The new Schuberth SR1 was designed with Michael Schumacher and incorporates features found in both Formula 1 and motorcycle racing helmets.
The SR1 has it all -- light weight, outstanding ventilation, comfort and even low noise levels, all wrapped up in a solid feeling shell.
The helmet is currently sold in Europe only and North American motorcyclists can only hope that it will make the journey west...
Schuberth is what I'd characterize as a deliberate and conservative company.
Like BMW and Mercedes Benz, they have worked carefully over the years to develop a consistent approach to creating a product that is slowly and carefully improved after much testing and engineering.
This philosophy has been demonstrated based on our experience with several different Schuberth helmets going back to the Schuberth Concept -- the flip-up everyone simply had to own.
Many Schuberth helmet designs have been reviewed on webBikeWorld.com over the years; some were liked more than others.
The Schuberth S1 (review) was battered around a bit in a webBikeWorld.com review, but the new Schuberth SR1, which can trace its lineage back to the S1, more than makes up for any foibles of its forebear.
The new Schuberth SR1 has to be the most innovative motorcycle helmet we've seen in quite some time.
The idea was born with the special 900 gram, one-off, carbon fiber "Schuberth Race" helmet designed for and with Michael Schumacher during his short-lived motorcycle racing career after leaving F1 (for the first time) in 2006.
The SR1 has some Formula 1 in its genes -- even today, you can see several F1 racers wearing Schuberth helmets; the company has been a driving force -- if you will -- in Formula 1 helmet safety for many years.
The Schuberth SR1 is now considered the company's "full race" helmet but it's a winner on the street also and after riding with it over the last several weeks, I'm definitely impressed. Let's take a closer look...
The SR1 has a very solid overall feel and the quality of the finish and the fit and operation of the moving parts is outstanding. The helmet is available in a variety of colors and patterns, with white or black trim.
The matte white finish on this one is outstanding, except for one issue. Apparently, we have some local bugs that the Schuberth engineers didn't anticipate.
I came back from a ride recently where the helmet had been spattered by the little critters and, as often happens, I didn't clean them off right away.
A day or two later, as I was rinsing off the detritus with lukewarm water, I discovered that there is a certain species of bug that leaves a bloody residue that apparently has an affinity for the SR1's matte white paint.
The bug splats have stained the paint and nothing I have tried so far can remove the stains. I moved up the harshness scale from water to soapy water to chlorine to Goof Off to Scotch Brite pads and I even bought a "Mr. Clean Magic Eraser". Nothing works.
So, moral of the story is -- if you live in an area with a lot of bugs, forget the matte paint!
Otherwise, all of the moving parts on the SR1 snap open and closed with authority, feeling very solid. The liner is very nicely padded and its comfortable and, as I'll describe in a minute, the fit is comfy too.
Score: The Schuberth SR1 gets an "Outstanding" rating from me for overall quality. I'll have to give the Schuberth engineers a break, figuring that they didn't consider East Coast U.S. bug populations. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.
For some reason, most motorcycle helmet companies don't seem to want to admit or let it be known that human heads come in different shapes.
I couldn't find any information from Schuberth that discusses the internal shape of the SR1, but I'd call it neutral to slightly narrow and I'll classify it as a "Slight Narrow" in the webBikeWorld motorcycle helmet shapes description.
The SR1 should fit a majority of head shapes and the padding and liner feels plush and thicker than normal, which helps to hide some fit incongruities on one side or the other of neutral.
For example, my head is round and widest at the temples and it measures 60.5 cm in circumference. I've had mixed results fitting Schuberth helmets in the past, but the SR1 in size XL feels almost perfect.
I can feel a very slight amount of room above my forehead, natural for me when wearing a neutral-to-slightly-narrow fit. But it feels snug and secure.
The helmet shell feels like it sits lower around my jaw than other types of helmets -- a Schuberth design trait. It's a bit of a different feel and perhaps a size large would be different. But after wearing the SR1, other full-face helmets feel too short.
I feel more secure with the SR1 surrounding my head and jaw.
