World Exclusive! The webBikeWorld Live Report From the 2009 Powersports Dealer Expo
Indianapolis, Indiana – February 13-16, 2009
Most of the exhibitors at the annual Powersports Dealer Expo try to keep the same location on the floor grid each year, and once they move up the food chain from newbie to old-timer and find the “perfect” location, they tend to stick with it.
I can’t remember how many years Shark Helmets has been in attendance at the show, but they worked their way up to this primo spot right near one of the main entrances to the show, just inside from the food court, near the door and in a high-traffic area. Of course, prime real estate doesn’t come cheap, and the best locations cost big bucks.
Tucker Rocky, one of the largest U.S. distributors of motorcycle products, is just beyond the Shark booth in the photo above, and there probably isn’t a motorcycle dealer in the U.S. that doesn’t stop there to say “Hi”, so Shark gets a lot of that traffic too (and vice-versa).
This year, the Shark cage was the same size, just without the usual framework of lighting over the top, giving it a more open feel. The booth is packed with helmets and Cristophe Miravalls, the Shark CEO, is always in attendance and always very busy talking to customers.
I took these photos first thing Sunday morning, when everyone else was still sleeping off the previous night’s party, but by time I got a chance to talk to Christophe, the booth was packed again. I’m sure it’s a combination of high-quality displays with lots of information and plenty of good product that attracts the attention.
It’s a deceptively simply concept that seems difficult to get right: quality product and lots of it, displayed to attract attention, but with just enough information to stick to inquisitive minds, perfect lighting (for viewing, not for photographing!) and passionate owners.
Anyway, there were some new helmets on display, and I didn’t realize until today that apparently the RSX line is no more?
The silver and black helmets shown below are the RSR2 Carbon variants, and they felt light, although it’s always difficult to tell without a scale. These two are interesting in that the carbon fiber isn’t the main styling feature of the helmet; only a narrow strip of carbon fiber can be seen at the lower edge of the helmet, forming the angular band that sweeps up towards the rear.
The shell shape looks round, and my guess is that the shape and the paint cover some type of reinforcement to help the helmet meet the tough safety standards.
Although the Shark Evoline was the Main Event at the Shark booth, I didn’t take any photos because we’ve covered that in our reviews of the ECE version and the North American DOT version of the Evoline.
By the way, Cristophe told me the correct pronunciation of Evoline uses a long “E” and the “line” is pronounced like “wine”. Evoline. Like wine.
Next up is the RSJ; this is another helmet in the Shark “Grand Urban” series that also includes the Evoline. It’s a bit difficult to see in this photo, but the helmet has a pull-down dark smoke internal visor and overall it looks pretty cool — sort of a cross between what the Europeans call the “Jet” style and a fighter pilot helmet.
Note that the silver RSJ shown below is minus the standard full-length face shield, because Cristophe was demonstrating how easy it is to pop the face shield in and out. It has no moving parts on the outside, with only “C” shaped cutouts on either side that snap into place in the small pods on either side of the helmet. But the pull-down smoke shield can also be used in place of the face shield.
The RSJ is not one of those cheap plastic overnight specials — this is full Shark quality and safety. The shell is composite fiber; it comes in two different shell sizes across the size range (XS to XL) and it has a removable and washable liner. The list price is $299.95 and it comes in silver, gloss black, matte black and matte silver.
Here’s a new RSi (wBW review) in a combination color scheme called the “D Tone” that includes the very cool hologram graphics on the side from the original blue RSi we reviewed.
The hologram is the area that is reflecting the light in rainbow colors. It’s a bit hard to tell in this photo, but the dotted lines look like stitching around the helmet, and the overall graphics package is very sharp.
The RSi has been a huge hit for Shark, and the overall shape still looks fresh 3 years on from its release date. The helmet is available in a huge array of colors and graphics; I counted something like 30 different variants.
The RSi uses two shell sizes covering XS to XXL and the list prices for 2009 range from $389.95 to $449.95 for the race replicas.
Just in case you’re a first time webBikeWorlder reading this report or don’t know much about Shark, these are very high quality helmets and they play right along with the big boys in the world of motorcycle helmet manufacturing. Shark has an outstanding reputation for safety and motorcycle helmet safety research.
I’m assuming the RSF3 is the replacement for the RSX. I just didn’t realize the RSX was missing from the display, and since we reviewed it before (two reviews actually), I didn’t ask about it.
The RSR2 has been Shark’s leading technology “flagship” helmet, followed by the RSF series. The RSF3 also has the special Shark fiber shell, with Shark’s “multi-element internal shock-absorber with differentiated density” lining. A photo of this special EPS lining can be seen in our Shark RSi review.
The RSF3 is the latest version in the series. It has the 2.2 mm Shark visor and the “push button” release mechanism. I’m not sure about the internal shape; most of the Shark helmets I’ve tried tend to the long oval side of round.
The “Style Edition” color pattern below is called the “Trendy” and it looks interesting. The helmet below it actually has what looks like leather trim around the edges, but I don’t think that version is sold in the U.S. market.
Now here’s something very cool — but don’t get too drooly over it, because it’s Snell K and SA2005 approved only and it’s designed for karting and auto racing. It’s on a Shark RSi podium, and when I first laid eyes on it, I thought it was some new type of prototype Shark motorcycle helmet, but no dice.
Notice the different shaped chin bar, minimal venting and smaller eye port with minimal peripheral vision. Besides, it lists for something like $1,000.00 for the SA and $500.00 for the K version. Oh well…