Gear: Schuberth SR1 helmet

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The Schuberth SR1 is amazing. No, really. The first time you try it on, you’ll stop dead in your tracks and reevaluate what you previously considered acceptable in terms of fit and construction. Every line, every pad, every panel and every piece on this helmet has a purpose and every part is perfectly fitted to the next, like the aluminum body panels of an Acura NSX.

In the past, Schuberths were primarily found on the heads of very serious long-distance riders, typically accompanied by a BMW and an Aerostich. Or maybe a mustachioed European traffic cop. While the German company is certainly most well-known for it’s flip-face helmets, it has a long history in auto racing too. Some guy named Michael Schumacher apparently did some F1 racing in one of their helmets. And, when he decided cars were boring, Schuberth worked with him to bring Formula One helmet technology to the bike-buying masses. The result is the SR1.

The shell is a carbon/fiberglass affair that meets both DOT and ECE 22.05 regulations, sidestepping the whole Snell thing. It’s a very light helmet as a result. Not Nexx XR1R Carbon so-light-it’s-frightening light, but still certainly one of the lightest helmets I’ve ever worn.

Vents look fairly standard, but employ some of the largest ports through the shell and EPS I’ve encountered. A robust slider (easily operated in gloves) locks the face shield in place, race-style. An internal toggle allows you to control airflow to your face. The shield uses a minimalist mounting system and is easier to swap than most brands, but still not quite up their with the Shoei system’s easy of use.

Moving to the back of the helmet, you’ll see a rear spoiler that adjusts between two angles of attack, allowing you to tailor aerodynamic stability to your bike’s riding position. Paired rivets affix the patented Anti-Roll-Off straps to the chinstrap, which uses a traditional D-Ring buckle rather than the Schuberth C3’s annoying ratchet. Then there’s the Noise Reduction System, a pair of slots by the ears that can be opened or closed to optimize noise levels. The rear of the shell is also dramatically cut away to ensure the helmet doesn’t interfere with a speed hump in a full tuck. That cutaway is still well below the potential impact line, but visually highlights the racing-specific focus of the SR1.

My favorite feature is the fit. Many helmets claim they’re designed for racing or from track experience, but still make concessions to road comfort and convenience when it comes to fit and shape. Not the SR1. The bottom of the helmet bell is extremely narrow, making it feel like it wants to rip your ears off the first time you try and shove it on your head. The payoff? Once inside, your braincase is held incredibly snugly; it feels like the helmet is bolted to your skull and jaw. There’s zero potential for the thing to move around at high speed. The snug neck roll also helps keep noise down.

For the sake of comparison, when Arai updated its flagship RX-7 to the latest Corsair V, they widened the lower bell of the helmet specifically to make it more convenient to get on and off. A bit odd for a range-topping race helmet. If every racer had to pick a helmet purely on the basis of fit, my guess is every grid in the world would be dominated by Schuberths.

The Schuberth also sits much lower on your head than other helmets, again contributing to the secure feel and balance. That’s because the SR1’s internal shape is very unusual. It’s very tall internally, with a very deep area for the top of your head. The crown shape is neutral, slightly more narrow than round, but the helmet’s depth means that it may rest its edges around your head rather than fully envelope the noggin. This is one helmet that needs to fit you exactly right, try before you buy or order from a retailer with a no-hassle return policy like RevZilla.

Once you get rolling, all the above really pays off. The SR1 is well-balanced and the ventilation very effective. A brow vent would help flow air at low speeds, but again, this is a helmet specifically designed for high speed. It would also detract from the SR1’s other big advantage: noise. Or rather, the lack thereof. With the afformentioned Noise Reduction System slots closed, this is the quietest racing helmet you could ever wear, quieter in fact than most touring lids. As a test, I rode to work without earplugs. I’d still prefer to wear them, but the SR1 was so quiet that I didn’t suffer any noticeable ill effects from 30 minutes at freeway speeds. If I tried that in my Bell Star, I’d be hearing bells for weeks. With the slots open, you have a lot more noise, but you’re also able to hear what’s around you. I suspect this would be great on track, allowing you to keep tabs on anyone that’s trying to pass. The option to chose between the two is clever and unique.

