Shark Race-R Pro Carbon Fibre Full Face Helmet Review
- SHARP 5 Star Rated (maximum safety score)
- Carbon Fibre Shell
- 1.3Kg (light) and aerodynamic
- Good for glasses wearers
- Double-D ring fastener
- Price range typically £300-500 depending on retailer
The Shark Race-R Pro Carbon is a carbon fibre, full faced helmet with wide visor aperture, good ventilation and SHARP 5 star safety rating (maximum rating). It’s comfortable, reasonably quiet and aerodynamic – but it’s not the cheapest.
Apparently, the Shark Race-R Pro helmet was originally designed for pro racers. Guess that means Stefan Bradl and Scott Redding in the first place (though of course Jorge Lorenzo and Tom Sykes now wear Sharks). But it gives you an idea of the sort of biker who’ll naturally get the most out of the Race-R. Full faired, head-down sportsbike riders.
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Carbon fibre shell, great ventilation, cool looks. What’s not to like?
The shell of the Race-R Pro Carbon is built from carbon and aramid fibres. That makes it really light and strong – 1.3kg light to be precise. This can make a hell of a difference to riders on the track who’re riding for session after session through the day, but it does also help reduce the effect of buffeting for the rest of us. But unless you’re a high mileage rider, it’s more of a ‘nice to have’. It’s probably not a deal-maker, but there are lots of nice touches to this helmet that might be.
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Insidep>Take the inside of the lid. It uses bamboo fibres which – so they say – fights bacteria to prevent the helmet from retaining sweat, and keeping it relatively stink-free. Lots of manufacturers claim to use antibacterial helmet linings these days but it’s the first time I’ve heard of bamboo being used. Not too sure bamboo will help my helmet much after a sweaty day’s summer riding – but I’m willing to be convinced. The inside’s fully removable and washable and you can get different cheek pad thicknesses from Shark dealers to help with the fit.
Noise, Foggingp>The interior also has something called a ‘whisper strip’. Sounds a little gimmicky, but it’s designed to cut out exterior noise by forming a barrier round your neck. That said, there’s almost total silence on how noisy the helmet is. I take that to be ‘it’s OK’, plus it’s wind tunnel designed to be a slippery, aerodynamic shape and that always reduces noise from wind buffeting. Shark also say it’s 4.5db quieter than their standard Race-R Pro. Not quite sure how 4.5db feels in the real world (probably the same as lightly drumming your fingers on a desktop?) but I guess every little helps (unless you wear ear plugs when it’ll be quiet anyhow!).
It’s also got a rubber mask inside the helmet that actively deflects your breath. The breath is sent downwards to reduce misting. Plus, it’s got an anti-fog coating on the inside of the 4mm thick visor so fogging is mostly not a problem, except in more extreme weather or slow riding in town.
Visorvisor gives a nice wide view and has an excellent quick-release mechanism- once you get the hang of it, it’ll literally take you 2 minutes to take off and refit it. It’s one of the best. With such a thick visor, it has been mentioned that riding at night can lead to double vision (reflections off both sides of the visor?). It’s pretty rarely reported though so, unless do lots of night riding, probably not an issue.
In Racing Divis White, Green & Red livery showing top vents
Ventilationilation is a strong point for the Shark Race R. It has four front vents (chin, forehead, two on top of the head) and reportedly pulls in lots of air. If you’re a fiddler and are continually adjusting the air flow as you ride, you might have a problem as they all push/pull/close in different directions, even though their switches are easy to use with gloves. I know I have a problem remembering which way just a couple of vents go without pulling over and taking my helmet off. Still, if you can get your head around them, the ventilation’s great and there when you need it.
Helmet Safetyher big tick in the box for the Race-R is that it’s SHARP 5 star rated – the maximum available. Shark came 3rd overall in our safety shootout of 37 brands and this goes to show they’re not letting up. It’ll be as safe as you could hope to get. The shell itself comes in two shell sizes, possibly not the best if you’re at the extreme ends of the scale – either XXS or XXL as your helmet might look too big or too small when you’re wearing it. There’s not much data around to tell if it’ll compromise safety, but there is an argument that there’s an optimal size of helmet shell/padding, and reducing the amount of padding in the larger sizes may reduce shock absorption in an impact. However, that may be one reason why the Race R doesn’t cater for extreme sizes – the Pro Carbon is only available in sizes XL to XS. More than one owner has commented that their helmet seems a bit oddly sized – with the medium size seeming a bit on the big side. Might be worth a try before you buy.
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Shark Race R Pro Carbon in blank red colours