If you want the weight advantage of an open-faced helmet but don’t like the bugs in your teeth, French riding gear manufacturer Shark has just the helmet for you. The Shark S-Drak helmet blurs the line between open and full face helmet design. With a few quick adjustments, the S-Drak can be transformed from one style to the other via to some clever design features unique to this helmet. Best of all it does it while still achieving full DOT and ECE homologation.
Before I delve into the tech specs lets take a look at the S-Drak’s unconventional styling. When I unboxed the S-Drak helmet the first thing that came to mind was Maverick flipping off the pilot of the MiG-28 in Top Gun. Revzilla also made an interesting comparison saying that Cobra Commander would be rather fond of the design. Jokes aside the S-Drak isn’t your average helmet design. Usually referred to as a ‘jet style’ it is definitely more fighter pilot than Easy Rider.
The S-Drak falls into Shark’s ‘Metro Division’ which they define as having “clean lines and a stylish look. The version I reviewed is ‘Carbon Anthracite’ which includes silver graphics beneath the clear coat. To me, the design looks a bit like an attempt at adding an urban edge. Personally, I’d prefer to leave that beautiful carbon completely uncovered.
Weighing in at just 1000 grams (or 2.2 pounds) this is about as light as it gets for a “full face” helmet. The lightweight strength comes from its carbon fibre construction and the fact that the chin guard is actually an injection moulded plastic “mask”. The mask can be easily removed and installed without the use of tools and is perfect for cooler months or wet days when you’d prefer to have your mouth covered. I doubt that the mask would provide much in the way of impact protection, so if you tend to buy full faced helmets for the additional protection this helmet isn’t for you.
Another clever feature of the helmet is the quick release visor. Rather than a traditional flat visor the S-Drak visor has the recessed look of goggles and can be flipped up to into the outer shell – it’s also anti-scratch, anti-fog and single-hand operable, even with gloves on. Due to the shape of the visor you get some distortion around the outer edges, but no more than you’d see with goggles.
The shape of the S-Drak is more square than round and provided me with a very comfortable fit. I felt my ears had more space than they do in other helmets I own and that the chin strap is padded well for a comfortable fit. The strap is also very easy to operate thanks to Sharks ‘precise-lock’ system. Wind noise was louder than in a full faced helmet, which was expected, but the visor and mask did do a decent job of cutting down wind chill. Maintaining the S-Drak has been made thanks to the lining to be removable and washable. The helmet can also easily accommodate Sharks ‘Sharktooth’ Bluetooth accessories.
Available in sizes S through to XXL the Shark S-Drak retails for around $525 AUD. Along with the version pictured the S-Drak comes in a range of graphic finishes or plain carbon fibre. All Shark helmets are covered by their 5-year warranty