HJC Motorcycle Helmet
Not many riders endorse the HJC helmet namesake when it comes to motorcycle road racing. But there’s one important MotoGP pilot who does – Ben Spies.
Important? The AMA and World Superbike Champion was a significant asset when HJC decided to compete with the likes of Aria, Shoei, AGV and Vemar; Spies had helped develop HJC’s latest design, the RPS-10, the same helmet he uses in the 2011 MotoGP Championship.
Besides Spies input, HJC developed the RPS-10 helmet using various, hi-tech devices, such as CAD design and rapid-prototype technology to build more than "20 different 3-D samples," and a 130-mph wind tunnel.
After three years of development, HJC had designed one of the lightest, SNELL 2010-approved helmets on the market, with excellent comfort, wind buffeting and quietness. The helmet lacks in a few areas, but price-point helps deter those imperfections.
Once I held the RPS-10, I immediately noticed its low weight. HJC made this lightness capable by designing the RPS-10 with Premium Integrated Matrix (PIM) construction, which incorporates a mix of carbon fiber, aramid fiber and fiberglass. With these three materials "woven" together, HJC created what’s always in demand for motorcycle helmets – strength with less weight.
And to get an understanding of how lightweight this HJC motorcycle helmet is, my medium HJC RPS-10 weighted in around 3.32 lbs., which is equivalent to a 1.5-liter bottle of water.
Once the lightness is realized, the next thing that garners much attention on the RPS-10 is the center lock on the "2D Flat Racing Shield." The center-lock system, which was developed through Ben Spies’ input, creates a tight seal like no other. The center mechanism takes a bit to get used to, but easily locks/unlocks with even the sloppiest gloves.
As for the HJC’s shield itself, it can present something every rider despises – a foggy shield. Right out of the box, the RPS-10 is plagued with fogging problems, mostly due to a useless chin vent. Thankfully, though, HJC’s new helmet features a Pinlock-prepped faceshield, which allows for the use of Pinlock Fog Resistant Insert Lens. And another thank you…HJC supplies the customer with one.
I initially tested the helmet without the Pinlock, and fogging became a major issue, especially in the evening hours. But once the Pinlock is attached, foggy is no longer an issue. Although the Pinlock system works, it can get a bit annoying regarding line of sight; when in the tucked, sport-riding position, the edges of the Pinlock insert may bother some. But in more upright positions, this wasn’t a problem.
And if you need to remove the faceshield, it’s not a problem either. The shield attaches to the RPS-10 through HJC’s RapidFire II Shield Replacement System. It’s simple: fully open the shield and use your thumbs to press two buttons. The shield pops off. Replacing it is just as easy.
The RPS-10 eye-port also provides a wide, peripheral from left to right, but lacks from top to bottom. And the oversized breath defector can be of some nuisance when looking at your gauges.
Regarding ventilation, the RPS-10 features a very unique Max Air-Flow Top Vent system that works well, but is on the lower end of ventilation when compared to some other big-name helmet manufactures.
The RPS-10′s ventilation system features right- and left-dials that adjust to seven different venting variations. Again, even with sloppy gloves on the dial easily clicks to whatever setting desired. In warmer temps, this is useless; you’ll want the upper vents completely open. But at night and in cooler temps, the seven-click adjustability can allow for various amounts of air to enter the helmet, providing greater comfort.
All of this entered air is pushed out through the RPS-10′s exhaust vent setup, the Advanced Channeling Ventilation System (ACS). The ACS pulls out the heat and humidity both from the vented air coming in, and the stale air inside even while the top vents are closed. As for the chin vent, well it’s there, but it useless for it’s purpose – to defog the shield.
Out of all the motorcycle helmets I’ve worn, the RPS-10 features one of the softest interiors, having a feel similar to fleece. The SilverCool Plus interior repels odors, and is easily removable for cleaning. And with this comfort arrives an extremely quiet helmet; the RPS-10 surprisingly hushes the outside world compared to most helmets designed for racing/sport riding.
I’ve tested the RPS-10 on the street and at track speeds up to around 165 mph, and the wind buffeting was optimal. There were a few snags if you were turning your head to the right or left, but overall those 130-mph HJC wind tunnels helped design a helmet that battles wind buffeting at all speeds.
Then there’s the custom graphics. All three (Spies, Mugello and Patriot) are equally attractive. But because Spies earned my respect during his AMA Superbike battles with Mat Mladin, I immediately knew I’d be donning the Texas star. And the best part about emulating "Elbowz?" The sub-$500 price point. But if you want to save a few bucks, the other graphics are just as attractive.
The UltimateMotorCycling.com HJC RPS-10 verdict:
If you’re searching for a light-weight helmet with optimal comfort, quietness and a truly-unique faceshield design, all for under $500 with killer graphics, check out the RPS-10. Just remember to immediately attach the included Pinlock Fog Resistant Fog insert.
If you’re searching for a comfortable and quiet helmet that includes optimal ventilation and optimal lower view out of the eyeport, look elsewhere. But good luck with finding one with the low weight and price of the RPS-10.
The RPS-10 is available in sizes XS-XXL, in the following graphics/MSRP:
- Ben Spies: $499
- Mugello: $399
- Patriot: $399
- Matte Black: $359
- Metallic (Silver, Anthracite): $359
- Solid (Black, White, Dark Yellow): $349
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