Thursday, November 3, 2011

O'Neal's Element Fastrack Helmet Review

Earlier this year (2009), O'Neal presented its new Element Fastrack motorbike helmet and if the customer reviews are any indication, the market seems to have literally fallen in love with it. So just what is it about the Element Fastrack helmet that's got the market so excited?

First let's look at the basics of the Fastrack helmet. The Fastrack is a full face street bike helmet that comes in basic black (gloss and flat) as well as 3 selections of multicolored graphic. It has an adjustable full ventilation system for the top of your head so that cooler heads will prevail, and also on the chin bar to keep your breath from fogging up the picture. To keep the wind from coming up under your chin (especially on those cold days), there's a Velcro chin skirt.

The chin strap is a double D-ring type with a snap enclosure to keep the end of the strap from flopping around. The visor has a quick release system for easy use and the liners are fully removable and washable. And of course, the Fastrack helmet is DOT certified and exceeds DOT standards.

Up to now you're probably thinking that this sounds similar to a lot of different quality full face helmets; so what makes Fastrack so special? Well here it is. O'Neal teamed up with a company called Blinc, and the Element Fastrack helmet has a fully integrated Bluetooth system with Bluetooth 1.2 technology.

This means you can be listening to your satellite radio, mp3 player, or iPod, and with a touch of a button, pickup your incoming cell phone calls. You can also communicate helmet to helmet with your passenger or riding buddies. In other words, you can interact with just about anything that also has Bluetooth technology without having to deal with any after market add-ons.

The power supply is a lithium battery that is, of course, completely rechargeable. A battery charger is included with the helmet and when fully charged, the system has 100 hrs of standby time or 4 hrs of talk time. If your listening to your mp3 player, the time will be somewhere in between (I'm sure you figured that out yourself).

With the dual earpiece design, listening is no problem even at high-speed or if you have a noisy bike. The built in volume control knob and activation button where made large enough so that wearing gloves would not be a problem in making adjustments. O'Neal even had the controls placed on the left side of the helmet so you don't have to take your hand off the throttle to use them. To answer a call, just tap the activation button. However, if you like to keep both hands on the bar, this system also has a voice activation function.

OK, here's the clincher. There aren't many helmets available with fully integrated Bluetooth systems. Most all of them run between $400 and $550. O'Neal's Element Fastrack has an SRP of around $299.

Finally, you should know that some customers have said the Fastrack sizes run a bit small, while others say they're fine. Helmet sizes are not all equal from one manufacturer to another so definitely check out the sizing charts before purchasing.

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