The S2 is now available for sale in the U.S. and Europe, in what must be one of the biggest — and most anticipated — announcements of the 2012 motorcycling year.
The importance of the North American market was underlined by SCHUBERTH with the Indianapolis introduction for the S2, which came as a surprise to everyone familiar with the “German-centric” brand.
It has been rumored that SCHUBERTH spent something like $6.5 million developing the S2.
It took nearly two years; over 10,000 hours of development time and, it is said, 280 S2 helmets were destroyed during the various testing procedures!
The SCHUBERTH S2 is a direct descendant of the SCHUBERTH S1 (review) sport/touring helmet, first reviewed on webBikeWorld back in 2004 and not to be confused with the other sport/touring helmet, the short-lived SCHUBERTH R1 (review) from 2007.
And don’t forget the SCHUBERTH SR1 (review) race helmet, the 2011 webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet of the Year — which is still my favorite SCHUBERTH (and which is scheduled for North American introduction soon).
So what’s special about the SCHUBERTH S2? Well, let’s take a look!
The SCHUBERTH S2: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
There are certain expectations for a helmet bearing the SCHUBERTH name — and rightly so, considering the (ouch!) $700.00 list price of the S2. OK, make that $699.00, but in today’s economy, who’s quibbling?
One of those SCHUBERTH expectations (that so far has never been denied) is quality. That includes overall build quality, paint, the interior of the helmet and all the moving parts…all of which are above reproach on the SCHUBERTH S2.
More SCHUBERTH S2 Colors
(August 2012) – SCHUBERTH has announced that the S2 helmet will now be offered in Hi-Viz Yellow and the classic-look “Lines” graphic worldwide.
“Response to S2 has been outstanding and we’ve received requests for Hi-Viz and graphics” said Randy Northrup, SCHUBERTH North America’s General Manager.
“We know this is important to our customers and are proud to offer the premium full-face helmet in color and graphics options to match their gear or bikes.”
It’s one of the things you’re paying for…and it’s what you don’t get when you buy one of those “lesser” brand helmets. There is a tangible difference, which (somewhat) helps the new SCHUBERTH owner feel justified in forking over 7 of those crisp Bennies.
The S2 helmets shown here are white, in gloss and matte.
The DOT color palette is limited to white, black, matte black and silver, while the ECE version is also available in a “Lines” striped version in black with white stripes, white with black stripes and a very nice white with blue and red stripes — the BMW Motorsport colors.
UPDATE (May 2012): The DOT version of the S2 will also be offered in the “Lines” graphic in Black/White, White/Blue/Red/ and an Italian theme White/Green/Red).
Missing are a high-visibility yellow version of the S2 and…tell me again why Macro Melandri and Leon Haslam aren’t wearing Schuberth? OK, so they’re under contract with those, uh, other brands. But at least we should have a nice BMW World Superbike Championship graphic version of the S2, no?
Back in the real world, the S2’s moving parts, including the face shield and vents, feel solid and well made. SCHUBERTH fans have seen some of these bits before, or variations thereof, in theSCHUBERTH C3 (review) and the aforementioned R1 and others.
Nothing wrong with using what works, like the large face shield with the SCHUBERTH “Turbinators” along the top and the flip-open chin vent with its curious orientation.
The liner, padding and fabric is also of very high quality, so overall no complaints. And the liner is extra-wide around the bottom, to help reduce wind turbulence noise from under the helmet.
If I had to nitpick, I’d pick a nit with the top vent slider however. It could use a stronger detent and the ridged button would be nicer if it had a rubberized coating.
Oh, and one more thing: that chin vent lets in a lot of air, but it really needs some sort of anti-bug mesh screen or insert. I was surprised at how many bugs can and have enter the S2, more so than on any other helmet in memory, despite the similar design shared with the C3.
It’s a bit of a safety factor — the last thing you want at speed is an angry sweat bee buzzing around inside the helmet. And since the S2 has a fairly tight neck roll seal, chances are that said bee is in there for the long haul.
Score: I’ll give the SCHUBERTH S2 an “Outstanding” rating for excellent overall quality. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.
