Shark, a helmet manufacturer hailing from France, has been garnering significant popularity worldwide. With its origins rooted in the racetrack, Shark's helmets have become a favored choice among some of the globe's most prominent racers. Among these elite racers is Miguel Oliveira, a prominent figure in KTM's racing team, who entrusts his safety to a Shark helmet. Notably, even in the Philippines, accomplished racers like Lawrence Macalinao rely on the protection provided by the Shark Race R Pro GP.
Meanwhile, off the racetrack, Shark continues to make a striking impression with its collection of comfortable, high-quality, and safety-focused helmets. One prime illustration of this is the Spartan RS, designed as a more budget-friendly alternative to the Spartan RS Carbon. Our talented rider and fellow writer Earl previously shared insights about the Spartan RS Carbon in a review published a few months ago. Now, let's delve into the distinctive features that set the Spartan RS helmet apart.
Being my first Shark helmet, I was thoroughly surprised with the way the helmet was put together. The moment I opened the box, it became evident that this helmet was a testament to uncompromising quality. The packaging itself revealed a lot about the product, and Shark's packaging design is unmistakably premium, and exudes a sense of luxury. What further caught my attention was the inclusion of a dust bag alongside the helmet. Unlike the disposable dust bags commonly encountered with other brands, Shark's dust bag is notably well-crafted, adding an extra touch of value to the overall experience.
Out of the box, the helmet's exterior exhibits a remarkable level of craftsmanship. The vents operate with a noticeable precision, conveying a sense of sturdiness and impeccable construction. Likewise, the visor mechanism demonstrates solidity and features micro detents that facilitate precise adjustments for the desired degree of openness or closure.
Moving to the interior, the liner and padding exude a distinct premium quality. The utilization of various textured fabrics and synthetic leather contributes to this luxurious feel. Notably, the area where the helmet comes into contact with the skin is adorned with a gentle, felt-like fabric boasting outstanding moisture-wicking attributes.
At a first glance, the styling of the Shark Spartan RS might elicit varying opinions. The presence of a sizable airdam at the front, coupled with the contoured lines that extend towards the helmet's rear, creates an impression reminiscent of a futuristic design. These lines converge elegantly into a sleek spoiler, which also serves as the housing for the rear heat extractors.
The helmet's aesthetic is a harmonious blend of fluidity and refinement, yet it retains an element of ruggedness. It particularly complements naked sportbikes and sport-touring machines, as opposed to hypersport and supersport bikes. Undoubtedly, the design exudes a modern aura, standing in stark contrast to the retro-themed helmets offered by other brands. Conversely, its unique aesthetics also set it apart from race-inspired helmets like the Shark Race R Pro.
I describe the Spartan RS as a "Sport-Touring" helmet primarily due to its design and emphasis on comfort-enhancing features. Notably, it boasts a user-friendly drop-down visor mechanism that can be effortlessly activated. Additionally, disassembling the helmet for cleaning purposes is a straightforward process. The presence of built-in speaker cutouts allows for the convenient installation of various types of communicators. Despite these comfort-oriented attributes, the helmet retains a double-D ring closure mechanism, underscoring its commitment to both performance and safety considerations.
Tech and Safety
Shark has consistently been a pioneer in the realms of technology and safety, and the Spartan RS upholds this tradition. It adheres rigorously to the latest safety protocols stipulated by Europe's ECE 22.06 standards. Constructed from fiberglass, the helmet's shell boasts exceptional lightweight attributes, surpassing thermoplastic shells while not quite reaching the featherweight qualities of carbon fiber alternatives. The Spartan RS registers a mere 1,530 grams on the scales, positioning it as one of the more lightweight choices within its caliber.
Internally, the helmet showcases a multi-density EPS liner designed to effectively absorb and disperse impacts. Aligning with the stringent ECE 22.06 standards, the Spartan RS incorporates optimized shell sizes corresponding to the specific helmet dimensions, thereby augmenting protection levels and ensuring an impeccable fit. In terms of comfort, the helmet not only provides a snug fit but also excels in ventilation, facilitated by sizable ventilation ports situated at the front, on the forehead, and at the rear, resulting in excellent airflow.
On the road
While discussing design and features is important, the true measure of a helmet lies in its performance on the road. When in motion, the Shark Spartan RS imparts a sensation of remarkable lightness atop your head. To provide context, I've worn it on rides on naked bikes such as my Triumph Street Triple RS and Yamaha MT-07, and the fit really complements a more upright seating posture. In urban environments, the helmet can occasionally become warm, yet a simple remedy involves raising the visor to usher in additional airflow.
At higher speeds, the helmet's stability remains unwavering. The expansive field of vision endures even during highway cruising and spirited cornering sessions, a credit to the Optical Class 1 visor's efficacy. The inclusion of the Pinlock anti-fog lens is very useful in rainy weather, preventing visor fogging and maintaining clear vision. It's important to mention that if the visor is slightly ajar, a faint whistling sound can be heard as air courses through the EPS liner. That being the case, this noise disappears instantly upon fully closing the visor at speed.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to nitpick on the Shark Spartan RS, given all the features it brings to the table. Priced approximately around P19,000, contingent on your preferred finish and additional accessories, the helmet delivers exceptional value. Its comfort transcends various riding conditions, creating an impression that its actual worth surpasses its price tag. While its styling might not resonate with every individual, it unequivocally caters to those with an affinity for futuristic and contemporary helmet designs.