Shark Evoline Helmet
Shark Evoline Motorcycle Helmet Review
by "Burn" and Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Summary: The Shark Evoline is a new helmet
design that picks up where the ROOF Boxer left off. It's probably more
functional than a simple flip-up helmet, because the Evoline is designed to be
worn with the chin bar rotated all the way back, unlike most/all flip-up
helmets, which are not designed to be worn (and are not safe) with the rotating visor in the
Lots of moving parts here though, and
the weight...well, we won't get into that now, will we?
review of the Shark Evoline
DOT North American version
Probably one of the most anticipated helmets of 2008,
the Shark Evoline has finally arrived. And the
good news is that it has passed both ECE and DOT testing
schemes, so this is one exotic flip-up helmet that will
be sold in North America and Europe. In fact, it's
currently going through the distribution process in the
U.S. and should be on dealer shelves very soon.
The Evoline was just released in Europe
-- after many retailers were taking orders for months,
knowing full well that they couldn't deliver. But
that's another story...
So what is it? Probably not as
radical as some would hope actually. Some
motorcyclists may not know that the rotating chin bar concept was
pioneered by the still-radical-looking ROOF Boxer, a
helmet we reviewed back about 5 years ago.
The Shark Evoline (is it "Evo-line", or
"Evo-leen"?) takes it one step
further, with a slick but complex system to rotate the
chin bar all the way back, where it stays out of the way,
nice and snug and nearly flush with the helmet shell.
The design of the Evoline allows it to be
worn this way whilst riding, unlike all of the "normal"
flip-up helmets I'm familiar with, which are not
designed to be worn with the rotating visor in the
raised position, although many riders do indeed wear them that way
-- a dangerous proposition.
Now why a motorcycle rider would want or
need a motorcycle helmet with the functionality of the
Evoline is a question we can't answer -- we'll leave
that up to you to decide.
Suffice it to say
that there must be a defined need, or we doubt very much
that Shark would have spent so much time, money and
energy into designing the Evoline -- not to mention the
cost involved in getting it to a point where it passed
both the ECE and DOT testing regimens, finding a
distributor, getting it into the distribution process,
parts and accessories and all the rest.
So let's take a look and see what this
interesting new helmet is all about!
Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The Shark Evoline shown here was purchased in Europe,
thus it is ECE 22.05 approved only and was sourced using the
European color palette, which is rather subdued.
This one is the gloss silver color, which is
actually more like a graphite. The metalflake
paint is nicely applied on the polycarbonate Lexan shell, with no obvious flaws.
There's not much you can say about gloss silver or
graphite; it is what it is.
It's unclear at this point whether the
Evoline helmets sold in North America will have a
different color palette or will be offered with a
variety of graphic designs, but for the
most part, flip-up helmets seem to have much more...dare
we say boring?...colors than their full-face
counterparts. Perhaps flip-up owners are a
But overall, the finish is about as good
as it gets. The finish does "feel" thick and the
clearcoat also seems thick and protective.
This helmet was apparently one of the first off the
assembly line, and there are some quality issues here
and there that we hope are resolved by time the
distribution channels are filled.
The gasket around the bottom of the
helmet has a few gaps and some glue is showing; the
metal latches on the helmet shell are pitted and look
unpolished; there's a bit of polish residue or wet sanding residue
here and there; you can see in some of the photos that
the screw heads and other metal bits are showing (a
design, not a quality issue) and the Phillips head
screws that hold the eccentric cam on the sides that
rotate the visor are crooked.
This is a complex helmet, with more
moving parts than many other "normal" flip-ups, and
obviously more than a typical full-face helmet.
All the parts add up to a bit of a creaky feeling -- the
helmet isn't as solid as we'd like to see...but what
The liner looks more expensive and plush
than what is usually found in flip-up helmets, and it's
relatively comfortable, although not as comfy as the
ultra-plush liner in the Shark RSX, for example.
The vents click open and shut with
authority, but the clear visor feels flimsy and has some
distortion at the top and bottom, which is surprising
for Shark and probably due to the completely different
Score: Overall, I'll give the Shark
Evoline a "Very Good" rating
for the paint and the finish, with a "Good" for the rest. See the ratings scale
in the summary table at the bottom of this page.
Helmet Shape and Fit
The Shark Evoline has what we'd call a neutral internal shape that's neither
too oval nor too round, but probably just the thing to fit the majority of
head shapes. It seems rounder up top than the Shark RSX (review),
and definitely rounder inside than the Shark RSI (review)
or Shark S 650 (review), if that
Shark doesn't have a round
internal shaped helmet in their lineup as far as we can
tell, and we've reviewed just about all of them.
