Helmets

"Quiet" Motorcycle Helmets

Riding down Geary Boulevard in San Francisco back in 2013

Riding down Geary Boulevard in San Francisco back in 2013

I had a really difficult question this week emailed to me from a rider in Australia about which helmets are quieter, full face or modulars? 

Questions:

  • What is the quietest full face flip top (modular)?
  • What is the quietest full face?
  • And are the flip top (modular) as quiet as the full face?

Answer:

Generally speaking, perceived noise levels will vary depending on the individual. Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit; the type of motorcycle and windscreen; wind speed and direction and even the type of clothing that is being worn. Also assuming that you are wearing the correct size/fit for your head, this will also greatly affect perceived noise levels We also always recommend wearing high quality ear plugs to minimize wind noise as well. One of my favorite resources for an exceptionally large selection is Earplug Superstore.

That being said, I am thrilled to share my personal experience with you, as well as that of many of our customers with our most popular helmets for overall noise reduction.

Many will agree that Schuberth makes one of the quietest modulars (also commonly referred to as flip up) starting with their popular C3 Pro.

My old Shoei Qwest Goddess

My old Shoei Qwest Goddess

Schuberth made the first modular helmet and they say that the C3 and C3Pro are the quietest models available. They have wind tunnel tested both of these models starting at “82db at 62 mph on an unfaired motorcycle”. If you search for reviews of these models, you will find many riders agree that the Schuberth helmets are very quiet, relative to other makes/models. I have a C3ProW (women’s specific model of the C3Pro) and can definitely tell a noticeable reduction in wind noise in comparison to the other two helmets I own, which are the Arai Vector-2 and Shoei Qwest. As a side note Shoei claims a 2.2db reduction in overall wind noise from it’s predecessor, the TZ-R. I definitely think my Qwest is quieter than my Vector-2.

Many will also argue that modulars are noisier than full face helmets. That is true with a few exceptions including Schuberth, who has mastered the design and engineering of their helmets to eliminate as much noise as possible. Since Schuberth introduced the C3 a couple years ago, there are more premium modulars that have been released since then to compete including the Shoei Neotec and HJC RPHA Max that also are trying to provide a quieter riding experience. However, if you compare something as premium as the C3Pro to a basic full face helmet at a <$100 price point then the C3Pro is very much quieter than that one.

Alternatively, if you compare the C3Pro to other premium, high end full face street helmets such as the Arai Defiant or Shoei RF-1200 which have both been designed to greatly minimize wind noise, you may find they all come somewhat close to each other. 

The Defiant and RF-1200 have been very popular models among riders who are seeking full face helmets that can greatly reduce wind noise levels. Since Schuberth greatly publicizes their perceived noise level in decibels, I think you can safely assume that the Schuberth models might be a hair quieter than it’s competitors. It’s difficult to say which one is the quietest, but these definitely fall into the ‘more quiet than others’ category.

You must also take into consideration the fairing / windscreen setup of your motorcycle. My bike has nothing, so even the quietest helmets will still be noisy because I have nothing in front of me. Depending on what kind of setup you have on your bike, that will certainly affect overall wind noise as well.

UPDATE 2016: 

Since this post, I've purchased a Shoei RF-1200 which I find to be almost as quiet as my Schuberth. However, I do think the windscreen on my old SV made a difference in reducing noise as well. My current Triumph has nothing! 

Schuberth C3 Pro Women vs. C3W Modular Helmet

schuberth_c3pro_women I've been asked several times what the differences are between the C3 Pro Women and the C3 Women. So here's a little summary of features that Pro offers over the C3.  You can read my review of the Pro here.

Internal Shape, Features & Lining

  • More comfortable materials and fit[S S1] , particularly in the forehead area (padded seamless liner and lower profile summer/winter flap)
  • Ruby Colored Cheekpads
  • Size XXS-L (Same for both helmets, and all one shell size-  XL and up is the large shell)I found out of all 4 models that they offer (C3, C3W, C3Pro C3ProW), this one was the only one that fit right. So if you’ve only tried the others, I strongly suggest you try this one too!
  • The Retention System (chin buckles) are fully adjustable on both straps
  • Note: Pearl Pink color is only offered in the Pro

Noise Reduction

  • 2 decibals quieter (82db vs. 84db)

Aerodynamics

  • Spoiler added for more stability & performance at high speed

 

schuberth_c3pro_women2

Ventilation

  • Increased ventilation by up to 60% through new exhaust ports in EPS foam and larger intake vents on top

Audio

  • Antenna integrated into the shell for enhanced performance of the SRC system.
  • Note: the SRC system in the C3/C3W will fit into the C3Pro/C3ProW and will fuction as normal without plugging into the helmet’s antenna. The C3Pro(W) system will not work without the antenna and so will not function in the C3(W). 

schuberth_src_system_c3women_pro

So if you’re trying to make a decision as to whether you should go with the Pro, it’s definitely going to be a matter of fitment. Since the C3W is offered down to a XXS and has the extra padding, that will be extra beneficial to those of you who have trouble finding helmets that fit small enough. It’s one of the smallest fitting helmets I’ve ever seen (aside from Shoei and Arai’s XXS). I also think you’ll notice these differences if you ride something sporty or naked, or have a very small windscreen. Anything my helmet can offer in terms of noise and stability at high speed is always a bonus for me.

Either way, you can't go wrong and will love your Schuberth :D

How Quiet Can A Motorcycle Helmet Be?

