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Schuberth C3 Pro Review

Schuberth C3 Pro Review
Schuberth C3 Pro Helmet Review
by Rick K. With "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
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See Also: Schuberth SRC Bluetooth Intercom Review

Summary

The Schuberth C3 Pro is an evolution of the popular Schuberth C3 (review).

Although the helmet may appear identical, it has several updates and improvements, added based on owner feedback.

Only a C3 owner might notice the differences, but the changes are significant.

A liner option is also available that essentially converts a size XL C3 Pro to a half-size smaller to bridge the gap between L and XL head sizes. For some C3 owners, the L was too small and the XL too big.

The updated C3 Pro features include a rear spoiler, reduced noise levels, improved ventilation and a revised liner and cheek pads.

New colors and graphics are also available, including the delicious "Intensity" pattern shown here which was just released in Spring of 2014.

The Schuberth C3 Pro is without doubt the most technically advanced flip-up helmet available...and also the most expensive. There are still a few features that could use some improvement, however. For example, we'd still like to see at least one more shell size (if not two or three) to span the head size range. Hopefully that will come with the C4?

Schuberth C3 Pro

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Background

The Schuberth C3 Pro has several new features and updates from the C3, but don't worry -- the C3 is still a darn good helmet. At first glance, the C3 Pro may appear to be identical to the venerated C3, but on closer inspection -- and when riding with the new helmet -- the improvements become apparent.

Schuberth listened to owner feedback on the C3 to make the updates. For example, the chin strap on the C3 Pro has been re-positioned forward in the helmet (closer to the chin bar), which solves the problem some owners experienced with a too-tight fit at the throat.

Even with all the improvements that we'll describe in this review, the C3 Pro still wasn't changed significantly enough to call it a "C4", so "C3 Pro" it was.

Something to note -- these changes didn't come cheap. The $769.00 list price for a solid color C3 Pro makes it significantly more expensive (+$140.00) than the already-dear C3, which has a $629.00 list price. The C3 Pro in the Intensity graphics has a list price of (gulp!) $829.00. This begs the question: Is it worth it?

That's a really tough one to answer. The C3 is/was arguably the highest-tech, quietest and perhaps the most protective flip-up helmet available, although it's not without a few minor faults. The C3 Pro does improve on the C3 in several ways, however, and it's a remarkable helmet...although there are still a few things we'd like to see changed (although that would probably take a complete redesign).

So let's just say that current C3 owners probably won't miss too much if they don't upgrade. But anyone looking to join the Schuberth family for the first time may want to go for the C3 Pro. There's the logic that if you can afford $629.00 for a helmet, it shouldn't be much of a stretch to fork over $769.00. If that's you, then go for the C3 Pro.

One thing's for sure: anyone coming to a Schuberth for the first time will surely be amazed at the differences between a C3 Pro and one of those bottom-feeder, sub-$200 flip-ups!

Schuberth C3 Pro Paint Color
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Introduction

Here's a quick run-down of the new and updated features of the Schuberth C3 Pro. This is based on conversations Rick had with Schuberth representatives at the 2013 AIMExpo show (report) when the C3 Pro was introduced (preview) and during several follow-up meetings and conversations, along with Schuberth's engineering notes for the new helmet:

Schuberth C3 Pro Slide Show
Schuberth C3 Pro Front View Schuberth C3 Pro Front Quarter View Schuberth C3 Pro Side View Schuberth C3 Pro Rotating Flip-up Visor Open Schuberth C3 Pro Rear View Schuberth C3 Pro Top View Schuberth C3 Pro Rear Quarter View Schuberth C3 Pro Sun Visor Deployed Schuberth C3 Pro Chin Strap Schuberth C3 Pro Chin Vent Schuberth C3 Pro Sun Visor Slider Schuberth C3 Pro Top Vent Close-up Schuberth C3 Pro Visor Lift Tab Schuberth C3 Pro Visor Turbulators
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Front View
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Front Quarter View
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Side View
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Rotating Flip-up Visor Open
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Rear View
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Top View
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Rear Quarter View
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Sun Visor Deployed
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Chin Strap
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Chin Vent
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Sun Visor Slider
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Top Vent Close-up
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Visor Lift Tab
  • Schuberth C3 Pro Visor Turbulators
Schuberth C3 Pro Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality

