CLICK SHARK SPARTAN RS HELMET TO SHOP WITH FREE UK NEXT DAY DELIVERY
At the beginning of the year, a new helmet safety standard came into force. This standard, known as ECE 22-06, marks a significant step up in terms of helmet protection. The new test requires helmets to be far more energy absorbent, and arguably this is the single most important quality one needs in a helmet. But there are new tests for low-speed impacts, for angled impacts and so on. In fact, there are lots of new tests. The bottom line is that 22-06 helmets are demonstrably safer than 22-05 helmets; in the not too distant future all helmets will be 22-06. But, for now, the choice is still quite limited.
Already on the market there are two 22-06 helmets; the Arai Quantic, which was the first to meet the new standard. More recently, we received into stock the new 22-06 helmet from Shoei: the NXR 2. And to us, it was no surprise that Shoei and Arai were the first two makers to meet the standard.
Before the end of the year, we hope to see the new Schuberth C5; and this will be the first 22-06 flip lid to come to market. But the helmet we are talking about today, the new Spartan RS from Shark, is also due to be released around the end of the year.
Importantly, it will, we think, be the very first, full-face 22-06 helmet with a drop-down sun visor, as neither the Arai nor the Shoei has one, although the new C5 will have.
By and large, more sports-oriented helmets tend not to have drop-down visors. More touring-oriented-helmets do. The Arai and the Shoei sit towards the sporting end of the sport-touring continuum. The Shark is perhaps a little bit more tilted towards touring.
Anyway, let’s talk about the Spartan RS in more depth.
This totally new helmet sits within Shark’s Spartan family. That’s a family that includes the standard Spartan, the Spartan GT and the Spartan Carbon. But the RS is a totally new helmet. Visually, the new helmet may look similar to the other Spartans, but it has a different shell and, in very few respects, does it share components with its predecessors.
The outer shell is of what is known as a composite construction. In this instance, that means that it’s made from fibreglass with areas of Kevlar in the most vulnerable areas.
The helmet comes in six sizes, but in only two shell sizes. Now that is the same as every Shark helmet. Is that ideal? Emphatically, no. Our personal view is that three shell sizes is the minimum requirement for a truly premium helmet. The GT Air, for example, actually comes in four shell sizes.
The fewer the number of shell sizes, the greater the chance that a helmet will look large when worn. But, more importantly, the more shell sizes there are the greater an opportunity there is to get a properly snug fit.
But, this notwithstanding, a lot of people wear Shark helmets and a lot of people find them comfortable. And we have no doubt the the RS will be no different.
One thing you need to know is that the RS, like all Sharks, has a pretty round, internal fit. Here in the shop, it is the go-to helmet when somebody finds that a Shoei or an Arai is too oval for their head shape. And there are a lot of people in this category. In truth, we don’t know whether some brands are even rounder than Shark, but the Spartan is definitely the roundest full-face helmet we sell.
You need to know this. For some people a Spartan will be the best helmet in terms of shape; for others it might well be the only one. But rarely is it going to be the case that you can wear a Shoei or a Shark. They a very different!
In styling terms, we still think the RS is quite sporty. Shark has tried to put it to us that the helmet is a bit retro, but unless you think retro is 1999, we wouldn’t agree. A retro helmet like the Glamster, the Rapide or even the Bell Bullitt will have a totally smooth, round shell. Frankly, the RS doesn’t. But it will still look good on a wide array of bikes. You could wear it on a sportsbike, a sports tourer, an adventure bike or something like an rNinet, and it wouldn’t look out of place. But retro? No, we wouldn’t say so. It’s probably just a case of Shark trying to jump on the bandwagon. They might be better off actually making a retro helmet.
One thing we do like about the RS, and you still don’t get this on many mid-market brands, is the ability the Shark affords us to fit differently-sized cheekpads to customise the fit. There’s no facility to alter the fit around the skull, but in most helmet sizes we will have the option to fit thicker or thinner cheekpads. That is when these do eventually come through. They normally arrive some time after the helmet itself is released, but when they do arrive with us they will be exchangeable at no cost.
The outer visor is not brand new, and this surprises us because the new ECE 22-06 test demands a higher level of resistance to penetration. It has the best detente system in the business. The mechanism for removing the visor is brilliantly simple. What we really like about the RS’s drop-down sun visor is that it also has its own detente system that allows it to sit firmly in whatever position you choose. And as always with Shark the drop-down gives almost total coverage of the face.
There was a time when Shark fitted their helmets with a somewhat below-par Pinlock 70, but now all Shark helmets come with a top-of-the-range Pinlock 120. This is the best-performing Pinlock; and frankly it’s what we would expect of any brand that has aspirations to play in the premier league.
Venting also looks pretty good although, at the time of compiling this review, we hadn’t ridden in the helmet so could not confirm just how good it is. But it should be effective. There’s a chin vent, a brow vent and a permanently open exhaust vent in the rear spoiler. Some helmets have closeable exhaust vents, but to us this makes no sense at all. When would you ever want to close an exhaust vent?
One thing we like about the interior of the RS is the high quality of the surfaces. With their Alcantara-style facings, the inside of the helmet feels every bit as luxurious as a Shoei. But one aspect of the RS does surprise us. The RS’s predecessor, the Spartan GT had a very pliable but tight-fitting neck roll. And this was introduced to reduce noise levels. And so what we don’t understand is why the RS doesn’t have the same neck roll. Does this mean that the RS will be less quiet than the GT. Well, we hope this won’t be the case, but we are still a little surprised.
So, where do we get to on the new Shark Spartan RS?
Well, we like it. If you want lairy race graphics, a sharp, pointy nose, then the RS may not be for you. But the RS is the best and most protective Shark helmet to date. In fact, it is one of the very safest helmets on the market. And right now, as we’ve said, the RS is the only 22-06, full-face helmet with a drop-down visor.
We also think that, with a prices that vary between £300 and £380, dependent upon whether you go for a plain a carbon version, the RS is pretty well priced.
We are told that it should be available before the end of the year. Well, we are not going to promise anything, but what is for sure is that the RS has been 22-06 accredited, and that it is on its way!
You can see all the different colours of the Shark Spartan RS helmet here.
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