The act of purchasing a new motorcycle helmet, and the thought involved in the process, is a convoluted one. We look at style, features, cost, and perceived performance/safety. Naturally, we can’t test the performance and safety factors until it’s too late to change our minds. Some riders will opt for a sub-$100 helmet while others will buy one that costs $800 or more.I’ve also seen reviews that highly rate low-cost helmets. Personally, and especially when I cannot quantify claims that can only be proven during a rare event (such as crashing), I enroll in the school of you-get-what-you-pay-for.
Visit the Ultimate MotorCycling Gear/Parts PageMotorcycle journalists wear and test many different helmets, and since we all avoid crash testing them, we can only report on fit, comfort, looks, and build quality. Fit and comfort are both highly subjective—one wearer may find them perfect, while the next hates the way a given helmet fits. Looks are in the eye of the beholder so it really does come down to helmet quality; what I might say about fit, comfort and looks may mean nothing to you.I have a handful of favorite helmets from different manufacturers, and I rotate a different one into play almost every ride. All are higher-priced units because you-get-what-you-pay-for, right? Of all these brands the one I most often wear on long trips, in which the route and outcome is uncertain, is Schuberth. This has been true since 2005, long before I started working in this industry.Against this backdrop, Schuberth has recently released the E1, a dual sport, adventure-style helmet positioned in its line-up for real off-road types as well as riders, like me, who like adventure-style bikes, but rarely see more dirt than a gravel parking lot.The E1 is based upon the Schuberth C3 Pro, a popular modular helmet with a design that lent it well to the modifications necessary to make it a stellar ADV-style lid. The E1 features a comfortable headspace lined with CoolMax (removable and washable) and luxurious internal appointments that put soft, luxurious pieces everywhere they touch your head and face.These comfort features are combined with a secure, easy-to-close-and-open flip front with the drop-down sun shield that I consider important for any good helmet. Schuberth was the first company to offer this drop-down sun shield many years ago. This helmet continues to feature Schuberth’s unique anti-roll off chinstrap system, designed to keep you lid on when all else is going topsy-turvy.Schuberth also markets the quietest helmets I own and allow for the occasional ride without earplugs, if I so choose. The design of this quiet space has been enhanced because Schuberth has its own wind tunnel. This also helps in the airflow design. On several long and fast rides, the E1 exhibited neither buffeting nor lift, even with the peak, and it helps avoid neck and upper back fatigue on long rides.The reasons for my enthusiasm are several-fold. Schuberth’s traditional oval “Euro” head-shape, as opposed to round, works well for my profile. The quality and construction is top notch, with a unique molding process that ensures strength and gives me peace-of-mind. Schuberth’s entire, single-minded, process, which I have seen, is geared to producing a superb product with little concern for creating a new helmet every season for the sake of sales. Oh, I think they look great, too.Schuberth added the peak (ADV sun visor) with a three-position adjustment that is easily accessed by moved a locking lever on each side of the visor. I can do it with one hand while riding. Low gives the best morning or afternoon sun aversion but can limit field of view when riding fast on tight roads. I found it just a millimeter too low in this position as it decreased my look-ahead range. Middle is just right for me for sun protection and full range of view, and I can hardly see the front edge of the visor. High is not needed for me, as the middle spot has enough clearance and I would only lose a bit more sun protection.Visor and shield removal require no tools and could not be easier—just a half-turn of the two retaining knobs is needed. The helmet is supplied with two roundels to cover the mechanism should you wish to ride sans peak.Where the C3 Pro had one rocker chin vent the E1 retains this and adds a snout-like vent with a washable filter and variable slider to adjust air flow. I really like this new vent. Not only does it allow more flow, but the rocker vent on both the E1 and the C3 Pro can produce noise if your windshield sends its blast upward onto the front of the helmet. On naked bikes this isn’t noticeable, but it is with certain windshield configurations. So, I keep the rocker closed and the larger vent open.Schuberth has always included an anti-fog insert with its helmets, and now they are installing them before delivery. This helps me avoid mistakes and fingerprints that can never be removed.The Schuberth E1 allows installation of the optional SRC-System Pro, Schuberth’s Bluetooth system that includes an FM radio, smartphone/GPS integration and bike-to-bike communications.
Schuberth E1 Modular Helmet Fast Facts
Colors: Guardian Red; Guardian Yellow; Hunter Yellow; Hunter Blue; Hunter Red; Glossy Black; Glossy Silver; Glossy White; Matt Anthracite; Matt Black Sizes: XS-3XL Schuberth E1 Modular Helmet Price: Colors, $899 MSRP. Blacks and Whites, $829 MSPR.
This Podcast is also brought to you by the new modular helmet from Schuberth, the C5. The C5 blends safety with light weight and amazing quietness. Visit Schuberth.com for more information.
This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!