Adventure seems to be the name of the game these days, with many manufacturers seeing huge growth in this sector of the market.
Whereby sports bike riders will wear a full-face helmet and those on retro machines and cruisers will opt for an open face, the adventure bike market seems geared towards more off-road spec lids. Sure, they don’t benefit from a cool image, but hey, the rider wants comfort and convenience and dexterity, and that is where the flip helmet wins hands down.
I have been fortunate enough to have been afforded the opportunity to test a range of different helmets over the years, but one brand that has eluded me has been Schuberth. I know all about the reputation, from fit to quality, to, yes, price. They are not cheap, by any means. Which means they must be good, right? There was only one way for me to find out and that was to try one for myself.
My local Triumph bike dealer, Webbs of Lincoln, always carries a good range of stock and accessories, including Schuberth helmets. I happened to be looking for a new pair of motorcycle jeans and, chatting with Sam who at the time managed the accessories side of the business, I happened to mention that I had never tried on a Schuberth. With a few models in stock, I cannot for the life of me remember which one I tried, but it was certainly not comfortable, squeezing my head and placing pressure on my chin, even going above my normal size, so that was that. As it wasn’t a priority at the time, it was no big deal.
Then I received an email regarding the new E2 flip front Adventure helmet. A friend of mine on MoreBikes had been trialling one, and was wholly impressed, so I thought it was time I gave one a second chance. One was duly despatched, and this time I was hoping for a better result. It certainly sounded impressive. Aside from its renowned quality, boasting a dual homologated flip front, drop-down visor and top-of-the-range comms system, it complied to the very latest 22.06 safety standard, and that’s either open or closed – the first major tick on my list.
Once out of the box, it did feel a tad heavy compared to other helmets I have, but then there is a lot going on here. My priorities on any helmet include comfort and quietness, and Schuberth boasts an impressive record for the latter. The E2, with its tight neck roll, felt particularly comfortable, and once I had adjusted to the weight, I was sure this was going to prove a pleasure to ride in.
For starters, one of the major benefits is the ability of the helmet to allow cool air on to the face, especially when riding in warm conditions. The helmet had arrived during one of our brief hot spells, so that was a bonus. I am not into adventure bikes per se, as I am not one for off-roading or green laning, preferring the asphalt, so whether a flip front helmet is appropriate for my style of riding is debatable, but I needed to maintain a positive attitude. And I am glad I did.
On my first couple of rides, I enjoyed the fact that I could lift the chin bar, allowing the air to cool my forehead. It’s extraordinary how a simple manoeuvre like that can transform a ride. I am so used to wearing a full-face helmet with a tinted visor, that it seemed to open a whole new world to me!
The E2 is based on Schuberth’s popular E5 helmet, with subtle changes made to the peak and venting. I say subtle, because from my understanding in terms of venting, the C5 and E2 are pretty much on a par. As for the removable peak, that is adjustable, with three set positions. The latter was developed in Schuberth’s dedicated wind tunnel to minimise buffeting and vibrations. I guess it’s these small details that make the difference between Schuberth and other helmets. Introduced for the first time on the E1 peak, the memory function feature means that whatever exact position is selected with the chin bar closed, will be maintained after opening and closing the chin bar.
The E2 shell is constructed of directly processed glass fibre combined with a special resin which has been compressed in a vacuum at high pressure to form an exceptionally sturdy, yet uniquely light, helmet shell. New EPS material for the inner shell allows for improved shock absorption and increased head cavity, featuring two densities for the main part and sides. Cleverly, a new Schuberth individual seamless linings concept allows for a customisable fit. The standard head pad has been developed to offer uncompromised comfort. However, for those of you with, er, ‘extreme head shapes’, you can take advantage of Schuberth’s Individual Program, which offers the possibility to customise the internal padding with more thickness options for sides, back and cheek pads.
Should you happen to be travelling long distances either on- or off-road, ventilation and temperature control are key. Here, the E2 scores highly, featuring a double chin air intake. The top vent prevents visor fogging while riding in cold conditions, while the lower vent ensures an additional airflow when riding in extreme warm conditions. Not that I expect it to affect me any time soon, but dust, mud and insects are part of any off-road adventure, so in order to prevent those from entering in the helmet the chin vent features a washable and changeable filter.
What I hadn’t expected was that when I opened the lid, the peak and visor moved with it, and could be locked securely in the open position. I suppose it goes without saying that once having brought the lid down again, the visor and peak return to their original position with a comforting ’click’.
With the visor in situ, you’re treated to an excellent field of view, and the helmet comes complete with a pre-installed Pinlock 120 anti-fog lens. The drop-down visor is operated via a sliding mechanism on the left-hand side. I like to wear a tinted visor during the day, and whilst I gather these are sold, I couldn’t find any immediately available, other than pre-order, which was frustrating.
The E2 has a quick-release helmet strap which is part of the ‘Anti-Roll-Off-System’, which ensures that the helmet does not come off should you happen to have a spill. I’m pleased to report that it is also very quiet, a bonus if you utilise the pre-installed HD speakers and antenna of the latest Sena software. I guess that’s where some of the added weight comes in.
I mentioned the comms system. Whilst I am not one who normally listens to music whilst riding, the comms certainly came in handy when riding with a friend. The system, which includes Mesh intercom; Bluetooth 5.0 with dual antennas; multi-way intercom; multi-language voice command; and digital assist via Siri or Google assistant, is outstanding, and I’m sold on that. The SC2 is simplicity itself to install. Plug in the HD BOOM microphone; remove the covers at the back of the helmet; free the remote-control housing on the side; plug both in; turn them on; and you are all set. What’s more, I like that fact that once set up, the plug-in microphone can be removed easily when not in use.
The E2 comes in a variety of nice colour options, with nothing too garish, and with high-end prices anywhere between £500 and £600, and that’s without comms, it is worth shopping round as there are some good deals to be had.
Helmet sizing is: Shell 1: XS (53 ) – S (55), M (57) – L (59). Shell 2: XL (61) – XXL (63) – XXXL (65).