1/2 helmet. 3/4 helmet. Full helmet. What is the difference? With the various lingo and jargon constantly changing, I can only tell you what is referred to each today. In the future however, they might be called something completely different, like cranium buckets or skull impact resistors.
The Shark Raw Motorcycle Helmet Review
This new Shark Raw Helmet bridges the gap between the traditional full faced helmet, and the half shell open face helmet. Call it a 3/4 helmet, or a hybrid motorcycle helmet, the Shark Raw has got style. Geared toward the urban cafe racer crowd, the Shark Raw combines style and up-leveled protection.
Constructed of a thermoplastic resin shell and detachable face mask and goggles. The goggles are double wall (for Anit-fog) Premuim Carl Zeiss anti-scratch glass. Because the goggles are detachable from the vented face mask, you have the option to ride with either only the face mask or only the goggles, or neither.
Made from the same organic bamboo fibers as the Shark Race Pro R helmet, the interior is fully removable for cleaning. This versatile Hybrid Motorcycle Helmet is also setup to easily install the Sharktooth communicator for Bluetooth capabilities.
The Shark Raw in Action
No one can deny the bold look of the Shark Raw helmet. As with anything extreme, you will likely either fall in love with it, or loath it.
When it comes to serious riding, this is likely the best looking helmet in existence. However, a helmet needs more than good looks. In spite of the lax cheek pads, which are frequently complained about, the helmet provides a comfortable fit. The snug fit between the eye port and goggles make this helmet a lot quieter than you would think. However, the Raw sports a few ill-designed features that render it a bit impractical when it comes to actual use.
The worst problem is the cheaply designed breath guard or face mask. It fastens onto the underside of the goggles via four feeble posts that are extremely difficult to thread into their mating holes. It would have been better if Shark had used hook and loop, or snaps for the mask attachment. At least it would have been more reliable and easier to use. What’s more, it’s impossible to control the air flow into the lower section of the helmet. Also, should you get an itch on your nose, well, good luck!
The top vent is clumsily designed. Instead of the typical sliders or rocker switches, there is a piece of flat rubber, which fits tightly into the vent slot. This piece is removed in order to expose the vent hole on top. Should your rubber cover become loose, you will likely lose it.
Shark Raw Helmet Review – Graphics, Paint and General Quality
You can find the Shark Raw helmet in military themed graphics such as the Michalak, Soyouz and the Trinity, or solid colors. Additionally, there is a Stripe variety, which sports a more customary look. Or a fully customized painted version with the matte gold Soyouz design. It has Cyrillic letters on the sides which appear to spell out “Shark”, and “White Shark” written across the center. It was named for the 1960s Russian Soyuz space program, although it uses the French spelling of the word Soyuz.
The Shark Raw is an unconventional design of any hybrid helmet made today , without a doubt. You will loath it or love it. Either way, this helmet will get your attention.
The graphics, paint and decals of the Soyouz design are sleekly executed. The dark goggles, face mask and matte coloring, along with the militaristic appearance, gives this helmet a cutting edge – sinister design. In short, it looks awesome.
The shell is slightly flexible and feels well constructed. However, it has the feel of a high tech composite, when in actuality it is a polycarbonate. The shell is available in two adjustable sizes ranging from XS to XL.
Regrettably, there are a few defects in the design that decrease the quality of the helmet, and make the price questionable.
The fit and shape of the goggle lens are equal to your typical motocross goggles, but the gasket behind them is formed from low grade foam and definitely is not what you would expect from a helmet of this calibre.
All things considered, we rate the Shark Raw neutral on quality. The graphics and paint job are excellent. However the top vent, face mask, goggle gasket and cheek pads rate poor.
Side Plate, Chin Strap and Goggle Rotator
This helmet has an open front, which allows for the sides to be a little flexible. For someone with a rounded head, like me, the sides may feel a little tight, while there is a little added room at the top from front to back. Still, anyone who fits into a Shoei or other Shark helmet should have no problem fitting into a Raw.
My helmet is an XL and feels a half size small. Although it feels like an XL at the top, the sides feel like a large. Shark provides size cheek pads if you want them, which you can use to create a custom fit. However they cost an additional $39.95.
Although the padding is thin, the helmet feels comfortable and the chin strap has plenty of padding. Although the helmet does not perfectly fit my round head, I can wear it for a long time without experiencing any pressure on my head.
In general, the Raw feels the same as any three quarter length, open face helmet, in spite of its unusual appearance.