Schuberth offers a couple of different ear pad thicknesses and the liner is a combination of the familiar Coolmax and two other fabrics called "Interpower" and "Polygene". Sounds impressive and it works.
I wore the helmet in the now-gone hot weather we had, in and out of 6 weeks of nearly continuous rain, and the liner works to control moisture.
Schuberth continues their non-standard sizing scheme, with the SR1 in size large as a 58-59 cm rather than the traditional 59-60 cm. The size XL SR1 shown here is designed to fit a 60-61 cm head, rather than the more traditional 61-62 cm.
The XL fits slightly snug, with a "race" fit feeling similar to a Shoei RF-1100 (review) or Arai Signet-Q (review in process). However, a size XL Shoei RF-1100 is too big for me, while a large feels too narrow.
The Schuberth SR1 feels correct, and the shell does fit lower around my jaw than normal (but this is probably a good thing).
The ear pockets are nicely padded but the liner around the crown does just slightly pin my ears back, and this is where I can feel the slightly narrower shape along the sides.
Characterizing helmet fit is difficult and subjective, and the same helmet can feel dramatically different when different head sizes are worn. But I'll call the SR1 a "Neutral" to "Slight Narrow", although it should accommodate a wider range of head shapes than the traditional Schuberth fit.
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: I'll give the Schuberth SR1 an "Outstanding" rating for shape, comfort and padding with a very comfortable and plus liner and liner fabric.
The Schuberth SR1 face shield uses a new design that has both pros and cons. It rotates smartly through six detents without twisting, which gives it a very solid feel.
However, the removal process is a bit more complicated than it should be. To remove the face shield, first close it and then press the button on one side and raise the shield all the way, then pull it off one side.
Then repeat the process by closing the face shield again, holding the button on the either side and then raising the shield all the way, where it can be pulled away from the helmet.
The installation procedure is much easier; simply line up the posts on either side into their receivers on either side of the helmet, push in on both sides and rotate the face shield downwards.
This is all illustrated in the video below, which makes the procedure appear to be more clumsy than it really is, but it's still not as simple as the system used on the Schuberth C3 and other helmets.
Why helmet manufacturers have to keep reinventing the face shield removal and replacement system is a mystery.
The face shield closes solidly against the thick, 360-degree eye port gasket, so no problems there. It seals "tighter than a drum", as they say. No water can get behind the seal, based on our experience in recent downpours.
The helmet has a face shield lock at the lower left-hand side, which can also be used to hold the shield cracked slightly open for defogging. This is illustrated in the video.
The eye port has slightly better than average upper visibility; about average in the horizontal plane and average to very slightly less than average out the bottom of the eye port, due to the tall chin bar.
This helmet came with both a clear and very dark tinted face shield, along with a Schuberth-branded Pinlock insert for the clear shield. Schuberth is offering a free Pinlock insert for a limited time with the SR1 helmet.
My sunglasses fit inside the helmet, but this will vary depending upon the match of the rider's head shape to the internal shape of the SR1 and the eyeglass type.
Score: The Schuberth SR1 is about average in horizontal visibility. The visibility out the top of the eye port is better than average and about average out the bottom. I'll give it an "Excellent" rating overall.
It's apparently very difficult to combine excellent ventilation with low noise levels, but Schuberth has done it with the SR1.
It's probably not the quietest helmet I've tried in absolute terms -- nor is it the quietest Schuberth -- but its noise levels are remarkably low, especially considering the amount of air that flows through the helmet when the vents are open.
The top vents operate independently with sliders along the channels.
The vents are pointed towards the front, which usually creates noise, and there is some wind noise at certain angles of attack that can be heard, coming from the vents.
But when my head is tilted slightly forward, as it is when riding a sportbike, the noise disappears.
The air flow does seem to improve when I'm sitting upright and I turn my head just slightly to one side or the other, as this puts the vent opening at a perpendicular to the oncoming air, which seems to create a "ram air" effect, forcing it down into the vent passage.
