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Product Evaluation

Schuberth Concept Motorcycle Helmet
We've been using a number of flip-up helmets lately, and the Schuberth Concept motorcycle helmet certainly stands out from the others. First of all, it's a rather large helmet in terms of its overall size. On the plus side, this larger size provides for a rather spacious eye port area which is wonderful for those who wear glasses or suffer from claustrophobic tendencies.

The helmet has an unmistakable feel of quality, though this should be no surprise as Schuberth invented the flip-open helmet "concept" in 1978. Featuring a carbon fiber composite shell, the concept's interior is quite comfortable, not to mention removable for washing. The hinge mechanism is very secure in it's movement and the thick fog-coated face shield is anything but flimsy and has positive ratcheting positions, but no position to slightly open the shield to relieve fogging or to get a small dose of fresh air. Rather than a traditional "D" ring strap closure, the Concept helmet features a positive locking quick-release buckle.

The most notable feature of this helmet, other than its flip-open design, is the integrated flip down sun visor - we've been waiting years for this. Just move a lever down and you have instant sun visor, located just behind the regular face shield. Other unique features include an easy-to-use and positive closing front vent that won't easily brake off, and one that actually lets fresh air in when open. Another unique feature is the little compartment for storing personal emergency contact information. There's also a lower chin pad that extends around the entire base of the helmet to keep wind and noise out, which it did very well. We actually started wearing this helmet just to shield ourselves from the all-to-loud exhaust noise of our project RC51.

To open the front of the helmet, you locate the latch release on the left side and push it forward - along with the front of the helmet. This is rather easy once you get accustomed to it. When putting the helmet on, you must first open the flip-up and then pull the helmet on like an open face lid. You can't put it on, or take it off like a regular full-face helmet, as the bottom chin pad makes this impossible.

The integrated sun visor is really trick. Just flip the lever down and you're set. No squinting from the sun, and no unsafe night riding with a dark shield. We love the sun visor feature, but be warned, the sun can sneak in on the sides of the eye port if the sun is low and setting to your side.

We have no concerns over the helmets protective properties, even though it carries only a DOT approval, or it's merits when worn behind a full fairing. The manufacturer claims this helmet is quiet, a point we beg to differ with in actual use. If you stretch your neck out leaving the helmet in an uninterrupted stream of air, it is indeed quiet, both pointed straight ahead or with your head turned. But in the real world we sit in a natural position and wear riding jackets. Under these conditions the helmet is loud,  much of the time. To make matters worse, the wind noise that you hear is perceived as emanating from the sides of the helmet, rather than from the front, placing the persistent noise closer to your ears. we experimented extensively and rode different types of motorcycles to back up our findings. If you're behind a large windshield this will of course pose no problem.

In addition to this, we found the stiff chin padding a nuisance when closing the helmet, when yawning, sneezing, or just simply trying to move our jaw around inside the helmet. If the helmet were ours, we'd have to cut the front portion of this nearly inflexible chin pad out, as it always pushed against the bottom of our chin.

The Schuberth concept helmet carries a suggested retail price of $400 and comes in sizes XS - XXL. It's available in the colors metallic silver, metallic blue, black, white and red ad it's exclusively distributed in the US by Intersport Fashions West, Inc. To find a dealer near you, simply call them toll-free at 888-311-5399.

Helmet Web Page: www.schuberth-usa.com

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