Is the sequel to Ruroc’s popular Atlas helmet better than the original?
The Atlas 2.0 is the latest motorcycle helmet from Ruroc, one of the top helmet companies from the United Kingdom. They sent me a pre-launch sample of the Atlas 2.0 motorcycle helmet to test out before it becomes officially available on the market today, February 27th.
I’ve had the helmet for about a month now, and made a simple agreement with Ruroc: They would send me a free helmet to test out, and in exchange I would keep give them a fair, no non-sense, unbiased review of their product, and keep it all a secret until the new helmet launches publicly.
In this Ruroc Atlas 2.0 review I’ll be taking a look at the Ruroc Atlas 2.0, giving you some background on Ruroc as a brand, sharing some features that are new to the Atlas 2.0, and letting you know my thoughts on the Atlas 2.0 and whether or not it’s better than the original.
Who am I?
Anyone can tell you that they like or hate a helmet, so what makes me any different? Well, for a number of years, I made a living selling helmets. I worked at a dealership in Toronto, Canada, called Studio Cycle Group. I’ve sold everything from $49 half helmets to $1,149 Arai race helmets, sometimes to the same people.
For the last ten years I’ve been preaching the need for motorcyclists to go with fiberglass helmets over polycarbonate ones, ECE certification over DOT certification, and the importance of things like the right fit and shape, light weight, ventilation, and even color.
I’ve been sharing tips, info, reviews and how-tos with the motorcycle world for over ten years on YouMotorcycle.com, and now on my YouTube channel (check that out if you’re into that sort of thing), but while I was working at a dealerships, helmets were my happy place.
Who is Ruroc?
So now that it’s clear helmets are kind of my thing, who’s Ruroc? Well, sometimes if you want to appreciate what’s next in a space, you need to understand what’s already happened.
Years ago, over the UK, Ruroc was getting busy making changes that would revolutionize winter sports helmets. They created the first winter sports helmets that came fully integrated with both goggles and masks. Their products were designed to permanently remove fog in extreme climates, while at the same protecting your head and face.
Ruroc would eventually expand into the motorcycle world, and I, a motorcyclist who hates winter sports, can appreciate the importance of a company that understands safety, ventilation and vision.
Today Ruroc stands out by combining their expertise with sharp looks. Ruroc is one of those brands that pushes limits where aesthetics are concerned. Their designs are aggressive, non-traditional, and anything but boring. It’s one of the reasons why they have over a million fans on Facebook and hundreds of thousands more on Instagram. Looks are subjective, but these guys seem to have found their market.
Ruroc’s Atlas 2.0 is the company’s reply to all of the feedback from the original
Let’s be really clear on something: the original Ruroc Atlas wasn’t a bad motorcycle helmet. It had attention to details that matter to motorcyclists and it showed the company understands our needs, but it wasn’t perfect either.
Remember in my intro when I said that for a decade I’ve preached the need for fiberglass helmet shells over the polycarbonate shells you find in cheap motorcycle helmets? Ruroc took it one step further with the original Atlas motorcycle helmet and used T300 carbon fiber. That’s aerospace grade stuff.
They packed 6 vents in and 6 vents out, which matches or beats my personal Arai helmet that cost twice as much, made some sweet visors for it, and then packed some extra goodies in there like making it Bluetooth-ready and a quick-connect chin-strap you can put on in seconds even with motorcycle gloves on.
The thing is, there were some complaints about the helmet. Some people said that the visor would come up while riding. Others complain of wind noise.
Now, I promised to keep this fair and no non-sense, so full disclosure: I haven’t tested out the original Atlas helmet myself. But from everything I’ve read up about them, the original Atlas proved that Ruroc wasn’t just a winter sports helmet company that also makes motorcycle helmets. Ruroc used the Atlas to demonstrate that they were going to take the time to learn to do something right.
The only question is… How good is the new one?
Ruroc Atlas 2.0 Review
This review will cover the following:
- DOT Certification
- Other cool features
- Things I like
- Things I don’t like
My point of reference/benchmark for this review will be other helmets in the $350-$750 range including the ICON Airframe Pro and the Arai Profile.
