Joe Rocket Speedmaster Carbon Motorcycle Helmet/Midland Radio BT Next Headset Test
Days before joining friends on a long ride, I received Joe Rocket's Speedmaster Carbon helmet. The new series replaces the RKT 201 Carbon that Joe Rocket introduced two years ago.
Unboxing the Speedmaster Carbon revealed a beautifully manufactured example of a 4x4 carbon-fiber weave shell wrapped around a dual-density EPS liner. The look and visual texture of the carbon was as good as anything I have seen before.
Inside, the Speedmaster Carbon lid features a fully removable and washable Qwikdry interior. Breathing duties are handled by Joe Rocket's Quadport 2.0 ventilation, which features two large front intake vents that send air through the venturi-effect exhaust that exits the helmet at the rear under the lip of the spoiler.
This flow is supplemented by a pair of small, but effective, chin vents operated by a switch mounted between them. The lid is finished with a lovely gel coat. As for weight, at 3 lbs. 3 ounces, it's without a doubt the lightest helmet I've handled to date.
This state-of-the-art piece is both Snell and DOT approved. Careful examination found the workmanship and finish to be on a level much higher than would be expected given its price tag of $399.
I spent about 20 minutes before the ride installing Midland Radio’s BT Next Bluetooth headset. I wanted the combination of a light helmet with all the functionality that a modern headset can offer. The BT Next provides Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone, music library, FM radio with six presets and scanning, GPS, the ability to communicate within a group of up to four riders or larger sized groups (by connecting 2-way radios).
More on the BT Next in an upcoming review but, for now, I can tell you that it worked perfectly. The BT Next provided splendid sound that could be heard at any highway speeds, and installation was a breeze. Simply clamp the unit to the side of the helmet, unsnap and pull back the liner, route the tiny wires, mount the microphone on the chin bar and place the speakers in position.
Kudos to Joe Rocket for not only allowing clearance for the depth of the speakers in its Speedmaster Carbon helmet, but for adding small, speaker-sized pockets into the lining. This eliminated the need to figure out the exact position in which to mount the speakers and the need to hook and loop fastener tape them to the interior. I just popped them into the pockets, and the speakers fit perfectly.
I finally had my chance to bond with the Speedmaster Carbon during a 400-plus mile ride with friends on a typical July day in Southern California. I installed the dark smoke shield in less than a minute without using any tools or referring to the instructions. The morning started shrouded in a mid-60 degree (F) mist and the vents were closed.
Riding the freeway to our rendezvous made me immediately aware that the helmet was fairly quiet. My experience has been that the lighter the helmet, the louder the wind noise. Unscientifically, I’d say this helmet occupies a place about midway between the most and least sound-deadening helmets I’ve tried, and I’d say top marks are deserved for this.
As temperatures rose to around 104-degrees (F) during the day, I was able to try all the different combinations of venting. As long as I was in motion I felt a flow as good as any helmet can offer. Although the lining got a bit damp at the height of the day, I was quite satisfied with the performance. Also, the wind noise did not increase when the vents were opened as is the case with some other helmets.
Regarding fit, I recognize that many head shapes are different. My long, oval-type shape fit the helmet well, but after about an hour I found that I had a hot spot at the top-center of my forehead. During a stop I used my thumbs on the liner pressing hard in that area and it did alleviate most of the pressure. I will let the helmet break-in a bit longer before making any complaint about this and suspect that, one way or another, I’ll get it to fit perfectly.
During the ride we visited one of our top secret test areas to let the horses run. At a buck-and-a-half, tucked in behind the windscreen of a 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa, the Speedmaster Carbon remained neutral. There was no lift exhibited nor any tendency to get caught or oscillate in the draft at speed.
There are many fine helmets being manufactured all over the world nowadays, with a wide range of prices. With some you get what you paid for. But with the Speedmaster Carbon, you get your money’s worth and more.
For additional information on the Joe Rocket Speedmaster Carbon motorcycle helmet, visit joerocket.com.