Shark Skwal crash helmet. A polycarb full face helmet with in-built LED lights
The Skwal is Shark‘s middle of the range, do anything at a reasonable price, helmet. Only this time it’s got some added bling in the form of built-in LED lights front and rear. But is it just a novelty or does the helmet really deliver?
The Shark Skwal is a nice helmet. It’s feature-packed, comfortable and has decent build quality. It’s not the quietest helmet around (actually it’s quite noisy) but the visor systems work well and, as long as you don’t mind having yet another thing to charge up after a ride (or can deal with the frustration of putting your helmet on to find the lights don’t work!) then it should be a good helmet. It’s also been safety tested by SHARP and scored a very respectable 4/5 stars. Well worth a look.
- SHARP 4 star safety rated (out of 5)
- 1.47Kg (about average)
- Rechargeable LED lighting strips
- Injected thermoplastic shell (polycarb)
- Pinlock anti-fog insert included
- Integral sun visor
- Sizes XS – XL
- Prices from around £150-£199
The Skwal has been ECE 2205 approved for sale in the EU which means it’s passed an entry-level helmet safety testing to allow it to go on sale in the EU. As of Sept 2015, it was SHARP safety tested too and, as we suspected, scored four stars out of five, which means it’s a safe lid which should give you good protection in an accident.
Shark have one of the best reputations for crash helmet safety around – with all but one of their thermoplastic helmets having scored four stars or above – and also being our joint 3rd safest helmet brand. So we’re pretty confident you’ll be well protected if you go for a Shark.
We understand that the Skwal is manufactured in two shell sizes (with five fitment sizes) which is about par for the course for a middle of the range thermoplastic lid.
Other things that contribute to safety are anti-fog and a drop down sun visor and the Skwal has both (see visor section below).
And of course it also has its LED lighting system – which you’ll probably either think looks kinda cool and contributes to safety or are a complete waste of time and a gimmick. Jury’s out of course as they’re not massively bright though they do have both a continuously-on and a flashing mode which is probably going to catch other driver’s attention the most. Shark reckon you’ll get 5-8 hours between charges (remove the battery and charge with a USB cable) though I guess that’ll be affected by temperature and will drop with battery age.
We struggled to get a good photo showing how bright the strips are at night – and in fact Shark’s own videos and pics are enhanced so I guess they did too! But if you go to around 45 seconds into the, frankly, bonkers helmet launch video in the videos section below, you might get an idea (after that they seem intent on turning into a Tron video).
You can spot the green lighting strips around the bottom of the front vents and above the rear exhaust vent.
Looking to buy a Shark?We recommend Sportsbikeshop (UK), GetGeared (UK) and Motoin (Ger) all for great service and competitive prices. Please click any link to see their full range and latest prices, or see here for more info on these retailers.
The Skwal has what Shark call their Autoseal system, where the visor adheres to the gasket slightly to help suppress more noise as well as stop wind/rain better. It also comes with a chin guard to stop noise from below. But it’s only partially successful with owners saying it’s anywhere from about average to quite noisy. Of course, if you use ear plugs (which you should) you’ll be fine, just don’t expect the Skwal to be the quietest because it’s not.
On the ventilation front, the Skwal doesn’t have anything fancy or innovative going on – and consequently, ventilation is about average. There’s a single chin vent (easy to operate) and a single forehead vent (slightly less so via a small slider on the top) which takes air into the helmet, through the air channels around the scalp and out of the exhaust vent below the spoiler to the rear. Owners reckon it’s adequate and, coupled with the Pinlock, has enough ventilation to keep your visor mist-free.
If good ventilation is important to you, then check out our page of helmets with great ventilation.
There’s a clear main visor plus an integral anti-scratch and anti-UV sun visor on the Skwal.
Useful features on the main visor are that the seal is particularly good, the aperture is slightly wider than most; there’s an easy to find visor opening tab to the left hand side and it comes Pinlock-ready and with a Max Vision Pinlock in the box. The Max Visions are larger than the standard Pinlocks so they obscure your vision less so are well worth going for and work really well in keeping the visor fog-free.
Also worth noting is Shark’s quick release visor system which is simplicity itself and really quick to operate (tilt the visor and pull). So all good on the main visor.
Owners reckon the sun visor works well too (even the ones who don’t really like sun visors!). It’s operated by a slider on the left hand side and there are no problems reported.
Like all helmets, to get a comfortable helmet, you need to ensure you get the right size for your head. That done, the Skwal’s a comfortable helmet and owners love em. The liner is removable, washable and breathable – like most helmets these days – and many owners reckon it’s as comfortable – if not more – than their previous expensive Shoei’s or up-market Sharks. High praise indeed.
Looks & Graphics
At the time of reviewing, Shark produce a range of six designs (including plain) with multiple colour combinations in each. Their plain colours (Blank) come in plain white and matt/gloss black and silver. We’ve dotted pictures of the Ellipse, Sticking, Spinax, Instinct and Matador designs around the page – but click the retailer links to see the latest designs and colour variants.
Bit of info about the helmet from Visordown.
And here’s Shark’s own bonkers video. Skip to about 45s to see them switch on the lights.
Other stuff – fasteners, audio, glasses, warranty
The Skwal comes with a micrometric fastener (quick and easy to use and safe as they come). It also comes Sharktooth communicator-ready with spaces for earphones set into the side of the helmet which, of course, can be used by 3rd party communicators too. Also set into the side of the helmet is Shark’s usual glasses-groove – indents for the arms of glasses or shades that allow you to insert/remove glasses easily and means that the arms don’t press into the side of your head when riding; always a great feature to see.
Finally, you get Shark’s 5 year warranty which has gotta be good for peace of mind.
Crash Helmet Buying GuidesFor (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.
Best places to buy a Shark crash helmet?We've chosen three of the best places to buy from - whether it's a Shark or any other helmet/gear. If you want piece of mind when you buy, SportsBikeShop is based in the UK and offers outstanding service (9.8/10 on Trustpilot) including 365 day refunds. They usually have competitive prices too and are our recommended retailer for excellent quality of service. Or try Motoin (Germany). They get great feedback (4.9 and 4.86 out of 5 on Idealo and eTrustedshops at the time of writing) though note, there's a small delivery charge so factor that in (see here for details). GetGeared is another recommended UK retailer, also with a no-quibble 365 day returns policy, free delivery and score of 9/10 for customer service on Trustpilot. Please click any picture below to visit their Shark helmets page where you can see all the latest colour schemes and prices. 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.
If you want another mid-priced helmet with LEDs, you’ll not find one (yet). However, there are other great helmets around for similar money or less. For about the same money is another polycarb helmet with drop-down sun visor – the Scorpion Exo 500 Air. It’s a 4 star SHARP tested helmet that’s a very similar spec to the Shark but a tiny bit heavier.
Slightly more expensive is the X-Lite X-702 GT, a composite fibre shelled helmet that’s about the same weight and SHARP 5 star tested that’s well rated for noise and comfort. It’s got a sun visor too.
If you’re after something slightly sportier (but without a sun visor) the SHARP 4 star rated HJC FG17 is about the same price and weight as the Shark and a solid performer all round.