Gear Review - Ruby Helmets Castel

When Jérôme Coste conceived the first Ruby helmet design back in 2004 he would have never imagined that retro helmets would have become such a sought after accessory 12 years later. His helmet designs took the motorcycling world by storm, in particular those in the custom and classic scenes, and became one of the most desirable helmet brands in the world for several years. Unfortunately due to financial problems the Les Ateliers Ruby flagship store in Paris had to close its doors in 2015.

However what many don't know is that the remaining stock of Ruby helmets are still available for purchase. Today's contributing writer, Martin Ganglberger, spent the last few months getting to know a full faced Ruby Castel and has some insights into the helmet itself and the Ruby brand...

"In 2012, Les Ateliers Ruby, purveyors of high-quality and high priced retro motorcycle helmets, presented their first full-face helmet the 'Castel'. The Ruby Castel was available in 15 different colours, 6 sizes and could be purchased through the Ruby flagship store in Paris and online right up until the shock announcement that the company had to file for bankruptcy in 2014. However, the remaining Ruby stock was retained, and thus, all three models - Pavilion (open helmet shape), Belvedere (jet helmet with visor) and Castel (full-face helmet) are still available in limited numbers through the Ruby website and at the Paradise Motorcycles store in Paris.

Manufactured to exceed ECE, DOT and the Japanese JIS certification the retro Ruby helmets were recognised for their elaborate workmanship, distinctive finishes and thoughtful details. Extensive customizing options, paired with various accessories let customers choose the colours, patterns and details of their Ruby in an incredible 273,375 possible combinations, meaning the likelihood of finding 2 identical custom Ruby helmets at the same place would be on par with winning the lottery.

According to the motto "less is more" I opted for the classic Café Racer look of the Castel 'St Germain' in glossy black with glittering chrome and black leather accents, which has proved itself for several months.

The helmet was ordered from the Ruby Online Shop and once I'd selected the model, design and accessories I used the official Arai size chart to get the right size. I usually wear an Arai RX7-GP and decided to go with the same size (large/59-60 cm) in the Ruby Castel. When it arrived it fit perfectly, although the ample interior padding was slightly tighter on the cheeks than in my Arai.

In addition to its unique look, the helmet impressed me with its low weight of 1,352 grams (2.98 pounds). Even including the massive Castel Loup visor, the helmet weighs only 1,520 grams in the large size making it almost 100 grams lighter than my Arai RX7-GP.

Once you've slid your head inside the finest nappa lambskin leather embraces you cheeks. On the outside, stylish chrome accessories and black leather details complete the look of the carbon fiber composite helmet. The double-D fastening which is constructed of titanium is easy to use although the strap is somewhat long, perhaps to accommodate even the fattest of double chins comfortably. A push button clasp at its end secures it to the helmet to prevent irritating flapping in the wind.

Accessories for the Castel are the Loup goggles and the Eclipse Noir visor. No matter which option you choose, the helmet proves to be comfortably quiet until about 150 km/h. With the Loup goggles in place the Castel is only a smidgen louder than my Arai and thanks to ample ventilation there was no sign of condensation. The only issue with the goggles was that if you needed more air on a hotter day you'll have to pull over to remove them.

Disregarding the elevated price tag, the non-removable inner lining proves to be the only drawback. Being firmly attached it complicates the mounting of headsets and intercom systems, although the padding around the ears would provide sufficient space. Worst of all the non-removable lining limits your ability to give it a thorough clean which could ultimately reduce the helmets lifespan.

One other well considered feature of the Castel is the small card slot inside the leather tab on the back of the helmet. This is for noting down your name, phone number, allergies, blood type and contact details in case of an emergency.

The Ruby Castel may not be the most practical full-face helmet in the world, but it is certainly one of the most beautiful without any significant weaknesses in design or function. It's outrageously high price will not matter to those who fall in love with its cool appearance, but rest assured when it comes to safety it most definitely exceeds standards."

Written by Martin Ganglberger
Photography by Erwin Haiden

  • Carbon fiber, Kevlar® and fiberglass outer shell construction
  • Double density inner shell that optimizes safety and shock absorbency
  • Built-in ventilation ducts
  • DOT, ECE 22.05, JIS safety standard compliant
  • lightweight and strong titanium and aluminium fixings

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