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Schuberth C5 Carbon helmet review

Published on: 03 January 2024


Here at Motolegends we are not big on carbon helmets. Now that is, in part, down to the fact that we don’t really get involved with sportsbikes and racing; but it’s also because we just don’t see that there are many benefits to carbon helmets. Of course, they are lighter, but you will usually pay a huge premium to save maybe a hundred or so grams. On the road, we don’t tend to generate much by way of g-forces, so we don’t see that carbon helmets really add much.

Some people assume that, because MotoGP riders and Formula One drivers wear carbon-fibre helmets, they must be safer and more protective than composite helmets. But that is not the case. Carbon-fibre helmets are lighter; and that’s all. (Indeed, we are even hearing stories about the problems some manufacturers are having getting carbon helmets through 22-06).

Max Verstappen Schuberth helmet

If you’re in F1 or Moto GP you’ll benefit from a carbon helmet.

And so, when it was first offered to us, we were not particularly interested in getting involved with the C5 Carbon. The idea of selling somebody a helmet that adds nothing in terms of functionality, but that costs twice as much does not sit well with us. We are just not comfortable suggesting to anybody that they would be better off with a carbon-fibre helmet. Because, in our view, they usually won’t be.

Of course, we are at odds here with most retailers, who would be delighted to sell someone a more expensive helmet. But despite the fact that we have never listed the helmet, a number of customers approached us to ask if we could get one in for them; largely on the basis, I imagine, that we could custom fit it. And so we have come to the view that it is not really appropriate for us to get in the way if a customer wants to buy one. As long as somebody knows what they are buying, and why, that’s good enough for us. So if you want, for whatever reason, a C5 Carbon we will, in future, have it here on the shelf. We will never try to upsell anybody from a standard Schuberth C5 to a carbon one, but if you decide you want carbon, so be it.

But first let’s just recap on the C5. We’ll then tell you a little bit about the carbon version because, in truth, it is a little bit special.

Schuberth C5 helmet lifestyle

The Schuberth C5

The C5 has been on the market for a couple of years now. It is in a different league to its predecessor, the disastrous C4. It is a good helmet. People like it. Bits don’t fall off it. It’s comfortable. It’s quiet. It doesn’t fog up unduly. The comms. facility is fantastic. And so on. The C5 has become a worthy competitor to the Neotec.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the C5 is the difficulty it presents in terms of getting a truly tailored fit. The situation is not helped by the fact that the C5 only comes in two shell sizes. As a result, the gap between a Large and an Extra Large is huge; and in most cases the additional linings cannot bridge that gap. What this often means is that if your head measures 59cm going into 60cm, the C5 probably won’t work for you. If the Large is just a little tight on you, the Extra Large will be huge.

We do, of course, applaud Schuberth for its decision to offer different thicknesses for the padding for the inside of the C5. But the fact that we can only offer custom fitting in three of the six sizes is disappointing. As is the fact that we haven’t had in stock the most important single interior part, the 25 mm cheekpad, for over a year. It just seems as though Schuberth isn't taking issues concerning fit seriously; and with Shoei about to introduce its computerised Personal Fitting System, it looks as though Schuberth could be left behind.

Schuberth C5 internals diagram

The C5 can be custom fitted, but only to a certain degree.

But, this aside, the C5 works. We have had a few minor quality-control issues, but nothing that causes undue concern. If the C5 fits you as it should, then it’s a great helmet.

Schuberth C5 Carbon lifestyle

The C5 Carbon

Schuberth doesn’t just make motorcycle helmets. They produce headwear for the military, for the emergency services, the police, and so on. But Schuberth is particularly proud of its involvement in Formula One. And indeed Schuberth supplies helmets to the current wunderkind of the sport: Max Verstappen. There are currently only four manufacturers who supply helmets to Formula One, and the company is keen to point out that the C5 Carbon is made in the same factory, and by the same people, who make helmets for the likes of Max, Sergio and Nico.

Schuberth tecnician

This video shows how Schuberth’s carbon helmets are produced.

Above is a video that talks about the manufacturing process. And it is indeed impressive, on one level, that you can buy a helmet in the shops that is produced by the same hands that make the helmets for Formula One drivers. Each helmet shell is produced by one person who is tasked, inside four hours, to take the Lazer-cut strips of carbon, intricately lay them within a carbon mould to create the shell, and then place it into the autoclave for curing.

Given the technology involved, the expense of the materials, and the time it takes for a person to create a finished helmet, the price is perhaps not surprising. If one pays an extra £100 for a plain coloured Arai or Shoei to become one with a graphic, then £500 for a carbon helmet made in this way perhaps doesn’t seem unreasonable.

Schuberth C5 autoclave

The C5’s shell has to be made by hand and enter the autoclave inside 4 hours.

But we come at this from a different angle. What do you get from a thousand pound C5 that you don’t get from a £500 one? And in our view, the answer is not a lot really.

In the medium size, the C5 Carbon weighs 1460g.. And for a 22-06, flip which is prewired for comms., that is pretty impressive. That’s 200g. less than the standard helmet. Whether this will make much a difference to your average GS rider is another question.

Schuberth SC2 intercom

The talk distance is much reduced if you go for the C5 Carbon.

Remember, nobody is pretending that the carbon model is more protective. Nobody is going to ever admit this, but one could be quite confident that the carbon helmet would be a tad noisier. And then there is the issue of the ‘talk distance’ on the comms.. Schuberth somewhat optimistically state 2 km for the standard helmet, but because the carbon shell acts as a barrier, they acknowledge that the talk distance on the C5 Carbon is just 700 metres. In both instances, we are talking here about best case scenarios.

But still, it cannot be denied that the C5 carbon is a work of art. The way the carbon panels are laid displays a level of artistry, and a mastery of this particular skill. The helmet does look beautiful. It’s an impressive bit of kit, and if this is important to you, then go for it. Why not?

Schuberth C5 Carbon packshot

The helmet is beautifully finished, and the paint won’t ever chip!

I am aware that, here at Motolegends we can be a bit puritanical on such matters. But I don’t really know why. We all spend money on fripperies that make us feel better in some way, even when there’s no functional benefit. Life would be a bit dull if all our decisions were based solely on rational criteria. And Aston Martin would never sell another car!

I suppose we might sometimes take ourselves too seriously. We like to make sure our customers know the score. We will never try and sell anybody something they don’t need, which is why we have never been keen on carbon-fibre helmets. But if you want a C5 Carbon, and you know why you want a C5 Carbon, that’s fine by us. And if you want one you should still probably buy it from us, because not many people can custom fit the C5, and as far as I know nobody else does it for free in the way that we do.

We have the C5 Carbon here on the shelf. Come and see it. Even we have to admit that it’s a bit of a looker!

For more information and to buy online, click Schuberth C5 Carbon helmet.

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