HJC RPHA 11 Pro Review The Professionals Choice For A Full Face Helmet
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Today we're going to take a look at the HJC RPHA 11 Pro. This is not the helmet I intended to buy when I went to replace my old one, but it's the one I ended up with, and I'm going to go through some of the reasons why.
HJC has a reputation more for the lower end or medium helmets rather than high end. It's interesting because I originally had me shopping for a replacement for a helmet, and I was looking at the Shoei, either the RF1200 or the RFSR, which are very similar. They're not the highest end that Shoei makes, but it's a higher-end helmet.
I've been looking at those, I tried a few on in a retail store, I fit in the medium pretty well, and I was pretty happy with it. I was just going to decide between the two, and then my son suggests that I try on the RPHA 11 Pro. I was surprised at what I found.
There were two things I had to have when I purchased a new helmet. One was the pin lock system, which, if you haven't seen it before, is an additional shield that sits on the inside and seals the outer shield. Because you have those two layers there, it protects against fogging up.
I had one on my old helmet, I was delighted with it, and that was a must-have. The Shoei does have one, and this HJC also has one. The other thing I needed was a recess in the area where the speakers go for communicators.
My older helmet didn't have that recess, and I found it annoying, so the new helmet had to have that recess. Both the Shoei and the Today we're going to take a look at the HJC RPHA 11 Pro had that.
Those were two things that I had to have, and both of these helmets had them, but when I tried on this HJC in the store, I realized it was more comfortable than the Shoei helmets.
The Shoei were not bad, but this one was equally light, but it just fit a little better, a little more snug, I felt more comfortable.
Both of them were a medium size, and I think that's the size that would take either way, but this one got my attention as far as comfort was concerned. What got my attention was what's came with the helmet as standard.
Some of these things usually are things you'd have to spend extra on. It comes with a pin-lock anti-fog shield, and a chin curtain, which is usually an extra item you have to buy, so I like that.
It also included a dark visor with a clear visor. You get two different visors with a helmet, that's a pretty big deal because you can spend $50 on another visor.
When I started comparing the cost between RPHA 11 Pro and the Shoei II, the Shoei II was a lot more expensive. You also had to spend extra money to get these extra things. Of course, there's also a cover for the whole helmet, which is pretty typical.
Once I started comparing features, other than the two that were so important to me, I realized that the HJC offered some pretty good things that the Shoei matched to some degrees, but in other places, it didn't. Venting is one.
The Shoei helmet has a whole bunch of venting. There are two vents on the chin bar, one either side. There's a little switch on the inside of the helmet, this allows it to turn it on or off. It's easy to get to with one finger, even when you are wearing gloves.
There's also a mouth vent in the center of the chin bar that brings air up into the front facial area. There also is a mouth guard so that when you're breathing out, you're not breathing directly on to the visor.
There are two vents on the front top of the helmet. Each of the vents has a roller you can use to open and close the vents individually. They are easy to open or close even with your gloves on.
There is one more vent to the front of the helmet just above the visor. Finally, there is some negative venting at the back of the helmet, which creates a vacuum so air can escape through the back.
There are all sorts of venting, which was impressive, because that's an essential thing for anybody, especially in hot weather.
Many of the newer helmets have an emergency tab. If you get in an accident, emergency personnel need to get this helmet off; they can do safely.
In the olden days, they probably had to cut the helmet off, but now they can pull the emergency tabs and yank and the cheek pads, making it easier to get the helmet off safely.
If you have spinal or head damage, they can remove these pads and get them out quickly.
As I look inside the chin area, there is a little switch. You can move that up or down to allow air to come into the chin area.
The RPHA 11 Pro is DOT, ECE certified.
To get the visor up, you have a center-mounted little clip at the bottom of the visor. Previous HJC helmets clips were made of plastic; this one is metal.
It tends to be easier to get the visor to go up when you have one hand because it's in the center. When the clips are mounted on the side of the helmet, it can be a struggle.
