Schuberth R1 Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Very quiet helmet in most riding conditions.
Excellent quality. Good air flow. Includes internal sun visor.
Schuberth claims that the new R1 helmet is "the quietest motorcycle helmet in the world".
And guess what? We agree.
Of course, the usual caveats apply: the helmet must fit the rider and the rider must be wearing high-quality, correctly fitted earplugs.
And remember also that windscreens can cause buffeting along the lower edges of a helmet, increasing the noise levels.
But all things considered, I'd say they're right -- the Schuberth R1 is amazingly quiet, especially when riding an unfaired bike.
So how'd they do it? I'm not exactly sure. The more helmets we evaluate -- and we've evaluated plenty -- the more confused I get as to what works and what doesn't to reduce noise.
For example, you'd think those big scoops on the brow of the R1 would create all sorts of turbulence and blowing-over-the-Coke-bottle whistling noises, but they don't. And how about that castellated chin vent? How come those little teeth aren't causing more noise?
Apparently, a lot of little details can make a difference. First of all, quality is crucial -- everything must fit together with minimum gaps, and Schuberth is one of the best in that department. They also pay a lot of attention to the design and construction of the liner.
Correct fit around the neck can also help to lower ambient noise levels, and Schuberth's A.R.O.S. (Anti Roll-Off System), which features a pair of hidden straps that connect the back of the helmet to the chin strap, are hidden under the neck roll. Thus, the neck roll is slightly larger than on most helmets, sealing this area and helping to reduce a potential source of low-frequency noise.
The typically huge Schuberth visor probably helps also, deflecting a lot of air over and around the eye port. A thick hollow gasket surrounds the eye port, and the visor seals tightly against it. The visor also fits tight against the gasket on the sides, an area that is apparently not easy to seal, because other helmets we've reviewed recently have gaps between the visor and the eye port seal that can allow wind noise to enter the helmet.
So what about those two big scoops on top? They have a specially designed opening (see close-up photo below) with little strakes inside that help to lower the noise levels of the air entering the top of the helmet.
This is a good example of the attention to detail that's necessary for a serious reduction in noise. In the end, it probably doesn't cost all that much more to make a quiet helmet; all it takes is the motivation and some testing.
Schuberth has a very good reputation for quality, and the R1 bears this out. It has the same look and feel as the Schuberth S1, with beautiful paint, vibrant colors and excellent attention to detail. The gloss clear coat seems especially thick, although there is some slight orange peel waviness in the paint, like it could have used just a pass or two more from the polishing buffer.
The only problem that has been mentioned by several owners of Schuberth helmets recently is with the switching mechanism for the rotating internal sun visor, so we'll see if this one holds up over time, as it uses the same format as the other Schuberth helmets.
But the R1's clear visor is first-rate, it opens and closes with authority and it can even be cracked open a notch for ventilation. The detents are strong and tight, so that even at the smallest opening, the visor will snap shut and seal correctly with little effort. This is a good indication that care was used in the design and manufacture of the visor and its closing mechanism.
Score: Overall, I rate the paint and finish as outstanding.
Schuberth uses a different head shape or head form than other helmet manufacturers, and this should be noted by potential owners. The R1 uses a slightly less severe Schuberth head shape; what I would call a slight oval on top and slightly narrow on the sides.
It's not as severe as the S1, but round-headed riders at the extreme ends of the scale may have some difficulty with correct fit. The R1 is not as "long ovalish" as an Arai Profile and certainly not as severe as a Shark RSi or a Shark S650 (review coming soon). It fits much like the Schuberth J1 and something like a cross between an Arai Vector, with it's "intermediate oval" fit and a Scorpion EXO-700, if that makes any sense. Probably the closest fit comparison is the Shoei X-11.
I can wear the R1 even on my very round, earth-shaped head, but it does feel very slightly loose up along my forehead and it is slightly tight on my cheekbones, which makes it difficult to slip my eyeglasses with their clipped ear pieces on to my head. Nevertheless, the lining material and the padding offer a comfortable environment.
Based on our single example, my feeling is that the R1 runs about true to size; that is, an XL fits as expected. It's likely that the internal fit and sizing will hold true for all sizes in the range.
By the way, correct helmet fit is crucial for comfort, safety and noise reduction; see the wBW Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page for more information on finding the right fit for your particular head shape.
Score: I rate the fit, liner and padding as excellent (as long as the owner's head shape matches the helmet).
Our Schuberth R1 in size XL weighs 1552 grams (3 lbs., 6-3/4 oz.) which is a whopping 237 grams, or 8.36 ounces, less than the heavy S1. As of this writing, that puts the R1 in the bottom 1/3 of helmet weights for the 70 helmets we've reviewed.
See the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for our helmet weight comparison table and chart to get a better idea at how the Schuberth J1 compares with the 69 other helmets in our database of reviews.
Less weight is a good thing, and for the R1 to offer the comfort and quietness of the S1 with the low weight of helmets like the open-face ROOF Rover, URBAN N20 Astro or the Shark RSI is an excellent accomplishment. This is even more amazing considering the internal rotating sun visor, which usually adds several ounces, at the very least, to a motorcycle helmet's weight.
