Schuberth C4 Pro Helmet and SC1 Bluetooth:
Modular Safety, Comfort, and Communications
Schuberth, the German manufacturer of helmets for motorcycling, F1 (Max Verstappen is a recent signee), military, industrial, law enforcement, and firefighting, has rebooted its C4 Pro modular helmet. Schuberth has made many small changes that add up to a winning combination.
Upon the release of this model a few years ago, Schuberth was challenged with some small flaws that may have soured potential and repeat customers. The good news is that the new C4 Pro instantly became my favorite lid, and justifiably so.
Let’s go down the list of changes:
- New fabric lining
- Revised forehead intake airflow routing reduces noise and improves ventilation
- New aero-acoustic foam
- The microphone is moved to the edge of the cheek pad, from the forehead area
- New battery pack for SC1 Bluetooth unit
- New 3rd generation speakers
- More robust internal Bluetooth wiring
The Schuberth C4 Pro proved itself well on many fast rides on a naked bike. It is all-day comfortable with a rich, silky liner. At speed, the helmet is quiet and stable with zero lift or oscillation. Gone are the occasional whistles that might be heard on earlier modular models when the rider’s head turned to the side at a certain angle. The faceshield locks down with a slight snap and has a well-sized ‘city’ position. The faceshield is crystal-clear with a wide field of vision.
Ventilation on the helmet is provided by a chin vent (open or closed) and a two-position air intake at the top of the helmet. Two channels in the liner flow air from this top vent over the top of the rider’s head, and out through a permeable collar without relying on any rear vents. Compared to other helmets with more vents, I’d rate the ventilation on the C4 Pro as good.
Schuberth employs a unique manufacturing method called Direct Fiber Processing—an endless spool of glass fiber is cut precisely by a robot then blown into a mold. Resin is added to the preform and compressed at high pressure in a heated mold, according to Schuberth, “to create an exceptionally high-strength helmet shell. The multi-part construction of the inner shell allows for outstanding force absorption, thereby enhancing safety.”
Schuberth continues to utilize two shell sizes for this helmet. The small shell takes care of sizes XS through L, and the large shell handles XL to 3XL. Up until now, my usual size in a Schuberth helmet was large. I found that this new large C4 Pro was too small, and I needed an XL to fit. Perhaps the use of new materials crowded the shell enough to require me to go up a size. This is not a problem, but always get professionally fitted before buying a helmet. The side-to-side and front-to-back proportions feel about the same as on prior models. The interior shape should please riders who find previous Schuberth helmets comfortable, as I do.
All helmets deliver some noise to the wearer, and it is hard to measure without test equipment. Plus, different head shapes react differently to a helmet. Anecdotally, I always thought my C3 Pro was quiet, and often wore it without earplugs on motorcycles with stock exhausts. The C4 Pro is notably quieter. It’s not perfect, but it’s the quietest helmet I own. All-day wear without earplugs is no problem. Schuberth says, “Thanks to optimized neck padding and noise reduction around the mechanical attachments, the C4 Pro achieves approximately 85 dB at 100 km/h (62 mph) on a naked motorcycle.”
The Coolmax and Jazzlight fabric linings are soft and cool-feeling polyester. I like the way they feel, and the combination wicks away perspiration on hot days. It is seamless, quick-drying, washable, and anti-bacterial. Multi-channel and improved airflow routing have added to the comfort on hot days.
Removing and re-installing a Schuberth’s lining is a bit harder than other brands due to the patented Anti-Roll-Off System straps that tighten the helmet during a get-off. A piece of coat hanger wire with a U-bend at the end, along with online instruction videos, helps quite a bit. I am not a fan of Febreze or other spray-cleaner/freshener products—wash that sweat out!
If you wear glasses, you will find that there are integrated grooves for comfort. While we are on the subject of vision, Schuberth continues to include pre-installed Pinlock fog shields, which they began doing a few years ago. It’s done better at the factory than I could do it. The faceshield has no distortion, and the quick-change function is tool-free and easy.
