| Owner Comments (Below)
Editor's Note: webBikeWorld visitor Raul
T. sent this detailed report with his opinions on the Shark RSR 2 helmet
compared to others in his collection, so we thought we'd share it with you.
I recently became the proud owner of an Arai RX-7 Corsair
Nicky Hayden Laguna helmet and Shark RSR 2 Kasuaki Fujiwara racer replica.
avid race fan, it has been my goal to one day own a racer replica helmet, but I
was waiting for a good deal first because these type of helmets can be very
Since I have quite a few helmets in my arsenal of riding gear,
I decided to write a review comparing them to each other. I thought it would
be fun to provide a more down-to-earth approach rather than the lukewarm
stuff that the
print magazines offer.
This should be helpful for those who think that the
print magazines have
an agenda; however, if my review doesn’t provide any insight, then perhaps a heavy
dose of the X-Files is in order… Keep looking… The Truth is out there...
I will use my Arai RX-7 as reference, since Arai is often
used as a baseline by many people for comparison. It is, after all, a
fine helmet in every way, shape and form.
The other helmets that I have include:
KBC VR-2 Dragon in Gunmetal - wBW review
Scorpion EXO-400 (Tsunami,
Sting, and WarHawk) - wBW review
Scorpion EXO-700 Crackhead - wBW review
Shark RSR 2 Katsuaki Fujiwara
First lets get the safety issue out of the way, simply because I want to
make this statement:
There is no scientific data to support the stubbornness some people have in
believing a price tag is a measure of safety -- it isn’t.
simply not true, and my feeling is that if you believe it, you have been duped by a clever
sales person…and if the sales person isn’t clever I won’t comment about how
that makes you look!
If you disagree,
that's fine. But I will recommend that you stop reading now. My review is
based on the fact that according to research and safety standards, all the
lids I am comparing are just as safe as any high-dollar racer replica.
More on Safety
Fit is the most important aspect of finding a helmet. Sure the graphics are what draw us
most of the time to a particular helmet, but be ready to walk away if the fit
is not correct.
A helmet should fit snug and comfortable. The manufacturers know this
have more than one line of helmets with different internal shapes. Often, consumers see the
product lines as another
measure of safety, but in reality they aren't. Often the different lines sport more affordable materials
and/or different internal
shapes. So always try on a helmet before you buy it, and if a more
affordable style fits your noggin better than an expensive helmet, consider yourself blessed.
Fit and Internal Shapes
Lets face it: we are all different. And our heads are as different as the
way we think. Internal helmet shapes range from a round head to an oval head
shape. When a manufacturer wants a helmet to fit a wide range of consumers, they opt for
a fit of something in-between round and oval. The shape is determined is by
measuring the roundness of your skull front (forehead) to back of the head.
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page for more information.
Let's Get Started
Sizing among manufacturers varies considerably; for example, I wear a size medium in the
Arai RX-7 Corsair line. I have tried the Arai Quantum (wBW
review) and a
medium fits me best as well.
My Shark RSR 2 is also a medium, although the
Shark fits me a bit more snugly than the Arai -- more on that later. The
Scorpion EXO-400 and EXO-700 are a size Large, as is my KBC VR-2. In both the KBC and
Scorpion helmets, I couldn’t get my head in a medium. Again, I can’t stress
the need to make sure you try on the helmet before you buy it, since there doesn’t appear to be a given
For the most part, I have found that I preferred the Scorpion EXO-400 fit the
best. Once I put that lid on, I find it to be very comfortable. I would classify the
EXO-400 as an oval fit, with tons of cheek support, and the Arai RX-7 as more
of a round oval shape. The main difference between the two is how snug my ears are
against the side of
the helmet; the Arai sort of cups my ears a bit.
The Scorpion EXO-700 has a slightly more relaxed fit in the cheek
area on me; beyond that it fits like the EXO-400 in all of the other
dimensions. But because of
the fit in the cheek area I like the EXO-400 better. That said, the Arai RX-7
also offer more cheek support than the EXO-700, so I like the fit of the
Arai over the Scorpion.
The KBC VR-2 was a favorite of mine for a long time. At one point
I had four of them! The fit on this helmet is oval, but it lacks a bit
of extra room
in the forehead when compared to the others. I find that I have to adjust
the VR-2 somewhat so that there isn’t too much pressure up there. But
once I found the sweet spot, it felt good. However, with the added
comfort I have found in the Arai and the Scorpions, the KBC is now my least
Riding With the Shark RSR 2
I recently purchased the Shark RSR 2 after trying it on at a local dealer
who had just started stocking them for the first time.
I had to have one! The fit felt similar to the oval
shape of the EXO-400, but the Shark seemed to fit me better overall. I can’t
quite say for sure, but I think what I really preferred is the lining material…more
on that later.
