Shark Speed R helmet review

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The Speed R, from French helmet producer Shark, is a pretty aggressive-looking, sports-oriented full faced crash helmet. It’s notable for the range of funky colour schemes it comes in as well as the integral sun visor and optically-correct (and thick!) clear visor as well as scoring a healthy four star rating in the SHARP crash helmet safety test. See summaries below for more information as to whether you should buy one.

  • Mid-priced fibreglass helmet with sun visor
  • SHARP 4 star safety tested (out of 5)
  • Optically correct visor
  • Moderate noise
  • Good for glasses-wearers
  • XS – XL, 1.45Kg
  • Typical price range: £170-£250 depending on retailer/model

Looking to buy this Shark?

It's been discontinued for a while now, but you can still find it on Amazon UK the last time we checked. Please click the link and you'll drop straight onto their Shark helmets pages (then use site search).

Safety & Shell

The Shark Speed R scored a creditable 4/5 in the SHARP helmet test, meaning it should perform above average in an accident. Like all other crash helmets for sale in the UK (and the rest of the EU) it’s also ECE 22-05 approved so you should be reasonably confident that it’ll stay on, not crack and absorb the impact well.

The shell is constructed from layered glass fibre – what Shark calls ‘multiaxial’, meaning that the layers of fibreglass are laid at different angles to reduce splitting and help with overall stiffness and structural integrity. There’s also a Speed-R Carbon which is also mainly constructed from fibreglass but with a layer of carbon fibre on top to give it a cool carbon fibre look.

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Shark Speed R Blank in Gloss Black

While the carbon fibre layer is mostly there for looks, it should help with  abrasion resistance in a crash too.

Size

The helmet is built in two shell sizes – which is kinda what you’d expect at this price of helmet – more expensive helmets tend to be produced in two or three helmet sizes. Remember, the closer the helmet shell size matches the helmet size you need, the more the level of padding inside the helmet is optimised. That means if you use a ginormous helmet shell for an XXS fitting, then they have to use lots of padding inside the helmet to make it fit – and the more you’ll look like a lollipop when you wear it (massive helmet on small head). For more info on helmet fitting, look here.

Wind Noise

The Shark Speed-R is about average for noise suppression. Much of the way owners feel about the level of noise in a helmet is dictated by the type of bike ridden (sporty & faired or naked and unfaired) and the position (lean forward or sat upright). It’s also dependent on how quiet your last helmet was as it’s a comparative judgment. However, Shark designed the helmet with sporty naked riders in mind (the bike, not the rider 🙂 ) and this is born out by owners who reckon that it’s best for more upright riders where the helmet is more in the wind. If you’re crouched forward, it gets noisier. The helmet was designed  with a spoiler at the rear of the helmet that’s supposed to reduce buffeting and increase stability – and as long as you’re sitting reasonably upright, folks reckon it’s pretty good – with the aerodynamics working best when in the windflow, making it quieter and reducing buffeting. On average, the Speed R seems about average for quietness.

Ventilation

The Speed R has chin/forehead vents and a rear exhaust vent. Pretty standard really. The exhaust vent is located at the back of the lid with a bit of a spoiler over the top which is designed to create a ‘venturi’ effect – meaning it lowers the pressure behind the helmet, effectively sucking all the manky head-air out of the helmet to produce extra cooling. Quite a few helmets do this these days and with the Speed-R, Shark has made done quite a bit of external and internal work to maximise the air flow. To quote the marvellous Franglais from the Shark website, ‘The immediate benefit is an ultra fast refreshment hence the quasi-nonexistant mist.’ Couldn’t have put it better myself!

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Speed R rear view showing exhaust vent spoiler and base spoiler to reduce buffeting

There are the usual external vents on the Speed R but, to work well, these have to be complemented by well routed and large interior air channels in both the polystyrene shock absorbing material and internal lining and skull cap to allow it to reach the head. Shark have done their homework here and most owners report that it works very well, keeping the head cool in hot weather.

Having said that, there can be an issue with the visor fogging but that’s pretty standard on most helmets so an anti-fog insert is going to be necessary.