IMG_4335.jpg

When you're considering a new helmet, one of the things on your mind is probably noise. When you're going down the highway at 55+mph, you have a lot of wind noise to deal with. And it's hard to tell what helmet is going to work better especially when everyone's ears, bikes and accessories are different. The bottom line is, you aren't going to find a magical helmet with so much wind reduction as to silence the world around you. You may have to take a couple extra steps to reduce the wind noise around you.

kriega tailpacks sportbike naked suzuki sv650s As a sportbike rider, I'm fighting not only wind, but a minimally faired bike and a lower windscreen. If you expect any helmet to completely silence your ride, prepare to be disappointed. After zipping around today on the back of my friend's Goldwing I discovered just how amazing a large windscreen and fairing could be!

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the added noise reduction my Schuberth provided on this kind of touring bike. My friend Mike and I were able to chit chat along the way to brunch (which was delicious, btw).  I didn't wear my earplugs, and didn't even notice that I didn't have them in until we started across the bridge.

honda goldwing motorcycle motomike san francisco schuberth

If someone tells you how quiet/loud their helmet is, make sure you ask all the questions and don't assume everyone is going to have the same experience.

And don't forget to make sure you're wearing the right size/fit, because there's nothing worse than a helmet that's too big letting in even more noise.

Pinlock Visors and Schuberth Helmets

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As you might remember, I recently had the opportunity to ride a BMW in Ireland for a day. It was an interesting mix of fun, adventure and rain. Lots of rain!

Unfortunately I had an issue with my Schuberth leaking and my Pinlock lens not cooperating. Luckily I went to visit my friends at Schuberth N.A. at their headquarters in Southern California. Whenever you invest in a high end, premium helmet, they typically offer a level of customer service that you may not be able to find with an entry level one.

Schuberth is no different. Their office is like a small startup, an informal, casual atmosphere but a level of professionalism and customer service that is defined by an elite crew of team members.

The issue I had with my helmet was that the seal between the face shield and the helmet was broken so I was getting wet! I knew this wasn't normal and certainly there had to be an explanation. Phil, one of their customer service technicians took my helmet away so quickly to fix it, I wasn't able to take a picture of the problem. (Thanks Phil!)

Basically there was a visible bubble along the seal, definitely not normal. Above and to the left of where it says Schuberth along the left cheek.

Whomever Andy was, I hope he went far.

He also noticed my Pinlock lens wasn't seated correctly. If you have one, then you may or may not know that it might need adjustment every now and then especially if the visor stops working. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to do that with this one, because I've had to do that many times with other Pinlock enabled helmets I've had. If the pins become too loose or too tight, then your visor won't seal correctly and it can separate from the visor. There should never be space between the Pinlock lens and the face shield. If you can visibly see fog or air between, then you need to readjust the pins. (or it might be the wrong model # for that helmet, which I've also encountered).

Follow this link for instructions on removing and adjusting the tension on your Pinlock.

Up to this trip, I had never experienced these issues riding in the rain/wind. It makes sense that over time the pins may become too loose. Or you may have tightened them by accident, since it can be difficult to see the tiny arrows on the pins.

If your helmet stops working the way it was supposed to, bring those issue(s) to the attention of your manufacturer. If you have an issue, go back to the store you purchased it from and tell them what's going on. If they can't help you directly, they should be able to refer you directly to them.

My plan was to ultimately have a podcast of our conversation recorded for you to download. Unfortunately, my laptop decided to quit working on me (logic board fail!) right before I needed to press record. So we'll be circling back to try this again real soon.

 

Women's Motorcycle Helmets

kriega motorcycle tailbags tailpacks saddlebags luggage My answer to this question has always been no, there's no such thing as a woman's helmet.

However, now there is. My friend Sarah, Marketing and PR Manager/Schuberth North America has this to say about why many women need a different fitment when it comes to helmets.

http://blog.schuberth.com/en/?p=1357&preview=true

I must say that many women in my experience, have needed smaller helmets around the areas she describes, and I found that more than half the time, the female customers that I worked with needed XS-S, rarely M/L and usually the narrower/oval shaped helmets (Shoei/Scorpion/ARAI) tended to work the best. And I definitely saw a lot of women fit the C3W/C3W Pro lines better than any other helmet.

I for one, can't wear the Schuberth C3W. I can only fit the C3W Pro comfortably. The C3 fits me well also. And that's ok, some women will fit one helmet and not another. But I think it's great that Schuberth identified these fit differences and decided to address them.

I think having more options is always a *good* thing. (Yes, even if it's pink!). In the world of women's motorcycle gear, isn't it great to have even more choices? :D

 

 

 

Episode 21 of Moterrific: New Riders, More Advice

New Rider Interview! Meet Rebecca, a brand new rider with a great set of questions for us to discuss.  Click here for the blog post with all the details.  (Quicktime should load automatically)

Ways to Listen:

  1. Install the Quicktime Plugin to listen above
  2. iTunes 
  3. Stitcher.com or Stitcher App
  4. Moterrific.com

New Motorcycle Helmet Line Introduced

Kabuto motorcycle helmets usa ff-5v

Kabuto Helmets USA recently announced that they will be entering the US motorcycle apparel market with models that have been extremely popular in Japan, where the manufacturer is based.

It's always nice to have choices, and these offer additional options in a broad price range between ~$140 and $500. They will also meet or exceed the DOT and Snell Standards.

I wonder what shape/fit they offer. I've yet to see one in person, but based on how the Japanese manufacturer motorcycle apparel, I hope that Kabuto will be another high quality, high value product.

Read more about the 4 models and what they have to offer here, including technical specifications.

Kabuto will be distributed through WPS, Inc.

Another Limited Schuberth Sale

schuberth c3w pearl white sale june 2013

Save $100 on a C3 or C3W, until June 30th. 

The sale excludes matte black and is limited to items in stock at your local dealer or at Schuberth. 

You can also save $100 on an SRC system (reg. $429) when you purchase any Schuberth S2 full face helmet. If you have an S2, you neeeeeed the SRC!