Schuberth C3 Flip-up Helmet Review
[This Schuberth C3 Flip-up Helmet helmet review was originally published in the April 2011 issue of Rider magazine]
Founded in 1922 and based in Germany, Schuberth claims many innovations in helmet technology, including the first modular or flip-up design. Schuberth-made BMW System flip-up helmets have been around for years, but they’re not sold in the United States. When Schuberth introduced its Concept flip-up a decade ago, we gave it a favorable evaluation. But the company ran into distribution problems and pulled out of the U.S. market. Now Schuberth is back, with a wholly owned subsidiary and a network of dealers handling North American distribution and sales.
Its current lineup includes two helmets: the C3 for men and the C3W for women. The C3W is specially designed for women’s narrower facial features and it has an anti-bacterial, micro-fiber liner; otherwise, the helmets are the same. Utilizing its own wind tunnel for aerodynamic and aero-acoustic testing, Schuberth designed the C3 to be sleek and quiet. Lacking the bulky, awkward shape found on some flip-ups, it’s compact and light, weighing only 58.4 ounces, less than all but the 56-ounce Shoei Multitec in our May 2010 Flip-up Helmet Buyer’s Guide.
The C3 exceeds the latest DOT and ECE testing standards. Its outer shell is made using a proprietary “bag molding” process. Resin, fiberglass and Duroplast composite are layered into the mold, then a balloon is inserted and inflated to 90 psi, which compresses the layers to ensure uniform thickness. Inside the shell is an injection molded, dual-density EPS liner. The chinbar is also lined with EPS and uses metal locking mechanisms for safe, secure closure. A small central button unlocks the chinbar, and a cam lock keeps it in the open position. When lowering the chinbar, I had to pull the chin skirt away with my thumb so it cleared my chin.
Tabs on the lower edge of the face shield facilitate opening with either hand, but locking the shield closed necessitates pressing down firmly on both tabs. Closed but unlocked is the “city” position that allows more airflow but also more noise. Patented triangular “turbulator” bumps along the top of the shield help reduce wind whistling. No dark shield is available since the C3 has an integrated sun visor, which is opened and closed with a convenient slide tab on the lower left side of the helmet. A Pinlock anti-fog insert is included.
Fit, finish and comfort befit the C3’s premium price tag. The Coolmax liner is plush and removable, though doing so requires extra effort due to Schuberth’s exclusive Anti-Roll Off System. To better secure the helmet on the rider’s head and prevent it from rolling forward, two straps attach to each end of the chin strap, pass through the padded collar and then connect via rivets to the back of the helmet.
After weeks of constant use, the Schuberth C3 has performed well but has some finicky details. It’s the quietest flip-up I’ve ever worn (Schuberth says interior noise is 84 dB(A) or less at 65 mph) and through cold, wet, winter riding, it has kept my head dry and fog at bay. Ventilation has been good, but it’s easy to accidentally bump the chin vent closed whereas it’s difficult to open/close the top vent. The removable chin skirt helps keep the interior quiet and free of drafts, but is also a bit stuffy.
The C3 retails for $699 and comes with a five-year warranty. It’s available in six sizes—one shell size fits S-L, another XL-3XL—and four colors: Glossy White, Glossy Black, Glossy Silver and Matte Black. And should you have the misfortune of crashing, Schuberth will replace your damaged helmet for one-third of the retail price.
For another $399, you can get Schuberth’s SRC-System, a complete Cardo G4 Bluetooth communication system integrated into a special acoustic collar. Although the Medium C3 fits me perfectly, with the SRC collar installed it was too tight around my neck. Once we get the fit sorted out, we’ll run an update on how the SRC works.
For more information: Contact Schuberth
In addition to the colors listed above the C3 is available in Hi-Viz Yellow and comes with a three-year service plan.