I tried a SCHUBERTH S2 in size large, but it was too small for my ‘tween head which, at 60.5 cm, falls pretty much between a typical size large and XL. That, and my round “earth” shaped head (widest at the temples) gives me fits when it comes to helmet sizing.
We’ve mentioned this before, but SCHUBERTH uses a different (I call it a non-standard) sizing scheme for their helmets. A SCHUBERTH size large is 58/59 cm instead of the usual 59/60, while the SCHUBERTH size XL is 60/61, not the more common 61/62 cm for XL.
While there is usually some overlap in helmet sizes (I can usually fit in a standard size large), the S2 in size large will fit a 59 cm head at the maximum, in my opinion.
The shell is tapered towards the bottom, which meant that I could barely stretch it enough to pull it over my round head…and then I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pry it off.
So it was an XL for me, which feels like a slightly roomy but correct close-contact, near-perfect fit. It’s actually more comfortable for my head shape than the Arai RX-Q (review) and it feels similar across the top, with a round-ish fit.
I can’t fit a finger between my forehead and the liner which, with my round/flat forehead, means the shape is round and not oval.
The padding feels slightly “lumpy”, with more pressure in some areas around my cheek and side/back of the head. It’s not uncomfortable, just a bit different.
This may be, however, due to the different sizing used by SCHUBERTH in relation to my head size, although at 60.5 cm, I should be right in the sweet spot for fit.
Note that the XL, XXL and XXXL head sizes use the larger shell size.
SCHUBERTH makes only two shell sizes for the C3 and S2, so the only disadvantage of moving to the XL size with an XL head is that it’s now the smallest size in the largest shell; thus, some of the “fishbowl” effect is there — a shell that looks pretty big.
Another issue with having the smallest head size in the largest shell is that the wide neck roll at the bottom of the helmet isn’t as effective in sealing the wind noise…but I’ll get to that in the next section.
Fortunately, the weight is very reasonable, especially considering the number of features (and the larger shell size). More on that also, this time in the “Helmet Weight” section below…
With all things considered, I’ll call the S2 a “Neutral” fit, perhaps with a very slightly narrow profile. It should fit a huge number of head shapes and SCHUBERTH also has cheek pads and liner padding available for extra shape tweaking if so desired.
The padding has a nice, firm feel that isn’t overly stiff. The liner fabric is also very comfortable. SCHUBERTH uses Coolmax and Thermocool fabrics, along with something called “Interpower” coating on the fabric for optimal moisture wicking and cooling effects.
The material is also anti-allergic and anti-bacterial treated. Also, the ear pockets are large and the EPS is recessed to fit (Schuberth) speakers.
Score: I’ll give the SCHUBERTH S2 an “Outstanding” rating for shape, comfort and padding with a very nice liner and padding that works well in hot weather.
SCHUBERTH S2 Eye Port, Visibility and Internal Sun Visor
The S2 face shield is similar to that used on the C3; in fact, they are interchangeable (also the internal sun visor).
The face shield is larger than average and it fits over the removal mechanism on the sides of the helmet, covering it completely.
It is Pinlock-ready and the helmet does come with a Pinlock insert.
It also extends over the top of the eye port, in typical SCHUBERTH fashion, against the double seal along the top. Slivers of black reflective material (for extra visibility to oncoming traffic at night) are placed between the double gasket and are also covered by the face shield.
The face shield has dual lift tabs, one on either side, which come in very handy in different situations.
The system also has a friction click-lock when the face shield is closed.
This includes the SCHUBERTH “city position” arrangement, which allows the face shield to be opened very slightly, where it rests on the friction tab for the lock, allowing some fresh air into the helmet for slow-speed riding. It works well and is a very welcome feature.
The visibility from the S2 is excellent, with better-than-average vertical and horizontal sight planes. This will vary slightly and is dependent on the head size to shell size proportion.
For example, the XL head size takes the larger shell size, so the proportions of the padding are different (thicker), which can cause a slight variation in the vertical and horizontal lines of sight.
But overall, the S2 visibility is much better than average, a definite safety factor.
The internal sun visor works well and can be stopped in an intermediate position. But, like most helmets with this feature, it would be better with about another 10 mm of travel, as it doesn’t quite lower far enough to remain completely out of the line of sight and it’s slightly tapered up on either side.
