Right on the heels of reigning World Superbike Champion Ben Spies’ second place finish at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix between MotoGP winner Dani Pedrosa and series leader Jorge Lorenzo, HJC Helmets has announced a new RPS-10 helmet that includes versions that includes Spies’ graphics.
HJC tells us that Spies brought "the attitude of a winner" to the development of the RPS-10. "Every RPS-10 bears Ben’s fingerprints," according to HJC, "as his testing input literally helped form prototype designs into the helmet every rider can now wear." The Ben Spied Limited Edition Replica RPS-10 will feature his specific graphics, as well as his signature.
HJC is the world’s largest manufacturer of helmets, and is now developing world-class helmets to go with its best sellers. According to HJC, "the all-new RPS-10, the lightest Snell 2010 helmet on the market, is a premium helmet that elevates the standards of excellence."
According to HJC, "Development of the RPS-10 encompassed more than three years of intensive work, along with substantial capital investment to the HJC manufacturing and testing facilities, including the creation of an all-new full-size wind tunnel that enabled engineers to make the RPS-10 the most aerodynamic helmet HJC has ever produced. Three different development teams worked on various designs during this time, and more than 20 different prototypes were created and tested."
"Each prototype was thoroughly evaluated, and with each successive iteration the design was tweaked and reshaped for reduced aerodynamic drag, maximum stability, minimum lift, minimum vibration and noise, and more. Based on these testing results the existing prototype would be revised and a next-generation prototype would then be designed and constructed, and the testing process resumed once again."
HJC is clearly going after the racing market, with the Yamaha-mounted Spies as its most recognizable rider. Track speeds are being used to develop the RPS-10. "During the RPS-10 development process, HJC employed CAD design and rapid-prototyping technology to build more than 20 different 3-D prototype samples," HJC says. "Each prototype was then tested in many ways and in many environments, including dynamic tests with an engineer seated on a motorcycle inside HJC’s new 130-mph wind tunnel."
HJC notes that high wind speeds are not limited to racing conditions: "Should a rider heading down the freeway at 70 mph encounter strong headwinds of 45 mph or more, such an everyday occurrence would easily surpass the 100-mph mark. Which is to say, a helmet’s superior aerodynamic performance gained through wind-tunnel testing at high wind speeds can benefit all riders."
The claimed weight of the RPS-10 is less than 1500 grams–3.30 pounds in small and medium sizes–and HJC claims this makes it the lightest Snell 2010-approved helmet on the market. The RPS-10 features what HJC call Premium Integrated Matrix (PIM) construction. This incorporates three different materials–carbon fiber, aramid fiber and fiberglass–to create a unique woven blend that is designed to be remarkably strong and noticeably lighter compared to conventional materials.
According to HJC, the shell is hand-laid into a special pre-mold for shaping, and this is a new process developed specifically for the RPS-10. This exacting production method is performed by only six people who have trained for a year are qualified to perform this pre-mold process, HJC says. Using this method, HJC claims the helmet to be 3.5 ounces (100 grams) lighter than a shell constructed in a conventional manner.
Very proud of Spies involvement in the development, an HJC spokesman tells us that "one element of great importance to Ben is the RPS-10’s shield locking system. He specifically requested that HJC develop this feature since he often turns his head to look around while in the heat of MotoGP racing. And so the RPS-10 has a unique and patented self-locking/center locking system that locks the shield shut in a most positive manner, yet it can be instantly and easily opened with one touch of the finger when desired."
Ventilation has received specific attention. HJC says, "Our innovative Max Air-Flow Top Vent yields variable air intake that can be easily adjusted to one of seven click-stop positions to suit riding conditions using glove-friendly rotating dials on each intake vent. And our Advanced Channeling Ventilation System (ACS) gives full front-to-back airflow to flush out heat and humidity."
Again pointing to street-performance, HJC commented on its tests in a new wind tunnel: "A helmet’s superior aerodynamic performance gained through wind-tunnel testing at high wind speeds can benefit all riders. In addition, such testing techniques allowed HJC engineers to fine-tune the RPS-10 not only for high-speed aerodynamic performance at varying angles and riding postures, but also for interior noise levels, effective ventilation, maximum stability, minimum lift, minimum vibration and more."
The new HJC RPS-10 comes with an industry-leading five-year warranty on materials and workmanship. In addition to the Spies Replica, there are a number of other shell finishes.