But the Evoline is more of a one-shape-fits-all than any
of the other Shark helmets, which tend towards the long
It's also a bit rounder inside than the
recently reviewed Nolan N103 (review),
and almost -- but not quite -- as round as the Shoei
So perhaps those few examples will help you understand
how it fits?
It's interesting to note that many
flip-up owners buy that helmet type because they feel that
the design works better with eyeglasses. That may
be, although we've found that some wire frame and other
type of eyeglasses will fit in just about any full-face
helmet, and Rick says his pair of
cut-down eyeglasses fit in every full-face helmet
The reality is that buying a flip-up
helmet doesn't necessarily mean you'll have no more
problems with eyeglasses; indeed, some some flip-ups
are actually harder to wear with eyeglasses than
some full-face helmets.
The Evoline is an example; the helmet
shell is curved down towards the bottom, where it fits
over the cheeks; this can be seen the photos of the
helmet with the visor rotated back.
"Although the Evoline's visor can be
rotated back (or
up) to get the Evoline over my head and eyeglasses, it
isn't easy and the sharply tapered sides pull my glasses
down. So I have to end up taking my eyeglasses off
anyway, put on the helmet, then fit the temples of the
eyeglasses in and around my ears. It isn't that
easy to do for me, and it may not be for others also, so
take note", says Burn.
The Evoline is the heaviest helmet we've
ever reviewed at a massive 1960 grams in size XL; more
on that in a minute, but I'm mentioning it here because
the helmet does seem to at least balance rather well
when the visor is in the downward position.
Rotate the visor back and the helmet
does become top heavy and feels like the center of
gravity has shifted also towards the back, which
is probably to be expected.
The size XL also fits as expected for an
XL; we'd say this one should fit heads with a 61-62 cm
circumference, so we'll have to assume that other sizes
will also run true.
There's plenty of room behind the chin
bar when it's rotated down; more than most flip-ups and,
I'd say, even more than most full-face helmets.
And by the way, the helmet feels and seems just like a
"normal" flip-up or full-face when the visor is in that
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ for more information on choosing and fitting
a motorcycle helmet and for a discussion regarding human head shapes.
And don't forget that choosing the correct helmet shape
is crucial for both comfort and safety!
Score: The Shark
Evoline gets a "Very Good" for comfort and fit and its
sizing, which runs true.
Helmet Liner and Padding
The liner material used in the Evoline is somewhat
different than the other Shark helmets we've sampled.
The liner looks high quality and it's put together
rather well, although there are some gaps where the
liner snaps into the helmet shell around the cheeks, as
you can see in the photos.
The lining material is a combination of
smooth as silk with some sections that feel like
Alcantara suede. Shark says it's Coomax, but it
doesn't feel like any Coolmax we've ever seen.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have a strong moisture
"The weather has been hot and
humid here recently, and my head seems to get more
sweaty inside the Evoline than other helmets", according
to Bill's notes. "The vents don't do much to help
the cause either...". More on that in a minute.
The padding is relatively thick and it's
comfortable, so no complaints there; it's probably about
as good as we've seen in a flip-up helmet.
The liner is fully removable and
washable. It snaps in via the same type of plastic
male/female button snaps that Shark uses in other
helmets in their lineup. Shark also says the
Evoline helmet liner is "adjustable", but we're not sure
if that means they will offer different sized cheek pads
The neck padding (aka neck roll) around
the bottom of the helmet fits well, and the chin strap
has adequate padding.
Score: The Shark
Evoline gets an "Excellent" for liner comfort and
The rotating visor of the Shark Evoline has apparently prevented the
designers from adding a lot of vents in the helmet. There's a minimal
top vent that clicks open and closed, but the air must first hit the lip of
the vent switch, then work its way down into the helmet through two very
tiny holes that are about 5 mm in diameter.
The top of the liner has three mesh
panels, and the EPS foam shell is grooved, which is a
Shark trademark but also theoretically helps the air to
be directed on to the rider's head. But the amount
of air flowing in through the tiny top vent holes and
the absence of any exhaust vents on the Evoline conspire
to minimize the amount of air flowing in through the top
The chin vent operates similar to other
Shark helmets; pushing it down allows air to flow
directly through the chin bar through a couple of narrow
The chin bar is vertically wide
(probably to meet SHARP tests?) and a lot of air comes
up from underneath, which is where most of the venting
in the Evoline takes place.
