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Schuberth does not pay professional racers to use their products. Nonetheless, during his Formula One career, world champion Michael Schumacher chose the protection of the Schuberth SF1 carbon Formula 1 helmet. After beginning a second career in IDM Superbike, Mr. Schumacher again turned to Schuberth for his head protection needs. Through their combined efforts, the Schuberth “Race” helmet was born. Based upon the SF1 design and the direct predecessor of the SR1, this marriage of racing pedigree with German engineering is seen in every detail of the SR1 head protection system today.
Production and Testing
Approximately one week is required by German craftsmen to hand-build each SR1. Referred to as S.T.R.O.N.G., a special fiberglass Duroplast matrix with carbon fiber reinforcement is used to create the shell. No less than 14 different parts made of fiberglass, carbon and a special polymer resin compound are worked by hand before the helmet shell is pressed into shape using high pressure and heat. Only after each shell is measured for consistency does it proceed to the computer guided water jet. The 43,500 psi of pressure is used to precisely cut the shell for its eye port, ventilation and hardware mounting points.
More than a dozen assembly operations are required to fit the various additional components, from the high performance EPS inner shell to the hand-stitched interior. Zero tolerance for defects calls for the weighing and checking of each helmet after every step of the production process. The SR1 sold in the U.S. meets both the strict ECE-R 22.05 European and DOT test standards, guaranteeing conformity to defined safety standards with respect to impact absorption, penetration resistance, lateral rigidity, retention system and field of vision. Individually serialized ECE numbers are established for each helmet. The ECE standard is the only one which requires batch testing of production runs. In order to receive the individually serialized ECE labels, manufacturers are required to submit 150 of every 3,000 helmets they produce for testing. In the course of testing, Schuberth destroys 150 of every 3,000 helmets it produces.
Take hold of the SR1 and the first thing you’ll notice is how light it is, weighing in at just less than three pounds in size medium. Strength, of course, is not sacrificed in the name of weight savings. Schuberth’s proprietary methods ensure the shell maintains consistency of thickness throughout. You’ll also notice the high quality fit and finish. The matte black paint (if you choose this color option), however, doesn’t do a good job of repelling stains and likes to hold
onto everything from bugs to fingerprints. All hardware and trim are very securely fastened. The vents, rear spoiler and face shield lock all have very positive engagement. These controls, along with the thumb tab for the face shield, are large enough to allow easy manipulation with gloved hands. The eye port is large, providing good peripheral vision, and includes a 360-degree rubber gasket, which seals tightly against the face shield, locking out air and weather leaks. Black in color, the Schuberth logos attached to the helmet are reflective at night for added visibility.
Detents in the face shield’s hinge mechanism are strong and hold the shield at various stages of open without much effect from wind, even at speed. Pre-formed to its final shape of 2mm thick polycarbonate in an injection mold (thus yielding an optical class 1 rating), the face shield is distortion free. The shield is nearly as thick as Schuberth’s ballistic Formula 1 race helmet face shields. A tool-less pushbutton release system is provided for removal of the face shield for cleaning. I found this system a little awkward at first, but it seems to get easier as things break in. The shield is incorporated into the helmet shell to minimize the risk of tear-off in the event of an accident.A fog-free Pinlock system is included. Made of a layer of breathable plastic material surrounded by a thin, translucent gasket, this system completely defeats condensation. If you fog up with it installed, you might want to see a health care provider.
Schuberth uses an exclusive, specially optimized EPS foam. It is made with an injection molding process to blend multiple densities into a single piece, ensuring optimal shock absorption. Multiple density foams are strategically utilized to ensure more efficient energy absorption by the helmet and less G-force load transfer to the rider’s head. Combined with the energy dissipating qualities of the outer shell, the properties of this proprietary EPS liner result in ECE test results for energy transferred to the rider far below the limit allowed for certification.
The interior of the SR1 is made of a multi-density microfiber comprised of Coolmax® for quick-drying Polygiene® for odor control and Interpower® for moisture transport. The liner is non-allergenic, anti-bacterial and washable. Removal is easy, as is reinstallation via the snap/tongue and groove design. Protection from chafing caused by the chin strap comes in the form of a healthy dose of the same liner material shielding the inner surface of the strap. The strap itself is secured with a double-D ring closure complete with a snap to stow the excess strap up out of the way and a nylon pull to aid in undoing the strap for removal of the helmet. A.R.O.S. (Anti-Roll-Off System), patented by Schuberth, ensures that, provided the chin strap is closed and correctly adjusted, the helmet cannot pivot off the head from behind. The risk of contact between the chin section of the helmet and the chin or neck of the rider is minimized due to the small angle of tilt. The consequences of the helmet coming into contact with the chest as the result of an accident are reduced. The bottom of the neck roll along the sides and back is reflective at night for added visibility. Another feature of the neck roll is a nonslip, rubberized coating. It will help keep your helmet, when placed errantly on the fuel tank, from slipping off and helps repel detritus picked up from other surfaces.
Race helmets are snug fitting and the SR1 is no exception. You may even be inclined to think you’ve chosen a size too small when first pulling it onto your head, it goes on that tight. Once on, the helmet feels secure to say the least. The SR1 positions itself brilliantly when riding in race posture. I also enjoy the substantive confidence of having that beefy chin bar up front and what an idea, having the relief built into the rear of the shell. No more rubbing and interference from the top of my back protector. Certainly mass appeal considerations were foremost when deciding on an intermediate oval shape. The compromise between round oval and long oval, the intermediate oval shape should work for most people, even if a little early discomfort is encountered. For me, at least initially, having a long oval-shaped head led to a hot spot in my forehead after around an hour of continuous wear. This is a non-issue as the helmet breaks in. Available sizes include XS–XXL accommodating head sizes of 52–63 centimeters (20–25 inches). The range is comprised of three different shell sizes (XS–S, M–L and XL–XXL).
