After my many years riding with Schuberth’s C3, C3 Pro, C4, and C4 Pro (and all the way back to the original Concept) motorcycle helmets, the German manufacturer of high-line head protection has introduced the all-new C5. Many readers know that Schuberth has been making helmets for motorsports (two- and four-wheels), industrial safety, firefighting, law enforcement, and the military for 90 years.In the face of competitors offering new helmet models rapidly, Schuberth has leaned on the C4 since 2017, and the C4 Pro from 2019, while slipstreaming improvements during its run. Schuberth’s website still offers the C3 Pro, which I reviewed in 2013. In 2019, I reviewed the C4 Pro, and an improved version two years later.
Let me get right to the point. The Schuberth C5 helmet is a new, clean-sheet design and shares no components with previous versions—only experience. The C5 has been a two-year effort to reestablish the brand after some rocky times, with all designing, testing, and manufacturing done in Magdeburg, Germany.The C5 ECE-certified version for the EU was released this year, and now Schuberth’s DOT-approved model is ready for the US market. It is 100 grams heavier than the ECE model due to the build requirement needed to gain DOT approval. The C5 should be on retailers’ shelves in June, barring any supply chain delays.My first concern was fit, as late models of the C4 Pro caused me to go from my perennial Large to XL. There was also a minor change in head shape—less long-oval and more rounded. Some Schuberth fans were not thrilled, as this minor change caused major fitment problems for the brand’s repeat customers.Well, a C5 size Large (59) fits perfectly out of the box, including all around the perimeter of my noggin. It was a skosh snug, telling me it would break in perfectly, which it did after 300 miles. There was no forehead hotspot, as with the last C4 Pro. Of course, the C4 Pro could be a very good fit for those with a rounder skull profile. Those heads did not fit in some of the earlier Schuberth models. Those skewed more toward a moderate long-oval, which I am, and so is the C5.A pal who has also had the need to go from large to XL C4 Pro tried it on and declared it a perfect fit. So, there’s that confirmation. As always, you’ll want to get your helmet professionally fitted for you.Schuberth has now introduced its Schuberth Individual Concept—kits that offer different thickness pads to customize fit. This is rare, though not unique in the industry. The $35 kits will be sold in a box that includes the back pad and two side pads. It will fit Medium, Large, and XL helmets. There are six different part numbers, making the fit either more oval or rounder. For all sizes, there will be optional check pads for $59, with one thicker and one thinner. I did not need either for a good fit.Readers may wonder about a C5 Pro model, as they are accustomed to that moniker—I certainly did. The C3 and C4 models were improved during their run, and the “Pro” was added to denote the upgrades. Initially, there is no C5 Pro, only the C5. Eventually, we might see a 2nd generation Pro iteration. However, the C5 is the current top of the line.On my first ride with the helmet, once up to speed, I immediately noticed a reduction in wind noise compared to many other helmets I’ve worn on the same bike with the same windscreen. I had not begun thinking about what I would write in a review, yet the wind noise level was reduced so much that it was instantly remarkable. There was less buffeting, too, even compared to the C4 Pro I had worn the day before, and the Shoei Neotec II the day before that. Schuberth claims “only 85 dB(A) at 62 mph on a naked bike.”I wore the Schuberth C5 on a recent 1000-mile jaunt to Northern California. Temperatures ranged from 55 F to 90 F, and speeds to triple digits. I could not have been more pleased by the Schuberth C5’s comfort, reduced noise, and ventilation. I will enumerate all the features and changes that caused me to evaluate this helmet as the best I own further down this review.During this trip, some simple things from the past were made easier, such as closing the chin bar and adjusting the faceshield.The new chin bar mechanism snaps in with a satisfying click and never needs a second press to engage. I even noticed that the drop-down sunshield no longer touched the bridge of my nose, and it was easier to make precise adjustments, yet the coverage was excellent. That sunshield first attracted me to Schuberth 15 years ago, when it was the only helmet maker offering that feature.Here is a list of some of the most important changes incorporated into the C5:
Fiberglass is combined with a special resin and compressed in a vacuum at high pressure to form the Schuberth C5’s outer shell.
The shell is reinforced with a basalt layer for strength, improved shock absorption, and lighter weight. The build points are claimed, as there is no way for us to test them.
There is a new EPS material for improved shock absorption featuring two densities for the main section and sides.
The Schuberth C5 is quieter by design. The neck roll has been redesigned to lower ambient noise. Schuberth has gone to great lengths to keep the noise level down. Combined with the material under the chin bar, the neck roll dutifully seals around the neck and goes a long way to attenuating wind noise.
The head shape has been improved with more options to perfect that fit.
The eyeport is wider, as mandated by Euro ECE 2206 for 2023, and is on this DOT helmet.
The “city” faceshield position is improved, as is the V-lock sunshield mechanism. I can leave it slightly cracked or in the first detent city position. V-lock refers to the shape of the slider on the sunshield, which is a new design and is different from the earlier C3 Pro and C4 Pro.
The chin bar locking mechanism pins were removed for a more solid lock-up. They are now made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic for lower weight and improved closing. It is quite noticeable.
A new locking mechanism allows wearing the helmet with the chin bar in the up position, part of the Protective/Jet (P/J) homologation in Europe. Although DOT doesn’t have P/J certification, Schuberth still included the feature in the DOT version. There is a small switch within the left hinge mechanism.
The new chinstrap is positioned a bit forward to improve comfort. The Anti Roll Off System remains. I noticed this change for the better on first wearing, and the ratchet strap connector returns.
The chin vent now features a two-position double intake with a replaceable air filter for improved ventilation. The flip vent above it continues, as does the two-position top intake vent.
The liner has embedded channeling against the EPS for more airflow.
A back spoiler with an air extractor was added. This is a welcome change from the C4 Pro, which inefficiently vented down through the neck roll. Wearing the C5, I feel the breeze from the top intake across my head and past the crown.
The faceshield has a patented memory function. After you lift the chin bar, when lowering it, the faceshield automatically returns to the position it was in before the chin bar was raised—a welcome convenience.
There are more reflective areas on the wind deflector, neck roll, faceshield sealing, and helmet stickers for enhanced visibility while riding with an open or closed chin bar.
Seamless lining construction is incorporated for greater comfort. The existing zippers were removed from the design. The C5 is all-day comfortable even though it is close-fitting.
There is a new SC2 helmet communicator system adopted from the Sena 50S. More on that in another review.
There are many good and a few great helmets on the market, yet the Schuberth C5 is an evolutionary pinnacle of quality, form, and function. In the past, I had compared the C4 Pro to Shoei’s excellent Neotec II and now find the C5 surpasses the Neotec in so many ways and features. The level of quiet alone could be a deciding factor if for no other reason. The C5 is now my go-to helmet, whether for local rides or the long haul.Schuberth C5 Fast Facts
Sizes: XS (53) – XXL (65) [2 outer shell sizes]
Certifications: DOT; ECE0R 22.06
6 solid colors: $749 MSRP
2 graphic designs, each in 4 color combinations: $849
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 email@example.com 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!