The new "Intensity" graphics for the C3 Pro were announced this Spring and the blue/white combination shown here looks fantastic. The blue has a very vibrant hue with a tiny metalflake background that really pops. The Intensity graphics are also available in black/titanium, which also looks great.

As expected, all of the moving parts on the C3 Pro work with a precise feel, although I have noticed that a wide head (like mine) apparently stretches the limit of the slightly narrow fit at the sides of the helmet and this makes it a little more difficult to close the rotating flip-up visor with that positive "click-lock" sound.

I have to make sure the rotating flip-up visor is pushed firmly to close it and then check to make sure it's locked. However, normal or narrower width heads (like Burn's) don't have this problem and the visor clicks shut with a comforting click sound.

One of the complaints we had with the C3 was thin padding in the liner and the revised and thicker padding in the C3 Pro addresses that (more on the optional liner in the next section).

The gray flocking is still used along the top of the helmet to cover the EPS in the channels between the liner parts, but Schuberth said the application is now thicker and it does look better. Also, the quality of the liner fabric and the padding overall seems improved, which makes the helmet more comfortable.

The face shield and rotating flip-up visor both have a precise feel in their movements and the face shield is easy to remove and replace.

The lower-profile micro-lock chin strap retainer is a very welcome addition; many C3 owners said that the previous chin strap was positioned too far back in the helmet and it pressed against the throat. The combination of the thinner retainer mechanism and moving the strap forward gives the C3 Pro a much better comfort level.

Score: The Schuberth C3 Pro takes the already high levels of Schuberth quality to a new level, so we'll give it an "Outstanding" rating for overall quality. See the Summary Table at the end of this review for a description of the rating system.

Schuberth C3 Pro Helmet Liner Option
The standard C3 Pro liner in the XL size helmet can be replaced with a C3 liner to make a half-size smaller fit.
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Schuberth C3 Pro Liner Notes

Perhaps the Schuberth helmet designers read the webBikeWorld Schuberth helmet reviews, because they've addressed an important issue I have always had with the C3 helmet.

One of the problems I experienced with the C3-series is related to the different head sizing used by Schuberth for that helmet. The C3 and C3 Pro in size L is listed as a 58-59 cm and the XL is a 60-61. Usually (but not always), a size L is a 59-60 and an XL is a 61-62.

Schuberth C3 Pro Optional Liner

This meant that a C3 in size L was too small, but the XL was too big for my "Round" head, which is widest at the temples.

This problem would probably (hopefully) disappear if Schuberth made more shell sizes to cover the head size range for the C3 and C3 Pro; surprisingly, only two shells cover the entire range from XS to 3XL.

For $829.00, they really need to have more shells available. I'm hoping the next generation will distribute the head size range over more shell sizes.

In any case, Schuberth now offers a size L liner (albeit in the older C3 style, not the updated C3 Pro version) that fits the size XL C3 Pro. This effectively converts a C3 Pro to an "XL Minus" size that fits just in-between a size L and size XL.

The optional liner is named the "size 60+", Schuberth part number 4990002828. A photo of the label from the optional liner package is included to the left.

When the size XL C3 Pro arrived with its standard liner, I tried it on and discovered it fit more or less like a C3 in size XL, although the padding feels more plush in the new C3 Pro liner. But the helmet with the standard liner was indeed too large for my head, so I installed the optional liner and never looked back. It works! My "Round" shape in-between head now fits.

The C3 Pro also has two optional cheek pad thicknesses available. The standard XL cheek pads are 20 mm thick, while the Special Size 1 and Special Size 2 are 30 mm and 40 mm thick.