Score: The SCHUBERTH S2 visibility is better than average, so I’ll give it an “Excellent” rating overall.
Many helmet manufacturers settle on a ventilation system, once they have the details worked out. On second thought, the good helmet manufacturers do so; others don’t really seem to think much about designing the most efficient and effective ventilation systems.
The SCHUBERTH S2 chin vent is similar to past SCHUBERTH practice. The vent is a large rocker that rotates forward, opening a sort of “sugar scoop” at the top. It seems a bit strange, because the vent opening doesn’t face directly forward.
But it works well, although I can’t help but wonder how much more air it might flow through were the opening facing the direction of travel.
The air flows through the chin vent and up along the top of the chin bar and also through some vent passages in the chin bar itself. Again, it works well — better than average — but I have been noticing quite a few bugs entering the helmet.
Now it may just be the time of year (mid-Spring) or an unusual year for bugs (I don’t think so), but I don’t recall having this issue with other SCHUBERTH helmets.
It’s significant enough that I have to mention it, because it’s happened on every ride with the helmet. I’d suggest to SCHUBERTH that some type of filter or mesh screen is designed for the chin vent of the S2.
In the meantime, I’ll have to fettle something to keep the insects at bay.
The top vent is a bit of a disappointment, and it shouldn’t be.
It has all the right stuff — a large external opening to scoop the air; two very large vent tubes right down through the EPS and into the top of the inside of the helmet; and channels in the EPS to help direct the air over the rider’s head.
The problem, however, is the design of the liner along the top of the inside of the helmet. There’s a central strip that covers the vent channels, blocking much of the air that comes through — see the photos below.
The system includes two flaps that can be used to cover the vent holes in winter, but in this helmet, the central strip covers them anyway.
If the strip were narrower towards the front or had a pair of cutouts, it would probably solve the problem. A strange oversight by SCHUBERTH actually, so let’s hope they can make a running fix, because the top vent has a lot of potential if it weren’t for the design. Here’s a photo:
The rear exhaust vent is integrated into the rear of the helmet shell. It looks sort of like a radiator, located just under the sharp angular “spoiler” on the back of the helmet.
It’s always difficult to tell if helmet exhaust vents are working or to rate their effectiveness, but this one seems to do the job.
However, the vent and the angle at the rear of the helmet do create some noise, despite the time and money SCHUBERTH has spent in the wind tunnel. More on that in the next section…
Overall, the ventilation provided by the S2 is better than average, but only just so. The chin vent needs a filter and the liner needs a different design to make the system more effective, in my opinion.
Score: I’ll rate the ventilation system of the SCHUBERTH S2 as “Very Good”.
SCHUBERTH goes to great lengths to describe the methods and technologies employed in an effort to reduce noise levels on the S2.
Back in 2004, the SCHUBERTH S1 was claimed to be “the quietest helmet in the world”. For the S2, SCHUBERTH claims “85 dBA — one of the quietest helmets of all”.
Personally, I think it’s probably not a good idea to make a concrete noise level claim.
That’s because we have demonstrated time and again that noise levels can vary dramatically, depending upon the type of motorcycle, the match between the rider’s head and the helmet shape, windscreen type (or not) and even the rider’s clothing.
The issue of noise control factors rather large in the SCHUBERTH S2 ads, however, and that puts a big focus on noise levels for S2 owners, who have high expectations.
Unfortunately, I’d have to say though that the S2 is a bit of a disappointment in this regard. Perhaps if the sound level issue hadn’t been made prominent by Schuberth, my expectations would have been different.
It’s not that the helmet is loud; indeed, it’s probably slightly better than average when it comes to noise control. But I don’t think it’s as quiet as a SCHUBERTH C3, or even the SCHUBERTH SR1 (review).
There are two noise issues we found, confirmed by other riders who I have loaned the helmet specifically for this purpose.
First, there is a “moaning” sound that comes from the area around the rear exhaust vent and the sharp fold along the upper rear of the helmet.
This is more noticeable when sitting upright or when the head is turned towards the sides, or when a crosswind is present when riding.
I can place my hand back near the exhaust vent and cancel the noise, which probably means that the noise is being induced by turbulence.