Aerodynamics and Aero-acoustics
Here is where the SR1 really shines. The folks at Schuberth have engineered a helmet with the finest impact absorption and structural integrity. But let’s be real. I have no desire to find out first hand. Discretion, as they say, is the better part of valor. Everyone wants to avoid these discoveries and I’ll discuss how the SR1’s aerodynamic and aero-acoustic qualities will help you do just that.
Developed with hundreds of hours of research and testing in Schuberth’s own wind tunnel to optimize performance, the shape of the SR1 reveals the result of these labors. The shell has a complex shape. An extra spoiler at the chin increases down force at speed. The dual position rear spoiler reduces lift and drag. Anyone who has operated on two wheels at over 200 feet per second can attest to this. Regardless of where you position your head in the airstream, it’s going to buffet and shake like you stuck your head in the paint mixer down at the hardware store. Your vision becomes blurred from the violent shaking at a time where you can afford it least (these moments require instant decisions and visual acuity is critical). I have always accepted this dangerous situation as unavoidable. Not anymore! Schuberth’s SR1 is rock steady brilliance at speed! I can now see, think and process visually and my neck muscles no longer have to function as dampers controlling the violence.
Far less mental and physical fatigue enters the equation now – unquestionably a far safer situation. The aero-acoustic qualities peak as a result. Again, less distraction equals greater safety. My ears are now freer to concentrate on important audible input, whereas before it was mostly drowned out by all the wind noise. The sound quality inside the helmet is so good that I was able to discern a noticeable difference in the lubricity of Bel-Ray® versus Motorex® chain lubes. If I can hear that, can you imagine what other important auditory uptake is possible for street and track use? The bottom line here is, as wind noise decreases, other, more important sound input makes itself known. The SR1 is rated at 88dB(A) at 60 mph. While not as quiet as some helmets on the market, the key here is less distracting wind noise without blocking out important sound reception.
Noise Reduction System (NRS) windows near the back of the helmet look like vents. They are positioned low on the shell, behind the ears, for better sound gain from behind the rider. An amazing amount of sound enters by operating with the windows open for track/traffic use and is all but eliminated when closed for open road use. The NRS includes removable ear pads, available in different thicknesses, to customize how much stimuli you want reaching your ears. These pads use hook and loop fasteners and fill the ear-well area of the liner.
Neck roll thickness can’t be overlooked here, either, as an important contributing factor to wind noise suppression. Good stuff!
Two intakes positioned atop the helmet’s shell gulp air. Feeding 10mm ports, positioned at 45 degree angles, the cooling air is efficiently channeled through reliefs formed in the EPS foam liner. Flowing over the rider’s head, some of the air exits through large, low pressure ports beneath the adjustable rear spoiler. The rest continues through channeling where the air is expelled through webbing in the rear of the neck roll. The system flows more than 10 liters of air per second at 60 mph! An upper chin vent flows air up over the inner surface of the face shield to reduce fogging and to increase airflow along the inner sides of the helmet. The lower chin vent flows air directly to the face or may be positioned to divert airflow to the cheeks. Again, here is evidence of the wind tunnel testing, as the vents all flow huge amounts of air and are positioned perfectly in the airstream for maximum efficiency.
Schuberth provides an owner’s manual with each new helmet, 50 pages in length each, for English, French and Spanish persuasions alike.
Protective Carrying Bag
Each new helmet comes complete with a nice, soft fabric, drawstring carrying bag, the interior of which I could best describe as something resembling a quilted Tyvek®-like material.
Your new Schuberth SR1 comes with a five-year product warranty (from date of purchase, seven years from date of manufacture). This has become industry standard for the most part. However, you can register it immediately with the helmet’s individualized ECE serial number and be enrolled in the free three-year service plan. This provides for a complimentary inspection, adjustment and cleaning of the helmet at your authorized Schuberth dealer to return it to factory specifications. Another innovation of this plan is Schuberth’s Mobility Program. If a rider has the misfortune of having an accident and damaging his or her registered Schuberth helmet within that three-year period, he or she can return the helmet with the Mobility Program certificate, the purchase receipt, proof of motorcycle-endorsed license and a police report from the accident, and Schuberth will authorize the dealer to replace that damaged helmet with a new one of the same model for just one third of the retail price – the best coverage I’m aware of in the industry. Track incidents are, unfortunately, not covered, of course.
Schuberth helmets are carried at approximately 130 retailers in the U.S., many of which are BMW dealers. Questions about Schuberth helmets may be directed to your locally trained dealer or by calling Schuberth North America to get a factory trained technician on the phone: 949-215-0893. E-mail Schuberth at email@example.com or visit them online at http://www.schuberthnorthamerica.com/homepage/ .
This is a great helmet. Retailing for $899 in solids and $969 with graphics, there are certainly less expensive options available. However, I have never donned a helmet with what I would consider such dynamic active safety features – features designed to prevent the crash in the first place. This helmet, strike that... this head protection system is greater than the sum total of its parts. This system will improve your situational awareness and, by result, make you a safer rider/more competitive racer. Considering the very similar pricing structure of other top shelf competitors, the SR1 gives you much more value and therefore is worth every penny of the price of admission.