Here’s a crash-course (no pun intended) on motorcycle helmet safety standards:
DOT Certification: This is a US-based government standard used in other countries like Canada. In order to reach this standard, a helmet must offer a certain amount of protection from impact (how the impact force is absorbed), resistance to penetration, how effective the retention system is, as well as visibility.
The Ruroc Atlas 2.0 is DOT certified, but the standard is actually quite low. For example, the DOT standard for visibility is a 105-degree field of vision, whereas most people actually have a 120-degree field of vision. Technically, a helmet can cut off your peripheral vision and still be DOT compliant. To make it worse, manufacturers have to self-assess their products. That’s why every anonymous factory in China will claim their helmet is DOT-compliant, when it’s really no safer than a bucket you can buy at Home Depot.
ECE Certification: ECE 22.05 is a European standard for helmets that’s much more protective of motorcyclists than it’s American counterpart. For example, while the DOT allows 400 G of peak acceleration energy to smack your head through your helmet, a helmet must only let 275 G through the same test in order to reach ECE certification.
The Ruroc Atlas 2.0 is ECE 22.05 certified, and that’s a great thing for motorcyclists and something that we should expect from this price point. The ECE standards are not only greater than DOT standards, but they also test things that the DOT does not, like chin strap slippage, strap material abrasion resistance and failure load under tension, and durability of quick-release systems like the ones Ruroc uses.
SNELL Certification: SNELL is an even more exigent standard from of the US, however, Ruroc has not had their helmet tested to this certification as of publishing.
Conclusion: The Ruroc Atlas 2.0’s DOT certification means you can wear it anywhere in North America, but more importantly, the Atlas 2.0’s ECE certification means you can wear it confidently anywhere in North America or Europe.
All of that safety is useless if you buy a motorcycle that doesn’t fit your head properly. Fit and sizing are not only critical to helmet safety, they’re important for your overall enjoyment of a helmet too.
Shape: Ruroc’s helmets are made to fit intermediate oval headshapes. Typically Caucasians tend to have an intermediate oval headshape, whereas Asians tend to have a rounder headshape. If your head is noticeable longer than it is wide, the Ruroc Atlas 2.0 is right for you.
Fit: The downside to not being able to buy a helmet you can physically try on, is making sure you get the exact fit that you need. To get around this, Ruroc has a size scale, so you can measure around your around, and the site will let you know what size to buy.
But what happens if the helmet arrives and the cheeks pads are too thick, or too thin, or something else is just a little bit off? That was a concern, as other brands sell cheek pads separately, so if you have fat cheeks you can just buy thinner cheek pads and not have to go up a full size which would make the helmet loose. So I asked a Ruroc rep who said: “If customers are having problems with cheek pads or anything interior wise we tend to just send out the different size of what they want completely free of charge.”
Conclusion: Buying a motorcycle helmet is very personal, all of our heads are shaped and sized differently, but Ruroc does a good job of making the process easier. With every other helmet manufacturer out there, you’ll have to pay $50 or even $75 for differently sized interior padding. The fact Ruroc will send them to you for free shows a serious commitment to customer care.
There are a number of factors that speak to a motorcycle helmet’s level of quality. Let’s see how the Ruroc Atlas 2.0 does.
Construction: Like the original Atlas, the Ruroc Atlas 2.0 is made from an aircraft-grade carbon shell. That adds to Ruroc’s manufacturing cost but it also makes helmet stronger and more protective while at the same time making it weigh less. I was very happy with the helmet rigidity and it’s light weight.
Ventilation: The Atlas 2.0 has as many pairs of vents as Tom Brady has SuperBowl wins. That’s six vents in, and six vents out. Unlike Arai, Ruroc does this without having any vents on the visors themselves. As far as numbers, ICON’s Airframe Pro Carbon has nine intakes and five exhausts, but at six a piece, the Ruroc Atlas 2.0 is pretty fantastic in it’s own rights and will keep you cool on hot days.