Compared to traditional Japanese benchmarks like the Shoei X-12 and Arai RX-7 Corsair V, the SR1 is right there with them in terms of ventilation and build quality, but surpasses them with race-specific features and that awesome fit. It does, however, lack emergency-release cheek pads. Schuberth remains peerless at noise control.

In fact, my only caveat with the helmet is with fit. That deep interior combined with the very snug neck roll means you need to spend some significant time in a couple different sizes before determining which is right for you. I’ve been working with helmets for over a decade now and I still managed to buy the wrong size on my first attempt. I initially thought a medium was too small and ended up with a large, only to have the helmet resting on the front of my forehead instead of snugly around the crown. The resulting pressure point was unbearable. Once I moved down to a medium, things were much improved. The SR1 is still a tiny bit short front-to-back to be 100 percent ideal for my head shape, but is now comfortable enough to truly enjoy. If you wear an Arai Quantum or Icon Airframe, you are going to love this SR1.

It’s worth calling out Schuberth’s Mobility Program, which offers a 66 percent discount when it comes to replacing a crashed helmet. There’s some hoops to jump through, but it’s a legit program nonetheless.

I won’t pretend $900 is an easy check to write. Even though I exist in the 28 percent tax bracket, I still shell out for top-spec helmets. Like most other HFL contributors, motorcycles are my primary means of transportation, so a truly excellent helmet quickly pays for itself. The SR1 is at least $200 to $250 more than competition from Bell, Arai, AGV and Shoei, offering equivalent ventilation. The Corsair V and Star are probably more comfortable for casual use, but the SR1 earns back its premium thanks to aerodynamic stability, noise control and weight. Yes, the Schuberth SR1 really is worth the $900.

The SR1 and other Schuberth helmets are available at RevZilla, which offers a no-hassle return policy if it doesn’t fit.

Gallery link

  • http://www.TroyRank.com Troy R

    I bought an S1 cheap after they were out for a while. It was still expensive. The face shield peeled. The vents broke off. Still the best fucking helmet I’ve had by 1000x.

    Of course now I just rock a cheap HJC with a pinlock. It’s not bad. I could by a new one every year for nearly a decade and not equal the cost of the SR1. Still, it might just be worth it.

  • The Blue Rider

    The Syd Mead styling cues don’t hurt either. It looks pretty badass, IMO.

    DOT/ECE, Snell not in the picture, looks good, performs good, interesting features… The price is high, of course, but more unfortunately I don’t think it would fit me at all. I’ll still take a look when I next need to replace my Shoei Qwest.

  • Jon B.

    The Helmet game just keeps getting better after some boring years.

  • SamuraiMark

    Stormtrooper.

    The Star Wars one. Not the Nazi Germany one.

  • Bald Shaun

    It looks Bad Ass, like a Daft Punk Storm Trooper.

    Still, shelling out a few hundred for my Shoei was painful enough. I’m going to have to climb a couple income brackets before I feel comfortable dropping nearly a grand on a helmet.

    I’m glad gear like this exists, though. It’s aspirational, like the Panigale S Tricolore or EBR 1190RS. One day…

  • Dylan

    Hows the mobility program work Wes? I still have my Joe Rocket from my accident a couple months ago and wouldnt mind picking up one of these for 300

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I think it’s only if you’ve crashed in a Schuberth…

      • Dylan

        Oh the way you had talked about it I thought it was for anyone. After looking at the site though you are right and its only to replace a Schuberth

        • noone1569

          You’re on to something though. It would be some good marketing for Schuberth to discount a purchase if you traded in a competitor’s crashed lid. “You’ve crashed in theirs, now step up to the best” or some clever marketing speak.

          • Bruce Steever

            Here’s the basic rundown:
            Buy and register your new Schuberth.
            Crash.
            Submit proof or purchase, the crunched helmet and a police report.
            You get to buy another Schuberth at 66% off.

            The police report is required to ensure that this was a legit street accident, as the mobility program is not designed to replace racer’s helmets.

  • Gene

    Hm. I see it has the primitive old D-rings, so I’ll stick to my Nolan, TYVM, especially at $900 clams.

    I had the Schuberth “Concept” which was one of the first flip-ups (I wear glasses) and it was too noisy to wear even with good earplugs. The flip-up seam was worse than the door on an ’82 Datsun, and there was a medical info pouch thing that did nothing but trip the airflow before it fell off leaving a big ugly gap. Plus it weighed over 4 lbs.

