Date reviewed: April 2017 | Tested by: John Milbank | From £349.99 | http://www.nevis.uk.com
I’ve worn this stunning-looking helmet on street, sport and adventure bikes; the ‘carbon-skin’ finish adds £90 to the price of a plain Spartan, but many will likely feel the genuine carbon-fibre finish justifies the price…
The deep gloss shine over the genuine carbon fibre looks fantastic on this model, the Spartan Carbon Skin DWS. Finish is very good, with only the slightest mis-alignment of the graphics around the very edges of the sun-shield’s slider on the top.
My first helmet soon developed a crack in the white decal; while this didn’t in any way affect the safety or structure of the helmet (which carries a five-year warranty), the importer – Nevis – replaced it without any fuss.
Specified as 1290g, my medium weighs 1332g, which compares to 1629g for an Arai Quantum ST, and makes it one of the lightest helmets I’ve worn.
The two-stage plus closed chin, and open/closed top vents provide good ventilation, combined with the pair of exhaust vents built into the two rear fins. The visor can be easily cracked open around half a centimetre, which is well before the first position of the ratchet mechanism that pops it open to about three centimetres.
While a more race-oriented design, the brow is still relatively prominent when laying across a sportsbike tank on track, mainly thanks to the additional depth added by the drop-down sun visor. An anti-fog Pinlock MaxVision insert is supplied, which doesn’t interfere with peripheral vision.
Removing the visor is extremely easy – just lift it, then pull it out of either side. It’s just as simple to pop back in, making it one of the slickest systems on the market.
There are five stages to the ratchet mechanism; while there’s no lock for fully closed, to ensure a complete seal it’s best to flick the visor shut, rather than lower gently, or to pull it down from the middle at the top.
Once closed, the seal works well, preventing water from entering the top of the lid.
The drop-down dark visor is deployed with a slider on the top of the helmet – this makes it easy to position just where you want it, rather than being simply open or closed like many others. It clears my nose well, and comes very low, almost eliminating the annoying bright line that you get along the bottom of many others. I usually prefer to use a dark visor, but this is certainly one of the best I’ve experienced, though with thick winter gloves it’s sometimes a little hard to find the slider.
The Shark’s lining is extremely plush and comfortable. While it’s fully removable, it’s slightly more fiddly than some others to replace. Glasses fit without any problems, and there’s an elasticated skirt at the rear, along with a pull-down fabric deflector under the chin. This is effective, though it can get caught up if wearing a textile jacket with a bulky collar.
There are small indents in the inner shell for intercom speakers.
The Spartan uses a double-D fastener, which while not as simple as a ratchet mechanism, always gives a very secure fit. A popper keeps the end of the strap from flapping when in use.
Fit is very subjective, and a helmet should always be tried on before buying. When first using the Shark, I had a very sharp pressure point at the rear, but beneath the lining is a small strip of padded material than can be slid out; since then, I’ve found it extremely comfortable.
On my head at least, I’ve found that while the Shark is light, it feels a little large, leaving a little more slack than I’m used to around the upper rear.
The sides of the visor retainers are covered with ‘shark skin’; a textured material that’s claimed to reduce wind noise. The lid is quiet enough, but I’d not go so far as to say it’s particularly influenced by these patches. As with all other helmets, ear plugs are still necessary for most rides.
This stunning-looking lid is a good all-rounder. While it’s no dedicated race helmet, its light weight and comfortable lining make it a great option for most riders. If you’re not fussed with the carbon-fibre, consider the cheaper Spartan.