Shark EvoOne Flip-up Helmet
As this writer prefers scooters to motorbikes and rarely travels beyond London’s M25 motorway, I much prefer helmets of the open-faced variety. However, I am mindful of the dangers when riding with an unprotected face. In most instances I would like to think my reactions will cause me to get the face out of the way on any impacts. However, given that one of the most common accident causes is rear ending (easy to do when a car suddenly brakes while you’re performing a sideways ‘life saver’ glance), I set out to seek the perfect two-way solution – a converting flip-front helmet – and I’ve found it in this superb modular model from Shark.
Let’s look at the sizing first. Now, I’m a skinny little fella with a pretty small and narrow head (around 56cm) so I first figured the Small would do the trick. However, the lovely marketing lady at Shark suggested a Medium instead. The helmet arrived promptly (I ordered the simple white model for extra visibility) and I’m thrilled to say it fits perfectly. Indeed, next to the excellent Hedon and Shark Skwal reviewed below, it’s one of the most comfortable helmets I’ve ever tested. Granted, it’s easier to put on and take off when in open-face mode (the head portal is really small) but once on it’s really cosy and snug fitting, with plenty of space around the ears for fitting Shark’s exceptional Sharktooth Bluetooth communications system.
It has to said that the deep cheek padding does push against cheeks, creating a sort of permanent pout. This is an excellent safety feature but those with rounder faces may find the padding a little too uncomfortable for longer rides. Another reviewer also pointed this out and his solution was to remove the cheek padding altogether; inadvisable in my humble opinion.
Right, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. When unlatched, the chin guard on the vast majority of flip front helmets sits above the forehead. This not only looks ugly and cumbersome but it’s also an aerodynamic disaster. You might not notice it at speeds less than 20mph but once you hit 30mph and above you can really feel the helmet pulling back on the chin strap. By contrast, the EvoOne’s chin guard unclips and folds all the way back to nestle perfectly against the rear of the helmet. Out of sight, out of mind and out of the wind.
It’s an ingenious design in all respects. To articulate the chin guard you undo the thumb latch, pull the guard out a few centimetres and flip it all the way back. Closing it is a bit more fiddly and involves wedging a finger under the guard, pulling outwards and flipping it over before firmly locking it into place. I wouldn’t advise doing this while riding, mind, since it takes two hands to do it efficiently. However, once mastered, the helmet changes from full face to open face and back again in seconds.
The EvoOne comes with two visors: a clear outer one that blocks out the elements completely in full-face mode and an internal flip-down sun visor that’s activated by a sliding lever situated on top of the helmet. Rather ingeniously, both visors can be used whether the helmet’s open or closed. Shark also provides a free Pinlock anti-mist insert for inclement weather and winter riding.
The EvoOne is E22/05 rated for European use and available in seventeen different colour schemes so chances are you’ll easily find one to suit your style. I personally like the simple white model as reviewed here though the black mat one looks pretty damn cool, too. If you’re in the market for a practical two-way solution that looks amazing, fits like the proverbial glove and doesn’t feel heavy on the head, then make this model your first port of call. It’s a stunner whichever way you look at it.