    For $400 I expected a lot better. They did have the flip-down internal sun visor years before anybody else, though.

    For $900, it better have built-in Bluetooth and a heads-up display system.

    • gsx750f

      > “I see it has the primitive old D-rings…”

      Those primitive old D-rings is simply the best system there is. With this system, you always have the perfect fit. Ever had your helmet push against your nose at high speeds? Ever had to stop to adjust the closing mechanism because it was cutting into your chin?
      With D-rings, it will always be perfect. If not, you can just adjust it on the fly, without having to stop.
      In addition, in case of an emergency, the strap can simply be cut with a simple tool, whereas many closing mechanisms make it much more involved to remove the helmet.
      I think there is a reason that as far as i can tell all riders in WSBK and MotoGP use the D-ring system.
      It just works. Sometimes primitive is really simple, and the best option.

  • johnb

    Nice review. Just curious though: Do you “still shell out for top-spec helmets” or do you get gear for free like all the other media sell-outs?

    • Kerry
    • http://somethingjustgotreal.com x

      how much do you think journalists make?

      • johnb

        Hence my question. He says he still shells out for top-spec helmets.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          OMG, it’s a conspiracy! Bruce just came by my house wearing a brand new, Snell-spec Arai RX7. The SR-1 reviewed here was a loaner, returned at the end of the test.

  • Rick

    Serious Bike Night cred there, but with all the helmet testing Noriyuki Haga’s done for Arai I’m not trading my Corsair V either.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Nori’s Arai (and those of all other racers) are ECE, not the shitty Snell spec they sell to American consumers.

      • Rick
        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          It’s my understanding that claim is false.

          • Rick

            Based upon what, exactly???

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

              Based upon what I’ve been told by people that work with helmets. I haven’t put the resources into following up on the story, it’s just my understanding that the Arais sold in Europe and elsewhere still differ from the ones sold in the US. If someone has evidence to support or contradict that, I’d love to hear from them.

              • Archer

                Wes,

                As you know, these Arai helmets go by different nomenclature in the three distribution paths around the world. Europe is the RX7GP, Japan is the RX7RR-5, USA is the Corsair-V.

                I have an RX7RR-5 I bought in Japan the first month they were in stores (July 2008, a few months before they shipped here in the USA), a Corsair-V from the USA purchased November 2008, and an RX7 GP I bought in the UK this summer.

                All are specified with the same circumference size.

                The Japan spec helmet uses the next-size down shell and is much more snug and also more quiet. It bears a Snell 2005, FIM, and JIS 2007 standard sticker. It does not feature the emergency cheekpad release.

                The USA Corsair V (DOT, Snell 2005) and the Euro RX7GP (ECE, Snell 2010) are similar in fit to each other, but the Euro model is noticeably lighter (not as light as the Japan spec model which is, as I said, much more snug and small).

                If what you say is true, Arai must be lying when it puts both the Snell and ECE stickers in the GP (which would seem like a very serious matter indeed). That, or your information is wrong.

                Occam’s razor says… your “people who work with helmets” are wrong.

                This is a big deal and you represent yourself as a journalist. You’re obligated to set the record straight now that you have made this statement. (if you need a reference as to just who I am, ask Grant).

                • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                  It’s enormously complicated divining the differences, as you suggest, and it’s not a conversation Arai as a company is willing to participate in. Also as you say, there are differences between the helmets being sold in the US and elsewhere. That’s what I’ve stated above. As a journalist, I’ll avoid making more substantive claims until I do proper research, you’ll note that this is a comment thread, not a story. And, in the meantime, I’ll be wearing helmets from more transparent, less scummy companies.

  • Daan

    Thanks for comparing the shape to an arai quantum (which I have), normaly it’s utterly pointless to read helmet reviews as most won’t fit quite right and nobody talks about similarly shaped helmets. I’ll def. check out the schubert when I need to replace my arai.

  • Adrian_B

    I know what you mean about fit.
    I had a Shoei RF-1000 in a large (that was a heavy neck twister, BTW). When I moved (up) to a Schuberth C3, the same size did not apply and wound up wearing a medium — which took some getting used too with the tighter and more secure fit. The salesfolk assured me it was a good fit, and to this day they were right.
    I did have one warranty issue, and Schuberth replaced the helmet with absolutely no hassle. So, I’m sold on their products. Will have to go and have a try to see how the SR1 is. As for the price, though…gawd!

