Shark Evoline DOT Helmet
Quick Look: Shark Evoline Motorcycle Helmet - DOT North American
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
The Shark Evoline has now been
homologated for North America with this version that meets U.S. DOT safety
This Evoline seems tighter, more comfortable and it has a
very high level of finish compared to the European version we reviewed in
August of 2008. The Evoline is now one of our favorite helmets, so
much so that we gave it a special mention as the "Most Improved Product of
2008" in our
4th Annual webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year Awards.
We covered the new Shark Evoline in detail in
our full review in August
2008. The Evoline was one of the most anticipated helmets of 2008
and it's also one of the most unique helmets to arrive
on the scene since, well, since the radical
(review), which is still going strong and to which
the Evoline pays homage.
This Evoline functions identically to
European ECE helmet we evaluated for our review, and the
specifications and features are also identical, as far
as we can tell. So
this article is just a quick look at the DOT flavored helmet,
highlighting some of the minor differences.
The ECE version of the Evoline was sold in our Garage Sale, so I have
to rely on our collective memory for any comparisons.
The Shark Evoline "Absolute" and the "Grand Urban"
The Evoline takes the Boxer concept and improves on it
with typically high quality Shark fit and finish and the
dual ECE and DOT homologation. As far as we know,
this is the world's first helmet that meets both safety
standards in both its modes: with the visor locked and
also with the visor rotated all the way back.
I'm not usually very fond of flip-up
helmets because the tradeoffs in weight, complexity and
potentially compromised safety don't seem worth it to
me. But I'll have to admit, I'm really enjoying this
This one's a size large, which fits me
just about perfectly. The original helmet we
reviewed was an XL and it was too big for me and, I
suspect, for both Bill and Burn who were the
co-evaluators for that article. Hey, as we say,
they're all opinions, which are just like ears --
everybody's got one. Or two. At least.
Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The original ECE Evoline we received back in August was
one of the first off the assembly line, so it's possible
that Shark was still going through some teething pains
relative to manufacturing this complex helmet.
There were some misaligned screws on the
original; it seemed creaky and a bit loose; and the
basic silver/graphite finish "was nothing to write home
about", as they say.
This example is like night and day -- the
finish is rather incredible, as I think you may be able
to tell from the photos. This helmet must have THE
shiniest, glossiest helmet surface finish we've ever
laid eyes on. It's so shiny that it was very hard
to capture the real essence of the helmet's color and
graphics with a decent photo.
The surface finish is apparent in the photo above,
the rear of the helmet -- the entire surface is like a
reflector. I'll have to assume this is how all of
the DOT versions will be -- this one simply showed up on
the doorstep one day with no email, paperwork or note.
But I don't think it was specially prepped.
Information about the North American DOT
version of the Evoline isn't available on the Shark
USA website yet, so it's unknown what type of graphics
and colors will be available (or how much it will cost). This one carries a
label on the side that reads "Absolute", which leads us
to believe that this is the name of the graphic pattern
UPDATE: See below for
availability and pricing.
The color seems nearly black, but in
certain types of light it has a dark brown hue. The
swirly metalflake curlicues have a vague
gold/brown/sunset luster, making the overall combination
both unusual and striking. I don't normally wear
dark helmets, but this one's a winner and I think the
pattern very nicely suits the design.
So overall I give Shark a big thumbs up
for the beautifully done color and paint and graphics
with the superlative shine that will unfortunately, in
my hands at least, get scratched to heck in no time.
Let's hope I can use an occasional dab of polish to get
it looking like it did when it came out of the box.
Evoline DOT Details
The rest of the helmet works the way the original should
have. Everything is more secure and the visor
rotates and closes with a secure feeling. This is
all relative though, because basically no flip-up yet is
as sturdy as a full-face helmet, but the DOT Evoline
feels more secure than many of the flip-ups we've handled.
By the way, we've been using the term
"flip-up" for helmets with a rotating visor and
"modular" for helmets like the
(review) and the
(review), which truly are modular. Once you've
seen a "real" modular helmet with modular parts that
allow it to be converted from an open face to full face
and something in between, a simple rotating visor is --
just a flip-up.
