SCHUBERTH fans can rejoice: the C4 Pro is the expected return to form that many hoped it would be. The fit is now on the round side of intermediate oval, the interior is duly upgraded, and it's easily the quietest modular on the market. Mediocre ventilation and awkward placement of the SC1 control panel keep it from being perfect, but it's pretty close.
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Posh interior liner
Integrated electronics make for a clutter-free intercom experience
Class-leading visor & field of view
Excellent visor & sun shield
Changed fit has made is less comfortable for me (this is a “me” problem I think)
Note: SCHUBERTH and SENA provided the C4 Pro/SC1 respectively for the purposes of this review.
Integrated Electronics, a Revised Fit, & Numerous Improvements Make the Pro the C4 to Wear
The C4 Pro: the return to form for this venerable German helmet brand. Having heard the criticisms from many regarding the shortcomings of last year’s C4 (now called the “C4 Basic”, read my SCHUBERTH C4 review), SCHUBERTH came back with a new and improved version of what was, frankly, already a pretty good helmet. I wasn’t among the detractors as I accepted the C4 for what it was: finely engineered, albeit big and bulky.
Despite its improvements – and there are a few – I still can’t call it my modular favorite. That distinction remains with the Shoei Neotec II, which is interesting (if I’m honest) because the C4 Pro is, in many ways, a more refined helmet.
Installation of the SENA SC1, for example, takes literally 15 seconds. It’s as plug and play as it gets, and is much simpler compared to its Shoei counterpart and its SENA SRL integration. The micromech buckle is also much more comfortable on my throat compared to the Neotec II (and, frankly, every other micromech buckle I’ve ever worn). The liner is upgraded, now truly luxurious in its own right. Then, there’s also the inclusion of the Pinlock 120 insert and the improvement in anti-fogging that it brings.
But where it gains in some areas, for me, it takes a step backward in others. The fit is different than last years C4 and is noticeably more round. It’s tighter against my cheeks, turning a very comfortable C4 into something that is tight, with ever-present pressure along my jawline. The smaller shell used for the large size also makes it uncomfortable to put on and take off, in part due to the minimal flex the shell provides (this is both a good and a bad thing, it seems). And the airflow – served by vents on the chin and crown – is poor until you’re traveling at highway speeds.
Still, fans of SCHUBERTH can rejoice, for the C4 Pro is what many wanted the original C4 to be. Considering SCHUBERTH’s position in the market as the refined and luxurious helmet brand, it makes sense that the C4 Pro would represent those qualities. And it does, really.
Plug & Play prepared for the SC1 and SC2 communication systems
Extra large anti fog lens insert: Wide field of vision in any riding position
2 shells: XS-LG, XL-3XL
C4 vs. C4 Pro: What’s Changed?
The C4 is admittedly a polarizing helmet. Fans and riders alike seemed to have hot or cold feelings, and SCHUBERTH has actioned much of the feedback that the riding community has provided. SCHUBERTH addressed several aspects of the helmet across a few key areas: fit, materials, noise, and airflow.
I asked SCHUBERTH to provide an overview of the changes between the C4 vs C4 Pro. Many of the images below are sourced directly from them.
Compared to the C4, the C4 Pro’s fit has been changed to be closer to the fit of the C3 Pro. I can verify this in my own experience, as while I have never worn a C3 Pro, the fit of the C4 Pro is indeed different than that of the C4. SCHUBERTH made numerous changes to accomplish this:
The inner liner is now a similar shape to that of the C3 Pro, and the foam used is from the C3 Pro
The chinstrap padding has been extended and now fully covers the strap- this change has actually made it comfortable (the first micromech buckle I’ve encountered to date that I can say that for)
The fit is more traditional, resembling that of the C3 Pro
The speakers are now thinner and less likely to place pressure on your ears
A few areas of the helmet were optimized to reduce noise.
The neck pad was made larger so that it offers a tighter seal once the helmet is secured
The fabric has been changed to one that is less noise permeable
The rear keder is less likely to slip out due to revised construction
Looking at the neck pad:
You can see the differences in thickness in the above photo: the pad is thicker in both height and depth
The material is changed and is much “thicker” feeling
In my experience, noticeably less air gets past the neck pad compared to the C4
Changes to the removable panels:
The panels for the intercom and battery have modified sealing, which is now on the inside of the panel
These changes are meant to reduce turbulence and airflow coming into the helmet
Sunshade soundproofing changes:
Noise-suppressing foam was placed behind the sunshade switch to reduce turbulence from incoming air
I did not test the SC1 with the C4 as I did not have one on hand. SCHUBERTH has made a few changes, including one very obvious one:
The microphone, which in the C4 Basic is effectively hidden and inaccessible, is now removable/interchangeable; it’s been moved to a more prominent position near the left side of your chin
The cables connecting the mic to the SC1 are now thicker and less prone to breaking
The frame around the battery is tighter, providing a better connection
The biggest change here is that the upper vent was reworked: the angle was adjusted to make insects/debris less prone to entering while at speed, and a screen was added to keep insects out.
