A few years ago, a helmet with a built-in, tinted sun shield that dropped down from the liner above the eyeport was available only from a high-dollar European brand. Now, however, Korean helmet maker HJC (Hong Jin Crown) has introduced its FS-10, a full-face motorcycle helmet that incorporates the same feature but retails in the $250-$260 range.
The FS-10’s shell is made of an advanced Fiberglass Composite Weave, and comes with the usual clear face shield. Optional tinted shields are available, and in my opinion HJC has (next to Shoei) the easiest shield-changing mechanism going: open the shield, push the lever on each sideplate mechanism toward the rear, and that side of the shield pops off. To reinstall, place the shield over the receptacle on the side, push in and twist, and it’s in place. The FS-10’s interior is made of “SilverCool,” a very soft, close-weave moisture-wicking material that is indeed cool and comfortable.
The big news with the FS-10, of course, is its “One-Touch Integrated SunShield.” This tinted, sunglass-style device deploys by sliding a lever on the top of the helmet along a track toward the front. As the lever slides, the SunShield drops down from above the eyeport and extends 2 inches into it; it’s fully as wide as the eyeport and fills about half its area. Initially I found myself going cross-eyed from having the SunShield about an inch from my face, but soon adapted to looking through rather than at it. The spring-loaded SunShield retracts immediately with the push of a button atop the helmet.
When deployed, the SunShield does not sit as close to the face as a pair of sunglasses so it does not fully fill your field of vision as a tinted face shield would, or fully block out the brightness. Still, that compromise is offset by its convenience. With a conventional helmet if the rider wishes to have a clear and a tinted shield, he or she must purchase, carry and protect an additional face shield, then stop to change it. With the SunShield, deployment and retraction is instantaneous with one finger, and the rider does not need to stop. It’s especially handy for sudden situations such as tunnels.
Venting consists of a three-position top vent, and a two-position (open/closed) one in the chinbar. Vent area is relatively small, and flow is moderate to low.
The FS-10 is a sleek, light, comfortable helmet that for its price would be a joy to wear even without the SunShield feature. With it, it has quickly become one of my favorites. It meets the DOT standard only, but not Snell. Despite the SunShield mechanism it weighs just 3.52 pounds. I have an HJC CL-SP helmet, also in size medium, that meets both DOT and Snell and weighs 3.66 pounds. I noted that the medium CL-SP fit me rather loosely, while the medium FS-10 is a tight fit, so fit between HJC lines is not consistent. The FS-10 is available in sizes XS-2XL in various solid colors starting at $249.99, and for $5 more in metallics and rubbertones. Graphics are $259.99.
For more information see your dealer or contact HJC America, 16918 Edwards Road, Cerritos, California 90703; (562) 407-2186; www.hjchelmets.com