But the Evoline is nearly a combination
of the two; sort of a "modular flip-up". The parts
on the Evoline aren't removable like they are on the
Givi X.01, but the Evoline really does convert from a
virtual full-face helmet to a nice open-face, semi-jet
And the difference here is that this
helmet can be worn in either configuration while riding,
unlike a normal flip-up, which should never be worn with
the visor open while underway.
The DOT version includes the internally
rotating sun visor and the same top and chin venting
system, the same comfortable and removable liner and
everything works just as it should.
One thing to remember is that the face
shield on the Evoline must be raised both before the
visor is rotated up and before the visor is rotated
The face shield lifting tab is located in an
unusual position at the top of the visor as a sort of
reminder to the owner to lift it before rotating.
So remember, always lift the face shield before moving
the visor in either direction. And do not, repeat
DO NOT move the visor whilst riding! Too
Shark Evoline DOT Helmet Shape and Fit
I really don't know if the North
American version of the Evoline has an internal shape
that is different than the
European ECE version. I rather doubt that they
would go through the trouble and expense for what, in
the end, will probably be a niche helmet in the
Perhaps it's the size difference, but
the large shown here fits me very comfortably, with a
round to neutral shape that is similar to a
RF1000 (review). It's not as narrow as the
Fulmer D4 we
reviewed recently, which isn't really a true long
oval shape. I think the Evoline should fit the
majority of head shapes.
The size large is perhaps about 1/2 size
larger than expected; my head is about 60.5 cm in
circumference, and although the Evoline fits me without
problems, just remember that a flip-up helmet is usually
more flexible than a comparable full-face, so if you're
on the borderline, you may want to go smaller rather
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
One curious feature of the DOT version
of the Evoline is that the helmet feels "deep" from the
brow or top of the eye port up to the top of the inside
of the helmet. I feel like the top of the eye port
is touching my eyebrows and is in my line of site, sort
of like I have to keep pushing the helmet back on my
This may be a quirk related only to my
head shape, but it is something to consider. I
don't recall this problem with my limited time wearing
the ECE version of the Evoline.
The one thing about flip-ups that I find
curious is that I usually have to take my eyeglasses off
before pulling the helmet over my head, and I thought
one of the big draws of a flip-up was that this wasn't
necessary. Oh well...
Helmet Liner and Padding
The liner on the DOT version is identical to the
European version; that is, it's comfortable, relatively
plush for a flip-up and it has mid-depth ear pockets
that are also lined.
The liner material is comfortable and
the liner exhibits very good quality. It's
One difference is that Shark uses a
double D-ring for the DOT version, which I prefer.
It's lighter, simpler and doesn't crush my windpipe.
I'm not that fond of the strap retention system though;
instead of a snap at the end of the loose piece of
strap, there's a plastic nub that has to be worked under
a plastic strap retainer loop on the opposite side.
Venting on the DOT version is identical to the European version of the
Evoline. There are no rear exhaust vents. The top vent is very
tiny and the vent points up and the liner mesh blocks some of the air coming
in, so the bottom line is that there just isn't a lot of ventilation up top.
The chin vent is a bit more successful;
both vents work well and feel solid, and the chin bar
does have a direct vent passage, rare on flip-ups.
But one of the benefits of the Evoline
is that in really hot weather, you can roll the visor to
the back, flip down the face shield and the internal sun
shade and you'll pretty much have all the ventilation
you'll need, and then some. Perfect for touring or
riding behind a big fairing, that's for sure.
The DOT version is about the same as the ECE
version, according to Bill and Burn. I find
this one fairly quiet actually, which is surprising
considering the complexity of the rotating visor and
the appendages and slight gaps that entails.
When it's locked up and sealed, the
bottom of the helmet fits snugly around the lower part
of my neck and chin, which helps deter the
turbulence-induced noise. All told, not a bad ride
and one of the reasons I'm enjoying this helmet so much.
Just for the record, here's our standard advice: 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.
