CLICK SCHUBERTH C5 HELMET TO SHOP WITH FREE UK NEXT DAY DELIVERY
Everybody should be allowed to make one mistake. And for Schuberth that was perhaps the C4. Schuberth had historically ‘owned’ the flip-lid space, and when it came time to replace the venerable, although slightly long-in-the-tooth, C3 Pro expectations were high. It would be safe to say that the C4 failed to meet those expectations. The helmet had issues. Those issues were sorted when Schuberth re-launched the helmet as the C4 Pro. The Pro was a good helmet, albeit perhaps not the great helmet that the C3 had been.
For some time it was rumoured that Schuberth would be bringing out a brand new flip helmet. It was the motorcycle world’s worst kept secret that this helmet would be called the C5. And now it’s here.
Now clearly we have not, at this stage, had an opportunity to ride in the helmet, so in this review all we can do is talk through the helmet, who it is aimed at, what the spec. is, and so on.
Even though many at Schuberth would now deny it, the truth is that when the C4 was first launched, it was designed to fill a bit of a niche. It was a flip-lid aimed at the sportsbike rider. And that was why it had a deeper and wider visor; the cause of course of many of the helmet’s initial problems.
With the C5, Schuberth has gone back to its roots. This is a helmet aimed fairly and squarely at the touring and commuting market. And in this respect it is very directly a successor to the C3 Pro.
Now, in recent years, the go-to flip helmet has become the Shoei Neotec 2. It is a fabulous helmet that has established itself as the market leader. That was a position formerly held by Schuberth, and so with the C5 the company has very much targeted the Shoei, and has attempted to improve upon it wherever possible.
The first thing to say is that the new C5 is ECE 22-06 accredited. Now this is the new safety standard introduced in early 2021. It heralds a new generation of safer and more protective helmets. You can read all about the standard on by clicking the visual above but, simply put, 22-06 helmets will be safer to ride in. For now, the only flip-lid helmet accredited to 22-06 is the Schuberth. It will be quite some time, probably late 2022, before Shoei upgrades its Neotec 2; presumably to the Neotec 3!
The shell of the C5 is constructed from a combination of glass fibre and layers of carbon. That is to say that it is a composite construction, like nearly all of the best helmets. A carbon version may follow at some point, although in a helmet like this carbon won’t greatly affect the weight, but a carbon shell will reduce the range on the comms.. The new C5 will weigh perhaps two to three ounces more than the C3 Pro, but the in-built comms. facility, about which more anon, will be accounting for some of that extra. There is a totally new, multi-density eps for the C5. And that’s important because you need a softer eps on the outside for low-speed impacts, with higher density material closer to the skull for harder more sustained impacts.
The C5 comes in just two shell sizes; and to us this is a disappointment. Premium brands like Arai and Shoei will usually have at least three shell sizes, sometimes four. With more shell sizes, more people will get a helmet that doesn’t look so large. More shell sizes also allow a better fit. But Schuberth has only ever offered two shell sizes, and that didn’t prevent the C3 from becoming the best-selling flip of all time.
In choosing a flip-lid, important as the spec., the aesthetics and graphics are, the most important issue is always fit. And that’s not just a matter of the circumference of your head. We all have differently shaped heads; likewise all helmet manufacturers have differently-shaped interiors. The Neotec is what we would term intermediate oval; a shape that is nonetheless slightly rounder than many other Shoeis. But the C3 has always been a rounder shape than the Neotec, and that’s still just about the case here with the C5. But we think that Schuberth has nonetheless re-shaped the eps to make it a snugger, slightly narrower fit around the upper part of the skull.
We understand why Schuberth has done this. In effect, they have tried to make the C5 more like the Neotec in terms of shape, but for us it is potentially disappointing because we won’t have a helmet to offer those with rounder heads; especially those withheads that are wider at the top. And so it may well be that the C3 Pro will still be the best choice for some.
There are six sizes for the C5. XS is a 53. The largest size, XXXL, is a 65. So, in theory, the scope of the C5 is pretty wide.
