HJC RPHA 70 full face motorbike crash helmet review

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HJC RPHA 70: Style, safety and comfort- does the RPHA 70 have it all?

South Korean helmet maker, HJC, has been producing motorcycle helmets for about 45 years now, and are known for providing decent quality, affordable crash helmets.

So, for their latest helmet, the HJC RPHA 70, to be selling for around the £400 mark, we’re expecting something pretty special. Not only is it their joint most expensive helmet (OK their range-topping RPHA 11 Carbon costs a bit more, but the 70’s the same price as the standard composite RPHA 11), so it’s properly treading on the toes of the big boys – the Arais, Shoeis and Schuberths of this world. And to do that, it needs to pack a real punch.

So what does the RPHA 70 offer?

We’ll, it’s a full faced helmet aimed at the sports-touring market – which really means anyone this side of club racer – though it’ll come with an ACU gold sticker on the back (in the UK only) so they’ll be more than happy for you to use it on the track too.

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RPHA 70 ‘Semi Flat’ matt black

But there’s quite a few innovations that HJC reckon they’ve thrown at the RPHA 70 – more than pretty well any new crash helmet launch we can remember. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, here’s the main features of the new HJC RPHA 70 full face.

  • Composite-fibre shell (carbon, aramid & fibreglass)
  • Full carbon version also available
  • SHARP 3 Star safety rated
  • Drop down sun visor
  • EQRS (emergency quick release)
  • Double-D ring fastener
  • Anti-fog insert included*
  • Wicking, anti-bac interior
  • Glasses groove
  • Sizes XXS-XXL
  • 5 year warranty
  • Expect to pay around £400

Looking to buy an HJC?

We recommend either Sportsbikeshop (UK) for amazing customer service, free delivery and competitive prices (including price match) or Motoin (Germany) for a great range and good € prices. Please click for more info on our recommended retailers or click either link to jump to their HJC helmets pages to see their full range and latest deals.

Safety

There’s a full carbon fibre version of the RPHA available.

But most of the RPHA 70 range are made from what HJC call their Premium Integrated Matrix plus or PIM for short. That’s a complex 6 layer composite laminate, including layers of carbon, glass fibre and aramid (kevlar) designed to offer good impact resistance while being light weight.

Of course, impact resistance is only one half of the equation when it comes to an effective crash helmet (with energy absorption being the other half) and if you look at the SHARP safety tests covering HJCs you can see they’ve a mixed bag of results.

Their average score across all tested HJC helmets is just over 3 out of 5. And while the composite-shelled FG-ST scored a maximum five, their top of the range RPHA 11 only managed a modest 3/5.

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Rear view of the RPHA 70 Grandal showing red EQRS tabs.

When the RPHA 70 was SHARP tested it was given a 3 star safety rating – which isn’t the best. However, it’s worth remembering that the most important thing with any helmet is to get one that fits right – a SHARP one star helmet that fits perfectly will protect you better than a five star helmet that’s a poor fit. Check our fitting guide here.

Moving on from helmet shell and shock absorption performance, it does have some other useful safety features.

Foremost among these are the emergency quick removal cheek pads (EQRS) – designed to help removing the helmet by emergency staff.

There’s also good ole double-d ring fasteners – it might be an old style way to fasten a helmet but they’re easy to use once you get the hang of em – and safe as houses if you adjust them correctly.

The RPHA 70 will also come with both an anti-fog insert (though it’s not a Pinlock) and anti-fog coated drop down sun visor.

Of course, having an integral sun visor can be very useful – especially for those times when the sun’s dangerously low in the sky. And having it anti-fog coated should be really useful too, though we’ll have to wait and see if the coating’s actually any good: it’s one thing saying it’s anti-fog coated but entirely another whether it works well or not!

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Another cool design – this time it’s the Octar in red & black

Obviously, it’d be great to see a top SHARP test result so we know it’s gonna protect your noggin.

Helmet Noise

It’s rare that we come across a particularly quiet helmet. Usually, one person’s quiet helmet is another’s noisiest helmet they’ve ever used!

But the word on the RPHA 70 seems to be pretty unanimous. This is one helluva quiet helmet. it sounds like HJC has worked some kind of alchemy with the aero and padding because not only is it reportedly one of the quietest helmets around, but that noise doesn’t seem to increase even when the vents are open.

Now, we don’t want to over-promise here and you should still expect to wear ear plugs if you buy an RPHA 70, but we didn’t find a single opinion other than along the lines of ‘damn, that’s a quiet helmet’.

Ventilation

HJC reckon they’ve done a lot of work on making the RPHA 70 one of the best venting helmets on the market – and owners seem to agree.

There’s a couple of chin vents; the top main vent directs air up onto the back of the visor and around the chin area too. The upper vent is easy to operate using a slider in the usual position on the outside of the helmet.

The lower vent is smaller and a bit more fiddly to operate as its slider’s on the inside of the helmet, which is never ideal.

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This one’s the RPHA 70 Octar yellow/black. Unique top vents visible

With the RPHA 70, these top vents are actually both intake AND exhaust vents. Bizarre. The switches on the top/size vents are also there to help regulate, not only the amount of cold air entering the helmet but the amount of warm air exiting it too.

