Warren
Latest posts by Warren (see all)

Continuing shopping for motorcycle gear stolen by Australia Post I sought a replacement for my Nolan N43 Air helmet.

To understand why I would seek this style of helmet I need to help you understand how hot it is living in the tropics.

It’s actually too hot to ride here in summer, it’s like a blast furnace outside, unbearable to even walk around until dusk. But I am going to be here for two more years maybe so got to try something.

The Nolan N43 Air was a great helmet for hot weather riding thanks to massive helmet venting. Combining this with it’s Jet configuration having the main visor always raised flowed more air than any other helmet I’ve ever used.

However I did not buy it again. My buying criteria for all my replacement gear is to try obtain little better protection. A Jet style helmet falls short for that – but I absolutely want the unobstructed forward vision Jet helmets provide and need the massive air flow. Once both have been experienced it is very difficult to consider a narrow viewport helmet in the tropics.

For touring overseas I still have my Nolan N70 2 GT which made it from Japan in another shipment. I use this helmet in its full face configuration but it still has much greater forward vision than regular helmets. However this helmet has no Australian compliance tag. It is approved for Japan and the EU but I cannot find any approval tag other than the Japan one. (leave a comment if you know how I can find that)

Add in my Shark RSR2 carbon and Nolan N44 were white and you might have noticed I like white helmets, something as unfashionable as writing a blog these days.

Why do I like white helmets. 1. Well this began because white helmets are cheaper. My three Nolan helmets were 25-40% less than colour versions, my Shark carbon 50% less and the new Shark 33% less.

2. Then I noticed they reflect the sun and are much cooler than black helmets. With good venting like the Nolan’s have they don’t become a swamp inside until the humidity peaks.

3. There is a bonus that white helmets do not fade in sun or show stone chips or scratches. They look newer for longer.

4. And lastly this will be a bit controversial, but I think white helmets are easier to notice. Now I am actually not a believer in passive rider conspicuity. That is wearing hi-vis or hardwired headlights or day glow helmets etc. I think how much it makes drivers see riders has been overestimated. Drivers still simply tune out bikes and objects that are not a danger to them.

I am a believer in active rider strategic conspicuity. Assume you are invisible, assume driver is drunk or looking at Facebook. Have time and space margin, make a good lane choice and position. Be aware of blind spots and most important, my personal learning from riding SE Asia, break any road rule needed to stay alive.

Having said all that – I really notice riders with white helmets way sooner. I don’t buy white helmets for this reason, to be honest I’m just a cheap charlie who doesn’t care about trends 馃檪

Righto enough sidetracking, on to the Shark City Cruiser helmet. This is a unique design from Shark that is a Jet helmet with slightly improved safety from extended sections chin sections and innovative visor venting.

This helmet is so far a real mixed bag for me.

The finish is very good, the visor clarity good, the inner visor comes down full distance to top of my nose which is better than the N43 that fell short. The outer visor has vents along the lower front edge which is a good idea to stop fogging and eliminates need for vent in the middle of lower portion like Nolan’s have.

It has a rachet buckle, my preferred style to double D. I find this offers a better and more comfortable way to affix. And most positive factor I love the unlimited forward vision the helmet offers.

The not so good is the mechanism to lower the inner visor is not as easy as a Nolan and the inner visor is not spring loaded so to raise it is difficult while riding. Perhaps operating it will get easier with practice and I will moderate this comment.

The single top of helmet vent could be bigger. You do get plenty of air riding from front with main visor up. I have an extended screen on my BMW G310GS which assists to redirect air higher but lots of air hitting my upper body and some mild turbulence like all these ADV bikes suffer.

I will update extended highway use of the helmet after I do a run up to Cairns in near future.

And then I come to the weak point which is the helmet inner liner. It feels uncomfortable at the top of my head where there is a lack of cushioning. The liner is not even remotely close to the quality of the Nolan. Less plush liner can be cooler but maybe in this helmet that has been taken a step too far. (see update below – this liner shape became a major problem)

My Rough and Road helmet summer insert made it from Japan so I have installed this and it has helped a little with interior comfort and will be easy to remove and wash clean of perspiration.

On the road I find the Shark has a whistle noise at urban speed with the main visor raised. This disappears with the main visor closed but it is far too hot to do that here. The vent on top does not flow remotely as much air as my Nolan N43 and N44 did and even the N70 with redesigned smaller vents flows more.

Of course it would be noisy if I was not using ear plugs but with those it becomes perfectly quiet as does any helmet. If you are still not wearing ear plugs then you have no idea how much more enjoyable riding a motorcycle is wearing them.

The Shark City Cruiser design with the extended chin sections I think is innovative. It adds a little protection there that Jet helmets lack, how much Shark does not state. It would not be as much as the chin bar that Nolan uses in their convertible helmets.

I continue to wish helmets could see some innovation to reducing the G-force passed on to the brain in an impact – that being the thing that kills riders and which we still rely on the same thin bit of polystyrene that Bell Helmets introduced around the time Armstrong landed on the moon. Meanwhile morons on YouTube smash helmets with baseball bats promoting harder shells are best when the opposite is true and might save lives. But I digress.

If the helmet turns out no good for me I will be tempted to wear my Nolan N70-2 GT here and just hope for the best with police. I tried a few ADV helmets. I’ve used that style before when I rode moto-X. The peak and oversized chin works well with goggles but I don’t want them for road riding.

I will no doubt be adding to this helmet review as I use it and will update my experiences here.

UPDATE

I just finished a tour and the Shark helmet became uncomfortable each day after a few hours. The inner foam shell at the ceiling has ridges that become pressure points on your head after a few hours. The Rough and Road helmet insert did not fix this and now I am back home the helmet will be packed away or maybe even sold off as I will never use it again.

Win some lose some I guess.

UPDATE 2 – Now has been sold. I will just use my Nolan N70 even though I cannot find the required EU number inside anywhere.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Warren
    I think the rules about helmet certification had been amended somewhat recently,it鈥檚 my understanding that eu compliance is satisfactory for au riders .
    You are right about the white helmets ,there have been studies done about visibility and white helmets are close behind Fluro ones for visibility even if you have a dark jacket it stands out ,maybe because it鈥檚 the highest point .
    Glad to see you are up and about and in good spirits and health ,I would love to go for a few weeks – month to cairns riding around the atherton tablelands and cape tribulation and cooktown but will have to wait for a few years yet
    All the best
    Peter

    • Hi Peter,

      Yes you are right I am reading there should be a tag or something inside the helmet with an EU approval number. I will look again.

      I’m not confident my white helmet will make much difference here but in Japan riding a FJR1300 which is used by Japanese police and wearing a white helmet as police do got the attention of some drivers. When I came up behind they often would slow down to the speed limit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *