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August 31, 2016

Cooler heads will prevail

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Schuberth’s new E1 helmet delivers the goods
By David Booth

Pricey, yet plush, Schuberth helmets, at least those imported into Canada, are only found at the expensive end of the protective headgear spectrum. The all-new E1, based on the popular C3 Pro, the company's first flip-up adventure touring helmet, is no exception and will set you back some $1,070 ($1,170 as pictured).

For that kind of money, any helmet needs to deliver more than just flashy graphics (which the E1 has) and nifty novelties (like a retractable built-in sun visor, which the E1 also has). Thankfully, the E1, at least in prototype form that I tested, delivers.

For one thing, the E1 is one of the quietest helmets I’ve ever tested. That’s not in comparison with other “adventure” oriented headgear but with the entire spectrum of helmets, Schuberth’s acclaimed lineup of on-road helmets included. That silence is made all the more laudable because of the E1’s two-part “flip up” design. While dissembling chin-bars may make coffee and smoke breaks more convenient, most two-piece shell designs are typically noisier than uni-shell designs, so more the credit to Schuberth’s wind tunnel testing.

Three venting systems — head, visor and chin, this last with a removable filter — are standard and the optics of the sun visor excellent. This last — cable actuated via a slider on the side of the helmet — also seems more robust than previous iterations: previous iterations of the system were susceptible to dirt — never a good thing in an adventure style helmet — and would lock in position, making retraction difficult. Other foibles, admittedly minor, include a slightly difficult to release chin bar catch and the slightly finicky strap clasp. The peak visor, however, can be removed — as I did for touring purposes — or adjusted to three different positions. And, lastly, the E1 is also compatible with Schuberth’s Pro version of its Rider Communication hardware.

Available in seven sizes from XS to XXXL (including two different-sized shells), the E1 has removable — and therefore interchangeable — cheek cushions. Newly approved Schuberth technician Matt McBride of Riders Choice in Mississauga, Ontario, custom tailored the lining/cheek pads to my head, resulting in the best fit I’ve ever had in a helmet. With a superb finish, plush liner and surprising silence, this is an excellent helmet, one I personally plan on buying despite that aforementioned premium pricing.