Whether you’re a new rider getting set up, or a two-wheeled veteran updating your kit – top of the checklist should be a quality helmet.
The sweet spot here for most people is the mid-range. Safety features and convenient touches should all be present.
A dedicated racing helmet might save you a few grams. But, unless you’re out on the track – there’s no need to fork out that kind of money.
The S900 is the premium helmet in Shark’s sports-touring range. The S series was introduced in the early 2010’s to compete at the lucrative, mid-range price point.
Shark’s goal here was to offer an affordable product rivaling their racing series – with minimal compromise on quality.
To this end the S900 is a success – regularly available on sale from major retailers, it is a bestseller across multiple markets and continents.
Industry benchmarking standard, Sharp, run 32 impact tests on each helmet to assess how well they would perform in a crash.
They awarded the Shark S900 4/5 stars overall with the impact zones on the front and rear of the helmet receiving the highest possible rating.
The helmet’s shell is made from thermoplastic resin – which is lightweight and relatively inexpensive compared to carbon, composite or fibreglass options.
The S900 performs right in the top tier of thermoplastic helmets and as well as many of those made from more costly materials.
The shock absorption is constructed using EPS foam of varying densities. The objective here is superior impact protection which collapses in stages under pressure.
The interior lining of the helmet is made from soft microfibre and is completely removable for the purposes of cleaning
This lid comes in S to XL. UK riders report each size coming up true.
If you are updating your helmet from an older model, you might feel the fit is a little snug at first.
This is because newer EPS liner foam is a little stiffer than what many of us older riders are used to. This helmet is designed to bed in and settle to the wearer’s face over an initial period of use.
I wear a large in every brand of helmet I’ve ever used (except Asian brands), and as expected the S900 L is a perfect fit for me.
Injected thermoplastic resin can be as strong as its carbon/composite/fibreglass counterparts, but requires the creation of a thicker (and therefore heavier) outer shell.
Shark have worked some voodoo in this respect with their product weighing only marginally more than the expensive competition – and achieving comparable results in crash tests.
The weight difference between the S900 and a significantly more expensive carbon helmet is approximately 200g.
That’s the weight of two medium-sized apples.
Spend your money wherever it makes sense to you, but I can carry an extra apple or two around.
Here’s where reports begin to vary regarding the S900 Dual Special Edition.
Many customers report this helmet as fairly silent – as does the advertising. Others complain it is significantly louder than advertised.
I don’t own one of these. I borrowed a friend’s for the purpose of doing this review and found the noise level to be totally acceptable – no need for earplugs. (read more about motorcycle earplugs.)
That said, I used it for a run into the city with minimum time spent on the open road.
If I were roaring down the motorway at full tilt – it may have been a different story.
The S900 comes with a pinlock laminate finish to prevent the visor fogging up.
This is a nice touch, saves the consumer about 30 GBP and is not present in a lot of the competition at this price-point.
The visor is made from anti-scratch plastic and has an excellent quick release system.
The built-in drop down sun visor is a nice touch. Like every other one of these I’ve ever used I’d like it to drop down a little lower, but that’s my only complaint.
The S900 can use the V60 or the V65 visor manufactured by Shark
The straps are comfortable, fully and easily adjustable and secured by a toothed, quick-release fastener.
The strap doesn’t feature a chin guard, but does have a detachable mesh chin curtain and a breath deflector to help prevent visor fogging.
Again, there are differing opinions among riders about the effectiveness of the ventilation system.
Airflow is directed by two integrated ducts which are easily opened and closed by gloved hands.
My time spent testing this helmet was on a chilly January day – perhaps not the best conditions to test a helmet’s ventilation system.
For UK riders the vents should be more than sufficient for even the hottest summers day.
The helmet ships with cut-outs for inserting speakers or bluetooth intercoms.
Some users have reported the cavities as slightly shallow – making installation tricky.
This will depend upon the shape and size of the system you wish to install.
Newer systems tend to be more compact and should fit in the S900 easily.
The helmet does not ship with any built-in bluetooth functionality and this will have to be installed after-market.
The S900 is ticking all the boxes here.
It’s safe, comfortable and a comparable weight to many of its more expensive competitors.
The inclusion of a pinlock, drop down visor and five year manufacturer’s warranty make this helmet hard to refuse at this price point.
All images via SportsbikeShop