Adventure riders have helmet choices that most other categories do not. We can choose to ride in either a visor-style helmet or a motocross helmet with goggles. I guess you could ride offroad in an open-face helmet, but it’s not the 1950s and you’d want to have a real taste for eating bugs.
I’m generally a visor guy, but I’m forever battling fogging in the cold and begging for ventilation when the heat is on (you have that song in your head now right?). And yes, I’m one of many who are shithouse at fitting Pinlocks and I also find they scratch with extended offroad riding easily.
Leatt sent through its gorgeous Moto 9.5 Carbon for me to try and the helmet immediately impressed on a couple of fronts. It’s certainly a striking-looking lid. There’s something about carbon that will never not be cool, while the graphics are understated but balanced offering more of a stylish design than a gender reveal party.
Impossible not to notice too is how light it is, weighing in at under 1.3 kilograms. A big chunk of the value there lies in avoiding fatigue by reducing the load on your neck over a long day or multiple days of riding.
The carbon matrix shell comes in three sizes to suit various melons, and the elasticized Pro Fit comfort liner helps to get that fit and feel just right.
And to further aid in comfort, there are more ventilation points on this helmet (18) than any other I’ve seen which will make it a go-to when the weather once again heats up. On the downside, the vents aren’t all closable so cold weather and rain have an entry point.
Leatt also includes a handy hydration channel on the right side to route a drinking tube through, firming it up even more as the go-to hot weather helmet.
STAY SAFE PEOPLE
But it’s the measures Leatt has taken to make the Moto 9.5 Carbon as safe as possible that really elevates this helmet.
It’s designed to meet the latest ECE 22.06 certification, which, among other things but perhaps most importantly, demands impact testing at different speeds and angles, whereas the previous standard did not.
The visor is designed to tear away in the event of a crash to reduce impact forces, which is something we’ve seen in high-end motocross helmets for a few years now. Leatt also provides a visor extension in the packaging, which I initially ignored but have since fitted.
I wasn’t sure its clip-on design would take winds at highway speeds but I can confirm it indeed sticks once it’s on and the extra length is needed for any meaningful blocking of the sun to take place.
The foam inner is constructed using four densities which helps with the helmet’s high comfort factor, allowing the more compliant density of foam to come into contact with you while the stiffer densities thereafter ensure structural integrity.
The cheek pads are removable in an emergency to aid in carefully taking off the helmet in a possible worst-case scenario.
Stepping it up another level, Leatt has integrated its 360° Turbine Technology which is easily identifiable as the multiple blue discs on the inside of the shell.
They look a bit odd but they’re there to do a job similar to MIPS, which is to reduce rotational forces on your brain in an impact. And Leatt claims the 360° Turbine Technology can do that but up to an astonishing 40%.
On top of that, the system is claimed to reduce peak brain acceleration at impact speeds by up to 30%.
The meagre weight is quite the revelation when you’ve been wearing a heavier, visor-style helmet for ages. The Arai XD-4 isn’t what I’d call a heavy helmet but switching from that to the Leatt it was striking to feel the decreased load on my neck.
The visor handles wind buffeting extremely well too, which is such an important factor and can be a make or break for me with a helmet. Neither front nor side on winds are a problem with the Leatt, even with the extension fitted.
The fit feels firm with a somewhat low check pad placement but a nice even touch across your forehead. There are no pressure points and I appreciate a chin bar that sits a little distance out.
It’s important to note that the quad-density foam (many helmets offer dual layers) does feel a bit stiff but softens pretty quickly with use.
It feels deep towards the top rear of the shell (this allows for fitment of a quick-release system) but there’s no unwanted movement and the venting makes itself immediately known with a constant fresh swirl of air throughout the Moto 9.5 Carbon.
The brow line vents also feed air back down towards your goggles to keep them free from fogging which is a nice touch.
Add to that, Leatt gifts a set of excellent Velocity goggles with the Moto 9.5 Carbon package. Double nice touch.
The visor can’t be adjusted which is a trade-off for the quick-release system and sits up quite high so it’s barely in your line of sight. I’d like to be able to drop it down a little, but here’s where the visor extender comes into play. It doesn’t offer you full coverage but fitting it does do a better job at sun-blocking.
GO LIGHT, GO LONG WITH LEATT
Mix physical exertion in with long days that get warm, then choosing the lightest helmet on my shelf and running with goggles is the best option.
Add to those the stellar safety aspects of the Leatt Moto 9.5 Carbon and it’s a no-brainer (pun intended).
I’ve worn the helmet in some weather extremes from biblical rain and wind to sweltering hot and it came through each time as a piece of kit I was glad I chose that day.
The Leatt Moto 9.5 Carbon isn’t a million miles away in feel from the excellent Alpinestars M10 which is also light and well ventilated. And while the A-Stars does offer speaker cut-outs which the Leatt sadly does not, the Moto 9.5 Carbon is in my opinion the more comfortable helmet thanks to its inner foam design.
A premium lid that’s designed to best protect your greatest asset and look amazing while doing it, the Leatt Moto 9.5 Carbon is a top-shelf choice for those looking to roll in goggles in 2024.