Aviation-style vents flow air across your temples for efficient cooling. Hundreds of hours
Like their man Ben Spies did in AMA and World Superbike competition, HJC has bested its opponents to take the top position in the Helmet Manufacturers Grand Prix. It’s done that by offering a huge selection of Snell and DOT-approved helmets that run the gamut from the super-affordable CL-16 to the all-carbon-fiber FS-15, which represented the top of the line until the RPS-10 knocked it off its pedestal late last year.
Three years in the making, the RPS-10 bests it predecessor on all fronts. It’s lighter, quieter, flows more air and even costs less. The shell is made from a new carbon/Aramid/fiberglass blend that’s hand-laid to reduce unnecessary material. Our size-L lid weighed in at 3.3 lbs., placing it amongst the lightest helmets on the market. And at $349.99 in solid colors, the RPS-10 is one of the more affordable high-end helmets available.
One of the first things you notice about the Korean-made helmet is its unique visor latch, which HJC says is the result of Spies’ request for an ambidextrous system that locks securely when closed. The visor can be opened with a single finger on either hand and closed with a pinching motion of the thumb and forefinger. The eyeport is wide but shorter than average top to bottom, with a field of view that favors a head-down roadracing position over an upright street-riding posture. The flat faceshield is perfectly clear when closed, but the beveled lower edge creates a band of distortion and the latch is in your line of sight when the shield is raised to an intermediate position.
Improved aerodynamics, a snugger seal along the bottom of the cheeks and a thick chin curtain seal out wind and make the RPS-10 noticeably quieter than the FS-15—fully 4 decibels quieter, according to HJC. At speed the helmet exhibits excellent stability and cuts through the air without buffeting, even when you turn your head to check your six at triple-digit speeds. Large vents on the helmet’s brow flow big air and are easily operated with gloves on; slide your hand rearward to open the vents and forward to close them.
The chin vent is a little less functional, and even with it open and the breath guard in place the faceshield is quick to fog up and slow to clear on cooler days. An anti-fog Pinlock insert is included, but it’s easily creased during installation and only covers a small portion of the shield, further limiting visibility. We’d like to see HJC equip its helmets with an anti-fog-treated shield like its rival Scorpion does. The mesh-covered openings flanking the chin vent appear to be for styling purposes only; any airflow they provide is indistinguishable from that of the main vent.
Aside from some minor misalignment of the graphics where the vent shrouds meet the shell, the RPS-10’s fit and finish are superb. It’s available in the standard palette of solid colors as well as a few more lively options, including the limited edition red/white/blue Ben Spies Replica shown here.
|HJC RPS-10 Helmet
|Contact: HJC Helmets
|Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars
A superb sport-riding helmet, but the short eyeport and easily fogged face shield preclude its use for everyday street riding.