Some of the air that flows in when
riding is also caught at the back of the chin bar when
it's in the down position, and it hits the cheek pads
and causes some noise.
There's enough air coming in from up
underneath the chin bar that it makes it hard to tell whether the
chin vent does anything or not. It doesn't seem to
make a difference whether the vent is open or closed,
and the air flows up on to the rider's eyes and face. This
isn't bad when the weather is hot like it is now, but
not sure about the winter.
So the bottom line here is that the top
venting is minimal and most of the ventilation is felt
on the rider's face only. How this will work out
when the weather turns cold is questionable -- our
feeling is that there may be too much air coming in from
up under the chin bar.
Of course, when the visor is rotated
backwards, there's plenty of air coming in from under
the clear visor, which covers about down to my upper
lip. Riding with an open-face helmet isn't
something we do very often, and it will remind you that
there are a lot of bugs are out there! How do those
cruiser guys with the shortie helmets do it, anyway?
Score: The Shark
Evoline gets a "Poor" for venting and air flow,
most of which comes from up underneath the chin bar.
The disadvantage of most flip-up helmets is weight,
complexity and noise. As a rule, the average
flip-up helmet is louder (transmits more noise) than
the average full-face helmet, although, of course,
there are always exceptions to the rule.
The Evoline is louder than most
flip-ups, mostly due to the unique design and
construction. As mentioned above, a volume of air
comes in under the chin bar and some of it blows against
the joint where the rotating chin bar meets the cheek
pads. A hand placed there helps make it
There is also a relatively large gap
between the helmet shell and the rotating chin bar; in
fact, you can look up from the bottom of the helmet and
see through the top. This may not seem like much,
but it's gaps like these that catch the air and cause
turbulence, which, in turn, can cause noise levels to
But with the visor in the lowered
position, the average overall noise volume of the
Evoline is greater than the average flip-up, in our
opinion. Considering that the helmet will probably
be used by many touring riders, this may or may not be
an issue. When riding behind a big, tall fairing
that blocks the air from hitting directly on the front
of the helmet, it may be fine.
The irony here is that when the visor is
rotated backwards (up), the Evoline is much quieter!
Other than the wind rushing noise typical of an
open-face helmet, the noise levels can decrease to
almost half when riding without a windscreen.
For more information on helmet noise, visit the
Motorcycle Helmet Noise page. Also, note that we always wear high-quality, correctly
fitted ear plugs when riding -- see the
Earplugs and Hearing
Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
If you don't wear ear plugs, all bets are off -- every motorcycle helmet is
dangerously noisy, in our opinion, and your hearing is as precious as your
eyesight, so don't mess with it. Wear ear plugs.
Score: The Shark Evoline gets a
"Good" rating for noise levels, which takes into consideration the
Shark Evoline - Visor Rotating Mechanism
The clear visor on the Evoline is a completely
different design than used on other Shark helmets, and
do think it feels slightly flimsy. It measures 2.3
mm, so it's not the thick 3 mm type used on other Shark
The visor on ours has some waviness at
the top and bottom, which is surprising. It
rotates on a spring-loaded mechanism that allows a small
initial opening for defogging, then one other position
to hold the visor open. That's it: not other
detents on this one.
The defogging position is very hard to
achieve on this example, and again, we hope this is due
only to the early production models. The visor
raising tab is at the top, not the bottom of the visor,
which is very strange and it takes some time to become
accustomed to this location.
We think this makes it even harder to get
the visor to lift to its first initial defogging
position. You sort of have to brace your hand on the
helmet and slowly try to pull up on the tab to crack the
visor -- way too much effort and concentration while
riding, not to mention the time with the hands off the
bars and fussing around up top.
Note that the clear visor must be raised
to rotate the chin bar back and especially when rotating
the chin bar back down. We do not advise messing
with this whilst riding!
If the clear visor is not first placed
in the raised position, the chin bar will not lock in
place when pushed back down. Actually, it's rather
surprising that Shark didn't design some type
of lockout to make sure this doesn't happen.
Shark claims the visor has a "hermetic
watertight edging", but the sides of the visor are
completely without gaskets, the clear visor doesn't snap
shut and doesn't seal tightly and there are some gaps in
the gasket along the bottom edge. We haven't worn
it in the rain, but it's obvious that water will come
right down into the visor on either side.
The visor and the eye port provide good
visibility in both the vertical and horizontal planes.