Noise: Having a half dozen vents should make for a bit more noise, but Ruroc off-sets this by using foam dampeners around your ears to quiet the noise which reduces rider fatigue. At the time of writing, we’ve been hit a few weeks of back to back snowfalls, so I haven’t been able to test for noise on any highway rides, and when I have gone out, I’ve been so bundled in scarves and warm gear that I can’t give wind noise a fair testing right now.
Weight: Ruroc scores a big win in the weight category. My size Large was advertised as 1.450 kg or 3.2lbs and a scale test proved that to be 100% accurate. This makes the helmet as light as ICON’s AirFrame Pro Carbon, and half a pound lighter than the non-carbon version of that helmet. Not bad!
Finish: There’s no wiggle, creaks, or rough edges to this helmet. Everything is built solidly and well-finished. From the inside out, the stitching, pads, chin guard, strap, all show a high level of attention to detail.
Conclusion: Quality is premium consistent.
Ruroc is known for pushing the limits in the style department.
Designs: At this time, it seems Ruroc will be launching the Atlas 2.0 with 14 different designs. There’s a lot of variety to them, from the reflective Mercury (my favorite), to traditional looks like the Velos, and wild ones like the Toxin. Ruroc hit the nail on the head where looks are concerned, offering something for everyone.
Visors: Ruroc’s visors are pretty spectacular. They come in a half dozen colors and the new visors now use pinlocks to keep the visors locked down while you ride. They also offer anti-fogging coating to help keep visibility clear. If fog is a big concern, check out my article on everything you need to know about helmet fog.
Conclusion: Ruroc lives up to their reputation of making helmets that look cool.
Other cool features
Ruroc’s Atlas 2.0 also comes with a couple extra features we don’t typically see in other helmets that are worth mentioning.
Magnetic chin strap: Admittedly, this took a while to get used to, but it’s a little like push-button start, once you have it, you’ll never want to go back to the old way of doing things.
Emergency release straps: The helmet also features emergency release pads which release the cheek pads from the helmets, and help emergency medical responders get your helmet off you if there is risk of a head, neck, or spine injury.
Bluetooth ready: The helmet is plug and play ready to synch up with Ruroc’s Atlas Shockwave Audio System for handling music streaming and phone calls with no need to attach extra stuff to the outside of your helmet.
Now that I’ve had a chance to spend some time on the road with the Ruroc, as well as an hour sitting at my desk writing this review wearing the helmet, here are some final thoughts on the Atlas 2.0:
Things I liked:
First, Ruroc proved that they weren’t just a winter sports helmet company that got into motorcycle helmets, and now they’ve doubled down on that. These guys seem committed to listening to what riders have to say and have built a new helmet that’s even better than the first.
They’ve found a way to leverage modern aesthetic and market demand, and create some wild and out there graphics, while at the same time offering some solid and traditional designs for anyone who only wants to look a little different. The graphics look good without plastering the logo all over the helmet like a certain other manufacturer likes to do.
The ECE certification and the number of vents make me feel confident and excited to hit the road wearing this helmet in the spring time.
Things I disliked:
Ruroc doesn’t really say much about where the helmet was made. You won’t find it on the helmet, on the box, or in the manual that it comes with, but according to this article on their website, the main protective components (the helmet shells and EPS liners) are made in Italy, while the graphics, painting, and final assembly is done in China.
A matte black helmet is always going to get fingerprint marks and smudges on it, and this helmet is no different.
Not being able to try-before-you-buy is always going to make things a little more difficult for a motorcycle helmet manufacturer that’s going direct to consumer, but Ruroc seems to understand that and be willing to go a step further to help their customers, so maybe it’s not all bad.
Conclusions: If you’re looking at the Ruroc catalogue and there’s a certain style that gets you excited, I wouldn’t steer you away from this helmet. The Atlas 2.0 seems to have started on a solid platform, and then made improvements from there. It shows that Ruroc is committed to producing quality motorcycle helmets.
Some have called Ruroc’s original Atlas “a little Instagramy” but this new 2.0 shows that the company is serious about making a premium lightweight motorcycle helmet, with all the bells and whistles. I just wish the spring would hurry so I could take some extended rides with it.