Shark Skwal 2 review: a mid-priced polycarbonate street helmet with LEDs
The original Skwal helmet has only been with us a couple of years but Shark has decided it’s time for a revamp.
Which is a bit surprising, since the first Skwal is both highly rated by owners and scored well in the SHARP helmet safety test, so should offer great accident protection too.
In our original Skwal 1 helmet review, it scored 3.9 out of 5 stars overall, with the only thing that really let the helmet down being the fact that it was a bit noisy; though of course that’s not a deal breaker for most of us who wear ear plugs.
However, that was one of the goals Shark had for the Skwal 2 – to improve soundproofing along with tweaking the aerodynamics to improve stability. They also say they’ve brightened up the LEDs that you’ll find front and rear on the Skwal 2.
So let’s have a look over what the new Shark Skwal 2 has to offer for its slightly heftier price tag.
- Thermoplastic full face helmet
- SHARP 4 star safety rated
- Integrated LEDs front and rear
- Drop down sun visor
- Pinlock Max Vision antifog insert included
- Micrometric fastener
- Internal groove for glasses
- 5 year warranty
- Sizes XS-XL
- Weighs around 1.5Kg
- Ride Magazine Best Buy (D-Skwal 2)
- Expect to pay £190-£230 (depending on graphics)
Looking to buy this Shark?
We recommend SportsBikeShop (UK) for competitive prices, free delivery and 365 day returns backed by outstanding reviews, and Ghostbikes (UK) for amazing ratings, free delivery & free 30 day returns. Or you can click through to the Shark helmets pages at Amazon if you prefer to buy from there. If you like to buy in Euros, Motoin (Ger) are a quality German operation with decent prices and great review scores.
The old Skwal did very well in the SHARP safety test, scoring a very creditable 4/5 stars.
Of course, the main helmet test in Europe that every helmet has to pass is the ECE 22-05 test and the Skwal 2 has passed that too.
In the last Skwal helmet review, we commented that every polycarbonate Shark helmet has scored at least four stars in the SHARP test (at least, for the last few years they have).
Well, now SHARP has tested this latest Skwal too – and guess what? Yup, the Skwal 2 has scored four stars for safety as well!
Which I guess isn’t surprising, not least of which because the Shark Skwal 2 shares a similar (albeit tweaked) helmet shell shape and similar internals to the original Skwal.
As you can see on the Skwal 2 SHARP test results diagram, the Skwal 2 gives slightly less impact protection on the sides during the 8.5m/s impact test.
That’s a fairly common flaw tbh – if a helmet’s going to have a weakness, it tends to be on the sides.
But overall, it’s a decent result and means you can probably rely on the Skwal 2 to do its job if the worst happens and you hit the deck.
Other than these lab tests, there’s a bunch of other features that the Skwal 2 has that help with safety.
The most obvious of these with the Skwal 2 is the continued use of LED lights front and rear that we saw with the Skwal 1.
The Skwal 2 has new brighter LEDs than the old helmet and of course they’re powered by a similar integrated battery pack that’s charged by an (included) USB charger.
If you’re looking for the lights on the photos, you can see them in green: one pair above the visor and another pair below at the front of the helmet. There’s another pair to the rear too, just below the rear spoiler.
According to owners, the LEDs are nice and bright (much brighter than on the Skwal 1), can work on either full-on or flashing modes and don’t take very long to charge (around 20-30 minutes).
The only downside is that it’s tricky to find the button to turn them on while you’re riding – and even if you do find it, it’s impossible to know whether you’ve turned them on until you either stop or look in your mirrors.
Other safety features include a quick-release micrometric fastener on the strap and a Pinlock Max Vision insert to keep your vision fog-free (included in the box).
Owners of the first gen Skwal rated it at somewhere between average to noisy when it comes to helmet noise, depending on who you asked.
Well, Shark reckon they’ve improved the ‘autoseal’ visor system and revised the aerodynamics on the new helmet: all with a view to make the Skwal 2 both more stable and quieter.
Did it work? Well, there’s still a massively mixed range of opinions out there, with some owners still saying it’s a noisy helmet or okay as long as you’re wearing ear plugs.
Looking across the range of opinions though, there’s definitely more saying they find it either quieter than their last helmet(s_ or just plain quiet.
Overall then, we’ll score the Shark Skwal 2 as being slightly quieter than your average helmet, but still not what you’d call a really quiet helmet.
So, Shark has managed to improve things slightly over the original Skwal, just as they claim.
But don’t expect to ride in a Skwal 2 without ear plugs (obviously, the same goes for any helmet if you’re doing anything more than a handful of urban, low speed miles).
The Skwal 2 has a single chin vent and a single forehead vent operated by a small slider.
That’s more or less the same system as we saw in the Skwal 1 where it was seen as basic but working reasonably well.
And the word on the ventilation system on the Skwal 2 is that it’s pretty similar.
It flows a reasonable amount of air but it’s nothing to shout home about. A few owners reckon it could be improved and there’s a couple saying that the chin vent is a bit flimsy – although to be fair that’s pretty much the only moan that we’ve found more than one owner having about the Skwal 2.
So, if you’re a hot-head and need a helmet to keep you cool in the summer, you might want to look elsewhere. But if you’re a typical Euro-rider then it might not bother you too much.
One thing that’s really welcome is the addition of a Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog insert (‘free’ in the box) to help out the ventilation around the visor and keep things from misting up in all but the most intense situations.
