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MD Product Review: Schuberth SR1

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We here at MD have tested a couple of Schuberth helmets, both touring-oriented. The flip-up C3 Pro we found to be good-looking, quiet, practical and laden with useful features. I liked my S2 enough to declare it “deserving of its high-end reputation, a solid and well-made helmet …” good helmets, but not exactly sexy. But that’s not surprising—Germans don’t really do sexy. Or at least they’re not known for that.

So I was excited to see how Schuberth would do with a sport helmet when Schuberth North America invited me to try its new race helmet. Race and sport helmets need to offer a little sexiness, at least a dash of style, in addition to being light, aerodynamic and well-vented. You may not expect to find that from a company that’s focused on the touring market, but Schuberth isn’t staffed by slackers—the company has a huge, advanced R&D facility, complete with wind tunnel, as well a stable of European racers (including none other than Michael Schumacher) to aid the development process.

The result is the all-new SR1. Schuberth started with its STRONG composite shell construction—it uses an automated process to produce a shell that is thinner and lighter than a hand-laid one—with ‘multizone’ EPS foam for “optimal impact absorption.” The hypo-allergenic, moisture-wicking liner is removable for washing, and the bottom of the cheek pads get reflective material. The retention strap uses a light, simple double D-ring fastener, and the face shield has a push-button quick-release mechanism and is set up for our friend the Pinlock anti-fog shield.

Germans are a safety-conscious folk, we all know. The SR1, like other Schuberth helmets, is equipped with the “Anti-Roll-Off System,” a pair of straps attached to the chinstrap that (if the chinstrap is fastened securely) will keep the helmet from pivoting forwards off the rider’s head. The SR1 also has a large amount of reflective graphics and panels on it and generally, I find German-made products to be better-made and I trust them to be safer than products from…well, let’s just say “some other places” to keep the angry emails at bay.

Then where’s the Snell sticker, you ask? Good question, and you can bet I’m not going to jump into that particular piranha-filled pond, so I kicked the ball over to Schuberth. It turns out that the SR1 not only meets, it exceeds the ECE rating (according to Schuberth), which is rigorous and respected, so there’s no reason to design an USA-only model to get a Snell sticker. “The ECE rating is a global standard recognized by AMA and FIM” said Schuberth Marketing and PR Manager Sarah Schilke, “ECE is significant and stands on its own credibility.” Many other race organizations accept the ECE as well.

My first impression of the SR1 was favorable. It looks, works and feels like a top-of-the-line luxury helmet. Finish, build quality and construction are all world class, as you’d expect. It’s light—3 pounds, 5 ounces on my scale (size small—there are 3 shell sizes, and the SR1 is sized between XS and XXL)—and it was hard to pull on at first, with a snug fit. It has since broken in and is one of the most comfortable helmets I’ve owned. I also have to mention how impressed people are when they see it. For a matte-black lid, it’s eye-catching and stylish and gets me lots of compliments, like I pulled up on a Desmosedici or something.

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Its performance is impressive, too. It’s balanced, almost draft free (unless you open the very effective vents) and as quiet as any helmet (especially race helmets) I’ve tested. In fact, it’s so quiet you can open up little doors over your ears so you can hear better. This is probably the only helmet you can make noisier if you so choose. A caveat—I always wear earplugs, so for me, when I ride without them, every helmet seems noisy, and with them, every helmet is similarly quiet, so I’m splitting hairs. I found the optical quality of both the clear and mirror-finish faceshields predictably outstanding—Schuberth is obsessive about its optics and it shows.

Aerodynamics are good—I’ve had it up to about 115 mph on an unfaired motorcycle and was able to move and turn my head easily. There’s an adjustable spoiler on the back, but you can ask Michael Schumacher how effective it is at speeds over 115, as I have no intention of finding out. I’m done with my racing career, but I can tell you that this helmet would be my go-to pick for prolonged high-speed, long-distance travel. Its combination of comfort and quiet will keep it in my helmet stable for a long time.