Shark RSR 2 - Fujiwara Replica
But here's one of the reasons why it's so important to try
before you buy: after going on a four-hour
ride the day after I bought the helmet, the Shark RSR 2 left the very top of my ears feeling a little sore.
Thus, I am knocking the RSR 2 down a notch in this category.
What at first felt great against my ears turned out to be a bit too
much pressure on them I guess... Nonetheless, I only noticed it after I got
home and took the helmet off, so I'm hoping that this just means it needs
Comfort Ranking based on the above would be:
Shark RSR 2
Graphics, Paint and Finish
This is my favorite part of any helmet, and it's what often drives me to try a helmet
on for the first time. Do I love eye candy! Who doesn’t?
The Arai has been a long-time standard for what a cool
helmet should look like -- they have some great artists. I have seen some other companies such as
Shoei and Suomy come out with some killer designs as well, but for the most
part, the Arai was the brand I was most familiar with.
The Arai RX-7 Nicky Hayden Laguna replica does not
disappoint. In fact, it looks better in person than in any online
photo you could see; they could
never do it justice.
Arai RX-7 Corsair - Nicky Hayden Laguna Replica
The helmet is simply stunning, especially when looking at
the effect that lighting has on
the paint. This is especially noticeable in sunlight, because there are metallic particles that
sparkle throughout the graphics, which really bring out the colors.
Scorpion is a company that in my opinion needs some talent in the
department. While the graphics are cool, they don’t use any of the fancy metallic
colors in the lids I have seen. But for the most part the finish on
their helmets is
I have contemplated approaching them to freelance some designs to
see if they bite! Not much to say here, except that the Scorpion EXO-700 Crackhead is by far the best looking lid they offer,
in my opinion.
KBC VR-2 Dragon
KBC VR-2 Dragon - Front View
Scorpion EXO-700 "Crackhead" Graphics
Scorpion EXO-700 "Crackhead" - Front View
KBC also offers some really cool designs; they definitely have a
nice graphic artist employed. Unfortunately, their artistic work is often put
on a helmet that hasn’t been properly prepared.
My VR-2 Dragon Gunmetal is flawless, so I
lucked out. But the Repsol I crashed in at the track had a few dust particles
that snuck in under the finish. I also had a Gunslinger that I gave my
brother, and it was flawless.
So if you are in the market for a KBC helmet, you may want to
check over the
finish of each helmet you try. KBC does use Metallics as well, but
they are not as
good as those used by Arai or Shark, in my opinion.
If Arai sets the standard for helmet graphic design, then
someone forgot to tell Shark -- my RSR 2 Fujiwara is in a league of its own.
The finish is not only flawless, but the use of metalflake in the paint is
stunning. It has some pinstriping that isn't captured in these photos,
but take it out in the sunlight and it looks like someone turned the backlighting
to bring those details out. WOW! Very clever graphic design -- I
Graphics and Finish Ranking:
KBC (would have edged the Scorpion if it wasn’t for the finish quality
Many people want the lightest helmet possible. This is not a big deal for me,
since riding a naked bike means I have bigger things to worry about.
But nonetheless, weight is about the only feature where price
is a factor. In other words, if I am going to shell out $700 on a lid, it
better be made of carbon fiber or some other strong and light
Holding a helmet in your hands isn’t exactly a good way to judge
weight, but it is a good way to measure balance as you tilt the helmet.
The Scorpion EXO-400 is the heaviest…and it should be, since
it doesn’t use any super-exotic lightweight material in the shell. Nonetheless, is it
well balanced and that distribution of weight is important, since a top-heavy
lid is more likely to be felt easier when wearing it.
Shark RSR 2
We should all be wearing ear plugs; see the
Ear Plugs page
for reviews and more information. I will admit that when I don’t, I
all of the noises within a helmet that can cause hearing loss. I am
ranking these helmets without the use of ear plugs, and there is a good chance that with earplugs I
could probably tell much better the diff in noise levels.
I also ride an unfaired bike, so my helmets are exposed to wind
all around rather than behind a fairing that directs air over the top of the helmet. These
aspects have an effect on noise as well. Also note that a helmet's ability to
flow air can also have an effect on noise.
A note on the Shark RSR 2: On my initial four-hour ride, I decided to open all the vents on the RSR 2. I wanted to make sure I got maximum
air flow, and the ram air vent on top looked
like it promised to make some noise.
But I was surprised to find a quieter helmet
than I expected. As a matter of fact, the RSR 2 seems nearly as quiet as the Scorpion
EXO-400. I'm thinking that the really snug fit around the ears helps
mask some of the noise.
I certainly could hear the airflow through that big gaping ram air hole in
front of the lid, it just wasn’t as loud as I thought it would be.