Schuberth C3 Pro Top Vent
New top vent and slider on the C3 Pro.
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Schuberth C3 Pro Helmet Fit and Internal Shape

Motorcycle helmet reviews have been a flagship feature on webBikeWorld since the beginning, more than 14 years ago. Since then, we've seen helmet styles come and go and the internal shapes have also changed.

It may be our imagination, but over the last few years, the helmet manufacturers seem to have been changing the internal shape or fit of motorcycle helmets of all types to converge on more of a "Neutral" standard.

This difference has been noted before on webBikeWorld, starting around the time that Arai discontinued the Quantum II with its "Round Oval" fit. Arai started focusing more on their "Intermediate Oval" (i.e., "Neutral") shape for new helmets.

This trend also seems to include Schuberth flip-ups. For example, the Schuberth Concept had a rather different and narrow internal shape that was continued with the C2, but we noticed that the C3 felt much more "normal".

Now it's possible that we're wrong about all of this, but after wearing, comparing and reviewing over 230 helmets in 14+ years, we have a pretty good mental database of helmet fit types.

So has the C3 Pro internal shape changed? Not really. I think that the C3 Pro feels very similar to the last C3 we reviewed, the DOT version. It's more or less a "Neutral" internal shape that should fit a majority of rider head shapes. It does tend towards a "Slight Narrow" fit on the sides, but overall the C3 Pro feels very similar to the Arai "Intermediate Oval" fit. It's a bit narrow at the sides for me and there's a touch more room than I need in the back-to-front dimension at the forehead.

With the optional "XL-Minus" liner in place, the C3 Pro fits and feels nearly identical on my head to a size XL Arai Defiant (review), with its "Intermediate Oval" internal shape.

I feel confident about this because I just finished reviewing the Defiant, which I still have on hand, and I also own an Arai RX-Q (review) and I've worn both of those helmets back-to-back with the C3 Pro with the optional liner.

The fact is, I can wear the C3 Pro for extended periods in comfort, even while wearing eyeglasses, even with my head shape that is widest at the temples. So this is a big difference for me from the size L C3 helmets.

Bottom line? We've bounced back and forth on Schuberth C3 internal shapes but I'll call the C3 Pro a "Slight Narrow" internal shape although it's pretty close to "Neutral". By the way, this convergence towards "Neutral" has made it very difficult to categorize helmets in the standard webBikeWorld shape hierarchy!

webBikeWorld Internal Shape Estimator: Schuberth C3 Pro
Narrow Med. Narrow Slight Narrow Neutral Slight Round Med. Round Round
Helmet Shape
Helmet Shape
Helmet Internal Shape Examples (see more Motorcycle Helmet Shapes)
Arai
Profile
Scorpion EXO-700 KBC
Tarmac
AGV
Stealth
Arai
RX-Q
Shoei
RF-1000
Arai
Quantum II

More information on helmet fit can be found in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, along with the chart that lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets and also by shape on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.

Score: The C3 Pro gets an "Outstanding" rating from me for fit, with a more comfortable standard liner and the availability of the optional "XL-Minus" liner that opens the door for in-betweeners to now wear a Schuberth flip-up.

Schuberth C3 Pro Chin Vent
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Face Shield, Eye Port and Visibility

Other than the newly revised eye port gasket (I didn't know there was anything wrong with the original!), the C3 Pro seems about the same to me in this category.

The face shield is said to have improved detents and it works well when it's raised through all five. It still has the small city defogging position as it rests on the snap tab that holds it closed.

The visibility is excellent with the top portion of the eye port and the bottom of the chin bar in my line of sight, probably because my head, at around 60.0-60.5 cm, is the smallest size in the larger shell that is used for head sizes all the way up to 3XL. The horizontal visibility is also excellent to outstanding.

