According to that interactive archive of what is, Wikipedia.com, “product differentiation” is a marketing term that refers to the “process of distinguishing the differences of a product or offering from others, to make it more attractive to a particular target market.” In this case, the product is a motorcycle helmet, and the target market is you and me.
Scorpion is an up-and-comer, selling helmets to the two-wheeled crowd for the first time in 2004. It aims to sell high-quality helmets at value prices. The Scorpion EXO-1000 motorcycle helmet is the top rung of the Scorpion ladder. Its Snell/DOT-certified shell is constructed of fiberglass and Kevlar with an EPS-lined chinbar. The sleek, modern design was refined in a wind tunnel for less bobbleheadedness, and the rear spoiler is claimed to “reduce lift, create vacuum and maximize airflow” through the helmet.
The EXO-1000 has a go-fast look. Vents are located in the chinbar and forehead, and two more function like air scoops on each side of the top of the helmet. The vents are framed in plastic that looks like Euro-chic brushed aluminum. And the exhaust vents are teardrop-shaped with an engraved starburst design resembling a jet engine exhaust on afterburner (flames and contrails not included)
In terms of product differentiation marketing, there are no less than five registered trademarks on features of the EXO-1000 to separate it from the helmet herd:
1) The HelmetPump® is a little red ball tucked in behind the chinbar that you can squeeze to fill air bladders in the cheek pads to adjust the fit. Personally, I found no use for this gizmo as the helmet fit fine as is. The red ball is hidden behind a chinskirt that comes with this ominous warning: “Emergency Personnel! Deflate Cheekpads First! (Depress Air-release Valve Behind Chinskirt Here!)” The air-release valve is a small metal button next to the pump that lets the air out of the bladders. The bummer about the chinskirt is that it attaches to the underside of the helmet with snaps that always came undone when I put the helmet on. Always having to remember to re-snap the chinskirt so it wouldn’t flap in the breeze is annoying.
2) The SpeedView® is a fighter pilot-style retractable sun visor. This smoke-tinted internal eye shield can be flipped up or down with a small lever on the left side of the helmet, obviating the need for face shield changes. Cool. It doesn’t provide the full-coverage tinting of a dark shield (which you can always add), but can be flipped up quickly in tunnels, shady corners, “Mission Accomplished” photo ops, etc. I like to wear sunglasses when I ride, which the SpeedView also complements nicely.
The only problem I found with the sun visor is that it is attached rather loosely inside the helmet, so it tends to rattle when the faceshield is up at speed.
3) The SpeedShift® is a patent-pending, quick-change face shield system. Simply turn the knobs (with convenient ergonomic dimples for your finger and thumb) on either side of the helmet to release the shield. The replacement shield just snaps into place. No sweat, just (ahem) read the instructions first. There are small pegs on each side of the shield that must be aligned in grooves or else the shield won’t lock into place.
4) The EverClear® is (ironically enough since its namesake is a brand of grain alcohol) an optically correct face shield that is treated to resist fogging and is hardened to prevent scratching. Cue Johnny Nash’s 1972 hit, “I Can See Clearly Now….”
5) Last but not least are the KwikWick® breathable liner and cheek pads that wick away moisture. When your helmet starts to smell like a funky monkey, just remove and wash the liner and pads.
I put the Scorpion EXO-1000 helmet through its paces for several weeks, including a track day. The helmet did well. It wasn’t the lightest or most comfortable helmet I’ve worn, but I had no complaints. Its nifty features were easy to use, with the chinskirt being the only nuisance. Installing a bike-to-bike communicator was easy, especially with speaker pockets in each ear (the communicator speakers made the interior too tight, hurting my ears–which is no fault of the helmet). The EXO-1000 is only available at retail stores for about $319.95, in sizes XS-3XL and colors black, matte black, light silver and dark silver. Strong work, Scorpion.
For more information see your dealer or visit www.scorpionusa.com