The visor works on a ratchet with the opening tab on the left hand side only.
Shark reckon they’ve improved the visor system to make for a tighter fit and to improve aerodynamics. And most owners seem to agree saying the seal’s nice and tight and the visor’s easy to use.
And the inclusion of a Pinlock Max Vision (the anti-fog insert that covers almost the entire internal surface of the visor) is really welcome as they’re one of the best ways to keep your visor fog-free.
There’s a drop-down sun visor on the Shark Skwal 2 which is operated by rotating the pointy dial you can see on the left hand side of the visor pivot.
The main thing to say about the sun visor on the Skwal 2 is that several owners say it’s great how low the sun visor drops down to cover all your vision.
Over the years, we’ve come across lots of comments about sun visors complaining that they leave a bright stripe at the bottom because they don’t drop down low enough.
So, if that’s one of your bug bears, then the Skwal 2 might be the first helmet that sorts things out for you.
If you’ve not tried a helmet with a sun visor, we recommend them as they’re mighty convenient.
The sun visor on the Shark Skwal 2 offers UV 380 protection. That’s the current European standard level and should cut out all potentially damaging UV rays.
Having said that, your standard clear polycarbonate visor will cut out anywhere between 90-99% of UV light. So the addition of a sun visor should cut out the rest and, of course, make it easier to ride in bright sunlight!
Comfort and Sizing
Inside the Skwal 2, there’s a fully removable/washable comfort lining that contains glasses grooves to comfortably accommodate glasses stems.
Shark use a bamboo-based material inside too. That’s a nice soft lining that’s both antibacterial/hypoallergenic and helps with moisture (sweat) wicking.
The last Skwal was universally liked for being a comfortable helmet and the Skwal 2 is no different, with lots and lots of owners saying it’s a mega comfortable helmet that feels soft and plush inside.
Just note it’s designed for people with medium oval head shapes, so if your head’s longer or rounder you might find you get a few pressure points.
A few owners do reckon to get the right size, your new Skwal 2 needs to feel a bit too tight when you first buy it – but it will soften up over the first few weeks to fit perfectly.
Just make sure you follow our fitting guide to make sure you measure your head correctly and know what to look for when you receive your new helmet.
Looks & Graphics
Shark launched the Skwal 2 with a cracking range of graphics – including a Lorenzo rep and the usual range of plain black and white versions.
You’ll find examples of some of these up and down the page but for the latest graphics and Shark Skwal deals, please click the links to our recommended motorcycle gear and helmet retailers below.
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Shark Skwal 2 Video
7m video looking around the Skwal 2 at Revzilla.
Other stuff – fasteners, audio, weight, glasses, aero, build quality, warranty
The Skwal 2 comes with a micrometric fastener (they’re safe and really easy to use).
It’s designed to be Sharktooth bluetooth communicator ready. But if you don’t have Shark’s own bluetooth system, it does mean there are speaker pockets in there and it should work with many 3rd party intercom kits.
According to one owner, the speaker pockets are very generous and the helmet’s comfy even with aftermarket speakers fitted.
The Skwal 2 weighs around 1.5kg – that’s about the average weight for a full face helmet so you shouldn’t have any problems there.
A couple of owners said it feels nice and light weight while you’re wearing it too.
If you wear glasses – or like to wear sunglasses – then there’s a glasses groove inside the Skwal 2 which a number of owners say accommodates their glasses nicely. One owner commented that the sun visor drops down and easily clears his glasses, so all’s good on the glasses front.
The aero on the Skwal 2 is generally thought to be very good with little buffeting or lift reported. One owner riding a naked bike said there’s no tugging on the helmet even when doing head-checks at speed.
Build quality is something that lots of folks commended the Shark Skwal 2 on. Apart from a couple of complaints about a slightly flimsy chin vent, several owners said it has that premium helmet feel and is well put together.
Every Shark helmet comes with a five year warranty.
The Shark Skwal range has established itself as a great all-rounder.
The LEDs may be a novelty or they may be a serious safety feature depending on how you look at them. But either way, Shark has made evolutionary improvements from the original Skwal helmet and the Skwal 2 is now way more than just ‘the helmet with the LEDs on’ but a well built, well featured all-rounder helmet.
The Skwal 2 has brighter LED lights, improved aero which reduces buffeting and lift and has helped reduce noise levels to make the new helmet above average in terms of noise attenuation.
All that’s topped with a slightly redesigned visor system, a larger than average drop down sun visor and that excellent SHARP 4 star safety rating.
All in all if you’re after a quality all rounder helmet with a great visor system – and like the idea of children pointing and staring at your LED-festooned noggin as you ride by – then the Skwal 2 might well be the helmet for you.
Crash Helmet Buying Guides
For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.
Good Alternatives to the Shark Skwal 2?
There’s a stack of great alternatives to the Shark Skwal 2 – unless of course you’re after a helmet with built in LEDs in which case the only alternative is the old Shark Skwal 1!
If you’d rather keep your dosh in your back pocket, then take a look at the more budget MT Thunder 3. It’s half the price of the Skwal yet scores 4 stars for safety too.
Or, if you can stretch your budget a bit further than the Shark and want something a bit sportier, then the Bell Star entry level helmet might be spot on. SHARP 5 star safety rated, good ventilation, pretty quiet (for a sportsbike helmet!), light and owners love em.
For other alternatives – check out our Smart Filters page to quickly zoom in on your ideal helmet.
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