I do have some complaints, though. It has features I think are gimmicky and hard to use—complicated for no good reason I can see, like the push-button shield releases or the difficult-to-use sliding latch that seals the shield shut. And that spoiler is (pardon me) spoiling to be busted off the first time the helmet bounces off your seat at a rest stop.  And if your helmet’s owner’s manual is thicker than your motorcycle’s, you need either a more complicated motorcycle or a less complicated helmet.

This is the part of the review where I lay the MSRP on you—$899 to $969. That’s(roughly) in line with the Arai Corsair V, and the SR1 is a very comparable product. This kind of quality and performance isn’t cheap, and Schuberth doesn’t compromise to get down to a price. I’m impressed by this helmet, a solid product that needs no excuses—Schuberth got it right on the first try. And that’s sexy.

The SR1 is available in gloss black, gloss white, matte black, “Technology” matte black, or the “Technology” glossy white in the picture above.  Check out Schuberth’s website for more info and specs, or call your local Schuberth dealer.

Gabe Ets-Hokin is the Editor of City Bike magazine, and a frequent freelance contributor to MotorcycleDaily.com.

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Schuberth provided a helmet to freelance writer Gabe Ets-Hokin for editorial review. Schuberth is not an advertiser or supporter of Motorcycle Daily.com.

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38 Comments

  1. Tim says:

    I had a Schuberth and loved it when it was new but, fairly quickly, things started going wrong. This happened much more quickly than with any other helmet I’ve ever owned (and I’ve owned a lot of helmets). It developed a crack for no apparent reason, it was never dropped, I would swear to that. I don’t recall a rock hitting it at any point. I took it out of the cabinet one day and it had a half inch long crack just above the face opening. Next a film coating over the shield started coming off, it was essentially delaminating. Finally, the interior started deteriorating, again, much more quickly than with any other helmet I’ve owned. I had an identical helmet for my wife. Her helmet had the same problems, minus the crack. I wrote Shuberh fairly early on about my problems and I never heard a word back from them.

    When I bought a new BMW recently I would have loved to buy the communications system that matched up with the Blutooth feature on my bike, but it went along with a Schuberth helmet. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. No thanks, Schuberth. I’ll stick with Arai or Shoei from now on.

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    • Sarah says:

      Hi Tim,

      Your helmet was one of the previous generation flip-ups, the Concept or C2. Without seeing the helmet it is impossible to diagnose the crack. The delamination of the anti-fog coating was a known problem which eventually led to the use of Pinlock anti-fog instead of the coating. The new generation Schuberths are a completely new genre, a world of improvement, about 10 years advanced in helmet engineering.

      Regarding not hearing from Schuberth, from 2002-2006 the helmets were distributed in USA by an independent importer. This importer stopped bringing in Schuberth helmets and subsequently went out of business leaving customers like you, as well as dealers, stranded without parts or service.

      Today things are completely different. In 2010, Schuberth GmbH opened a subsidiary in North America with the intent of properly serving the North American market. We have a service center in Cslifornia and work closely with our dealers on customer service.

      We hope you will reconsider Schuberth and sometime take one of our demo helmets out for a test ride.

      Schuberth North America
      949-215-0893
      customercare@schuberthnorthamerica.com

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  2. JR says:

    I think the motorcycle and accessory industry is attempting to price itself out of existence. Overpriced helmets and bikes to sell to who? Are they aware as to just what this dead economy has been doing year in and year out? Motorcycles are a fun, good weather part time machine at best. So with sky high prices it’s a feeble attempt to cover cost and make a profit from lost sales, that have beaten down the working middle class is only making things worse. Been to a dealership lately and seen all the new and used bikes sitting around along with the sound of crickets.. take a look.

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    • MGNorge says:

      You are correct in a lot of what you say but the more recent push toward beginner and more sensibly priced bikes is an attempt to counter years of recession. Not sure of the demographics of the typical motorcyclist as far as disposable income for motorcycles but there are lots and lots of very wealthy people here and around the world. Have you noticed auto makers pushing their lines upward? You bet, they’re trying to catch the eye of those that do have the money to spend plus there’s more profit in deluxe models than lower line ones. No doubt that much of the working class is watching their pennies these days, not sure if they’ll even have a job tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t prospective buyers out there with the money to spend.

