Last week I spent over 40 hours to and from Malaysia to pilot Kawasaki’s new World Superbike contender – the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R – at the Sepang International Circuit. It’s a very powerful machine on a high speed and very technical track—and as I had never been there before I needed as few distractions as possible.
It was also insanely hot, with temperatures in the mid-ninety degrees and humidity so stifling that after lunch a monsoon arrived and forced us to abandon the day.I was wearing the HJC RPHA 10 Pro flagship helmet, and I was very happy I had decided to do so. It’s impressively light, very stable and secure at speed; it’s well-vented, the visor seals perfectly, and it was completely comfortable right away with zero break-in.As a premium product the RPHA 10 Pro is certainly not cheap, especially if you go for one of the graphics models. However, in my opinion it is well worth it—and I’d buy one in a heartbeat. Following are the Top 10 Highlights of the HJC RPHA 10 Pro Helmet:1. LightweightFirst thing you will notice when you pick up the HJC RPHA 10 Pro is how light it feels, and at 3 lbs. 3.3 oz it is one of the lightest helmets we’ve tested; most other premium full-face helmets weigh in around the 3 lbs. 7 oz mark.2. Plush interiorThe RPHA-10 Pro has a really premium-feel interior covered in SilverCool Plus fabric to wick away moisture. Unlike many helmets, the HJC was immediately comfortable and didn’t have the typical hard “hot spots” that many helmets have when you first put them on. Crown and cheek pads are fully removable and washable.3. Reasonably quiet, although earplugs recommended for track useThe RPHA 10 Pro is relatively open under the ears and around the chin bar. Although not the quietest helmet I’ve ever worn, it certainly wasn’t bad, and Sepang has some fast sections with two 150+ MPH straights, so if there had been any aero weaknesses they would have been very apparent. Earplugs really are a must at any track, but the RPHA 10 Pro was plenty quiet enough and there were no distracting draughts swirling up inside the face shield.4. Front visor and center snap-lock is easy to use; Pinlock interior visor includedHJC’s visor is a really snug fit against the rubber seal and the central clip-lock works without twisting the shield. This undoubtedly helps with the total lack of draught as well as the noise suppression qualities of the helmet. The included Pinlock interior visor helps against misting, but it wasn’t a factor for me and I chose not to use it.5. Venting was excellent even in Sepang’s heat and humidityWith temperatures hovering around 95 degrees with 70% humidity, the RPHA’s venting worked well, although frankly the heat was so intrusive it was impossible to truly stay cool.However, if the helmet hadn’t been efficiently vented I seriously wouldn’t have been able to ride the amount of laps I did. Happily the SilverCool fabric has a moisture-wicking advanced anti-bacterial fabric, because it was wringing wet with sweat by the end of the day.6. Helmet lift at very high speed is minimalOver 150 mph helmet lift happens on pretty much every helmet to a greater or lesser degree. Side-to-side shake/vibration can also happen with some and needless to say that’s pretty distracting too. HJC have their own wind tunnel and the RPHA 10 Pro’s aero shaping is top notch as it exhibited very little lift on the straights and zero shaking at all.7. Eyeport is wide and tall so no vision problemsCommensurate with their considerable racing experience, the RPHA 10 Pro’s eyeport is both wide and tall. This allows for excellent peripheral vision, and when fully tucked in on the tank the high forehead opening didn’t hang down in front of my eyes—a more common problem than you might think and a big problem when you’re trying to look for your braking marker at a high triple digit speed. The RPHA 10 Pro gets full marks for vision; nothing gets in the way of being able to see exactly where you need to.8. Helmet strap is well placed—not too far back so it doesn’t strangle youMany helmets mount the straps a tad too far to the rear of the shell. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but believe me, when the strap is cinched up tight it pulls back against your neck rather than up against the rear of your jaw. At high speed the pull on the helmet strap can then become intolerable and highly distracting. Happily the RPHA 10 Pro didn’t exhibit this at all as the strap is perfectly placed.9. Available in 4 graphic designs and 5 solid colorsThe RPHA 10 Pro is available in graphic designs including the Lorenzo Replica; Speed Machine, Cypher (2 color versions), as well as solid colors Anthracite, Black, Matte Black, Silver, and White. Sizes go from XS to XXL.10. MSRPPrices range from $569.99 for the Lorenzo replica down to $374.99 for solid white.Helmet worn was the HJC RCHA Pro Helmet (Cypher graphic); MSRP is $414.99
Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory + Steve ’Stavros’ Parrish
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly podcast—Motos and Friends. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Our first segment features the new Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory. Senior Editor Nic de Sena brings us his report on the flagship version of Aprilia’s upright middleweight machine. He gives us insight into whether it’s worth spending the extra money on the Factory version, and also of course, whether this sporting Aprilia is really the motorcycle for you.
The next guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—one of the most iconic sportbikes ever. Check it out in person at your local Suzuki dealer now, or visit suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In this segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with (arguably) one of the most interesting Suzuki race riders of all time. the iconic RG500 alongside teammate double World Champion Barry Sheene. The two were almost as famous for their exploits off-track, as for their success on it. Those were the days! Steve also raced the Isle of Man TT for about ten years where he won 13 Silver Replicas, and got a podium finish. His insight into that particular brand of mayhem are fascinating.
But there’s waaay more to Steve Parrish than his motorcycle racing. He is also the most successful Semi-Truck racer ever, and, little known piece of useless trivia—he’s my birthday twin: 24th February. He is a natural entertainer and you can’t miss his recounting of the world’s most entertaining—and arguably terrifying—double-decker bus ride ever. If any of you were actually on that hell-ride then we’d love to hear from you!