The rotating flip-up visor of the C3 Pro feels identical to the C3 and it operates smoothly. It locks securely in place on metal posts attached to the shell, with metal clips or fingers on the visor that do the clamping. The shell tightens up considerably when the visor is secured.

The new oversized chin curtain is removable and the button that releases the flip-up rotating visor is still located under the center of the chin bar, just as it is on the other versions of the C3. It's nearly flush and it is pushed upwards to release the flip-up visor.

The face shield is very easy to remove by pushing the levers forward on both sides of the helmet simultaneously, which then allow the visor to be rotated all the way back, where it pops out of the side holders. To replace it, simply push both sides back in and rotate forward. This is illustrated in the video below.

The helmet comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert (review) that I did not install.

webBikeWorld Eye Port Visibility Estimator: Schuberth C3 Pro
Visibility Poor Below Average Average Above Average Outstanding
Top-to-Bottom      
Side-to-Side    

Score:  I'll give the Schuberth C3 Pro an "Outstanding" rating for the overall quality and operation of the face shield and eye port and outward visibility.

Schuberth C3 Pro Sun Visor
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Internal Rotating Sun Visor

Not much new to report here, although Schuberth said the C3 Pro has the sun visor slider from the Schuberth S2 (review). It's located on the lower left edge of the helmet, at the bottom of the helmet shell.

The sun visor rotates very smoothly and like the C3, this is one of the nicest sun visors I've tried, because it can be stopped at any position. Also, the lower edge has only a small inset for the nose so it isn't distracting and it can be rotated down out of the line of sight. It blocks 80% of light transmission, according to the owner's manual, the maximum allowed.

Ventilation

Although Schuberth said the ventilation in the C3 Pro has been improved, to tell the truth, I don't notice much of a difference between the C3 Pro and the C3 and this is the one area that I can say still could use some improvement. That's not to say it isn't good; I'd rate it slightly better than the average but it should be better for a helmet that cost as much as this and I think there are a couple of reasons for that.

I can feel a small amount of air from the top vent and the air vent passageways that run from the top vent down through the EPS allow a good amount of air to flow through the grooves molded into the EPS liner and right over the head.

But there's still the problem with the winter flaps and the design of the center section of the liner in both the C3 Pro liner and the optional "XL-Minus" liner. It interferes with air coming in through the vent holes in the EPS, even when folded forward in summer mode.

Here's a photo:

Liner Air Vents
The center bar in the liner blocks the vent holes in the EPS on every C3 and C3 Pro I've seen. The liner needs to be shaped so that it doesn't block these holes and this would improve ventilation, possibly with dramatic results.
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I mentioned this issue in previous C3 reviews and it still hasn't been addressed in the C3 Pro, using both the standard and the optional liner. All Schuberth needs to do is make a larger space or angle in the center bar of the liner so that the vent holes in the EPS aren't covered by the center bar of the liner.

I think doing this would improve upper air flow, so it's a mystery why Schuberth hasn't fixed this. I have noticed the exact same problem on every C3 we reviewed also. It's possible that the absence of a dedicated rear exhaust vent system that would help pull air through the helmet affects overall ventilation also. I'm not sure why Schuberth didn't design an exhaust vent system in the C3 Pro.

I'm also not a fan of the chin vent used on the C3 and the C3 Pro. It has a very small opening and the air has to move up and over the top lip to enter the helmet. I'd rather have a nice, big vent that opens directly forward, even if that meant higher noise levels.

Wearing the Arai Defiant and the C3 Pro within minutes of each other on the same ride highlights the differences; the Arai has much more air flowing through the chin vent and top vents than the C3 Pro and it isn't much louder.

Overall, I'm a bit disappointed at the ventilation in the C3 Pro. It's slightly better than average but I'll give it an "Above Average" rating because I can at least feel a minimal amount of air coming through. However, there just isn't as much volume as some other helmets we've reviewed and at this price, I expect perfection. In fact, I'd gladly give up some noise control for better ventilation.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: Schuberth C3 Pro Ventilation
Location Poor Below Average Average Above Average Outstanding
Top/Upper  
Chin/Face    

Score:  I'll give the Schuberth C3 Pro a "Very Good" rating for ventilation.