We were initially pretty cynical about the venting arrangement – thinking could well be a cost-saving exercise (easier and cheaper to manufacture/fit intake and exhaust vents at the same time).

But now the RPHA 70 has been on the market for a while, owners give the ventilation nothing but praise – saying you can really feel the ventilation on your head, really keeping your head cool on hot days.

And because the RPHA 70 is designed to work for both sports and touring riders, they’ve made special effort to make vents that work in a sportsbike tuck as well as more upright position. They also reckon they’ve improved the internal air channelling to circulate the air around the scalp better.

So that’s top marks for ventilation.

Visor and Sun Visor

The clear visor that comes as standard has both HJCs rapid fire II quick release system and is anti-fog insert ready. The rapid fire system works pretty well to whip off the visor with little fuss.

However, it was initially thought that the anti-fog insert would be a Pinlock – which are great. As it turns out, HJC supplies their own version which isn’t as good, according to several owners.

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‘Metal’ pearl white 70 (sun visor down with optional tinted visor)

A new thing that we’ve not come across before is a two position visor-lock. Close the visor as normal, and the visor locks in position. That’s not new and lots of helmets do that – and you just have to push the visor up at the catch and it opens in one action.

However, with the RPHA 70 you can also slide the lock to the left and it’ll lock the visor closed – so even in an accident where the catch is knocked, the visor shouldn’t open.

It seems a bit over-kill for a road helmet but might come in useful if you spend a lot of time on the track? You’ll have to decide for yourself.

HJC also reckon they’ve redesigned the visor gasket to give an even better fit, reducing water/dust ingress and sealing out more road noise. This is possibly a welcome improvement as we do occasionally hear folks moaning about poor sealing on HJCs so hopefully this will improve things.

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HJC RPHA 70 Grandal

Finally, on the main visor, it does have a ‘cracked open’ position which many riders like; it’s good as a defogging position letting in a bit of ventilation while still protecting the face. So that’s (always) welcome.

Onto the sun visor.

HJC call it a ‘wire type’ sun visor meaning (I think) it’s more controllable – not just giving the options of either fully up or fully down but allowing you to drop it down as much as you like.

They’ve also designed it so the switch is further forwards and easier to reach (much better than on the top/rear of the helmet) and made the slider nice and ridged so it’s easy to operate in gloves.

Nice one HJC.

The sun visor is also anti-fog coated. Again, that’s good (lots of sun visors aren’t) though we’ll have to wait and see if it actually works!

Comfort and sizing

The HJC RPHA 70 sizing goes from XXS through to XXL (that’s size 52/3 through to 62/3).

On the inside, you’ll find the usual removable/washable lining that you find in all but the cheapest helmets (and increasingly even in the cheapest of the cheap helmets!) and you’ll also find a useful glasses groove to help riding in shades and glasses more comfortable.

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Same Grandal design as above but this time in green.

Check out the RPHA 70 spec sheet and it looks like it’ll cover all the bases in terms of active fabrics too. It’s moisture wicking, it’s anti-bacterial, odour-reducing and quick-drying. HJCs usually make very good internals and there’s no reason to suspect the RPHA 70 will be any different.

It doesn’t contain some of the swanky materials of some of the competition (see the HJC FG-ST’s SilverCool lining or the Bell Star range’s X-static silver or Cool Jade materials!) but it ticks all the boxes and owners reckon that it’s a very comfortable helmet. One or two thought it was a bit too tight at first, but said that it breaks in quickly and, now it has, they love the comfort even on long rides.

Looks and Graphics

With its chunky mouldings and and aero-influenced spoilers, the HJC RPHA 70 looks about as modern and purposeful as any helmet on the market today.

Of course, much of that is about making a helmet that works; about reducing buffeting and improving stability. And it’s also been shaped to create a pressure differential that’ll help draw air through the helmet for ventilation.

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Side view of the matt black ‘Semi Flat’

But it’s not just about the aero. That complicated shape’s also been designed to make the helmet look visually compact too – to trick the eye into thinking it’s smaller than it actually is.

And all that design work is accentuated by some really quite striking graphics.

There’s no hi-viz version (yet) but most of us want either a plain black or white lid and you’ve the usual choice of matt or gloss in there (they’re the Metal or Semi-Flat range).

There’s also the Octar, the Dipol, Grandal and Lif graphics – most available in at least two or three different colour combos.

You’ll find many RPHA 70 helmet designs up and down this page, but there are a loads more available. So, for the latest designs and prices, please click our recommended retailer links below. Ta.

Best place to buy an HJC crash helmet?

If you want piece of mind when you buy, we recommend you buy from Sportsbikeshop. They're based in the UK, have competitive prices and offer outstanding service (9.8/10 on Trustpilot, 4.5/5 on Facebook) including 365 day refunds and free UK delivery.

Or take a look at Motoin. They're a German retailer with great feedback (4.9 out of 5 on Idealo and 4.86 on eTrustedshops at the time of writing) though if you're outside Germany there's a delivery charge so factor that in (see here for details).