The chin vent is a two-part system, consisting of a very large, dual-port opening in the chin bar and a system that flows air on to the back of the face shield.
The vent cover snaps open and closed with a very solid feel to flow air on to the back of the face shield.
Then a secondary lever is located just under the chin bar, which slides back and forth to open the dual vent in the chin bar half way, all the way or to close it completely.
With the chin vent open all the way, so much air flows through at high speed that -- dare I say it? -- the helmet has almost too much lower ventilation. The open-weave mesh also allows some bugs to enter, so be careful!
The lever can be moved to close the vent part way, which helps attenuate the air flow, yet the rocker can be open or closed to keep air flowing on to the back of the face shield.
See the photos in the slide show above and the video below an illustration of how this works.
The SR1 has two more ports along the sides of the helmet that look like vents but apparently are not. They are another very unique feature of this helmet. These are the vents on the side of the helmet, near the ears.
They can be opened to allow sound to enter, which provides more situational awareness when racing.
We found that opening these vents in city riding also helps the rider maintain situational awareness of other vehicles to the rear. The vents should be closed once the motorcycle is up to speed outside the city, however, because the noise levels can increase dramatically when they are open.
The SR1 comes with a large chin curtain but the air flow is well controlled even when the chin curtain is not installed.
The thick neck roll and the deep lower section of the helmet and chin bar helps block much of the wind and noise from entering under the helmet.
The SR1 has large dual exhaust vents in the rear, along with yet another unique feature. The spoiler attached to the exhaust vent can be rotated through two positions, where it snaps and locks into place up or down, down for racing.
I can't say I notice any difference at the speeds I ride, but it looks cool anyway.
The bottom line is that the SR1 has outstanding ventilation, yet it's still a (relatively) quiet helmet, so kudos to Schuberth -- apparently their work in the wind tunnel has paid off.
Score: I'll give the ventilation system of the Schuberth SR1 an "Outstanding" rating as one of the best ventilated helmets I've worn.
How Schuberth was able to endow the SR1 with such a good ventilation system yet still keep the noise levels low remains a mystery.
Well, maybe not so much of a mystery, as Schuberth goes to great lengths to tout its wind tunnel development work on the SR1...and the Formula 1 experience probably helps also.
Schuberth has always paid more attention to what is usually the largest contributor to the helmet noise problem -- the low frequency noises around the bottom of the helmet -- than any other helmet manufacturer I can think of.
The SR1 is no exception, with its thick neck roll and lower/deeper shell design that does seem to help keep those low-frequency turbulence-induced noise levels low.
The thick padding helps, of course, as does the comfortable fit. And the overall aerodynamics probably contribute as well.
The shell design also seems to prevent that stream of unwanted or uncontrolled air that flows up into a helmet from under the chin bar in most helmets, and this also helps keep noise levels low around the bottom of the helmet. Even without the chin curtain, the air flow and noise levels are well controlled.
The top vents can make a wind rushing noise, depending upon the angle of attack, although they seem to quiet right down when the head is tilted forward slightly, as it is when riding a sport-touring or sportbike.
The Schuberth R1 and S1 are long gone, so comparisons can only be made from memory, but the SR1 is right in that mix as one of the helmets that controls noise better to much better than average.
Note that our helmet evaluations are a combined effort of several riders over time on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBW Earplug Reviews 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 rider's clothing.
For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.
Score: The Schuberth SR1 gets an "Outstanding" rating from me for better than average overall noise control.
The "icing on the cake" for the Schuberth SR1 is its low weight. This helmet in size XL weighs in at a mere 1438 grams (3 lbs., 2-3/4 oz.), right in line with Schuberth's claim of 1,400 grams ± 50 g.
Schuberth is the only helmet manufacturer we know of who publishes realistic helmet weight figures and this once again proves it.
The SR1 shell is made from a type of "glass-fiber reinforced Duroplast matrix" and it comes in three sizes.
Schuberth lists the size XS and S as weighing 1,290 grams ± 50 g; the M and L as 1,350 grams ± 50 g and the XL and XXL as 1,400 grams ± 50 g. Based on our one example, I feel certain that the other weights are accurately represented as well.
