a large. I initially ordered the medium (57-58cm) through my local shop based off the AFX sizing chart. I tried the helmet on it seemed a bit tight, but not too bad. I took it on a ride and immediately found out it wasn’t working out, duh! The thing is, on the shell of the helmet has sharp edges that was rubbing my ears so much it actually cut my ears! I rung the shop and went to see if I could return the helmet for a large however no luck. I sent an email to AFX about my problem and they sent me a large helmet free of charge. Now that’s some great customer service!
When I got the large, I tried it on and bingo, a little big but MUCH better. If you usually wear a medium helmet, I highly recommend trying it on before buying. AFX assured me they have never heard of this happening before, but just double check it. If you get one online, see if they have a free return policy just in case.
The large helmet is the big shell size. It has tons of padding on both the cheeks and the lining. It is a comfortable helmet. The cushion material is nice and soft and I like the way it feels. Interestingly, the material on the medium and large are slightly different in both texture and colour. I’m not sure if this is because of the slightly newer helmet or just the differences between medium and large helmets.
The fit is neutral and I think it’s a very nice fitting helmet for the price. The large could be more ‘snug’, but it looks like I’m at the maximum thickness in padding so it’ll have to do. Perhaps AFX need to look into doing three shell sizes (one for the small helmets, one for medium/large, another for the boof heads) as the jump up from medium to large is significant. But hey, I don’t make helmets and I know they need to keep costs down.
The face shield works well and I’m pleased to say they there is no distortion when wearing sunglasses. I do wish it had a couple more positions, but you can’t have it all for 120 bucks.
Another thing with the shield is, when it’s open it sits just in my eye line. This is annoying as when I’m riding off road, I stand on the pegs a lot and try and look ahead. When I’m off road I nearly always have the shield open and the tip of the shield obscures a little bit of the vision for me. Your mileage may vary here.
The only issue I really have comfort wise and its minor, is the padding on the undersize of the helmet is quite coarse and scratches your face when you are taking the helmet on and off. It isn’t bad, but worth mentioning.
Noise wise, for the style of helmet and price its average. I mean, this is practically a motocross helmet with a visor. I find a fair bit of wind gets in through the chin area. This isn’t great in cold conditions as even with the visor down, the wind makes my eyes water and my face freezes! In slower riding the open style is a blessing.
The vents do a reasonable job however they are quite small and can be hard to find at times with gloves.
Overall, the large size FX39 is a comfortable helmet.
Build Quality & Looks
This is an area where I’ve been impressed. This doesn’t feel like a cheap helmet at all. It feels solid and certainly isn’t flimsy. Everything is put together nicely and I feel like the helmet will last a long time.
The only area I can see where they have skimped is on the adjustable wind vents. They just feel, well cheap and plasticky. They do work fine but are small and hard to find when riding.
Another annoying thing is the rubber, removable nose guard. AFX have really taken the removable part to heart as it constantly comes loose. I find on a ride or when I’m taking the helmet on or off I have to regularly shove it back into place.
Look wise, I dig the orange and black colour scheme, especially the matte finish. I thought it would be a pain to clean, but it’s actually been easy as.
Buy, Wait for a Sale or Don’t Bother?
Overall 0I think the large AFX FX39 DS is a definite buy. At $129 it’s well-priced. Hell, I’ve seen it for $95 and at that price it’s a steal. The medium helmet did not fit me at all, it was that bit too small. What does worry me though is the sharp edge on the shell, so I HIGHLY recommend you try that one on before buying (as you should for all helmets). The large FX39, while a bit big (it makes me look a bit like a bobble head), it’s a good helmet. The build quality is way better than I expected and I like the features.