Curiously, the R1 actually feels heavier than expected when it's handled, so it was a surprise to find that it is actually a light weight helmet when placed on the scales.
Score: I give the R1 an excellent score for its light weight but robust feature set.
The Schuberth J1 has a very large clear face shield that provides a good view of the road. I haven't tried to swap visors with the S1, but they look very similar, so I won't be surprised if they are the same.
Schuberth claims that the visor meets "Class 1" optical standards and that the polycarbonate averages 2.5mm thick. It certainly seems like a strong example, which is necessary because of its size and shape. The visor has no noticeable flex when it's lifted or closed, which is very good.
The visor has 7 distinct detents; the first raises it slightly for ventilation. The polycarbonate seems very clear and free of distortion. Schuberth claims that the outside of the visor is coated with an anti-scratch coating and the inside has an anti-fog coating. The summer weather is too warm to evaluate the anti-fog coating, so we'll have to take their word for it.
Score: Visor quality and clarity is rated as outstanding.
The R1 includes what has become the standard Schuberth feature, an internally rotating sun visor. A sliding lever on the left-hand side moves the visor in and out of the rider's vision.
The bottom edge of the sun visor lowers with the bottom edge just below my line of sight. We haven't found a helmet with a rotating sun visor system that we've really liked yet, but the R1's is acceptable. At least the quality of the shaded visor is good. NOTE: It has been brought to our attention that Schuberth helmets with the drop-down dark visor can be modified to a straight bottom edge rather than the sculpted edge. Simply remove the visor and turn it upside-down and refit it with the straight edge at the bottom.
We haven't quite tried every helmet made -- yet -- so it's not possible to verify Schuberth's claim that the R1 is "the quietest motorcycle helmet in the world".
But I can say that we've completed detailed reviews on 70 motorcycle helmets, which is the world's largest database of detailed motorcycle helmet information. And the verdict is: the R1 is the quietest helmet we've ever tried.
Believe me, I took Schuberth's claim with a grain of salt, and the helmet doesn't appear to be much different than many other helmets, so it's not clear at first what makes it so quiet. But as soon as I started riding wit it, I noticed the difference. In fact, the wind noise is so well controlled that I could actually hear sounds coming from the engine and tires that I have never heard before.
Note that my observations were taken on an unfaired bike. Behind a fairing, the story is slightly different because the buffeting generated by a fairing, if directed on to the rider's upper chest or lower helmet, does cause some noise, although it seems more subdued on the R1.
The helmet also seems slightly more affected by turbulent air or cross-winds, resulting in a bit of head toss and also pressure that can be felt if the helmet is turned side-to-side when riding. This is contradictory to Schuberth's marketing materials, which claim that the R1 has "no upward lift even at the speeds above 200 km/h" and a "high level of directional stability very little drifting minimized buffeting effects."
But the noise that comes from the vents is almost non-existent, other than a very slight whistling that can occur at certain angles of attack or in an upright riding position.
Note that these comments are valid only when riding with correctly fitted earplugs. See the wBW Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Score: I rate the Schuberth R1 as excellent for noise control.
The Schuberth R1 has dual top vents and a chin vent for incoming air. The top vents have built-in covers that slide back to open the vents, allowing air to flow over the top of the rider's head. There are no exhaust vents on the helmet, which doesn't seem to be a problem, as it's never clear whether exhaust vents actually do anything to help the cause anyway.
Like the J1, the helmet liner doesn't cover the top of the inside of the helmet; there are the same three narrow fabric pads in the crown of the helmet, which are secured with "hook and loop" fastener. They can be moved to change the air flow (theoretically) in the channels in the liner.
The liner is removable and washable. The liner also has a removable head band and cheek pads. The helmet has acceptable air flow on top and the channels do seem to allow the air to flow through the top of the helmet.
The chin vent is more problematic; the top lip opens only slightly when the rocker-style vent is pushed at the bottom, but I can't feel a difference in air flow. However, the helmet has a slightly elongated shape in the front, leaving plenty of room between my chin and the back of the chin bar and a path for the air to flow up under the helmet.
Score: I rate the venting on the R1 as good.
Schuberth finally went with the tried and true D-ring attachment system on the R1, which is a good thing.
The underside of the helmet liner in the back also has a section of reflective material sewn in on either side.
The helmet liner is made from Coolmax material, which is supposed to wick away moisture.
Schuberth offers some optional equipment with the R1: A wind deflector "with integrated anti-noise pad" (we're not sure how this works or where it fits); an 80% grey tinted, anti-fog coating visor and a 60% brown tinted, anti-fog coating visor; a visor with tear-off posts; a helmet bag and a breath deflector.
The shell material is Schuberth's "P.O.W.E.R. Fiber", a "special multi-fiber reinforced duroplastic matrix with carbon fibers."
