New helmet review – Shark Evoline

Shark_Evoline_Helmet_Silver_detailI got a good deal for a new Shark Evoline on ebay, and because the reviews I’ve read don’t seem to jive with my experience, I thought I should pass on my impressions.

For those that don’t know, this helmet’s chinbar rotates completely to the rear of the helmet when open. It also has a slide-down sunshade.

This is the only modular/flip helmet that has DOT/ECE2205 approval in either 3/4 or full-face configuration. DOT doesn’t mean much (nothing to any race organization in the world) but ECE2205 is a valuable certification.

First, weight. it is heavy, at least compared to my Shark RSi, which seems very lightweight. However, while you’re wearing it, the weight doesn’t seem as noticeable as when you’re holding it. Make no mistake, any of the modular/flip helmets will be heavier than a full-face helmet.

Second, fit. My Shark RSi is advertised to fit long-oval head shapes, and it is a very comfortable helmet for me. The HJC AC-15, on the other hand, causes so much pressure on my forehead that it is basically unwearable. I guess that means my head shape is long-oval, which is largely true of the US population. Asian people have a more rounded head shape, which the Shoei helmets fit very well. I found the Evoline to fit tighter on my forehead than the RSi, but not too much. It will fit round-oval head shapes just about perfectly. As to size, the Shark chart is spot-on.

Third, operation. The chinbar can be moved from open to closed fairly easily, but when closing it, after rotating it down, you need to push the chinbar to the back to latch it. You can feel it snap into position. The latches are metal on both sides. For the Jay Leno’s, there is a lot more chin clearance with this chinbar than on my Nolan N-102 or my HJC CL-MAX.

Fourth, noise. It is quiet, as long as you’re behind the wing’s windshield. In the moving air, there is a fair amount of noise. It is pretty much an unaviodable side-effect of the flip mechanism, but if you’re wearing earplugs or earbuds as you should be, the noise will not be an issue. It is quieter than the Nolan when the chinbar is closed, but is much louder than the RSi. Ventilation is not great, and your head will sweat if it’s hot out. The best you will do in that situation is to open the chinbar, the vents are there but don’t allow much air movement.

Extras. The liner can be removed for cleaning, as can the faceshield and the sunscreen. It comes with a nice quality storage bag.

Update 9/15/2009 – After a few rides, I have some updates to the review. First, the faceshield has a raised rib so that you can open it, but is is located at the top center of the shield instead of the more usual lower left side. That takes some getting used to. And because the face shield must be open to rotate the chinbar open or closed, you will be opening it.

Update 9/30/2009 – Well, I now have some considerable experience riding in the rain with this helmet.   With the chinbar rotated back (in 3/4 mode) the face shield doesn’t come down to the level of your chin, it stops about mid-upper-lip. That means that your chin (and in my case beard) will be wet if it’s raining. For me it wasn’t really an issue, but if you’re expecting the same shield length as a 3/4 helmet you will be disappointed. Remember the chin bar takes up a lot of the space that a normal 3/4 face shield takes.

With the chinbar down and the shield closed, the face shield fogged up on me. To be fair, Noah was looking for lumber on Saturday, so the sheer amount of water and vapor in the air made fogging inevitable. By opening the face shield a click you could cut down on the fogging, but with the shield partly open the gasket at the top of the face opening allowed water to run onto the inside of the shield. If you want to ride with the shield closed in rainy weather you’ll need a pinlock anti-fog insert.

Fitment was an issue. After a few hours in the saddle on Thursday, I was developing a hotspot in the center of my forehead due to pressure from the helmet. By rotating the helmet forward I was able to relieve it somewhat, but I never got rid of it completely. Today I pulled the liner out to see what I might be able to do to relieve some of the pressure and found a surprise. Glued to the styrofoam liner directly above the eye opening was a piece of hard black foam about 2 x 4 inches. I pulled this piece off the styrofoam and reinstalled the liner. The helmet fits perfectly now, no pressure on the forehead at all. Crap. All I needed to do was to pull the inner liner out and I could have “fixed” my helmet’s fit at any time. Oh, well, at least now it fits perfectly.

The sunshield works well and is most useful for late evening/early morning sun. If it came down a bit further that would be nice, but it’s still better than changing classes or putting on sunglasses.

The only item I will look for is a pinlock system and pins for the face shield. Now that it fits properly, the only real fault is fogging and that’s fixable. This helmet is a keeper for me.