But one of the biggest differences between the C3, and indeed the C4, and the C5 is that the latest iteration allows us to alter the fit in both the cheeks and around the head. This has, historically, been a major weakness in Schuberth’s armoury, but on one level the C5 is potentially going to give is the opportunity to change the shape of the fit around the skull in a way that we can’t on the Shoei. We will be able to change pads at the side of the head independently of pads at the back of the helmet. This really will allow us to alter the internal shape of the helmet. We can’t do this with the Shoei; on the Shoei we can merely make the overall fit tighter or looser. Again only time will tell how much tuning can be done on the fit, although what we would say is that the ability to add or remove padding will only be fully workable on the middle sizes; that is Medium, Large and Extra Large.
Likewise, for the cheeks, we will be able to fit the C5 with thicker or thinner cheekpads: in most sizes, up to four different thickness of pad will be available.
Here at Motolegends, custom helmet fitting of one of our things. We will be stocking all the available pads as soon as they become available, and we will, we are sure, quickly learn how to perfect the fit of the C5. But there is a difference here between the way Shoei works and how Schuberth works. Now, with Shoei, cheekpads and headliners are exchangeable for free. (Given this, it always surprises us just how few Shoei dealers offer a fitting service). But the same facility is not being extended by Schuberth. Replacement cheekpads and head linings will be chargeable, but we have decided that we will swallow this cost and provide a free, fitting service whatever pieces are required. This will not be an inexpensive helmet. It seems unfair to us to charge extra to get it to fit well. By the same token, we will not accept people leaving the shop with a helmet like this that does not fit properly.
This having been said, one can be fairly sure that all the extra liners will not come through until some time after the helmet first arrives with us.
Okay, let’s delve a little bit deeper into some of the features and details of the C5.
In the past, Scuberth’s flip-lid helmets have not been both P and J rated. The C5 is. What this means is that the C5 can now legally be ridden with the chin bar either open or closed. And to this end, there’s a locking mechanism on the side of the helmet. This is good to have, although you would still never ride with the visor open at much more than 20 mph.
The chin strap has been moved forward a little, and this is to stop it coming into contact with the Adam’s Apple. It’s not a problem for all, but occasionally it is an issue on a flip lid because the chin strap sits further back towards the neck.
Any helmet can rock to and fro on the strap. The strap acts as a pivot and the helmet can always be rotated over the strap. The important thing is that the strap should not be able to pass forward under the chin, because in such a circumstance a helmet could come off. Schuberth has a system called AROS. Basically the chin strap is connected via two other straps to the back of the helmet. It’s why a properly-fastened Schuberth will never come off in an accident.
The C5 is better vented than the C3. There are now two vent openings on the chin, as well as a brow vent that helps pull air out from the area behind the visor and a permanently open exhaust vent at the back of the helmet.
The main visor is of Optical 1 quality, and it comes fitted as standard with a Pinlock 120. There’s a strong detente that enables you to fix the position of the visor if you want to ride with it open. One of the positions is what Schuberth call a City position; that is to say a crack position to allow air to enter the helmet at slow speed to avoid misting. You also get a drop-down sun visor that is easy to use even with the a gloved hand.
At the top of the visor, you get a series of mouldings known a ‘Turbulators’. These are meant to disrupt the air flow and reduce noise. On that score, Schuberth tell us that the C5 is quieter than both the C3 and the C4. Of course, they would say that! We are always concerned about passing on such claims. We have no doubts that this will be a quiet helmet. Schuberth has its own wind tunnel for noise testing, and the C5 comes with the tight neck roll and chin curtain that serve to stop air entering the helmet. But in the margin the fit and the way the helmet can be buffetted by, say, a screen can make a significant difference to perceived noise levels. Noise is not a black and white issue; and the reality is that if you don’t like noise, get yourself a set of personalised plugs from someone like Auritech. Or a Jag! Our view is that, without earplugs, all helmets are pretty noisy. With earplugs, all helmets are relatively quite quiet.
But let us be clear. We cannot guarantee that this helmet will be quieter for you on your bike than a C3, a Neotec, a GT air 2 or indeed any helmet. The C5 should be a very quiet helmet, but there are simply too many variables at play to make any promises.
Now one of the key selling points on the new C5 is the comms, and on this there is no doubt that Schuberth has gazumped Shoei a little. First the Sena comms. is based on the top-of-the-range 50s unit, whereas the Shoei uses as its basis the Sena 20. The 50s unit is mesh capable, so you will, in theory, be able to talk with up to 24 riders. The comms. is also easier to install than is the SRL system on the Neotec.
The unit enables you to communicate either via Bluetooth or via Mesh. The helmet is equipped with two aerials therefore. You also get FM radio. Now everybody thinks they need Mesh because it does have extra capabilities. We don’t necessarily agree, but with the C5 you are not offered an option, so there’s no need to choose; you get both. What we can tell you though is that, in Mesh configuration, you will get only two thirds of the talk time; that is eight hours instead of twelve. Schuberth tell us that the system will talk with other brands, and although in some case this might be technically possible, it is never straightforward and normally requires the pressing of extra buttons. The reality is that if you’ve got lots of mates who don’t use Sena, this might not be the helmet for you, although you can still fit an external comms. on to the C5. The easiest thing, however, might just be to get new mates!
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the system is the way it is installed. It could not be easier. The HD headphones are pre-installed. The brains and battery unit simply plugs into the back of the helmet in the way it does on the M1. You then clip the control panel into a aperture on the left of the helmet. Finally, you plug the short boom microphone in via a small jack plug. Honestly, if this takes you more than 60 seconds, you’re not trying.
But the Schuberth comms. system is expensive. It’s the right price for those who want or need Mesh, but if you just want comms. so that you can listen to music or take phone calls, if you only want to talk to one or two friends or to a pillion, then the cost is going to seem high. And personally, we feel that Schuberth should have offered a less expensive, non-Mesh system as an alternative because, right now, the package from Shoei costs some £80 less.
We have spent a bit of time with the new C5, but we have not had time to ride in it. The truth is that, even if we had had such an opportunity, our findings would still not be definitive. It will take months, years even, for a clear understanding of this new helmet to develop.
We like a lot of what we have seen. We think that Schuberth has listened to complaints about the C4, and that the mistakes they made with that helmet will not be repeated here. We can see the improvements that Schuberth has made. The ability to customise the fit is important. And we think the comms. set up is most definitely market leader.
But, in the Neotec 2, the C5 has a formidable competitor. Of course, the Schuberth is 22-06 whereas the Shoei currently isn’t. But the Shoei has only two shell sizes as opposed to the Shoei’s three, and we will have to wait and see just how customisable the fit will be.
In terms of price, there’s currently not a lot between the Schuberth and the Shoei; in fact, the new Schuberth is slightly less expensive. When the Shoei does go 22-06 the difference may become more noticeable. As a point of interest, the price in the UK is a little less than it is in Europe.
The helmet comes in a range of solid colours and in two designs; one called Master, one called Eclipse. The four solids cost £499.99. The designs cost £599.99, and each comes in three different colourways. The SC2 comms. unit costs £349.99. Remember, of course, that when you buy it with the helmet you will save 20% VAT.
For us here at Motolegends the C5 is a big deal. We probably sell more flips at this end of the market than anybody else. We like flips, and we know how to fit them. But important as this helmet is for us, it is infinitely more important for Schuberth. The C4 came to market before it was ready. It simply hadn’t been properly tried and tested. Back in September, way before the C5 was released into the market, Schuberth came over from Germany to meet with us and to talk about their new helmet. They told us that they were convinced that they’ve got the C5 right. We do not disagree. We like what we have seen, and so we hope they have got it right, but ultimately it is our customers who will decide.
We’ve got our fingers crossed. As has everybody in Magdeburg.
The helmets are due to arrive with us from mid-November. Again, fingers crossed!
You can see all the different colours of the Schuberth C5 helmet here.
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