I reviewed Arai’s Regent-X helmet last year. It is their entry-level helmet, yet it is still pretty expensive at $559.99 for solid colors. It is not in everyone’s budget to pay that much money for a helmet. For riding in the city and touring, the Scorpion EXO T520, which is priced at ~$199.95–$219.95, seems to be an excellent wallet-friendly option.
Scorpion EXO is one of the leading motorcycle helmet brands in the USA and is becoming popular in the European market. They currently have a visible presence in Moto GP with 2021 World Champion Fabio Quartararo wearing their helmet.
I rode with the T520 for about 1500 miles, mainly during my commute and some touring on weekends. The helmet is designed for EXO-COM BlueTooth® Communicator Kit, but I tested it without installing any comm system.
Scorpion EXO T520 Helmet Fit, Shape, & Weight
Head Shape and Sizing
T520 comes in three shell sizes and ranges from XS to 3XL. My head circumference is 55cm (21.65inches), and the Small size fits well. The shape is an intermediate Oval. However, my first impression of the helmet is that it is elongated, and there is a lot of space in front of my mouth. Nonetheless, It doesn’t bother me, and the fitment is good on my head. However, I wonder if that muzzle space is necessary.
The shell is polycarbonate and designed to be lightweight and strong. My size Small helmet weighs 1626g (3.93lbs) without a com system. Overall, the helmet feels well-balanced. I could wear it on a relatively long ride without feeling any tension on my neck.
Scorpion EXO T520 Interior
The interior is soft, and Scorpion EXO’s Kwikwick “C” liner material is very smooth on the skin. The material is supposed to be cool in summer and warm in cold weather. It is not as plush as the interior of Arai Regent-X, but it is very comfortable.
All liners are removable for cleaning, including both paddings for the chin straps. This is a big pro for riders like myself who ride in +100 F° weather.
3D contoured cheek pads have a large cutout area for ears, and the EPS (extruded polystyrene) liner has deep recesses for speakers. They do not push against my ears, and I like that my ears don’t get folded when donning the helmet.
Emergency Cheek Pad Release System
It is great to see emergency release systems in moderately priced helmets like T520. The red emergency pull tabs are on the bottom of the neck roll. Pulling those tubs will remove the cheek pad easily from the helmet in case of an emergency, making it easier for the EMT to help the injured rider.
Airfit Custom Adjustment System
There are air bladders underneath the cheek pads. These can be inflated by the red pump on a chin bar for a better fit. To release the air, press the small silver button next to the pump.
My T520 fits nicely on my head now, so I do not have to use this system yet. But in the future, when the interior padding loses its springiness, these may be helpful to retain the good fitment of the helmet.
Scorpion EXO T520 Chinstrap
The chin strap on this helmet has the usual double D rings and a plastic snap for fastening. The paddings are relatively plushy and covered with the same smooth material as the liners.
However, I found it odd that the strap on the right is very long. It measured 12.5 inches (32cm) from the inner wall of the helmet. It is a good 2 inches longer than the ones on my Arai helmet. It doesn’t flap around when riding, but I don’t think it is necessary either.
Scorpion EXO T520 Helmet Visors
The visor that came with the helmet has good optical clarity with no distortion. It is not Pinlock ready, but its Everclear No-Fog coating has worked well.
The surface also has an anti-scratch hard coating. I am not sure how long these coatings last, but so far, after three weeks of daily use, which equates to about 1500 miles, it doesn’t seem to be fading.
The visor has a lock on the center. Because I can easily open the visor with either hand, I prefer this placement over the latch on the left side of my Arai.
Riding in Rain
It doesn’t rain too often in San Diego—but luckily, I had a chance to ride with this helmet in the rain. I can attest that the seal around the eyeport is good. Scorpion’s Ellip-TEC II ratchet system “provides a tighter seal against the gasket” around the eyeport, and I did not detect any water leakage even during the relatively heavy rain. The inside of the shield stayed dry.
I noticed in the rain that the water on the surface of the face shield beaded off as if I had some water repellant. I don’t know if it is because of the anti-scratch surface coating, but while I was riding, most of the water could be moved off the face shield with a little flick of my face to the left or right.
