The Schuberth C3: Riding with Your Thoughts Alone
In my never-ending search for fashion and function in my motorcycle gear, I was met with a new challenge when my tried and true Bell Star came up for its annual review and did not meet expectations.
I was browsing helmets on Revzilla and noticed that the Schuberth C3 was on sale for $400. I had a few reservations because let's be honest, some modulars look ridiculous. How was I supposed to look cool while walking around looking like an escaped rhino? After browsing the reviews, and Mr. McQueen assuring me that Schuberth helmetss were some of the best on the market, I finally decided to give it a try.
Oh boy. Let me tell you, that this is by far the best helmet I've ever worn.
As far as safety is concerned, the C3 easily meets DOT 218 testing standard, with a foam liner that is made up of a new EPS foam which should be class-leading for shock absorption. The C3 also has a carbon/fiberglass shell mixed with a special resign to ensure both lightness and strength. Personally I have been in one minor accident with this helmet and while I did not hit my head very hard, I will say that it took the abrasion quite well and the modular mechanism did not pop up on impact, which is a common concern with modular helmets.
I've heard of some negative comments regarding shell size, mostly from larger gentlemen who say that it's a little tight compared to other similarly sized brands. I also found it tight initially, however within a few hours of riding the innards had conformed to my medium-round head shape nicely. The C3 comes in sizes ranging from XS - 3XL and weighs about 3.5 pounds. This of course, greatly depends on the size you get; the larger sizes will clearly weigh more. Compared to my previous helmets, the Bell Star and the HJC Cl-16, the C3 felt refreshingly feather-light.
Despite looking pretty silly when open, in my opinion having a modular has made simple things like filling up gas or walking over to grab my gloves a more comfortable experience. I can get quite claustrophobic, so having the option to breath freely when stopped has been life changing.
The internal sun shade is smooth to engage, and unlike a tinted or transition visor it is always perfectly clean. It's also darker than a transition face shield, while also giving you more control. No more do I need to pull over on the side of the road, or deal with severe headaches from sunglasses. I have heard reports of the shade fogging up or getting a white residue build up after a few months, and I can say that after a little over a year, my C3 has had none of these issues. I have also ridden in the rain several times and I have not experienced the leakage that has also been reported. The only time I've experienced rain build up on the inside of my visor is when I lifted it up at stop lights to increase airflow, which is to be expected.
This helmet is the quietest helmet I've ever used. It is so well insulated and designed that I no longer need to wear earplugs while riding on the freeway. The only wind noise I get now is from Mr. McQueen's headset mic. It is especially nice when listening to music as you don't have to blast the volume to hear it over the wind. Or if you want to be left alone with your thoughts, you can ride in absolute silence.
I love the micro-latch strap system, it's easy to engage, even with gloves on, and even easier to release; an absolute must when it comes to emergency situations.
The airflow is satisfactory. There is an easy mechanism on the chin that you can engage to increase airflow, and the chin curtain prevents most cold air coming in when riding in colder temperatures. You can adjust the lining at the top of the helmet to either increase or decrease the airflow depending on the season.
As far as longevity is concerned, I have noticed that the paint scratches rather easily on my matte black model, but otherwise after over a year of use everything has been in great condition.
I haven't even told you all the best part. This is for you lady riders.
Schuberth is the only company I know of that designs helmets for women. The internal padding is coated to prevent make-up from rubbing off; it's designed for women's smaller head shapes; and even has extra room specifically for that pony tail bump. Can you really ask for more?
Yes these helmets can run a little pricy, at about $800 retail, that can be a real stretch for frugally minded riders. I stand by my belief that this is your brain we're talking about. As I've mentioned in other posts, it's always best to splurge on your gear as most motorcycle insurance will cover replacement in case of a crash. A thousand dollar helmet is much cheaper than brain damage, but I'd also consider it worthwhile to get an economical helmet to start out with, then save some cash and keep your eye out for deals to get yourself high quality gear. Trust me, you will thank yourself for the splurge.
I honestly can't recommend this helmet enough, and you can be sure that I will continue to wait eagerly for the new C4 which has an integrated com system designed by Sena, maker of class-leading bluetooth comm systems.