Schuberth C3 Pro Face Shield Removal Mechanism
Schuberth C3 Pro Helmet Liner
Schuberth C3 Pro with the optional "XL-Minus" liner installed.
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Schuberth C3 Pro Sound Levels

The C3 is one of the quietest helmets we've reviewed, flip-up or full-face, and the C3 Pro continues that legacy. However, I can't say I notice much of a difference between the C3 and the C3 Pro, despite Schuberth's claims that the noise levels in the latter have been decreased by 2 dB at 60 MPH, from 84 dB to 82 dB. Perhaps two decibels at that speed isn't enough to notice?

One thing I did notice however is that the noise levels decrease slightly and the ventilation improves when the helmet is tilted slightly forward. The chin vent catches more air that way.

Like the C3, the neck roll on the C3 Pro is one of the major contributing factors to the low noise levels on Schuberth helmets. It is a special design, with a very large chin curtain that blends with the wide wind block around the bottom of the helmet to seal most of the space between the rider's neck and the helmet. Why other helmet manufacturers don't pay more attention to this critical area is a mystery.

New Schuberth owners may find the helmet to feel more "encompassing" because of the much thicker neck roll. I'm the smallest head size in the larger shell, so the helmet does have some of the "fishbowl" effect that one can get from a helmet shell that is proportionally larger than it should be.

The C3 Pro is also available with the Schuberth SRC intercom system, designed by Cardo for Schuberth. At this point, I'll refer you to our Schuberth C3 SRC review for all the details but we'll be covering the updated SRC system in a follow-up review.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: Schuberth C3 Pro Noise Levels
Location Very Quiet Quiet Average Loud Very Loud
Upper    
Lower  

Note that our helmet evaluations are normally a combined effort of several riders over time, on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens. Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality earplugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems) and (usually) a helmet liner. It is strongly recommended that hearing protection is used when riding a motorcycle.  See the wBW Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.

Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual. Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit; the type of motorcycle and windscreen; wind speed and direction and even the type of clothing that is being worn. For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.

Score:  I'll give the Schuberth C3 DOT an "Outstanding" rating for noise control.

wBW Video: Schuberth C3 Pro
Schuberth C3 video on the webBikeWorld YouTube channel.
Schuberth C3 Pro Helmet Weight

The ECE version of the Schuberth C3 (review) in size Large we reviewed in September 2010 weighed 1550 grams and that is very light for a flip-up helmet. Replacing the standard collar with the SRC added 142 grams for a total of 1692 grams.

The Schuberth C3 DOT version (review) of the C3 in size Large weighed just 1603 grams, making it one of the lightest flip-up helmets we've reviewed. A Schuberth C3 (review) in size XL weighed 1709 grams.

The C3 Pro in size XL used for our review (with the XL-Minus liner installed) weighs 1798 grams, so the helmet has picked up a bit of weight but it still feels reasonable, especially considering all of the included features.

All of these weights are available on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page, along with a chart that lists the helmets by weight and shape on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.

Score: The Schuberth C3 DOT get an "Excellent" rating for reasonable weight and excellent balance.

Schuberth C3 Pro Helmet
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Miscellaneous

The "quick release" micro-lock style chin strap buckle on the C3 Pro has a new lower profile and the chin strap has been moved forward for better comfort. The padding is thick and more than adequate.

The C3 Pro can fit the Schuberth SRC intercom system (review) collar and the helmet has a built-in antenna said to boost reception and Bluetooth connectivity.