So, Quite a Bit Has Been Changed
To me, a lot of these changes are more refinements than objective improvements, but when wearing the two helmets back to back, there’s no denying that they have had a tangible and measurable impact on the quality of the helmet.
With all that said, let’s move on to the C4 Pro specifically.
Looks are a subjective thing to evaluate, so I try to let the helmet speak for itself. That said, I can’t deny that there are some things that just excite me; things with purposeful design that are awesome to look at; things that have clear presence, shape, and personality.
The Scorpion EXO-R710 I just reviewed is an example of that: I dig how that helmet looks, with the aggressive cowling that makes it look downright angry when viewed dead-on. The NEXX X.VILITUR (review coming soon) that I’ve recently been wearing also has a distinctive look. And, of course, this is true as well of the more angular Neotec II.
The C4 Pro is an attractive helmet, but it isn’t one that excites me. When I got my hands on the original C4, it came in a slick matte black paint job and a slightly curved, sports-car-like shape at the bottom. The C4 Pro retains that shape, but the shell size I have here is actually smaller (despite the fact that the C4 I originally reviewed was a medium and this one is a large).
The changes in shell sizing are interesting: XS-L now comes in the “small” shell size, and XL-XXXL come in the larger one. This means that most riders will be wearing the smaller shell. Because of the smaller shell size, Its features don’t stand out as much, and when paired with a solid colorway, the result is a helmet that feels muted when seated next to its direct competitors.
Of course, the smaller size also means that you don’t look like a bobblehead while wearing it. It also catches the wind much less while riding, something I noticed that the original C4 – in all its bulbous glory – was prone to do.
Let’s be clear: my comments regarding the C4 Pro’s looks aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Is the C4 Pro supposed to be exciting? I don’t know. But I do know that a big part of its aesthetic is centered on what is perhaps the biggest visor you can get on a non-open face helmet, and for the rider that doesn’t want their lid to scream on their behalf, there’s no denying the quiet sophistication that it brings to the table. It is refined and very usable in that respect.
From the rear, there’s not much to comment on save for the SCHUBERTH branding and DOT sticker. There are no exhaust vents or other notable features that add to, or detract from, the overall sleek exterior.
I see the SCHUBERTH C4 Pro as the Audi A8 of modular helmets: refined and mature in its appearance, but with plenty to offer under the hood.
Build & Paint Quality
Just like the C4, the C4 Pro is well put together. Everything is tight. Tighter than the C4, even.
The chinbar opens and closes effortlessly, and you’ll have no troubles doing so with one hand. The hinge is robust and provides enough feedback during operation to give confidence in the motion without having to fidget with it. You can feel the difference compared to lower quality modulars, where the movement lacks feedback throughout its range and thus feels almost hollow as a result.
The same is true of the visor, which opens and finds its predefined positions with ease. There are five such positions. Opening to the first position to vent air is an easily learned operation, and you’ll have no troubles doing it by muscle memory within a few minutes of wearing the helmet. I’ll get into more details on the visor below.
The vents open/close with good feedback from the switch. The chin vent pops open and closes via a button push, and the top vent slides back and forth into its two open positions easily. I also found both vents to be simple to find and use when wearing gloves.
The interior liner is kept in place via a series of snaps and velcro sections. The snaps are satisfying to use and do require a fair bit of pull to pry them open. Once secured, the liner remains snugly in place. Like the C4, there are two straps that intertwine with the cheek pads that the straps holding the buckles must weave through. This is designed to keep the helmet from rolling off your head in the event of a crash.
The sunshade is only partially open in this photo.
As with the original C4, the integrated sun visor opens and closes smoothly. There’s a small switch that you can use to reduce its range of motion somewhat, but I never realized its purpose in that I never felt the need to do so.
All told, the C4 Pro is built exactly as you’d rightly expect from a $700 helmet.
Paint & Colorways
I wish that SCHUBERTH would have sent a matte black version of the C4 Pro so I could have had an apples to apples comparison between the Pro and the Basic version (I’ve still got the original C4 in matte black sitting in my garage, after all), but I received a gloss black version instead.