Face Mask and Goggles
There are some significant differences between an ordinary three quarter length helmet and a Shark Raw, namely, the built in face mask and goggles, which are a prominent feature of the Raw. For those who are not used to wearing goggles, your vision will seem slightly impaired.
When you wear goggles, your peripheral vision is slightly reduced, causing a slight tunnel vision affect. This means that when you’re checking over your shoulder for traffic, or looking to see what’s coming at a stop light, you’ll need to turn your head farther than usual.
In addition, depending on your nose shape, goggles fit differently across the bridge, from one rider to another. Some riders will find this uncomfortable as the goggles will pinch their nose.
The goggles are a perfect fit in the eye port of the helmet, sealing out the majority of the air at speed and decreasing noise levels. If you plan to wear eye or sunglasses while riding, you should be aware that only medium sized or smaller glasses will fit under these goggles.
The goggle strap rest under the side plates and slides up and down. While wearing the helmet, you can easily pull the face mask and goggles forward and place them on top of the helmet. However, refrain from simply grabbing the face mask when you do this. The attachment system holding the mask on is poor and does not hold securely. It is unknown why Shark did not use hook-and-loop or snaps to secure the face mask to the goggles, nevertheless, the general design appears inferior.
The face mask has posts which are meant to press fit into holes on the bottom of the goggles. However, after you remove the mask, it is extremely hard to get it to fit back into the holes. Therefore you likely will not want to remove it often.
The face mask fits snugly, prevents the bugs from getting through and allows plenty of air in. However, it gets fairly moist underneath. Additionally, the mask makes scratching your nose difficult. In fact, in order to do so, you’d have to stop and pull the mask and goggle assembly out and put them on top of the helmet.
In essence, the attribute that supplies the Shark Raw with its unique look, is the very feature that renders the helmet difficult to wear for a variety of reasons. Everything considered, I’d say that the Shark Raw is only for a little cruising and looks, but nothing serious.
Ventilation and Top vent
As can be expected with a three quarter length helmet, you will get plenty of ventilation in the front. The goggles do block the air, but they are equipped with mesh covered vents on the bottom and top.
Although the face mask prevents some air from getting through, it’s equipped with a substantial opening in the front, which has a plastic mesh covering, and it sports two considerable horizontal vents slots along the top. This lets much air flow through, a plus when it’s warm outside, but not so good for cold weather.
Compared to an open-face helmet, the Raw is better for cooler weather. However, as there is no method of controlling or limiting the air flow into the helmet, after a while it becomes to cold and uncomfortable. I’ve been using the Raw off and on for a few months and due to the uncontrollable air flow, when the temperature drops below 10 C, 50 F, it is to cold for me.
Hidden beneath a slot on the top of the helmet you will find the top vent. Covering the vent is a flat rubber plug, which is supposed to fit tightly into the slot, but feels loose on ours. It seems such an artless way of operating the top vent. I would advise to leave it in during the winter and take it out during the summer.
That said, the top vent does direct air flow along a large, direct path into the helmet. Hence, when the plug is removed, the helmet gets decent upper ventilation. However, the helmet does not have a rear exhaust vent.
We’ll give the Shark Raw’s ventilation system a rating of “excellent”. Keep in mind however, that this helmet is open-face and therefore you can not control the air flow into the front of it.
The vents in the face mask can not be closed.
Due to the fact that there isn’t anything to block the wind in front, open-face helmets tend to be fairly noisy. However, the tight fitting face mask and goggles of the Shark Raw block out some of the sound, making this helmet a lot quieter than I expected.
I would even go so far as to say that this helmet is quieter than some of the full-face helmets that I have worn. It is definitely amongst the quietest open-face helmets I have ever worn, rather they included a face shield or not.
Keep in mind that our helmet evaluations are usually the collective efforts of multiple riders over a period of time, on varying motorcycles, some with windscreens and some without. Each evaluator wears a pair of top quality ear plugs, which are fitted properly, and often a helmet liner as well.
Also keep in mind that perception of noise levels will differ depending on the person. Many things can affect noise levels including, motorcycle type, wind direction and speed, windscreen, helmet fit and the sort of clothing the rider is wearing.
We rate the Shark Raw “outstanding” for noise control.
My Shark Raw, which is an XL, weighs only 1396 grams, aka 3lbs 1 ¼ oz, which is approximately medium weight range for an XL open-face helmet.