The integrated, slide-actuated, drop-down sunshield remains. It is the same helmet-edge, cable-actuated, drop-down sunshield that has been integral to most Schuberth for many years. It is medium-dark smoke, and no different from the past models. Schuberth invented this feature many years ago; now, many manufacturers offer some form of this internal sunshield. I bought my first Schuberth helmet 15 years ago because of this feature, as no one else offered it at that time. It’s easy to actuate and allows a rider to leave his sunglasses home.
The modular front of the helmet is easy to open and close. The release button is centered on the lower edge of the chin; it is easy to find and use. The mechanism locks with a distinct click, assuring the rider that the chinbar is in the locked-close position.
The ratchet chin strap is always way too tight out of the box. To new buyers, it might appear to have a limited amount of slack with which to loosen it. However, if you move the buckles—one is under a zipper—and manipulate the length, you will find more than adequate room to extend the strap. Wearers of ratchet straps who complain about pinching buckles may need to adjust their straps properly.
I usually adhere to the style cue that black is best until they invent something darker. Lately, I’ve strayed and picked up a few brown leather jackets, as I think they look great with riding jeans. With that in mind, took a leap of faith and ordered the C4 Pro in Swipe Brown, because matchy-matchy. Upon receipt, I found that the brown was more like metallic gold, and the online photos don’t do it justice. I like it a lot, but wondered how others would feel. I received my answer in the Rock Store parking lot upon my first visit. At least five people told me they loved the color and asked where to buy one.
The glossy black over the metallic gold/brown is stunning, and the build quality and finish are absolutely perfect.
Schuberth SC1 Standard Communications
Some helmet manufacturers are offering models with Bluetooth communication internals pre-installed from the factory. The C4 Pro is one of them. One needs only open the snap covers on two ports on the lower rear edge of the helmet into which slide the electronic communications unit and a battery—that’s it. The microphone, speakers, antenna, and wiring are pre-installed for this installation—two minutes and you’re done.
I tested the SC1 Standard options; there is also an SC1 Advanced version. The two models install, look, and operate similarly. The Advanced model provides greater intercom transmit range, FM radio, slightly longer running time, and music sharing.
I have written many reviews of Bluetooth systems from all the big brands. Until now, I have never discussed the quality of the sound. They are mostly similar, and I’m not an audiophile. With the wind noise, they pretty much sound alike to me, though not so for this setup. The quality of the audio is immediately noticeable. I run through my usual playlist and can hear that the sound is brighter, the bass is strong, and the whole experience is much crisper than previously experienced.
Schuberth did not have an Advanced Remote Control (RC4) in stock for me to try. Being the perennial tinkerer, I attempted to pair the Handlebar Remote from my Schuberth/Sena 10U combo. The 10U is the Bluetooth unit that installs in the Schuberth C3 and C3 Pro. Sure enough, it worked.
I highly recommend the handlebar remote. When operating the SC1 Standard, while the raised and embossed rubber buttons are not bad, it takes longer than I would like to find and press. The rider must slide his fingers along the helmet’s lower edge to locate the two operating buttons behind his left ear, and make sure he is choosing the correct one. This is not a deal-breaker, but the handlebar remote is too easy and convenient to not include with your purchase.
For road warriors who don’t have time to charge a battery, the SC1 allows for quick removal and insertion of a spare battery. Riders can buy extra batteries with a USB-powered dual charger and have spares on hand at all times.
Either on its own, or when matched with the SC1 Standard electronics, the Schuberth C4 Pro is a marvelous piece of kit and comfortable companion for a long day, or days, in the saddle. It has every feature and function one might desire in a helmet, looks great, and helps to keep me safe.
Photography by Zaid Awni and Jonathan Handler
Schuberth C4 Pro Helmet Fast Facts
Sizes: XS-XXXL (53-65)
Colors: Five solid; nine graphics
Schubert C4 Pro Helmet Prices
Solid colors: $699 MSRP
Graphics: $799 MSRP