HJC RPHA 11 Pro Helmet Review | Big Improvements Arrive
A long-time producer of good quality price-conscious helmets that were popular enough to make it the #1 selling helmet in the world, HJC Helmets stepped up to the premium helmet market in 2012 with the RPHA 10.
To punctuate its commitment to top-quality head protection, HJC enlisted world champions Jorge Lorenzo (MotoGP) and Ben Spies (World Superbike) to wear their helmets at the top levels of motorcycle racing.
With that experience under HJC’s belt, the new RPHA 11 Pro helmet is a decisive step forward in a wide number of ways. Most notably, the 11 has a new shell that is designed to improve aerodynamics, as well as airflow to the scalp.
In the case of airflow, HJC has achieved great success with the RPHA 11 Pro. The top air intakes in the crown are hidden inside scoops that direct plenty of flow to the rider’s head.
Opening and closing the vents is an easy job with gloved hands, even while riding, due to the use of a roller mechanism. The clicked rollers have four positions, in addition to fully closed and completely open, so the intake can be micro-managed.
There is also a small open/closed center forehead vent, though the recessed switch will likely require a stop and glove removal for most riders to operate. I left it open all the time, and was fine, even when the temperatures were in the 40s.
Thanks to scalloped padding—HJC calls it a Multi-Cool Interior—the air collected by the two vents easily makes its way to the scalp. Two small exhaust vents are permanently open, and do their job.
Additionally, there are two permanently open chin vents, plus a center vent that is either open or closed—no intermediate positions. Those vents do a good job of reducing fogging, and an additional anti-fog interior lens insert is standard if you live in an area where moisture is excessive.
I wasn’t a fan of the insert’s mounting posts, as they were distracting when turning my head to look back for other vehicles. A post-free faceshield would be welcome.
Even with all this venting, the RPHA 11 Pro is noticeably quiet. Often, helmets with a venting system like this can induce noise. However, HJC kept the side pads plush, so they seal up quite a bit of racket that can be generated from the bottom of the helmet. The improved aerodynamics also helps keep the sound level down. For those who use communications devices, HJC left a recessed area around the ears for speaker installation.
HJC claims the new carbon-fiber/aramid/fiberglass shelled helmet is lighter than the RPHA 10. However, our scales showed the 11 to be a scant two-tenths of an ounce heavier than the helmet it replaces. Regardless, weighing in at 3 pounds, 3.5 ounces for a medium shell, it is a seriously light premium helmet—about five ounces lighter than an Arai Quantum-X and four ounces shy of the Shoei RF-1200.
In practical use, the HJC RPHA 11 Pro feels light on the head, and it fits my Arai-friendly noggin perfectly. As always, you must have a professional in-person helmet fitting if you want the maximum in comfort and safety.
The RPHA 11 Pro is DOT and ECE approved, as expected, but if you want a Snell sticker, the RPHA 11 does not have one. Another safety feature is the emergency release cheek pads. Rather than a dangling tab, HJC uses an integrated loop—a nice touch.
The faceshield is another highpoint for the RPHA 11 Pro. Replacing it is a fast and intuitive no-tools exercise. As expected, it is optically flawless and covers an eyeport that has been enlarged for the new model.
A spring-loaded latch holds the faceshield closed at any speed—it snaps shut with a definitive and satisfying click. Fortunately, it is easily opened with winter-gloved hands. There are five detented positions, plus fully open and closed. A sign of the quality of the RPHA 11 Pro, the faceshield pivoting mechanism is nicely damped and doesn’t assault the ears during repositioning.
The double-D chinstrap is nothing special, though the retaining snap is easy to find and use. Be mindful of the rear spoiler—we cracked ours quickly and don’t know how. The helmet hadn’t received any rough treatment and the plastic seems thin—a casualty of the effort to reduce weight, especially high on the helmet. (Follow-up: HJC informs us that early versions of the helmet had a fragile spoiler, and the spoiler has since been updated to be more durable.)
HJC has gone wild with the graphics for the RPHA 11 Pro, including two Star Wars choices and two Marvel options. Add to that a dozen other HJC-sourced varieties, and even the pickiest rider should find something he likes.
The HJC RPHA 10 Pro was a huge step-up for HJC, and it is impressive that HJC could assemble a large collection of small improvements to make the RPHA 11 Pro a considerably better lid. It’s a premium helmet at a midrange price.
HJC RPHA 11 Pro Fast Facts
- Sizes: XS-2XL
- Colors/Graphics: Boba Fett; Kylo Ren; Spider-Man; Venom; Riberte (four variations); Skyrym (three variations—yellow tested); Darter; Black; Semi-Flat Black; Semi-Flat Titanium; White
- Ultimate Motorcycling measured weight: 3 pounds, 3.5 ounces
- HJC RPHA 11 Prices: From $400 MSRP