Hats off to Shark. Not only are they our joint third safest helmet brand (as reviewed in 2014) but they’re always trying to bring innovation into the crash helmet market. First it was the Shark Raw, an open faced lid with a distinctly lean/mean urban streetfighter look. And now, it’s the Shark Vancore – again targeting the hidden urban warrior in us but with with the added safety of being a full faced helmet (hey, I’m as much an urban warrior as the next man, but you’ve got to be sensible haven’t you 🙂 )
- Full face crash helmet
- Integral goggles with Carl Zeiss lens
- 1.25Kg (light)
- Thermoplastic shell
- XS (53cm) to XL (62cm)
- Typical price range: £160-£230 depending on model/retailer
Shell and Designs
The Vancore is a thermoplastic lid and comes in five helmet sizes – from XS (53/4 cms) to XL (61/2 cms) but with just one shell size. It comes in your usual range of suitably grimy, urban, camo designs that wouldn’t look out of place in Advance Warfare. We’ve put our favourites on the page – including the matt and dual black, the RYU matt with it’s stricking red sun design on one side – and the camo Shark Vancore Matt Wipeout Mat EAO (nice and catchy naming guys!) as shown to the right. There’s space for the SharkTooth bluetooth communicator in the shell – with cutouts for speakers and enough room for a mic.
When you look at the helmet from the side, don’t be fooled by the chin guard that looks as if it’ll pivot up. It won’t. It’s fixed. It comes with the goggles in place, fastened to each side with a quick release catch and the helmet’s secured to your bonce by way of a mirometric fastener – whack the lid on your head, insert the ratcheted bar into the holder and it clicks in place. Pull a little tab to release it – all nice and simple to use.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing the Vancore hasn’t been safety tested by SHARP – they’re the guys who independently safety test UK helmets. It has passed the ECE standards for safety, meaning it probably won’t fall apart if you drop it on the floor but beyond that, it’s difficult to say how well it’ll perform in an accident. Having said that, Shark usually score very well in SHARP tests so you should be ok (Sharks usually score a whopping four or five out of five).
Before we come onto goggles in detail, it’s worth noting that the googles do reduce your field of view compared to a conventional full face helmet. They’re pretty deeply set into the helmet and have a thick rubber frame – meaning that you need to look left/right a bit more energetically than normal for your life saver – not ideal from a safety perspective.
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The goggles are fixed to the helmet by elastic straps that connect to a pin on the sides. They can be quickly released by simply pulling on the tab to one side and they goggles will come away. If you want to lift the goggles up when you’re riding, you can do that too. However they’re fiddly to pull out – they sit deep within the helmet and the elastic needs to be pretty tight to keep them sitting snug on your face. You can pull them up and they’ll sit on your forhead ok – however, it doesn’t take long for the elastic to start going baggy if you do this lots. Which is not so bad because you can tighten the elastic – it’s just another fiddle and if you’re anything like me, reducing the amount of fiddling and faffing about you do with a helmet is pretty high up on your priority list when you’re riding!
The goggles themselves do work nicely though – they sit nice and close to your face and are lined with foam and are by all counts pretty comfy. They are anti fog coated and feature a dual Carl Zeiss lens which gives a nice and clear view of the road ahead. And while they do fit well, they are still goggles and not a flush-fitting visor, so there is a gap around that’ll let air/water/road crap into the helmet. So if you’ll be riding all year round and in dodgy conditions, you have been warned!
Comfort & sizing
The lining of the Vancore uses bamboo which, rather counter-intuitively, makes for a really soft, plush place to put your noggin. It’s also got deep recesses in it to allow the top-vent to do it’s job and pass air over your head to let it breathe. Owners say it’s a comfortable helmet – as long as you get the sizing right. A couple of people suggested going for a size up when ordering a Vancore as they tend to be a wee bit undersized. The lining is fully removable and washable.
Ventilation and Noise
The Vancore has a single vent on the top of the helmet which does the job nicely. Air does get in through the front around the goggles so, by all accounts, the single top vent is all the Vancore needs. It’s easy to operate with gloves and simply slides forwards or back to open/close. It’s not the quietest helmet, but it’s not the noisiest either. Owners reckon it’s probably similar to a decent modular helmet. So if you come to a Vancore from a particularly quiet full face helmet, you’ll think it’s noisy but if you come to it from an open face lid and riding a naked bike, it’ll be the last word in peace and tranquility!
Here’s Soundslikeaplan994‘s video on his new Vancore (looks enamoured doesn’t he?)
The Shark Vancore will sell on its looks – it’s that simple. Any why not. It’s probably not the most practical helmet – but you probably don’t walk around in a sensible lightweight spring jacket and hush puppies for the same reason. Who needs practical? We don’t know how safe it’ll be in an accident (see Safety above), but assuming it’s good (most Shark helmets are) and you realise it’s probably only really good for using on dry days (urban warriors tend to stay indoors when it’s wet anyhow) then we reckon you’ll be happy with the Vancore.