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.
Safe, Comfortable, Silent
Boasting features usually seen in higher-end kit – the Shark S900 Dual Special Edition is a lot of helmet for the money.
If you’re looking for security and don’t care about looks, this is a great choice.
The S900 is the premium helmet in Shark’s sports-touring range. The S series was introduced in the early 2010s to compete at the lucrative, mid-range price point.
Shark’s goal 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 and a bestseller across multiple markets and continents.
Safety and Construction
Industry benchmarking standard Sharp runs 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 – lightweight and relatively inexpensive compared to carbon, composite, or fibreglass options.
The S900 performs right in the top tier of thermoplastic helmets, many of which are 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 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 initially feel the fit is a little snug.
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 helmet I’ve ever used, 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, 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 relatively 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 to do this review and found the noise level 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.
It might have been a different story if I were roaring down the motorway at full tilt.
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 much 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, riders have differing opinions about the ventilation system’s effectiveness.
Two integrated ducts direct airflow 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 sufficient for even the hottest summer 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 must be installed after-market.
The S900 is ticking all the boxes here.
It’s safe, comfortable, and comparable weight to many of its more expensive competitors.
Including a pinlock, drop-down visor, and five-year manufacturer’s warranty make this helmet hard to refuse at this price point.