Wearing the Evoline, you'd never know it had a "secret";
it feels and seems pretty much like any other full-face
or flip-up helmet.
Score: The Shark
Evoline gets a
"Poor" rating for the design of the clear visor.
Rotating Chin Bar
The main feature of the Shark Evoline is, of course,
the chin bar that can be rotated all the way back,
converting the helmet from a virtual full-face to an
The rotating chin bar locks into place
in the down position with stainless steel (claimed) metal latches inside the chin
bar and corresponding stainless steel (claimed) metal latches located on the
helmet shell, at the tips of the cheek area.
A single lever is located under the
center portion of the chin bar releases the chin bar;
this is similar to most flip-up helmets. As
mentioned above, the clear visor must first be fully
raised before the chin bar can rotate.
Once the chin bar is rotated back, it
snaps into place with small plastic tabs on either side.
It's not fully locked in this position; it just takes a
good tug to pop it out from behind the tabs to move it
It all works about as easily as other
flip-up helmets, but the chin bar rotates on an
eccentric cam mechanism located on either side of the
helmet (see photos).
The release button on the helmet shown
here is slightly loose and the chin bar does have a
slight amount of play when it's closed. It
sometimes takes a couple of strong whacks to get it to
close and lock, but otherwise, it all works smoothly.
The button sometimes needs to be nudged to spring back
into place, or the visor won't lock, which is worrisome
and possibly a sign that the locking mechanism may give
problems later on.
Internal Sun Visor
The Evoline has an internal sun visor that operates
with a slider switch on the top of the helmet, behind
the top vent. It can be opened to any position.
When the internal sun visor is rotated
all the way down, it's just below the line of sight in
the center, but it is cut up towards the sides, and
those sections can remain in the rider's line of sight
when looking both ways.
Apparently, the ECE rules call for no
less than 50% light transmission, which leaves the sun
visor on the Evoline and the Nolan N103 reviewed
recently with not enough tint. They do block the
sunlight, but it would be nice if they were another
We've complained about these sun visors
before; we're not really big fans, because they add
complexity and weight to a helmet. Unless they are
very dark; rotate all the way down to go out of the
rider's line of sight; have perfect optical qualities
and are lightweight, they're not very useful.
The optical quality of the sun visor on
this helmet isn't as good as it could or should be.
Score: The Shark
Evoline gets a "Good"
for the operation of the internal sun shade.
We won't belabor the point here, but this size XL Shark Evoline is the heaviest motorcycle helmet we've ever
reviewed at 1960 grams, nearly 2 kilos or 4 lbs., 5-1/8
oz. Fortunately, it balances fairly well
when the visor is in the down position.
Motorcycle helmets can be looked at as
having five dimensions: they should protect the rider;
they should meet all applicable safety standards;
they should be light in weight; quiet; comfortable and fit correctly.
If any one of these dimensions is out of sorts, the
helmet may not be optimal for the rider.
It's interesting to note that Shark used
a polycarbonate, Lexan, for the helmet shell, rather
than one of the high-tech materials like carbon fiber or
fiberglass composite. Using other materials may
have saved weight, but probably would have added to the
already expensive helmet design.
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for the complete
chart, comparing the weights of every helmet we've
Score: The Evoline gets a
"Poor" for extreme weight.
The Evoline uses the standard European "quick release" buckle.
has a serrated tab that fits into the buckle
mechanism like a ratchet, and it releases quickly.
The strap length must be adjusted the first time
it's used, but the serrations insure a small range
of micro-adjustment when the buckle is secured.
We're not in favor of these complicated
systems, but the good news is that the North American
versions will apparently get the tried-and-true double
This Evoline meets ECE 22.05 safety
standards; obviously the helmets sold in the U.S.A.
will meet DOT standards. Shark provides a
5-year warranty with the helmet.
The Shark Evoline is an interesting new helmet design that may be welcomed
by some motorcycle riders. But in the end, we're not sure
the complexity and weight is worth it -- the helmet
doesn't seem to have an overwhelming advantage. We
don't recall ever wanting to convert a flip-up helmet
to an open-face version, but we'll leave that up to the
Also, although the Evoline has decent
sized ear pockets, installing an intercom system with
speakers and a microphone may be problematic, and this
issue will affect touring riders most, and they are
presumably the target market for the helmet.
But overall, you have to give Shark a
lot of credit for moving this design forward!