Paint quality is good, with no visible blemishes. The gloss paint is also more durable than the matte, showing no imperfections or scratches after several hundred kilometers of riding.
There are 14 colorways to choose from, including 9 graphics options. The decaled versions are tasteful and not overdone, again contributing a sense of refinement.
I have decidedly mixed feelings here. I can feel a noticeable change in the interior shape of the helmet compared to the C4 Basic. SCHUBERTH says that it’s an intermedia oval, and it is, but it’s a more round one. My head is intermediate and the original C4 fits comfortably, without any uncomfortable pressure points.
When I first started wearing the C4 Pro, I found consistent pressure points on either side of my jaw. The top of my head does not have similar pressure points, however, and is comfortable overall. The plus to this is that the helmet always feels snug and secure. The negative is that, at least for me, long rides became tiring. I can spend all day in the Neotec II, but only a couple of hours in the C4 Pro before I needed a break.
However, I did feel the fit relax the more I wore it. After 12+ hours with the C4 Pro on, the pressure against my jawline has relaxed somewhat. It’s still quite noticeable, but it’s not nearly as uncomfortable as it originally was. I still prefer the fit of the Neotec II, but the now worn-in fit of the C4 Pro doesn’t prevent me from long bouts of riding.
Interior & Liner
The change in fit is unfortunate for me as, were my head the ideal shape for this helmet, it’d be an obvious choice for all-day riding. The liner is gorgeous, and I’m not referring to how it looks.
The ShinyTex/Coolmax interior is really excellent. The padding is plush and soft. It is, of course, also removable and washable. SCHUBERTH has integrated channels for the bespeckled rider, and the result is a comfortable fit for those with glasses. I wear mine when riding and appreciate that it’s easy to put my glasses on while wearing this helmet.
Removing the liner requires a firm pull, and snapping it back into place requires a firm push. The snaps are smartly located to ensure that you can’t have weird distortions, bumps, or snags in the liner once you’ve got it installed. Once it’s snapped/velcroed into place, you can be confident in its alignment.
That said, it is among the more complex liners to remove that you will encounter. This is due, in part, to the integration of the electronics. It can be done easily enough, but patience is required. Don’t rush it, don’t yank it, and don’t mash it.
As you can see in the photo above, the microphone placement has been adjusted compared to the original C4. It pokes out just slightly on the bottom left of the helmet (compared to the placement in the C4 Basic, which is hidden and inaccessible), but is still very discreet and miles above the boom that comes with the Neotec II once the SRL is installed.
The speakers are also intelligently mounted and offer you a range of customization should you want to adjust their placement. The wiring is discreet and neatly tucked away, too. Once the liner is installed, you’d never notice the speakers or wiring, and you’ll only notice the mic because of the small tip that pokes out.
A plus to this change in mic placement is that the mic is now accessible and replaceable.
Like the C4, the C4 Pro has two vents: a button-style vent on the chinbar, and a two-stage switch at the crown.
The two-stage crown vent is satisfying to use and offers solid tactile feedback. It snaps into place, and with a firm push will briefly stop at its middle position before continuing on to its final (fully open) position. It’s very easy to use on the bike and off.
Once you’re at speeds north of 30 mph / 50 kph, you’ll feel the air across the top of your head. This vent does its job well.
While I was riding, I couldn’t tell the difference between the chin vent being open or closed. Airflow is minimal, even when cruising at speeds north of 60 mph / 100 kph. Other reviews on forums and the like have commented that airflow across the forehead from this vent is pretty good, but that has not been my experience. I even tried it while I wasn’t wearing glasses and felt no change.
Overall, airflow is poor at low speeds and mediocre at high speeds.
As I’ve mentioned in prior reviews, I work with many optometrists and eye care professionals as part of my day job in digital marketing. Through this work, I’ve learned a fair amount about optics. There is no noticeable distortion from the visor, and the same is also true of the integrated sun shield. Clarity is nearly perfect.
I can say conclusively that the visor used on the C4 Pro is absolutely excellent. It is a class 1 “distortion free” visor, and during my riding, I’ve not encountered any distortion. It’s large, mostly fog-free, and excellent. It’s also a cinch to remove.
As mentioned earlier, it has five predefined “stops/detents” in its range of motion and will pop into each position easily. I experienced no challenges in adjusting the opening of the visor while on the bike, and once you put it in position, it will stay there and refrain from popping open further. The same is not true for snapping shut, though- I did notice that the visor will snap closed from its first raised position when you’re moving at highway speeds.