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    • Blackcayman says:

      why do some people care and complain that manufactures are making high end products? There are plenty of favorably reviewed helmets in the 150 – 300 range that will suffice for all the entry level riders and those with cheap heads.

      I happen to be in the group that sees the value of protecting the only head I have with a top of the line product. I enjoy the feeling of putting on the best made product (IMHO)and going for a ride. I like knowing that I’m giving myself the best chance of the best survival outcome should I actually have to use the helmet.

      Yes the economy is in the crapper, yes my 401K has taken a huge hit since 2007. Motorcycling happens to be my most significant passion and I am willing to spend some dough for GREAT products.

      Some people could save hundreds and even thousands of dollars on new technology and devices every year, clothes shoes, cars, vacations, weed, cigarettes and booze and have plenty to buy the top of the line products being bagged on here. – Its all about your priorities.

      …and that’s all I have to say about that……for now

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  3. Vrooom says:

    It’s a good looking helmet, and undoubtedly performs well, but that still doesn’t get me to $900. I’ve been riding with a Nolan N103, which I like a lot, but would undoubtedly like the Schuberth better, but $700 better is hard to believe. I’d need to see some serious testing to believe it provides better protection, it may, but evidence would help.

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  4. Jeremy in TX says:

    If I knew it were the most comfortable helmet I could buy, I wouldn’t even flinch at the price tag. However, I am not going to pay that much to find out. In my experience, it takes about a two hour ride to determine if a helmet really fits you well, and I’ve spent a lot of money in the past trying different helmets before I found what works.

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  5. Kleetus says:

    I bought the first Schuberth flip-up 10 years ago. It was pretty pricy then but within 2 years the foam in the liner began to deteriorate and would get in my eyes so this made for a dangerous situation. I contacted the importer and they told me to pound the sand. No more arrogant German junk for me thank you very little.

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    • Gronde says:

      Good report. My 10 year old Shoei is still intact inside and out after 100,000+ miles of use. It cost me $190 or figure $20 bucks a year to protect my noggin. I will stick with the Shoei line and let those with money to burn decorate their heads with the overpriced ornaments.

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  6. Mike Simmons says:

    The styling is awesome! But 900 bucks!!?? Gimmee a break. If you got the dough and you like it, go for it. For me, no way!

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  7. SDsteph says:

    I own and wear this lid since July of this year. I tried all offerings a local store had, Arai, Shoei and Schuberth. I was hoping to get the unit down from this, but this was the only one that fit properly. Strangely enough none of the Shoeis or Arais were comfortable and I’ve been wearing those for nearly 20 years. Yes it is a boatload of money, but I am comfortable and am enjoying a really light helmet. Top of the line Arai with graphics are similar money BTW.

    To me the fit and comfort trumped all. I also had some spare money at the time so the hurt was reduced a bit.

    YMMV

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      A comfortable ride is worth every penny. I’ll pay a lot of money to forget I’m wearing a helmet/gloves/jacket/etc.

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      • mickey says:

        Unless you have unlimited money, worth every penny is a meaningless expression. If the lightest and most comfortable helmet in the world, guaranteed to fit you like a good pair of deerskin gloves was available, but it was $ 10,000 ….. would you think it worth every penny and buy one?

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  8. jim says:

    Nice gloves, Gabe. Whose are they?

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  9. mickey says:

    Ok I’ll admit to being a frugal guy. I just can’t imagine paying nearly a grand for just a helmet..holy cow.

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    • Texmex01 says:

      Well, its only your head….

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      • mickey says:

        I know $10 head right?

        You’d think a $ 400 or $600 helmet would be good enough though lol

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        • bikerrandy says:

          Yeah, back in the 60′s I had a $10 head and it’s still working! 8^ ) Then with inflation it got up to a $200 head. 8^ ( But a couple months ago I got a decent new flip-up helmet so it’s
          now a $100 head. 8 ^ / Same head, just different costs to keep it safe. Glad I don’t have a $900 FAT head. 8^ )

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        • goose says:

          Mickey,

          I’ve been hearing this propaganda for years. I’m still waiting see someone actually prove there is a correlation between price and safety. 7 or 8 years ago Motorcyclist did a pretty good job of showing the opposite.