Review: Shark Evoline Helmet (ECE Version)
Retail Price: £249.99
|Colors: Varied Sizes: XS to
||Made In: Unknown
For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges
from unacceptable to poor, good, very good, excellent and
|Review Date: August
review of the Shark Evoline DOT North
Note: For informational use only. All material and
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►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
NOTE: More owner comments can also
be found in our review of the DOT version of
the Shark Evoline.
From "J.D." (8/09) (AUS): "I think I was Australia's
first purchaser and wearer of this new helmet. It had to be ordered
for me, as is often the case in this remote city of Perth, from the
allegedly wise men of the east (local Oz joke).
After a week it arrived at the retailer and I parted with nearly $900 Oz!
It replaced my Caberg
Justissimo (review) at age nearly five.
After some two months I offer the following comment. It looks good, it
is larger than the Justissimo and whilst quieter does attract more air
buffeting but the balance of the rear retractable chin bar makes it a far
superior riding experience.
Getting used to the locking mechanism takes about ten days, but once used to
it, it does become a natural habit and is secure. I enjoy the chin bar
free (jet?) configuration around the city with good airflow (of course) at
low speed, and out on the open road with the bar down the air flow through
the vents I find to be perhaps the best I have experienced of any helmet.
I agree with some comments about the visor but I'll wait for summer before
In condemn. However, the totality of the package makes this the
quality of helmet that any replacement must compete with. As a
modular, it takes some beating."
From "K.W." (4/09): "Having ridden to Daytona '09 with
my Shoei Multitec I finally had had enough. The Multi suffered from
poor aero in my opinion causing it to push back into my face/head with more
buffeting than necessary. That caused the already tight chin bar to
push, into my chin. It was a tiring helmet to wear without a
windshield on my Rune. I ask the doorman at the hotel to throw it away.
Now the Shark Evo has arrived and I went for a 100 mile test
The Evo does feel lighter than it weighs and suffers none of
the poor aero that quite frankly a lot of lids do. I'll admit that out
of the box it took a little coaxing to get the chin bar to unlocked and up
but that was the only time. Raising the outer visor is necessary to go
from open to full face otherwise it will stop the chin bar from locking.
Overall noise is slightly high and I accidently found that
if I raised my arms causing my jacket to seal around my neck/helmet their
was virtually no noise. I don't recommend raising your arms at highway
The ability to go from full face to 3/4 without an imbalance
in weight on your head, transferred to your neck, is priceless. Either
open or closed it still looks nice. That's my story and I'm stickin'
From "D" (9/08): "I'd agree completely with the review
of this helmet, and add a few comments as an owner of 6 months.
1. The anti-misting coating on the visor is pants, but I'm "Mr. Heavy
Breather" and its never worked on any helmet I've ever had. Buy a fog
2. The hermetic rain seal on the visor is pants, it
runs down the inside just like any other helmet I've had, but this shouldn't
happen on an expensive model like this. they should've tested in an English
3. The internal sun visor doesn't come down far enough
and its a strange shape, the view ahead is tinted but the mirrors aren't, an
epileptics nightmare. also, its not tinted enough. My mate has a big
scratch on his where some grit went up between it and the helmet.
4. The visor tab, top vent, and sun visor tab (when
down) are all very close together and virtually impossible to use with
gloves on, so its a good thing that the top vent doesn't work much anyway.
5. The chin bar mechanism works great in your hands,
but if you have a big chin like me, your face pushes the sides of the helmet
out a bit and the latch doesn't click without a big two handed shove,
obviously not too good while on the move!
6. The visor mechanism seems quite fragile and doesn't
give much confidence, and mine and a friends visors have both come off in
our hands before! you must use the tab to raise/lower the visor and check
frequently that the visor is mounted properly.
1. You get used to all the above.
2. The finish (mines matt black, mates is sort of
bronzy metalflake) is lasting very well even though all the fiddly bits are
on the top where they get bashed walking under the garage door.
3. It's my 3rd flip-up and it compares with the others
for noise and weight, maybe a few ounces in it but not noticeable.
4. The sanitized removable lining is a godsend, most
of my helmets get replaced because they smell like a wet dog.
5. I didn't like the strap at first but now im used to
it its very fast, you have to count the clicks!
So am I happy? yes, there's always a few niggles but on the
whole i think its a good helmet. Bit expensive but its a new model,
perhaps in another year it will be cheaper and they may sort out the major
issues, mostly the visors. You can only get the original visors too,
nobody makes mirrored/irridium/coloured replacements yet. Hope this