The C3 Pro warranty is 5 years from date of purchase or 7 years from the date of manufacture.

webBikeWorld Overall Opinionator: Schuberth C3 Pro
Picks...
...and Pans
  • High quality construction.
  • Excellent paint and finish.
  • More comfortable liner.
  • "XL-Minus" liner option.
  • Solid feel.
  • Quiet.
  • Internal sun visor works well.
  • Ventilation still could use improvement.
  • Expensive.
  • Only 2 shell sizes.
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Conclusion

The Schuberth C3 Pro updates and already-excellent helmet with several noticeable improvements. There's no question that this is the highest-tech, most advanced flip-up helmet available today. Schuberth has raised the flip-up to an art form.

There are very few helmets of any type that are quieter than a Schuberth C3 Pro (or C3, for that matter) and there are zero flip-ups that come close to the feeling of security you get when wearing a C3 Pro.

However, as always, the higher the price, the greater the magnification of our review looking-glass and nitpicks.

I'd still like to see better ventilation. This could be easily fixed in the near term by a simple modification of the center section of the headliner. Why Schuberth hasn't addressed this is a mystery. It would be a simple fix that could potentially reap big benefits. And while they're at it, maybe a larger rear exhaust array would help improve air flow inside the helmet, but that would take a shell redesign.

Schuberth also needs to have more shell sizes to cover the head size range, especially at the prices they charge. There's just no getting around the issue. Hopefully, this will come in the next version: the "C4"?

In the meantime, the "XL-Minus" liner is a good compromise for head shapes/sizes like mine, which were too big (and/or too round) for a size Large, yet too small for the XL.

That said, the bottom line is this: there's no better flip-up motorcycle helmet available today, so if you want comfort, quiet, quality and peace of mind, the C3 Pro is it.

More wBW Motorcycle Helmet Reviews  |  Helmet Weights  |  Motorcycle Helmet Shapes

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wBW Review: Schuberth C3 Pro
Manufacturer: Schuberth USA List Price: $769.00 to $829.00
Colors: Silver, Black, Matte Black, White, High Visibility Yellow. Intensity Graphics. Made In: Germany
Sizes: XS to 3XL. Review Date: June 2014
Shell Sizes: 2. Rating: Four Stars
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
Ratings Scale: For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges from Unacceptable to Poor, Neutral, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.

Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld© Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

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Not all comments will be published (details).  Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.

From "H.S." (August 2014): "I purchased an ECE C3 in June 2010. Regarding the improved comfort of the new C3 Pro liner versus the old liner, I learned a tip from a Schuberth rep that the new liner fits in older C3s. I bought the new liner and put it in my 4-yr old C3 - magic, no more forehead hot spot. Worth the swap if you donít need to upgrade yet."


From "B.S." (July 2014): "Great review, On the subject of ventilation, having used the helmet for about a year and 10,000 or so miles, I find that having the sun visor retracted results in better ventilation, the air is channeled more efficiently. Itís the reverse of what I would prefer, riding when its hot and sunny ( visor in the down position) you would think the designers would opt for the maximum amount of ventilation. Other than that nitpick, I love the helmet."


From "J.M." (June 2014): "Hi, just read your report on the Schuberth C3 Pro and wholeheartedly agree with all of your comments.

I purchased mine in the UK about 2 weeks ago, and like you found the large too small, so went with the XL which I find too large (the helmet's weight seems to be supported by my brow which feels very irritating).

In your report you mention an "XL minus" liner. I have two questions; firstly, is this simply the old C3 liner in a large or is it a special size? Secondly, if it is the old C3 liner in a large, why wouldn't the C3 Pro liner in a large accomplish the same result?

This was a very expensive helmet in the intensity graphics and I don't want to give up on it, but find it very irritating to wear as it is."

Rick's Reply: The liner is labeled the "60+", Schuberth part number 4990002828 "Inner lining C3 DOT". It may only be available in the U.S., I'm not sure.   It is the older C3 style liner but made thicker and to fit the newer C3 Pro, so apparently it's something new and special. I don't know if a size L C3 Pro liner would fit or how that would compare.


From "R" (June 2014): "Still no SNELL for an $800 helmet!"

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