Shark Evoline - Visor Rotating Mechanism
Visor and Rotating Chin Bar
The clear face shield and the rotating visor (and
the internal sun shade) on the DOT version of the Evoline
is identical in every way, as far as we can tell, to the
ECE version, so there's not much more I can say here
that hasn't already been said before.
Just remember to lift that face shield
before moving the visor! Not that I've experienced
any problems with this, just that I've learned that this
is the best way to have everything operate smoothly.
As I mentioned earlier, the rotating
visor and all the assorted parts on this version seem
tighter and operate more effectively than the European
version we reviewed in August.
My experience with the Evoline in during
this winter's cold and damp conditions is that the clear
face shield has an effective anti-fog coating.
The European size XL version of the Evoline was very
heavy at 1960 grams. In fact, it was and is the
heaviest helmet we've reviewed on webBikeWorld out of
now 107 helmets.
I didn't put the size large shown here
on the scale until just a few minutes ago, after wearing
it for several weeks. I am surprised to learn that
it weighs a hefty 1928 grams (4 lbs., 4.0 oz.), which
makes it the 105th heaviest helmet out of 107 helmets
I'm surprised because the helmet just
didn't feel that heavy. I remember pulling the ECE
version out of the box and immediately noticing its
heft; that wasn't that case at all with this size large
for some reason.
Now I don't think my hands are sensitive
enough to notice an ounce or two of difference, so
perhaps it's the better build on this helmet or the way
it balances that makes the difference.
It does feel slightly heavy when I'm
wearing it, especially with the visor rotated backwards,
which does change the center of gravity. But
overall, I just don't notice it that much, which goes to
show that fit and balance mean a great deal.
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for the complete
chart, comparing the weights of every helmet we've
This Evoline is labeled as meeting both DOT and ECE
standards, which, I understand, is a no-no. The
European commission only wants the ECE label on
helmets sold in ECE countries, but who's going to
stop them? We'll see what happens if the U.S.
Department of Transportation's
new helmet labeling standards get approved.
In any case, it's nice to know the
helmet meets two excellent motorcycle helmet safety
standards that still allow it to be used in both the
closed and open positions.
The Shark Evoline is a radical new design that has several real advantages,
especially for motorcycle touring. Shark is known
for excellent, high-quality helmets and a devotion to
safety and technology, and this version of the Evoline
definitely seems to be the equal of those factors.
I'm pretty much a devoted full-face
helmet guy, but the DOT version of the Evoline has made
me a convert! I'm not sure when the helmet will be
available for distribution or retail -- perhaps it will
be announced at the 2009 Powersports Dealer Expo next
month in Indianapolis? If so, we'll be there, but
in the meantime, you read about it here first!
UPDATE: Availability and Pricing
Tucker Rocky and webBikeWorld visitor "J.W." have
confirmed that the DOT version of the Evoline is now
available in the U.S. It is in stock and ready for
distribution through Tucker Rocky. The list price
of the "Absolute" graphic shown here is $449.95 and the
black and silver in the gloss and matte finish is also
available at a list price of $399.95.
The solid color Shark Evoline is
available online through our
affiliate link to RevZilla, at a retail price of
Product Review: Shark Evoline Helmet (DOT Version)
BUY IT! Get
Shark Evoline DOT Helmet with this link to RevZilla
and help support webBikeWorld!
||List Price: $449.95 Graphics;
$399.95 solids (January 2009).
|Colors: Varied Sizes: XS to
XL only (Probably due to a single shell size).
||Made In: Unknown
For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges
from unacceptable to poor, good, very good, excellent and
|Review Date: January
Note: For informational use only. All material and
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change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read
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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 ECE version of the
From "B.L." (9/09): "Well, I hope you all have better
luck with this helmet than me. On my first helmet I had the main visor
break repeatedly 3 separate times. Each time I had to take it back to
the dealer and get a new visor that was covered by the 5 year warranty.
Then the main latching mechanism broke and the helmet could no longer
convert and the flip up mechanism was stuck in the down position.
Shark looked over the helmet and told me that mine was non-repairable and
gave me a new helmet. In less than 2 weeks of owning that helmet the main
visor broke on it.