The helmet feels light when it's handled, although the lower and deeper shell shape that makes the helmet feel like it's sitting lower than average down around my cheek bones probably masks some of the feeling of lightness.
But the SR1 is way down there at the 9th lightest helmet we have reviewed in our list that, as of this date, totals 173 motorcycle helmets reviewed.
That's pretty amazing -- especially considering this is a size XL helmet.
The SR1 is comparable to such lightweights as the Akuma Phantom II MFR (XL) carbon fiber helmet at 1367 grams; the Nexx XR1R (size L) at 1382 grams; the OGK FF-4 (L) at 1409 grams and even the HJC AC-12 Carbon (XL) at 1489 grams.
Note also that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the 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: I'll give the Schuberth SR1 an "Outstanding" rating for its light weight, good fit and balance.
The SR1 uses a D-ring chin strap system and it has comfortable padding underneath. The chin strap has snap retainer.
The Schuberth SR1 meets the ECE 22.05 safety standard and is currently sold in Europe only. See my report on the differences between DOT, ECE and Snell helmet safety standards.
UPDATE: Schuberth said the SR1 is currently in the homologation process for DOT approval! The Schuberth S2 is also undergoing homologation tests.
It will replace the Schuberth S1 helmet and includes an internal sun visor, "improved aerodynamics and ventilation and a significant weight savings" over the S1, according to Schuberth.
The S2 will be released at the 2012 Dealer Expo in Indianapolis and webBikeWorld will be there to cover the event!
Schuberth provides a two-year warranty on the helmet. If a Schuberth helmet is registered with the company after purchase and if the helmet becomes damaged in an accident, the owner can buy a replacement for 1/3 the cost during the first year of ownership.
The Schuberth SR1 is an exceptional motorcycle helmet that combines light weight with comfort, outstanding ventilation and low noise levels -- a winning formula that seems to be beyond the capabilities of most motorcycle helmet manufacturers.
All of the SR1's features are thoughtfully designed to create what surely will become a classic.
Much of the Schuberth DNA from the discontinued Schuberth R1 and S1 are included, but the SR1 weighs far less and it's nearly as quiet.
Everything about this helmet feels solid and well made and it provides the rider with a feeling of solid security.
It's expensive, no two ways about it, but the price is not out of line with other high-end helmets from Shoei or Arai, yet I think it offers much more than the Shoei X-12 (review) or the Arai Corsair V (review), which suddenly seem a generation or two old in comparison.
Back to the drawing boards, Shoei and Arai!
The SR1 is hand-made in Germany and the combination of performance and the feeling of security it provides makes it worth the cost in my opinion.
See Also: Schuberth SR1 USA DOT Helmet Review
From "J.W." (November 2012): "My opinion of the SR-1 is right in line with webBikeWorld's. I just picked mine up today. It is German over engineering at it's finest.
I have always been an Arai guy, and I am moving into this helmet from the Arai Corsair RX-7. Naturally I considered the Arai Corsair V (review) first, and still may get one as well.
After breaking a side pod on my Arai during a screen removal, I decided enough is enough. I drooled over this Schuberth countless times online, and just could not resist.
Where my Large Arai felt a bit loose after years of use, the SR-1 seems a bit more snug. I think it will be perfect after it wears in a little. The screen removal is so much nicer than the Corsair. I push both lock buttons simultaneously and push the screen up. Seems to work fine. The Pinlock screen is quite nice also.
Being a technician that works on German sports cars, I can appreciate the attention to detail that the SR-1 boasts. The vent operation is very sturdy. Those little steel mesh screens inside the vents are well secured as opposed to an AGV, where the mouth screen is practically popping out.
I imagine it is quieter than the Arai, but I don't care. I wear high quality fitted ear plugs. It is also very aerodynamic when turned sideways. Obviously helpful at speeds above 150mph. I can't find a single flaw in this Schuberth SR-1 design or operation. Well worth the money!"