The pin lock shield goes on the inside of the face shield. It comes with little adjustments now to adjust the pin lock shield.
The original pin lock shield on older helmets you stuck the shield in there, and it had only one way to go, and that was it.
The newer pin lock anti-fogging shields have a little bit of an adjustment. You can adjust how tight or how snug that secondary shield gets to the primary one.
The face shield is a quick-release shield. You pull the tab on each side of the helmet, and the shield comes right off, so it's easy to pop it on and off.
On the inside of the helmet, it has pretty standard padding, nothing unusual. The padding is treated with something that's supposed to prevent microbial infiltration, so it doesn't smell when you wear too long on a sweaty hot day.
You can see lots of venting channels in the back of the helmet. The air flows from the front chin vents, through the channels and our of the back to keep your head cool on hot days.
On each side of the helmet, there are recesses where your ears go; there's plenty of recess so you can put speakers in without them impeding on your ears when you put the helmet on.
One other thing I want to mention is I hate being a human billboard. Most of the helmet manufacturers put their big logo across the top, but I got this helmet in matte black, and I know from experience I can take the little logo off.
The only extra purchase I did make was this quick-release buckle made by Echo for only $8. I've used it on my other helmets, I've never had a problem with it.
I have another helmet that I've had for five years, I've had one of these installed, and it's worked great.
I don't like fiddling with the standard D-rings that they provide with the helmet, I like to install the quick release system from Echo.
After looking at all these extra features you get with the RPHA 11 Pro, I realized that cost-wise, there's no comparison in the same range.
You get two shields, the chin curtain, the pin lock, and an excellent system. The Shoei started to look less attractive, so I ended up buying the RPHA 11 Pro instead.
Inside the helmet, there is a recess for the speakers, which already has velcro in there. All you need to do is take your velcro speaker and stick it in there.
I've had an opportunity to do some riding using the RPHA 11 Pro, and I have some reactions for you. I am still happy with it, but there were a few surprises that I had anticipated, one of which was a breath guard.
It sits right up in front of your nose, it's supposed to deflect the air coming out of your nose, so you don't fog up your visor. The helmet comes with a pin lock, so I'm not sure why it was included.
I've never had a problem with it fogging up. I didn't like it because it distracted me, it wasn't in my field of vision, but it was noticeable that it was there.
You're looking down at the gauges, or you're looking down closer at the road, and it's in your way, it's just annoying, so I ended up taking it out, which was a significant improvement.
I had one other minor nitpick with the visor. The dark visor shield is not that dark; I wouldn't mind it having a shade darker.
It looks pretty dark when you're looking at it from the outside, but it's not that dark when you look through it.
I guess the upside of that is you could probably use this at dusk and still be okay. I would prefer it if it were a little bit darker for daytime use, but other than those two nitpicks, I was very impressed with it.
It feels much lighter, both weight and the pressure of the air. It feels much lighter than my older HJC helmet. They've done their homework as far as wind flow.
The noise was less than my older helmet, and the older helmet was only five years old.
Using the roller events on top of the helmet was easy to do with my gloves on. I'd rode with all the vents open, I had all of the vents open and was surprised that I wasn't blasted with air.
I thought it was just going blow through the helmet, but it wasn't like that, it was very subtle.
I think that probably has to do partly with the airflow and how they've designed the helmet, so the air flows through the helmet and exits the back very smoothly.
The field of view is slightly smaller than my old helmet, not enough to be a problem, but I noticed it. The eye socket area seems a little smaller than I had before but nothing objectionable, so overall, it's a great helmet.
I am glad that I went this route instead of the Shoei. I'm sure the Shoei is a great helmet, I have no issue about that, but the value that the RPHA 11 Pro provides is worth it.
The RPHA 11 Pro is cheaper, you get two visors, get the pin lock, get the chin guard or the chin curtain, so you get a lot more for your money.
When riding my bike, it's quieter, and you don't get the buffeting wind noise you get on a lot of helmets.
Overall, I think this is a real winner, and for the price, they've done a great job.