By the way, bad news for potential U.S. owners: the Schuberth R1 does not meet DOT standards and at the time of this writing, we do not know if Schuberth has plans to sell it in the U.S.A. It does conform to the ECE 22-05 standard though, so it's legal for use by European riders.
The Schuberth R1 is the quietest helmet we've tried. It is very well made, light weight and comfortable. It doesn't quit fit extremely round shaped heads, but for just about everyone else, it doesn't get much better than this.
|wBW Review: Schuberth R1 Motorcycle Helmet|
Available From: Designer Helmets in the UK
|List Price: †£279.00 (Solids); £320.00 ("Fire" or "Ice" patterns).|
|Colors: "Fire" pattern shown here in Red, Yellow, Blue, Black and Green. "Ice" pattern in Blue and Black. Solids in Silver, Black and Matte Black..||Made In: Germany.
Certifications: ECE 22-05
|Review Date: July 2007|
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
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From "T.T." (6/10): "I wanted to let you know that I
finally got my sun visor turned upside down. No trick or special
technique. You simply pull it off. Just grip the visor as close
to the attachment point as possible so that it wont flex and bend around
when you pull it. And the you simply pull it, a bit wiggling it seemed
to help and it comes right off. Turn it upside down and it goes on the
same way - just push it.
I wish the visor was even longer and would cover up my whole eye sight, but turning around was a definite improvement for me. At least I don't have this nose curve on the lower edge - it was disturbing."
From "M.H." (3/10): "I bought my R1 on the strength of the review plus the £100 off in a local sale. Nice helmet in all the areas that were mentioned in the review apart from paint finish.
I have to say that in many many years of riding bikes and wearing different helmets, this helmet has the worst paint finish I've come across . Normal day to day use has the helmet looking a little tatty, it looks more like a four year old helmet than one of six months old. In a few places the paint has chipped off to show what looks like the shell underneath, the paint does look very thin, it also has a 5 cm scratch at the back of the helmet that happened while I was cleaning it, not a clue how I did it and never had that happen before, ok I have to put that one down as my fault, I do still feel that a better paint finish and that would not have happened.
Nice fit, nice and quiet much better than my previous Arai Quantum, unfortunately I can't see me buying another due to the finish."
From "A.N." (10/08): "Firstly, thanks for a great review it definitely had an influence 6 months ago when I needed a new helmet.
I was lucky enough to spend an entire morning in a local bike shop trying on
every make and model of helmet they had, and they had plenty! I ended
up with the R1 as it fitted perfect, there isn't anymore I can tell you as
your review is so very thorough.
However I just recently purchased the additional 'Wind
Deflector with anti Vibration Pad' and the 'Breath Deflector'.
The wind deflector fits in the gap by your chin, no instructions in the manual or on the website but it's fairly obvious how the plastic tags slot in. Being of the same materials inside and out it looks good and is comfortable against the chin.
It works very well and makes the helmet a lot warmer and drier but not sure if it is any quieter. The only drawback is putting the helmet on, you just have to ignore the deflector as it squashes past your face, it doesn't hurt! if it was permanently fitted it may put you off buying the helmet. It goes on and comes off easily (but not with gloved hand) I will be very glad of it in the coming winter.
The Breath Guard is just that, a rubber piece which slots into the chin vent internal opening, and again works perfectly, and still allows the vent to guide air inside the visor. The two combined make the helmet very cozy.
One other comment is on the visor, despite attacks from
bugs, flies, gravel, two birds (one at 180kms/hour) and other road rubbish,
it is still scratch free, clear and always fits perfectly, my spare may not
be needed for a long time yet.
Thanks again for a great website."
From "K.M.": "Based on your review, I ordered a silver Schuberth R-1 XL (60/61cm) from FC-Moto.de. Total cost was Ä323.22 Euros including Ä19.90 shipping to Los Angeles via UPS. With the weak dollar, this translated into about $490.00 (ouch!).
It took nearly four weeks to get here because FC-Moto had trouble verifying my PayPal payment. They suggested I use Visa/MC next time. Was worried about trying to get a good fitting helmet online, let alone from Germany; This helmet fits my head great!
My Shoei RF-1000 did not fit well. Love the sun shade, although I may try to order the other version that is flat across the bottom. Its pretty darn quiet on my BMW F650GS with stock windscreen, although I get some whistles when I turn my head. I donít get the noise fatigue that I felt after a long ride.
You guys are one of best bike sites on the web!"
From "P.M.": "I've just finished reading the review of the Schuberth R1 and although it's probably outside of my price range, I just wanted to drop you a line and say how much I appreciated that you added a video to the review.
It made a significant improvement to the experience of reading an otherwise excellent review and I hope you'll continue doing that for future reviews.
If it made that much difference for a helmet, I can only imagine how much better it'll be for articles of clothing, where you cannot always tell from a picture the way it's designed to fit a human body.
Thank you very much for it."
Editor's Reply: Thanks - glad you enjoyed the video. We plan on offering more, hopefully one with every product review -- that is, as long as YouTube continues to offer free bandwidth!