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armore2WHAT IS IT? It is quickly becoming de rigueur for riders to wrap their helmets with graphics kits rather than shell out hundreds of dollars for a custom paint job. Armored Graphix, located just beyond the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina, offers semi-custom helmet graphics kits for Shoei, Bell and 6D helmets.

WHAT’S IT COST? $99.95 (semi-custom); $180.00 (full custom).

CONTACT? or (704) 221-7723.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with Armored Graphix semi-custom helmet graphics.

(1) Customization. Armored Graphix has over a dozen different graphic styles to choose from, ranging from mild to wild, including a throwback to Damon Bradshaw’s Beast From the East color scheme from the mid-1990s. The beauty of the Armored helmet graphics kit is the customization options. There are hundreds of different color combinations, and Armored allows you to add your name, race number and sponsorship logos. Once you’ve made your selections, the crew at Armored will e-mail back a design proof. You can make two proof revisions for free (additional revisions are $20 each).

(2) Installation. The big challenge with helmet graphics kits is the installation process. It takes patience to properly install the decals. If your hands shake like you’re on the witness stand, might we suggest sending your lid to Armored Graphix and having them install the kit For a nominal fee of $25, you’ll be guaranteed a quality installation job. That’s exactly what we did. As a result, there weren’t any bubbles, and the graphics lined up perfectly. If you’re confident in your application skills, a helmet-wrap install should take around 45 minutes.

(3) Results. Keep in mind that a helmet graphics kit doesn’t have the same continuity as a painted design. That’s because there are slight gaps between some panels and material overlap on others. Our 6D Armored kit had eight different panels, and the biggest gap in our test helmet was a few millimeters. Overlapping material was carefully cut with a razor blade. No big deal. The gaps weren’t noticeable from a few feet away. If you’re buying a new helmet and intend to get it wrapped, don’t spend money on an exotic helmet with graphics under the clear coat. Flat black or white helmets work best. Otherwise, the base color might be visible through the Armored Graphix panels.

(4) Durability. Our vinyl material withstood roost damage and held up well. Furthermore, the vinyl didn’t lift or tear when we pressure-washed the helmet (by the way, we don’t recommend pressure-washing your helmet). We did notice that bright colors in the graphics tended to fade slightly after our helmet sat in the sun for prolonged periods. You shouldn’t have a problem getting many months of wear out of the semi-custom graphics kit, just as long as you properly install every panel. What’s especially great about a helmet wrap is that it can be removed without destroying the helmet’s base graphics.

(5) Options. At this time Armored Graphix is only making its semi-custom graphics kit for the Shoei VFX-W, Bell Moto 9, Bell Flex and 6D ATR-1. Expect more helmet options in the future. Given the graphic material’s thickness, the kit is more conducive to a helmet shell with ridges than a cue-ball-shaped design (such as the Arai VX-4). The $99.95 price tag won’t break the bank, as it’s around 1/8th the cost of a custom-painted helmet. Armored also sells full-custom graphics kits that start at $180.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have two complaints: (1) There are slight gaps between the panels. (2) It takes patience and skill to install the graphics kit properly.

 RATING: With the Armored Graphix semi-custom
helmet graphics kit, it’s possible to give your lid a unique look.