Second, there is wind noise coming from under the helmet, behind and below my ears. This can be caused by a mismatch of head shape to helmet fit, but the extra wide neck roll on the S2 is supposed to counteract this issue.
And the helmet does fit me nicely, although there’s probably a touch of extra room inside.
I can place my hand or a finger up under the bottom of the helmet under my ear and the wind noise stops, so this may or may not be an issue with all S2 owners, again depending on their head shape and match to the helmet.
I’m guessing that if I could have fit inside the smaller shell size that this wouldn’t be an issue.
The S2 is designed as a sport/touring helmet, but we also noticed quite a bit of noise when sitting upright behind a fairing and windscreen on a touring bike.
Some windscreens can direct the air just at the top of the helmet, which causes noise from the S2’s top vent and along the rear lip at the exhaust vent.
So overall, the S2 isn’t as quiet as I had hoped and, in fact, it’s not as quiet as the SCHUBERTH SR1 under the same riding conditions, on the same motorcycles, with the same rider.
And the SR1 also has much better ventilation. In fact, the SR1 remains my favorite SCHUBERTH helmet by a significant margin.
The bottom line is that I’ll rate the S2 as only slightly better than average overall for noise control with the caveat that I’m sure this will vary quite a bit, depending on the owner.
SCHUBERTH recognizes this with a section in the marketing material for the S2.
It states that “Aeroacoustics are influenced by the position of the helmet in the air flow, depending on the driver’s size and riding posture and the motorcycle’s fairing” and noise levels can be influenced by “…differences in the anatomy of the wearer’s head, neck and shoulder areas”.
Note that our helmet evaluations are a combined effort of several riders over time on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBW Earplug Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual.
Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit, the type of motorcycle and windscreen, wind speed and direction and even the rider’s clothing.
The special helmet shell design used by SCHUBERTH in many of their helmets usually does keep the weight down and the S2 is no different.
The rather large S2 in size XL (ECE version; the DOT version will probably weigh more) weighs 1590 grams (3 lbs., 8-1/8 oz.), which is a very good result for a size XL helmet with an internal sun visor.
Despite its large size, the XL S2 feels comfortable when riding, with no noticeable lift.
For comparison and to put the S2’s weight in perspective, I have chosen a few helmets around the same weight range that we have reviewed from the webBikeWorld Helmet Weights page.
Note that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the weights are available on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page, along with a chart that lists the helmets by weight and shape on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
Score: I’ll give the SCHUBERTH S2 an “Outstanding” rating for its low weight and good balance.
The S2 has a built-in antenna system that will be compatible with the upcoming SCHUBERTH SRC System S2 intercom. The original SCHUBERTH SRC (review) system was reviewed on webBikeWorld.com on a SCHUBERTH C3 flip-up.
The intercom is built into a replacement neck roll/collar that replaces the helmet neck roll.
The slider that operates the internal sun visor on the S2 is located along the lower left-hand side of the helmet. This may have been a deliberate placement by SCHUBERTH to defeat the use of accessory intercom systems.
Perhaps not, but in any case, it makes for a difficult or impossible intercom mounting using aSena SMH10 (review), Interphone F5 (review) or other intercoms with a clamp-type mounting system that inserts between the shell and liner.
UPDATE (May 2012): SCHUBERTH said that the lever for the sun shield deployment is located to make it more aerodynamic and easier/safer to reach than its location on the S1.
A stick-on external mount may be the solution, although some intercoms, like the Cardo Scala Rider G4 (review) and G9 (review in process) are more difficult to fit, due to the way the Cardo intercom module hangs off the bottom of the clamp or stick-on mount.
The S2 uses the same type of large (too large) “microlock” chin strap retaining system found on other SCHUBERTH helmets. I find this one to be too big and too confining, and it is uncomfortable and bulky.
I’d much rather have a simple double D-ring system on this helmet.
The S2 has only two shell sizes to span the size range from XS to L (small shell) and XL to XXXL (large shell). My honest feeling is that at this price, SCHUBERTH should be making at least 3 shells to span that size range, if not more.
The S2 is available in both DOT and ECE versions; the helmets described and pictured here are both ECE versions and the specifications may differ from the DOT version of the helmet.
