Joe Rocket has been known for offering high quality motorcycle gear at an affordable price for a while now. They’ve added a series of helmets to their lineup recently and today I’m going to give you a real world review of their Polar Night RKT-12.
The Polar Night RKT-12 is a stylish full-face helmet that’s geared toward the entry level market. It has an Advanced Thermo Poly Alloy shell that meets both DOT and ECE standards. It uses a traditional D-ring chin strap and boasts features like a quick change shield replacement system, removable chin curtain, washable liner, and removable breath guard.
Joe Rocket’s helmets are actually manufactured by HJC. This is a good thing because HJC’s helmets have been very popular in the exact market that Joe Rocket wanted to enter. If you’re familiar with both brands, you’ll notice some similarities right away.
The Polar Night is a fairly basic helmet. That’s exactly what I was looking for. At this price point, I don’t want a company to attempt to add a bunch of gizmos that are just going to break or never function properly. Joe Rocket’s helmet is very honest in that regard – we’ve got a safe, matte black full face with some vents, great padding, and a quality face shield. What you won’t see, are any provisions for communication devices, expensive materials, or a complicated ventilation system. And that’s perfectly fine by me.
Perhaps in an attempt to make this helmet seem more high end than it is, they’ve added fancy trademarked names to nearly every feature. Things that are normally pretty common among other helmets now have space age nicknames like the A.T.P.A™ shell, the Lightspeed™ shield replacement system, the Clear Cut™ shield, and the Cross Link™ ventilation system (I’m saying all of that in my best Doug Demuro impression). You’d think that by the sounds of it, Joe has built a Rocket to go to the moon. In actuality, we’re just talking about a sub-$200 helmet. It’s all just a little bit… silly.
The Polar Night feels like a high quality helmet when you pull it out of the box. It comes with a protective drawstring bag and an extra face shield. Everything feels tight and well made.
One of the first things I noticed was a fairly large blemish in the matte black paint. The surrounding area of one of the top vents has a spot that’s much more glossy. This is clearly a factory defect in the paint process.
I understand that “show quality” isn’t the goal of this helmet, but something like this probably shouldn’t have made it through quality control. Nevertheless, it’s going to get peppered with bugs and probably get dropped a few times (but hopefully not!) so it’s not that big of an issue.
Back to the positive side of things, the logo and safety ratings are painted on the Polar Night rather than just stickers. I really like that and in some jurisdictions, the Police do too.
Everything else quality wise on this helmet is as good or better than you’d expect at this price point.
Sizing is pretty accurate. My XL fits snug with nice thick padding. I’m sure it’ll loosen up a bit as I wear it but it’s already quite comfortable. I would assume the sizing of Joe Rocket’s helmets is similar to HJC because mine both feel the same. It’s always a good idea to try before you buy though.
This is one of the biggest selling points of the Polar Night helmet, and why I chose it over its competitors. Joe Rocket actually includes an extra tinted shield with the helmet which adds to its incredible value. Buying a tinted visor for any other helmet usually costs at least another $30 – add that to the Polar Night’s already low price and you have an unbeatable value.
The quick-change system allows you to swap between both visors easily without tools. I found that the first couple tries were more difficult, mainly because I was concerned with breaking the plastic. Once you get the feel for the releases, I think it’ll become much easier.
Both shields are anti scratch, anti fog, and UV resistant. They’re easy to open and close with gloves on and there’s 5 clicks for adjustment.
I chose to swap over to the tinted shield right off the bat since the majority of my riding is done in the daylight. I was surprised at how easy it is to see through. Although it appears to be deeply tinted from the outside, it barely looks darker from the inside. The sun is much easier on the eyes, but otherwise, you wouldn’t know you’re looking through such a dark shield.
The Polar Night RKT-12 has just enough vents to get the job done. Nothing extraordinary here though. The chin vent and two vents on the top snap open or closed and are easy enough to operate while riding. The truly warm weather hasn’t arrived yet here in Canada, so I can’t comment on how well these vents work in hot temps. Once I log some time during the summer months, I’ll add any updates that need to be mentioned here. For now, I don’t anticipate any issues with cooling.
I was quite impressed with the noise levels of this helmet. With the upper vents open and both the chin vent and face shield closed there was no wind noise at all. Zip. Zero. Nada. The face shield seals nice and tight. Once you open it, that changes – but that’s to be expected with any helmet.
Considering how closed off I felt from the outside world, I was surprised to hear that the helmet barely muted the noise of my exhaust at all (keep in mind I ride a Harley with aftermarket pipes). I also found that all the noises I needed to be hearing around me for safety were all still there. This was one of my main concerns with switching to a full face helmet and it turned out to not be an issue at all. This helmet offers a great combination of hearing everything you need to and nothing you don’t.
If you’re looking for an ultra-light helmet, you’re probably not going to be shopping in this price range. That being said, the Polar Night RKT-12 seems to be right on par with its competitors. It isn’t noticeably lightweight, but I can barely feel the weight of it while riding. I don’t have any issues with this helmet’s weight, but that might change for smaller riders. I can only speak from my own experience on this one.
The Joe Rocket Polar Night RKT-12 has all of the modern “blacked out” styling you could want, at a very affordable price. That’s no surprise when you look at the rest of Joe Rocket’s products. Outsourcing to an experienced helmet manufacturer was a great call on their part. I believe that’s one of the main reasons they were able to offer such a great helmet at this price. The Polar Night has a leg up on its competitors by offering a bonus face shield while still coming in at the same price point.
Time will tell how this helmet holds up to years of riding but I don’t expect any issues with wear and tear. If you’re looking for a no-frills, blacked out helmet without breaking the bank, Joe Rocket’s Polar Night RKT-12 is a fantastic option.
Grab your own Joe Rocket Polar Night RKT-12 helmet here:
- Great value
- Comes with clear and tinted face shields
- Sleek, modern styling
- No wind noise
- Blemishes in the paint
- Basic features
Pierre CharlandJuly 21, 2020 at 11:10 pm
Pin lock system would have been nice. WeePro is a must with it. Visor replacement is a chore, it is not as easy as advertised as it takes practice. Price is decent. Weight is decent. Cooling system is average. I’m totally happy with it as spare full face helmet.