RRP: £299.99 // www.nevis.uk.com // Tested by: Ross Mowbray
I’ve got a lot of time for Shark Helmets, and over the past few years, I’ve worn one or another pretty much every day. I wear an Explore-for off-road riding, and I’m already onto my second Spartan helmet.
I tested my last Spartan helmet thoroughly – bouncing down the tarmac before clattering into a kerb shoulder and head first. I broke my collarbone, but the lid looked after my head admirably, taking the brunt of the impact, coming away with what appeared to be nothing more than a few scratches. I was very glad to be wearing the Spartan. So, when Shark unveiled a selection of new designs for the Spartan, I jumped at the opportunity to get my hands on (and head in) another one. This time, I opted for the super cool matt black and grey model – and I reckon it looks the business. Never mind all that though, let’s talk about the lid for a minute. Essentially, the Spartan is Shark’s do-it-all, middle-of-the-range helmet – carefully balancing cost with quality, price with performance.
First things first, the level of comfort offered by the Spartan is second to none as far as I’m concerned – and when you’re spending a lot of time in the saddle, there are few features more important. It’s snug, but not too snug, and at no point have I found the helmet digging in to my head. Now of course, not all helmets suit every rider. I know a couple of people who seem to really struggle to get a comfortable fit when wearing a Shark, and as a result swear by either Shoei or Arai (and vice-versa, of course) – but for me, the Shark’s about as good as it gets. It’s light, aerodynamic, and the lids removable and washable internal lining is supremely plush. Honestly, I barely know I’m wearing it.
The Spartan offers a nice, wide field of vision – and while we’re on the subject of its visor; it’s so, so easy to remove and replace. All you’ve got to do is pull the visor firmly from each side to take it out, and then push it firmly back in to replace it. I reckon, it’s probably the easiest system I’ve encountered – and although it’s unlikely you’ll have to replace the anti-scratch visor very often (if it all), the ability to do it quickly and easily is just fantastic. Of course, I’ve also fitted my Spartan with a Pinlock anti-mist lens insert to help prevent against fogging when the weather’s not so good – and it really does the job, even on the most miserable of days, the visor’s stayed clear.
There’s also a built-in internal drop down visor for when the sun’s out in full force. I know they’re not for everyone, but if you’re out all day in changing conditions, the ability to simple slide a sun visor into place while you’re still on the move is extremely useful. It certainly beats having to carry a spare visor – or stop and put on a set of sunglasses. While we’re on the subject of glasses, Shark’s put some time and effort into ensuring the optically challenged among us are catered for, with its ‘Easy Fit’ system ensuring the arms of your glasses aren’t forced painfully against the sides of your head. It’s only a small little feature, but it’s a really touch, that definitely makes a difference to the helmet’s all day comfort.
The Spartan’s ventilation system is top notch too. During the few weeks of scorching sunshine we recently experienced, the efficiency of the helmet’s air channels genuinely surprised me. Open them up, and you can feel the air circulating around the lid helping you to stay cool. Admittedly, it’s not very often we get really hot weather in the UK, but still, it’s nice to know the lid will cool you down quickly if you need it to – and as a result, I reckon the helmet would probably make a fairly capable track day lid. When the weather takes a turn, simply close the vents and you’ll be warm and well protected.
In essence, Shark’s Spartan helmet is a seriously capable bit of kit – particularly for the money. It’ll cope with everything from wet and windy to near stifling sunshine. Basically, it’s serious all year round bit of kit – and if you’re in the market for a new lid, you could do a lot worse than Shark’s Spartan. I crashed in one, and then got myself another – surely that’s the greatest compliment I can pay. Be sure to try one out for size though.