alex

128 months ago

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Shark Helmets: A Focus On Safety EICMA 2013

I've always been a bit of a helmet snob - I can't understand why anyone would want to ride without one, and I want the best protection I can get. Over the years, I've owned a number of lids and they've all been from the premium Japanese brands (you know who I mean). I've also been pretty happy with them. Some have fit better than others, I'll admit, and others have been almost impossible to breathe in, but generally I've been happy.

After seeing Shark at EICMA 2013, I think I've been living a lie…

A Focus on Safety

Talk to Shark and they'll ask you what the single biggest safety improvement in cars has been in the past thirty years. If you answer crumple zones, you'd be right, and they see that as key to good helmet safety. Like a car, if you have a rigid system the helmet might come out of it relatively unscathed, but the occupant will be bounced around. In the case of a helmet, that occupant is the brain, and if your helmet doesn't absorb the energy of impact your second- favourite organ is bouncing around in there causing concussion.

So, what are crumple zones? In a car, it's an area designed to deform in a controlled manner and dissipate the collision energy over a wider area. The net result is a car that's more damaged than a rigid one and an occupant that stands a much better chance of not being injured.

Shark's system has a series of channels cut into the expanded polystyrene (EPS) layer. As your head moves around under collision, the channels allow the EPS somewhere to move and deform and thus dissipate the energy better than a solid piece of EPS would.

Shark's Helmets Include Crumple Zones

Shark's Helmets Include Crumple Zones

Shark's Crumple Zones in Close Up

Shark's Crumple Zones in Close Up

Shark carbon helmets are made using carbon fibres that are as long as possible, which further allows for energy dissipation. With short fibre, there's apparently far less ability for the energy to move. It's a system that was designed in conjunction with some of the top brain researchers in the world.

Most of us probably don't realize this fact as most current helmet tests and rating are based on impact testing, such as DOT or SNELL. The Europeans (Shark are a French company) have a better test called SHARP and it measures much more. In tests, Shark generally receive four or five tests; you can see for yourself at the link below.

Another distinct feature - they're flexible (especially the carbon helmets). This means you can physically deform the helmet to pull it on.

It's weird the first time you see it but it means the fit can be tighter, especially below the ears which aren't going to get caught when you pull the helmet on. This in turn means the collar can be tighter and that translates into less noise, which means a more comfortable ride.

Shark offers four distinct categories of helmets:

Racing

The Racing helmets are truly designed for the track with a focus on weight reduction and aerodynamics, complete with a double blade spoiler on top. The liners are all bamboo fibre which is both anti-bacterial and moisture wicking. The visors are optically class 1 and thicker than most other manufacturers for better safety and can be changed in seconds. It's available in both Carbon and non Carbon versions.

Pulse

I normally tend towards race helmets as I implicitly believe them to be safer. Shark also managed to persuade me otherwise. Unless you're tucked in, a racing helmet won't present the right profile in the air and that can lead to fatigue.

This is why Shark offers the ‟Pulse” helmet. They're designed for a more typical upright street rider. There's a number of helmet in this range, from the Speed-R to the SX2 (motocross style).

Discovery

Discovery is a range of helmets designed for the ‟long distance” rider. This is the one that personally excites me. There's the Evoline modular for example that is the only one in the world that has been certified in both the open and closed positions. In other words, it's the only one that's legal to ride with in the open position.

Shark Evoline S3 - Modular Perfection

Shark Evoline S3 - Modular Perfection

There's also the Explore-R for riders who can't decide if they want to ride on-road or off. It features a removable peak and goggles that can be replaced with a visor for more dedicated road usage.

Metro

The Metro helmets are (as the name suggests) for urban riders. Most of the helmets are three quarter, though the Vantime offers a protruding chin bar without sacrificing ventilation, and the raw offers a range of interchangeable mask and googles so you can customize it.

There's far too many combination of helmets and options to cover them all here. My suggestion would be to head out to your nearest Shark dealer to see which might be for you.

Shark - http://www.shark-helmets.com/index.php

More about SHARP testing - http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/content/animation

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Jordan

128 months ago

I'm looking to replace my trusty RF1000, I'll have a look at the Evoline S3, it looks great.

nick303

128 months ago

Owned a Shark helmet years ago as my first helmet and it was "ok". I have since owned a couple Arai helmets that I really like, but I must admit I would now consider a Shark again for my next helmet. They seem to have evolved and are pushing some great innovations and styles.

alex

128 months ago

@Marina they should be in your stores now.

marina

128 months ago

So when will this stretchy super helmet be in stores and how much will it cost?