If the parts would quit breaking I would love the helmet but I'm thinking
about trading it in for a different brand. It fit great and is very
convenient when it worked.
And if anyone is wondering I take very good care of my helmets to the point
of putting them back into the cloth bag that came with them every night.
They were never dropped or anything like that."
From "TGF" (6/09): "I just recently received my Shark
Evoline Absolute DOT from RevZilla (great to deal with!). I normally
wear an Arai Large with a head size of 57.5cm or 22 3/4 inches.
Just to be safe, after reading all the reviews, I ordered a medium instead
of my normal large. When the helmet arrived, the first thing I noticed
was the shell size, THIS THING IS HUGE! I mean Monstrous! It
dwarfed my Arai and looked like it could swallow my Wifeís XS HJC.
They really need two shell sizes (Iíve emailed Shark France to see if they
do indeed have a different shell size in the small/xtra-small as I could not
simply imagine this shell size on an xtra-small person, it already almost
covers my entire shoulders). However weight was not an issue at all,
it fits very nicely and in both chin bar positions, was fine.
I found the fit to still be way too large even with the size reduction,
however I have an oval head shape so Iím afraid to try the small size due to
possible forehead hotspots. Iíve tried it on various friends that wear
Arai and HJC mediums and they all agree it was way too large for them but
this could also be due it being a modular which tend to move around a lot
Riding it was surprisingly stable and due to the loose fit and it did lift
at certain head positions giving that horrible feeling of a helmet about to
come flying off your head but of course that chin strap etc would prevent
that, just a disconcerting feeling. Iíve ordered a pair of Small Cheek
Pads and Iíll try installing them to see if it fits a little tighter and
then may order a small inner liner if I have to (unless of course they do
make two shell sizes after all and the small wonít fit).
I agree with others that the internal sun-shield does not go low enough.
Someone commented in another review that their sunglasses do not extend
below their eyes so why should a helmet... Well sunglasses are right up
against your face, the helmet internal visor is quite far away from your
eyes... T ry wearing your sunglasses an inch and a half away from your face
and see if you can stand it without getting distracted.
Fit and finish is absolutely magnificent, very very nice helmet. Being
able to swing that chin bar up in heavy slow traffic and enjoy the air was
priceless. Sheís a keeper definitely but Iíll wait on the shell size
answer before I order one for my wife, the current size would engulf her
entire upper torso! I could not imagine this monster with an Xtra-Small
inner liner... She would look like a grape inside a basketball!"
Editor's Reply: Interesting...we haven't noticed that
the Evoline is significantly larger than other helmets of this type, perhaps
you are not used to wearing flip-up helmets?
From "P.D." (2/09): "I went to a shop today to try one
of these on since the review here intrigued me. I just have two
observations on it. One is that, for me, the ear pockets were very
shallow. Just trying it on in the store I could feel the ear pads
pressing against my ears a bit more than would probably be comfortable on a
The other observation is the locking mechanism for the chin bar. I saw
in your review of the ECE version that you said it took a couple good whacks
to get it to lock back down. At first trying to latch the chin shut
gave me some trouble in the store. I then found out that I not only
had to push it down but, when it was in the down position I had to push it
in toward my face just a little bit and that locked it into place."
Editor's Reply: The chin bar locking mechanism on the Evoline
is slightly different than most flip-up helmets, but it works more smoothly
and consistently when the helmet is on the rider's head. The chin bar
has to pop out slightly from the surface of the helmet to allow the rotating
mechanism the freedom to move all the way up and around the top of the
From "B" (1/09): "It looks like from your video and the
video on the Shark website for the Evoline that the visor is spring loaded
and is either open or closed. Is this correct? There is no open
Editor's Reply: No, the rotating visor
on the Evoline is not spring loaded. It opens just like any other
flip-up helmet, except the visor rotates all the way back, 180 degrees and
has a detent to hold it in that position for riding. There's no reason
for it to stop half-way; think of it like any other flip-up helmet except
the chin bar rotates all the way back. Actually, once you see it, it
makes other flip-ups seem a bit strange looking when their visors are
rotated only half-way up.