          Goose

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          • Dino says:

            I remember that article still, and i can beleive their results. Basically, Snell standard was getting so tough to meet, the helmets had to be very tough / hard to meet it. But at lower impacts, that hard helmet transferred too much force to prevent injury to the brain. You wouldn’t die, but you would have you bell rung harder than was needed. They found cheap plastic helmets would be better for you in all but the most severe of accidents. (those kinds of accidents you might not WANT to survive anyway?).

            So it is a tough balance to find a “softer” helmet that might not meet Snell, but still has the features and comfort you need most of all.

            I have a $200 helmet that is noisy (earplugs help that) and has the features and fit that work for me.

            Before that, I did have a Schuberth Flip up (first Gen I paid $500) that worked well and I had no trouble with. At the time, it was the only helmet with internal sun visor, anti fog coating on the sheild (no pin-locks needed then…), flip up made it easier with my glasses, etc.. Was a bit of a gamble at $500, but I just can’t see gambling with $900.

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    • mickey says:

      Hey it ‘s a great looking helmet ( although I’m not much of a graphics kinda guy) and Gabe seems to really like it, so it must be a nice lid.

      But, If you go by conventional wisdom that a helmet should be thrown away and replaced every 5 years, it will cost you nearly $200 a year for the privilege of wearing it, and heaven forbid you drop it. Not a lid for the common folk.

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    • stinkywheels says:

      I’m the frugal sort. I’ll try anything, twice if I like it. I’m currently wearing a cheap Bilt modular ( I wear glasses). It’s noisy, and probably heavy. But you really can’t testdrive helmets and spent $600 on a Shoei modular that I couldn’t wear, wasted a lot of time trying to get it to fit and had to bin it. Arai doesn’t offer a modular, Schuberth could be a nice helmet but it’s at least a $700 coinflip.

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  10. DorsoDoug says:

    As I have found with many other German engineered products; answering questions that no one has ever asked.

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  11. GixxerGary says:

    Hey Gabe,
    Did Schuberth happen to explain why they don’t offer the color graphics on the US SR1 helmets as they do in Europe?

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  12. allworld says:

    What is the internal shape? Narrow, Neutral or Oval?

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  13. KentuckyRed says:

    The lines along the chin bar make me think, “No-Shave November…”

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  14. VLJ says:

    Having read all the specs and reviews, I really wanted this helmet. The price is kind of crazy—nearly 1/8th the cost of that FZ-09 Gabe is riding there—but I was still more than ready to rationalize my way into one.

    That is, until I tried it on. Or, rather, until I tried to try it on. The damn thing is so narrow at the bottom that even while using the straps to pull it open as far as it would go I could barely shoehorn my head inside. This wasn’t your typical ‘sure it’s tight now, but let it break in and it will be fine’ sort of deal. Nope, this was so ridiculously difficult and downright painful to put on that there was no way I could see myself going through that process every time it was time to ride. The thing practically ripped my ears off before leaving them folded up like a couple of rubbed-raw fortune cookies. Even the Shoei GT-Air with its conspicuously narrow opening felt like I was donning a beret compared to this Shuberth SR1.

    Oh well. It was back to Arai for me, with that new Defiant, plus a Signet-Q.

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  15. al says:

    Ridiculous price..A helmet for rich folk. My Shoei and my Nolan, and my Arai XD are fine thanks..

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  16. DaveA says:

    Seems like a solid lid, but I can’t get past the fact that I can spend $150 on a Scorpion helmet that is a quality piece in every way _and_ includes a permanent no-fog coating that works great and if properly cared for, lasts. $900 and you have to use PinLock? Why?

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  17. Provologna says:

    Wow, design looks fantastic, including finish. Just different enough from the Japanese brands without being gaudy. I like it.

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