The visor is also huge, providing an expansive field of view that is nearly unimpeded. Perhaps 10% of your field of view is obscured at the top/bottom, and none at all on either side.
Sadly, I did experience some fogging – minor as it was – despite the included Pinlock 120 anti-fog insert. Much better than the unaided visor, but still present. It seems that there is no true “no fog” visor or anti-fog solution.
Removing the visor is very easy. Open the visor to the top position and press the lever underneath the hinge on both sides of the helmet. The visor will pop right off as you move it backward in its range of motion. To reinstall, simply reverse the steps. It snaps in and stays secure once locked in.
SCHUBERTH speaks frequently and with emphasis on how quiet the helmet is, and I have to agree. When I reviewed the original C4 last year, I noted that the Neotec II was the quieter of the two (if only just). Well, the Neotec II has been surpassed by the C4 Pro. There is road noise, yes, but it’s noticeably muted by comparison. There is no buffeting, no booming, and no whistling. It’s perhaps the quietest modular I’ve ever worn.
The SENA SC1: Installation & Usability
You’d be correct to think that a helmet with an integrated antenna, speaker system, and microphone would make installation of the SC1, which was designed for the C4/C4 Pro, a cinch. You’d also right. The installation is so hilariously easy that it’s not even worth discussing at length.
Using the provided panel removal tool, remove the two panels that sit near the rear of the helmet at the bottom. The battery goes in the right slot, and the SC1 itself goes in the left. Push them both in until you feel them click into place. Reinstall the battery cover and… that’s that. You’re done.
In-Helmet Audio & Calling
I don’t want to spend too much time reviewing the SC1 here as it’s worth its own dedicated review, which will come later this riding season as I get more time with it. However, I do want to speak to audio quality which is good overall.
The SC1 is very to simple pair and miles above what I experienced during my initial frustrating experience with the SRL (designed for the Neotec II). Instructions to do so are clearly called out in the quick start guide, and once paired, the connection remained strong. I put my phone in my jacket interior pocket and the front pocket of my jeans, and in both instances, I did not notice any crackling or disruptions in audio.
As always, when installing a new intercom, check for firmware updates. The SC1 has had a couple and each has improved connection and voice command quality.
Sound quality is good, but better when wearing earplugs. I wear Vibes earplugs and noticed a tangible difference in clarity at speed when wearing earplugs vs. the naked ear. I find that road noise is greatly diminished when wearing plugs, but that the sound quality is much improved and clearer.
Without earplugs, you’ll have to crank the SC1 to max volume to hear it over your bike and the road at large. This is true of most intercom systems I find and not something I hold against the SC1/C4 Pro combination.
This is where I give the edge to the Neotec II’s integration of the SRL. As simple as the SC1 is to install, the unit is holistically let down by its awkward placement, which is near the rear of the helmet well behind your ears.
This placement is, frankly, awkward. So much so that the jackets I’ve worn while riding – a Motonation Dominator (review coming soon), REAX Jackson, and Fieldsheer Suzuka – have all been restrictive when trying to reach that far back. Factor in additional complication from wearing riding gloves, and you get a less-than-intuitive experience.
The buttons themselves feature pronounced nubs that are easy to find by feel alone, but it did take some time for me to get used to them and their awkward placement. To be clear, once I got used to it I became able to easily reach and use the buttons. But it did take more time than I think necessary to get used to the position, and even still, I never found its placement comfortable.
The C4 Pro is an Excellent Helmet, but Not a Perfect One
I have to hand it to SCHUBERTH: they really did listen to the feedback from the market and made the right changes. Aside from the new fit, which as I understand is more “traditionally SCHUBERTH” than the original C4’s was, mediocre airflow, and awkward placement of the SC1 control panel, there isn’t much else to fault. So it’s not perfect, but it is really excellent in most other respects.
The fit issue alone keeps it from being my preferred helmet. The nod still goes to the Neotec II in that respect, but were that not the case, this would be my new daily flip-up helmet. It’s the first helmet with a micromech buckle that I actually don’t find uncomfortable, it does an excellent job managing road noise, and its build quality is second-to-none.
If this fits your dome, you’ll feel right at home in the new and improved C4 Pro. It is worth the premium price in looks, feel, and functionality.
Posh interior liner
Class-leading visor and field of view
Integrated electronics make for a clutter-free intercom experience
Excellent visor & sun shield
Changed fit has made is less comfortable for me (this is a “me” problem I think)