  • John

    How much ribbing am I going to take if I buy this then wear it on the street? Is it suitable for street use or is this strictly a track piece? I love the look of it, and the noise suppression & aerodynamics both sound like big improvements over my Bell Star.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’s just a focused sport helmet. Stuff like the Arai Corsair or Bell Star or whatever is going to be more generally applicable in terms of easy on/off, not as specific on fit, etc.

    • Bruce Steever

      I was wearing my Bell Star back-to-back when testing SR1. You’ll be very impressed. Just make sure to try the SR1 on!

      As far as the racing gear worry goes, you’ll be fine in any helmet, anywhere. You only get weird looks when you show up in a one-piece leather suit for lunch. nobody likes mangina during lunch.

  • Keith

    As for the price, you might be surprised by this.
    I recently had a Schuberth C3 helmet delivered from Europe at the surprisingly low price of $555 CND all in…no extra charges at this end.
    Considering the local BMW dealer wanted $750 before tax, I could wait the 2 weeks for delivery!
    I checked on the FC Moto site and the SR1 prices out to around $550 USD delivered.
    http://www.fc-moto.de/epages/fcm.sf/sec8195aa9b2b/?ViewObjectID=17445365&Currency=USD
    You have to go to the “cart” and change the currency to USD and look at the price without VAT.

  • deckard

    The Schuberth R1 and S1-Pro are the quietest helmets I have ever owned, so much so that I pay $$ to have them shipped over from Europe, as they are not sold in the USA. Hopefully the SR1 will live up to the standard, but early reviews have suggested otherwise.

  • Paul

    Sounds good but I’ll throw out there a one data point that the S2 is a bit of a dud. Not terribly quiet and not aerodynamic for anything other than a tuck. The S1 is a different helmet, but its surprising that Schuberth could do a less than stellar design job on the S2, which is also a new design, and knock the ball out of the park on the SR1.

    • http://somethingjustgotreal.com x

      i was going to ask if anyone had any experience with this. it was the helmet I was the most excited about this year and from what i’ve read, has been a pretty big bummer.

      anyone else care to chime in?

      • Bruce Steever

        I like the S2, but i feel it could use a bunch more venting. Otherwise, it works pretty well for an all-round touring lid, especially if you are looking for a helmet with communication options.

        Doesn’t fit my pointy head though…

  • David S

    I like the “shout-out” to RevZilla. I’m a big advocator of theirs. If you live in the Philadelphia area, and ride a motorcycle, you should really take a venture inside. Great staff, and really high quality products. With that said, keep in mind they don’t sell cheap items, you get what you pay for, and all that jazz. If you’re a bargain buyer, might not be the store for you.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    I wonder how well the neck roll foam lasts. I love the idea of it, but having such a tight squeeze past it I’m guessing that it wouldn’t take long for that foam to compress and lose it’s firm fitting qualities?

    Then again I guess this is designed as a race/track helmet and not one for regular use? My Shoei XR1000 was really snug when new, but after a couple of years of daily use it was noticeably noisier and less of a snug fit.

    Any helmet will be the same after so much use I suppose. But if you use your helmet 7 days a week and an expensive helmet wears as fast as a cheap helmet, you’ve gotta ask yourself if it’s really worth the cost.

    • Archer

      I wear a different helmet (and other protective gear) every day- with three Corsair V variants, two Corsair 4′s, a Q2 and a Bell Revolver it’s not difficult. I always wear a liner and so even my oldest in-use lid (7 year old Corsair 4) is still pretty fresh. Also rotate among several bikes.

      This way, no cop sees me twice on consecutive days ;)

      It’s kind of like shoes, two pair rotated will last three times longer than one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

    I was really excited about this helmet until I saw the price tag. I’m sure it’s a great helmet, but the “how much is your head worth” line of reasoning doesn’t justify a hike like that over the premium competition. That premium, when you also add in their shields are $90, really hurts.

  • johnb

    maybe you can get a deal on a loaner after it’s been on about 8 motojournalist heads? Many are Bryllcream(sp?)guys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1601176481 Michael Hubbard

    Great write up! So, what size Bell Star do you wear? I’ve contemplated this helmet for a while now, and I currently have a Star as well.