I usually use carnauba wax (or other products like RainX) on the visor for rain, but it usually washes off and stops working after about 30–45 mins of riding in wet conditions. My commute is about an hour each way, so I really appreciated this effect.
Internal Sun Visor
The SpeedView Internal SunVisor is lowered or retracted with the lever on the left side of the helmet. The visor stays up as long as you use this lever to retract it. If you just push the inner visor up, it comes down when you nod.
The shade is slightly darker than Arai’s Pro Shade system, which I am used to using. I also like that there is no gap in coverage on the upper part of the face shield where the brow vents are. It is a helpful addition to my morning commute, on which I ride facing the sunrise.
The internal visor is also coated with Scorpion’s EverClear Anti-Fog on both sides, and I didn’t notice any fogging—even on a cold rainy day.
Visor Removal & Installation
Removing the visor was reasonably straightforward. You open the visor fully, then push up the Y-shaped ratchet, and the visor is off the locking mechanism. Installing the visor was as easy as positioning the axis and stopper and pushing them to snap back in the track.
On the other hand, I had difficulty removing the internal visor. It’s supposed to come off when you pull it off the helmet. But alas, it didn’t budge, and I couldn’t remove it.
Scorpion EXO T520 Helmet Ventilation
The air intakes are on the crown vents and chin vents. The sliders to open or close the vents are not smooth, and I find them difficult to operate with gloved hands. The airflow from the top vents is average. You can feel the cool air coming in, and my head doesn’t get too hot. However, I’ll have to update this after riding on some hotter summer days.
The chin vent has a two-position opening. When half-open, the air goes upwards to the face shield (working as a defroster). When it is fully open, air flows directly to your mouth and face. However, my visor has never fogged up so far, with anti-fog coating on the visor and the breath deflector included as a standard feature. So I didn’t have a chance to test this defrosting effect.
Riding with the Scorpion EXO T520 Helmet
The Scorpion EXO T520 is DOT and ECE certified. I didn’t get into any accidents while testing this helmet (thankfully), but I trust these safety standards.
I was very impressed with how aerodynamic this helmet is. At lower to mid-speed, I barely feel any air resistance… as long as my head is straight. If your head is turned slightly to the left or right, however, I feel a lot of drag—probably because of the helmet’s elongated shape.
The noise level of the helmet is only satisfactory. I tested the helmet with and without earplugs, and the noise level is tolerable, although this is a highly subjective matter. The removable chin curtain that comes with the helmet can reduce the noise. However, opening or closing the crown vents didn’t seem to affect the noise level at all.
The T-520 is available in three solid colors and three graphics. Two of the graphics are available in three colors each as well. I received a matte black helmet, and was satisfied with the quality of both the paint and the finish. It was a pretty minimalist aesthetic, so there’s not a lot for me to comment on here.
Scorpion EXO T-520: The Final Verdict
The Scorpion EXO T-520 is reasonably priced and comes with numerous desirable features, such as emergency cheekpad removal pull tubs and Airfit Custom Adjustment systems. It is well-balanced and comfortable to wear in the city or while touring.
The noise level is satisfactory, and ventilation is average. Its elongated shape also causes air drag when you turn your head to either side.
That being said, at this price point, EXO T-520 is a very good helmet that I would recommend for those who are seeking inexpensive options.
- Bang for your buck
- Removable liners
- Air bladders for a better fit
- Deep recesses for speaker systems
- Easy removal/installation of visor
- DOT/ECE Certified
- Emergency cheek pad removal tubs
- Elongated shape creates drag when not facing straight
- Noise level is only satisfactory
- Ventilation is just OK
- Manufacturer: Scorpion EXO
- Price when tested: USD$199.95 ~ 204.95 (Solid Colors) / $219.95 (Graphics)
- Made in: China
- Sizes: XS, SM, MD, LG, XL, 2XL, 3XL
- Colors: 3 Solid / 3 Graphics
- Safety Designations: DOT, ECE Certified
- Review Date: March 2022