Visor

There’s some very good things and a very bad thing to report on the visor. On the outer, clear visor, Shark have gone for a very high quality, optically-correct visor that owners say is great to use – some people commenting that their vision’s as clear with the visor down as it is with it up! It’s also notable because it’s so thick – over 4mm in the centre, reducing to just under 3mm at the edges. There aren’t any notches on this visor mechanism to keep the visor open at set points, but there aren’t any complaints about the way the visor keeps open where the user puts it so shouldn’t be a problem there. The main problem is that there isn’t a tab on the front of the visor so a gloved finger can find the edge of the visor to open it. More than one person has moaned like crazy about the barmy oversight with a coupe of folks saying it’s impossible to open the visor without taking your glove off. It does seem a bit mad that they’d produce a visor without an opening-tab and it’s something that should be pretty easy for Shark to recitify – so might be worth checking with the retailer that the problem’s been sorted before you buy.

One thing that’s worth noting is that the visor’s really easy to change with a couple of pull-tabs below each visor pivot that release the visor quickly. Great for taking your visor off quickly to give it a clean.

The sun visor is operated by a nice alloy slider to the top left of the helmet and works well, with users reckoning their vision is nice and clear, even when the sun visor’s down. To view other helmets with integral sun visors, click through to our helmets with sun visors page.

Comfort

As ever, comfort is dependent on making sure you get the right fit. It should be snug but not too tight and match the shape of your head. Occasionally people are finding that the cheek pads are a bit oversized and might squeeze the face a little until they give. Also, there are some comments that if you have a pronounced forehead, you might find the helmet presses there – so, if that’s you, you might want to try one on before you buy first.

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In Texas colour scheme showing integral sun visor.

If you wear glasses, there’s a handy groove cut in the liner that allows glasses’ stems to seat easily inside the helmet and there’s plenty of space inside for the lenses to sit without being interfered with by the visors – so all good here.

The internal lining is fully removable and washable (delicates/cold cycle) and there’s no complaints about comfort or abrasion so should be fine.

Best place to buy this Shark?

You can still find this helmet at Amazon UK. Click the link to drop through to their Shark Helmets page (then use search) - but make sure you only buy from the most reputable sellers.

Shop for Shark helmets at Amazon

Other stuff – fasteners, audio, weight etc.

The Shark Speed R has a d-ring fastener which is a reliable and easy to use fastener that’s compatible with track use, if you fancy doing a track day. There’s a cut-out in the EPS liner for third party communicator/intercom speakers but it’s also Sharktooth bluetooth-ready (Shark’s own brand of communicator). One thing everyone agrees with is that it’s a light helmet – with the XS size helmet weighing in at just 1.45 kilos – right up there with the lightest non-carbon fibre helmets.

If you want another opinion about the Speed R, here’s a video review that’s got quite a few ‘likes’.

Warranty

At the time of writing, Shark helmets come with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty (2 year’s statutory with an extra 3 years) which covers manufacturing defects and postage too. That’s a pretty good deal on the face of it and, at the least, shows that Shark are confident in their manufacturing and QA process. We’d love to hear if you’ve used their warranty. Please let us know using our contact form.

Overall

The Shark Speed-R combines modern, slightly-aggressive styling and attractive graphics with good safety levels and useful features – including integral sun visor and optically correct clear visor. The only notable, and slightly odd fail is the lack of tab to open the main visor. Otherwise, it’s a mid-priced helmet that performs either average or well in most other respects and should provide a trusty and reliable buy.

Other places you might want to look

If you’re looking to buy a crash helmet, there’s a few items in the links below to equip you with most of the things you need to know:

  • A range of other useful articles/research you should be aware of if you’re looking to buy a crash helmet.
  • Other reviews and previews of other Shark helmets.
  • Other reviews and previews of full face helmets.
  • Otherwise, just click on the feature you’re interested in from the list to the right to see only helmets with that feature.

And if you’ve experience of the Shark Speed-R that you’d like to share, please add a comment below or fill out the form and we’ll publish it – the site’s based mostly on feedback from users and owners like you so we’d genuinely love to know what you think.

Looking to buy this Shark?

It's been discontinued for a while now, but you can still find it on Amazon UK the last time we checked. Please click the link and you'll drop straight onto their Shark helmets pages (then use site search).

Definitely want a Shark?

Here you'll find all our Shark crash helmet reviews and previews including full face, flip-up and open face helmets.

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