Please click any picture below to visit their helmets pages. And if you buy from any, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site). Click here for more info on our recommended retailers.

Click to visit SportsBikeShop
Click to visit HJC at SportsBikeShop
Click to visit HJC at Motoin
Click to visit HJC at Motoin (then use site search)

HJC RPHA 70 Video

Overall/Summary

The HJC RPHA 70 is a well thought-out and carefully designed helmet. And it looks pretty cool too!

It’s not the cheapest, but with that complex laminate shell, a carefully designed visor and sun visor system and features like the EQRS and anti-fog visor insert (not a Pinlock), it offers lots of features and technology for the money.

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Front view of the RPHA 70 Octar yellow/black

It scored just above average when tested by the UK SHARP testing labs (see here for 4 & 5 star rated helmets) but it is universally praised for its comfort and quietness.

And because it’s been designed as a sports touring helmet, it should be at home whether you’re sat bolt upright on your BMW or tucked in on your Duke.

It’s also light weight too – though if you want an even lighter weight version, there’s a full carbon RPHA 70 available.

All in all, the RPHA 70 is a great all-rounder that owners seem to be very well pleased with.

Alternatives to the RPHA 70?

There’s loads of options if you’re looking for a ‘do everything’ full face helmet. We’ve chosen a few great helmets here to check out, but if you want more options, maybe have a look at our more expensive priced helmets where you’ll find other helmets in the same price range (and more) as the RPHA70; or our great value helmets pages – or even our top 10 full face helmets lists.

But if you’re after some other suggestions, take a look at the AGV GT Veloce – a SHARP five star rated full face helmet that has a nice wide Pinlock-equipped visor and is slightly cheaper than the RPHA 70.

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Here’s the HJC RPHA 70 in Lif graphics

If you want a great brand, you could try the Shoei Ryd (only available after Spring 17) – or for something more tried and tested, how about the Shoei GT Air – it’s a great helmet with some excellent features, only let down by a SHARP 3 star test result.

For a helmet that scores maximum results for safety, try the five star rated HJC FG-ST – that’s a fibreglass lid that’s loads cheaper than the RPHA 70 but comes with £30 of Pinlock Max Vision in the box and is also a Ride magazine recommended helmet. Great value that helmet.

Looking to buy an HJC?

We recommend either Sportsbikeshop (UK) for amazing customer service, free delivery and competitive prices (including price match) or Motoin (Germany) for a great range and good € prices. Please click for more info on our recommended retailers or click either link to jump to their HJC helmets pages to see their full range and latest deals.

More HJC crash helmet reviews/info?

Visit our HJC page to quickly browse all our HJC helmet reviews including all the latest safety-rated full face and modular/flip up helmets.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Safety
Comfort
Noise
Features
Value
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2 COMMENTS

  1. (From one of our readers – via email – thanks Martin!)

    Hi Billy,
    Firts of all, thank you for the great job you’ve been doing in helmet reviews. It helped me termendously when I was in need of a new recently. I’d like to share my recent experiences and contribute a bit.
    Until a couple of weeks ago, I had a LS2 Valiant helmet, size XL, that became too big as I lost quite some weight. It became too loose and it was not a very good choice for a naked bike after all. It’s OK for commuting and moving aroun the city – it felt practical, but not for weekend rides and higher speeds. Besides being really heavy (1700g), it is noisy as hell. There are two other features that bothered me too: 1. even with the air intakes closed, I had this draft around my eyes. I could not explain it. I have very wind-sensitive eyes and that was something that reduced the comfort level big time. 2. the way LS2 designed the way the visor is mounted to the helmet. During four months of use, the securing brackets (teeth on the visor) fell apart/broke twice. Never mind.
    After trying several brands and models (AGV, Shark, Arai, LS2 and HJC), I chose HJC RPHA 70. I like every single aspect about that helmet. It fits perfectly my head shape and it was the most comfortable fit of all I had tried. The cushioning feels softer than most of what I tried. I’dsay that LS2 Vector was the worst. I also appreciate the classical fastening much more than microlock (or whatever it is called). The only disadvantage is that I cannot opreate it with the gloves on. Ventilation is great too. Not a sign of fog in the morning, but I’ll see what happens when the temperatures will be closer to 10C. And of course, the design. I bought the yellow Octar deisgn that nicely matches my bike’s yellow and black colours (it’s a Ducati Streetfighter 848). Noise: It is notably less noisy than the Valiant. Regarding noise, I got a set of Earpeace earplugs (https://earpeace.eu/), which are excellent and perfectly do the trick without losing touch with the surroundings and they come at a silly 18 € tag. Finally, the aerodynamics are much better than with LS2. Turning your head slightly at higher speed does not make you feel like you’re head is going to be riped off. To summarise it: I’d grant HJC 5 stars for this product.
    Hope this was of any use.
    Wish you a great autumn and best regards,
    Martin

  2. Have had several hjc helmets before buying the rpha 70. Loved them all but sizes have alterd on this one.I take an xl which is 62/63 cm. but now xl is 61/62. felt quite tight at first but bedded in with use. Best helmet iv’e had very light and quiet and the drop down sun shade does’t fog up.recommended.

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