A friend was recently choosing a new helmet in a retail outlet that offered a range from £50 - £650, he asked the salesman “how much do people normally spend on a new helmet?” to which the salesman answered “how often do you use your head?”
It sounds like some top quality sales patter to get him to spend as much as possible but realistically there are so many options available which suit every head shape, objective and budget. So, I could tell you that Arai is best, or Shoei, or Shark but until you try them on there’s no overall ‘best’, but there is a best for you.
What I can tell you is the Shark Race R-Pro is very probably the best for me. I first wore the helmet at a Track Day at Snetterton in September which happened to be a very warm day. After several years with the same Arai I was like a child on Christmas Day and eager to get into the box and when I slipped it on I wasn’t disappointed. My cheeks were reassuringly squished although it still felt roomy, perhaps because of its excellent peripheral vision.
The double D chin strap comes with a magnetic end which is easy to use whilst those who wear sunglasses or spectacles will be pleased with Shark’s “Easy Fit” system. The ventilation system was well used during the day with the 4 air scoops (chin, front and 2 x top) and 7 extractors, the anti-scratch, anti-fog visor is actually quite thick – good for fending off suicidal winged creatures or errant stones - the visor also has a quick-release system which you’d expect from a helmet with a retail price around £450.
The Race R-Pro comes with removable and washable cheek pads, a nose mask which is very handy for the colder days as is the neck skirt, adjustable underneath the chin. When removing the cheek pads you unearth the recess designed to house the SharkTooth – Shark’s version of the BlueTooth communications system.
The helmet is available in size XS (53-54cm) to XL (61-62cm) and Shark make two different shell sizes yet my only criticism is that I was wearing a Medium yet the lid still felt large. That said it’s still light at 1250g.
It’s available in white, black, matt black and several race replicas including Scott Redding, Randy De Puniet and Troy Corser and you shouldn’t be paying more than £450.