Finally, the The S2 comes with a “wind deflector” in the box (not pre-installed). It can be inserted under the chin portion of the acoustic collar to seal it off and provide additional noise dampening.
The SCHUBERTH S2 is one of the most highly anticipated helmets of 2012, with a worldwide release.
It’s difficult to summarize this helmet; on one hand, it definitely has all of the excellent SCHUBERTH characteristics, but there are a few issues that keep it from a “Five Star” rating in my opinion.
I still prefer the SCHUBERTH SR1, which for me is quieter and has much better ventilation. It does not have the internal sun visor which I rarely use anyway, nor does it have the built-in antenna or an SRC-like collar. Neither of those factors bother me either.
The S2 is an excellent helmet, don’t get me wrong. But with a $700.00 list price, it is natural for a reviewer to be much more critical when there’s a fault. In other words, everything should be absolutely perfect at that price, in my opinion.
Do I like the S2 more than the Shoei X-12 or RF-1100, both of which I think are natural competitors? Yes.
And the S2 is certainly one of the top sport/touring helmets available today, so if you’re in the market for leading-edge helmet design and technology, the SCHUBERTH S2 should definitely be on your short list.
From “J.H.S.” (April 2016): “I recently purchased a SCHUBERTH S2 and love it. I find it very quiet, but I have a BMW S1000R, so it doesn’t really have any fairings or a windscreen.
It is probably the most comfortable street helmet I’ve ever worn, and I’ve owned dozens of helmets.
The lining is absolutely plush. I personally prefer the ratchet style closure to d-rings, but obviously that is just a personal preference. I wish the the sun visor was longer and darker, but that is my only real complaint. Great helmet.”
From “M.B.” (October 2015): “Guys, I did cut the little flaps in top of the liner that block the two air shafts. I feel air now and zero additional noise.”
From “S.E.” (August 2013): “I have read the review of the S2 helmet. I liked it so much that i decided to get myself a S2. Sorry to say, but this was the worst investment ever! I am not sure why, but the wind noise is horrendous (even with custom earplugs).
In all other ways the helmet performance as expected. Ventilation is good, aerodynamics are good etc. etc. The problem with the noise is from the bottom of the helmet. Nothing seems to help with that other than tilting my head way back in order to get clean air under the helmet. Holding my left hand near the edge of the helmet does make it better, but still not perfect.
Currently I am trying the open a discussion with my dealer to find out what is going on. I am not expecting much though. They will say, wear a neck collar or something. I think the S2 neckroll does not fit me as intended by Schuberth.
From my point of view the helmet fits me perfectly. It is nice and snug without have any real pressure points. So, do not buy a SCHUBERTH S2 before you had an extensive test drive!”
From “N.L.” (June 2013): “Build quality is excellent but I can no longer continue with the S2 I bought about a year ago even though I persevered as much as I could with it.
The buffeting I got was horrendous, my first journey was a 400 mile trip, after 200 miles I had to remove the screen from my bike and lash it to the back because I was beginning to get concussion from the buffeting. Even so, above 60mph I cannot see anything in the mirrors due to vibration of my head from the buffeting.
The wind noise is also horrendous, especially the resonant howl from the rear vent and the turbulent wind around the neck. These are the worst things that make it unusable but then you start getting irritated by smaller issues such as the anti-roll off strap that crosses the ears cutting into them, the chin strap that digs into the neck, the sun visor that does not come down far enough allowing reflected light from the road surface to enter the eyes and cause the pupils to contract which makes the sun visor appear way too dark.
As I said, the build quality is fabulous but he helmet is unusable.”
Editor’s Note: Noise and buffeting will vary quite a bit depending on the type of motorcycle, windscreen or fairing and other factors.
From “K.S.” (June 2013): “I have been riding the S2 now for a month. Great helmet BUT….I can’t get rid of the wind turbulence without riding with a gentle throat hold with my left hand. Have tried all types of neck wear.
My S1 did not have this problem. I cant hear the SRC unit with the S2. I hear the Scala Rider II fine with the S1. I am so disappointed in this $700 helmet, the S2. If anyone has a solution please post or send … an email. I have sent pictures and talked with SCHUBERTH USA they have no fix and just say sorry.”