Noise ranking (quietest to loudest):
Shark RSR 2
Scorpion EXO-700 (rear vents closed)
Air Flow and Venting
I have no hair, so the need for hurricane or gale winds flowing through my
helmets in hot weather isn’t as great as it might be for others.
I tend to like
helmets with limited air flow to minimize the noise levels, and this is one reason I like
the EXO-400 so much -- it's the quietest helmet in my collection.
The KBC VR-2 is the noisiest, but the Scorpion EXO-700 and
the Arai RX-7 aren’t far behind. What they have in common is that they flow more air than the EXO-400.
The Shark's big gaping round hole on top that reminds me
of a ram air intake had me expecting that it would flow tons of air and make
lots of noise, but so far it hasn't, and I'll have to get more experience
first with this helmet before I can really decide.
After my initial ride, I felt like the Shark is as efficient
at flowing air as
the best in this group, the Arai RX-7. Ultimately, the best way to measure
this would be to somehow figure out a way to monitor the exact air flow with
an instrument in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), but I have yet
to learn of anyone doing this with helmets.
Air Flow Ranking:
Arai RX-7 and Shark RSR 2 (tie)
Shields should be easy to remove and replace, but the manufacturers have yet to perfect
this, in my opinion. There are some pretty clever designs, but there
are also some weird and completely idiotic ones too. Of all my helmets, I think
I hate the Arai's visor removal system the most.
The Arai requires that you open it fully and pull up and out
evenly on both sides. This makes all sorts of noises that make me cringe.
The RX-7 is basically a $700 lid with a $5 shield removal design, and if you break it
will likely cost you a good chunk of change to fix. I hate it!
The only thing I can offer in its defense is that the
Arai shield does seal completely when shut. (Editor's Note: See
my report on the broken visor
removal system on the Quantum II).
The Shark visor removal system is simple and effective; it's
not my favorite
but it's worlds apart from the Arai.
Open the shield on the Shark half-way and press the button (firmly) to release the shield. Bearable, and best of all, not likely to break anything.
And by the way, the visor that Shark uses is the
thickest in the market at 3mm. When it's lifted from one side it
doesn't flex, which is pretty cool. And it also seals firmly when shut
The Scorpion offers a simple twist dial to remove the visor.
It can be a bit awkward, and I have found that some of their helmets have dials
seem harder to turn
than others. My advice is to place a towel down on a flat surface and
lay the helmet on its side,
since you may need to use both hands as you turn the dials and wiggle the
shield out. Again, I can live with this, and nothing's likely to break if you are
The KBC VR-2 has a poor visor and visor removal system in my
opinion. The visor doesn’t seal along
the top when it's shut -- I got caught in the rain once and water leaked
The VR-2 also sports a difficult shield removal shield system
-- but I'd still rather deal with the KBC system than with the Arai.
Removing the KBC visor is a two-handed affair as
well, so set a towel down and pull the tiny lever down firmly as the shield
It doesn’t sound too bad -- that is until you have to put
the visor back
on. The visor has tiny tabs that lock onto the mechanism and you must pull
on the lever to get the tab to fit behind it. Pushing it until it snaps, as
is recommended by KBC, breaks the tab. So TLC and patience is required.
Visor Ranking (best to worst):
All of the helmets discussed here feature removable and washable linings; this
seems to be
pretty much the norm lately with most helmets. An advantage of this feature is that it
can sometimes provide the ability to further customize the way the helmet fits
by replacing the size of the cheek pads.
All of the helmets discussed here have linings that are comfortable
for me, but each is different. The Scorpion lining feels like Lycra,
Scorpion claims it wicks away sweat, and I think it does. The KBC
lining feels like it's made from some type of plain cloth, and it absorbs a
considerable amount of sweat. I have washed both of these liners and the
survived the washer and dryer -- nice!
The Arai and Shark are my newest helmets, so I have not had a
chance to wash the liners in either. I think both of these helmets
have a similar-feeling liner, but I'm going to give the Shark an edge because I think
it looks a bit nicer.
Helmet Liner Ranking:
Shark RSR 2
Scorpion EXO-400 and EXO-700
This wraps up my personal opinions and feelings on these helmets after
owning and using them. I like all of them, in case you haven’t noticed,
and, as you can see from the photos, I own
quite a few.
Always remember to follow the manufacturers
instructions for maintenance and shelf life, and always ride with a helmet,
and yes…remember that you have to buckle it up for safety! ;)
►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.
From "S-M" (12/08): "I wanted to clarify a couple things
about Raul T.'s comparison. I thought it was great that he did it himself
without any fancy tests as word of mouth and "do it yourself-ing" is always the
quickest way to prove something to yourself! I do it all the time with
He talked about how important fit was. So true. A
properly fitted helmet will reduce noise, head shake at high speeds, that awful
push on your head that makes your neck sore and of course it will do much better
job of fulfilling its purpose if its nice and snug on your coconut.
But he made a booboo. He didn't try a Profile. From
his description of the Corsair (which is a wide intermediate oval, not round
like the Quantum) I think he has more of a long oval head. Same structural
integrity, minus the diffusers and the saved weight. (the Corsair is the shape
that fits most people, thus it was modified for Racers, the shell is the same
strength but wayyy more costly due to materials that make it lighter so we could
add on those diffusers and save weight when they really haul).
Plus the center of gravity on an Arai is nice and even so you
won't notice the weight at all (even they are made extremely light for their
shell strength!) .
He was right about no standard for helmet sizing from
manufacturer to manufacturer, the other guys rely on a couple of shells stuffed
with comfort padding to even out sizing.
Fit importance - cheeks come in last - brain is 1st. Take
the cheek pads out and decide crown fit. This is what determines the right
fit. THEN add the proper sized cheek pads if you require them (snug enough
to keep gum in your teeth...not chew it loosely. You don't EAT while
RIDING that's not the point).
Cheek pads in the dryer...oh boy this is why boys shouldn't do
laundry. Your quality jeans and button-ups get hung up or air fluffed.
Ditto for the pads. This just increases that new feeling. An Arai
helmet should fit the same from the first day to the last. Wash when its
Euro standards- we smoke 'em every year...FYI
Shield issues - ok ANYONE having trouble with this needs to go
to an Arai rep. Even I was pulling and yanking on the side pods to take
mine off... DON'T DO THAT!!! They don't need to come off. Right
person to teach you and you'll have it down pat... I can do it with it on
my head :p and I'm blond!
OK that's it just wanted him to at least know all that stuff."
From "L.R." (11/08): "I recently purchased a Shark RSR 2
Foggy replica helmet. I read your review of the RSR and the comparison
review with an Arai. My experience with this helmet varies drastically.
On the plus side, paint and graphics are amazing, it's lightweight, and the
ratchet-less friction-held visor system works perfectly.
However, the downsides are major and weren't mentioned in your
reviews. First, airflow from the vent system is negligible. I have a
shaved (ahem, bald) head and am sensitive to airflow, and can barely detect any.
Second, for whatever reason, the helmet wants to rip my head from my shoulders
at speeds above 50 mph. As I accelerate I can feel the helmet continue to
lift up and pull, and at freeway speed it's quite uncomfortable.
I've never felt a helmet do this before. And last, the
field of vision is the narrowest of any helmet I've ever worn. Dangerously
so. It's very hard to turn my neck far enough to either side to see what's
behind, and I'm pretty flexible.
Just wanted to give a differing opinion."
From "J.": "Many thanks to Raul T. for doing a good helmet
comparison. One helmet that he did not review is the Shoei RF 1000 (wBW
review). I own one of those and an Arai. The Shoei is currently
my favorite because it is quieter than the Arai and has a much better visor
Thanks for finally stating what I have always felt about Arai's
visor mechanism. It has almost seemed politically incorrect to make
negative comments about this system. I have broken mine a couple of times
at about $30.00 a pop. I now keep spare parts around.
This year I am due for a new helmet. The Shark looks to be
the leading contender. When I try the Shark helmets on I way pay close
attention to the fit around my ears. I tried on Arai and Nolan helmets at
the local bike show this year. The Arai was comfortable, but there is that
visor issue. The Nolan was not comfortable and the mechanism for the chin
strap ranks up there with Arai's visor on my dislike list. This was a
disappointment because I was thinking of incorporating their Bluetooth system
into the helmet.
As far as graphics go, there are many cool paint jobs out there.
I just go for basic black because it saves a lot of money. Although the
manufacturers recommend against it, there are a number of artists who will
create a custom paint job for your helmet.
I will admit that I have been guilty of trying helmets on at a
local bike shop and then buying the one that fit on line. This can save
lots of money.
In spite of an article in a motorcycle magazine disputing the
validity of the Snell Memorial Foundation safety standards, I still look for
their label on a helmet. I also look for the DOT labels but I have always
felt that government standards can be a little arbitrary sometimes. I am a
little suspicious of them.
Thanks for a great review."
From "P.N.": "With a long oval shaped head, I've been
wearing Arai's for years. But in the past year I became convinced that I
didn't want a Snell-rated helmet any more. I wanted a helmet that met the
European ECE 22.05 standard.
I bought a Shark RSI (very similar to the RSR 2) after reading
the excellent review of it in webBikeWorld.
I really like it. If somebody had asked to describe what I liked about it,
I'm sure I would have said something like, "I dunno, I just do."
Many thanks to Raul for his great review and telling me the
reasons why I like it. But I can echo his complaint about his ears
hurting. There is a seam in the lining that cuts across the top of my ears
and it's somewhat aggravating, but I only notice it for the first 10 minutes
then, after that, I'm oblivious."