From “N.D.” (February 2013): “I recently bought an S2 (in France, because I’m French, hence my funny English) and I must say I don’t share your POV about the noise.
Firstly, my bike is a Triumph Explorer with a Touring Screen. Then my previous helmet was a SCHUBERTH R1 (review). I kept it some four years, which is roughly 70,000 km (all weather).
As far as noise goes, it (the S2) definitely seems different from the R1. I mean the frequencies and “shape” of the noise are different.
As for the acoustic pressure, I designed over the years a very scientific procedure that I call “singing while riding” 😉 The results are the S2 is absolutely quieter than the R1. But, you can be mistaken if you forgot one of the following:
-Being in city position at higher speeds gives a bit more noise;
– Riding with the chin vent open gives an enormous amount of added noise where the (large) airflow hits the top of your forehead.
I’ll sculpt my own foam grill to reduce the airflow and see if it cures this problem. I’ll let you know the results if you’re interested.”
Follow-up From “N.D.”: “It’s been a long time since my first email, but here are my findings concerning the noise:
I made a foam piece to insert into the inner part of the chin vent, thus effectively blocking 99% of the incoming air and… the noise was still here!
So I experimented further and found out that on my bike there is some air that goes upward from around the tank. When the chin vent is open, this airflow hits it and produces the noise outside of the helmet.
So I’m left with two possibilities:
1 – Making some kind of deflector to change the shape of the vent in open position.
2 – Changing the airflow on my bike to suppress this “feature”. I’ll probably go the route 2…”
From “C.B.” (October 2012): “I did just read your review on the SCHUBERTH S2. First off you did a great job!!
As you mentioned the noise level I have to admit that I’m also a bit disappointed about that issue. Considering that the S2 is definitely louder than my previous (Schuberth) R1.
I’m experiencing the same effect as you did (there is wind noise coming from under the helmet, behind and below my ear). Oddly it’s only at my right ear and I can stop it when placing a finger at the collar at the right side of the helmet. I do wear a M sized helmet.”
From “J.K.” (September 2012): “I find the SCHUBERTH S2 to be the quietest helmet I have owned, significantly quieter than my previous Shoei Raid 2 and my Shoei Hornet (review) that I use during the summer.
There is absolutely no lifting which I found to be an issue on the Shoei and the helmet is very stable with no buffeting. The Pinlock (review) covers all the visible area of the visor and so far I’ve had no misting issues riding in the UK weather.
I find ventilation very good and have had no problems with anything flying into the chin vent. The chin strap can be uncomfortable if not positioned correctly and presses against my throat which I’m not keen on. All of these opinions are based on a size L.”
From “R.N.” (July 2012): “Regarding the noise (“Second, there is wind noise coming from under the helmet, behind and below my ears…”)
My S2 gives me the exact same noise problems. Above 60 km/h it’s the noise like the howling of the wind through a chimney, very uncomfortable even with earplugs.
My head and neck are as common as muck and the SCHUBERTH S1 was riding with on the same bike does not give me any problems at all for the last 6 years. I’ve ridden with 3 different S2 helmets (size L 59/60, a smaller size is uncomfortable), all had the same problem.
The importer for Holland cannot do anything accept giving me the lame advice to wear an extra collar or a scarf (such a DIY solution is not acceptable for such an expensive lid). They will pass on the info to Schuberth, but meanwhile I will try to get a reimbursement from the reseller or an exchange for another helmet (but which one?).
It’s a shame. A beautiful helmet, good visibility, well ventilated, comfortable, no lifting, built in sun visor, but a noisy as a very cheap helmet on my melon.
I tried several other helmets which should be less noisy than average and have a sun visor. The X-Lite X-702 and the HJC FS-11 could not convince me for various reasons. I ended up with the …. SCHUBERTH C3!
Not very good looking (oh what did I like the looks of the S2, black with white stripe) but it is comfortably quiet, has a good internal sun visor and shows build quality. I have no need for the flip-up concept, in fact I always did find these helmets looking rather silly, so I always ignored them.
BTW: My dealer told me that Shoei will release a full face helmet with a build in sun visor in 2013, something to look forward to.”