I’m always pleasantly surprised at what helmet technology brings us, like this Evoline crashie from Shark, a French company of good repute, that converts from a full-face to an open-face. I don’t mean a “flip-up,” which has the chin-bar stuck up in the air over your head when it is flipped up, but a genuine convertible; think of the car’s top folding neatly down and not harming the look of the car. This is way useful when one is involved in a mix of town and country riding without benefit of a windshield.
The Shark Evoline modular helmet is a pretty complicated concept that works quite well and looks really cool…at least I think so. It takes a little more fiddling than a regular flip-up, but that is in the nature of the complications, which provide suave styling when the flip is up and back. The manual says, “This transformation can easily be carried out with your helmet on your head, but while your motorcycle is stationary and both feet are firmly on the ground.” Good advice.
This is the way it works to go from full- to open-face. Raise the visor all the way up. At the bottom front of the chin-piece is a red toggle, or catch, as the manual calls it. Hook your thumb behind the toggle, pull, and the whole chin-piece goes up in a 120-degree arc and fits neatly at the back of the helmet. Then you can use the visor in open-faced mode. To turn it back into a full-face, again, stop the bike, raise the visor, reach back and pull the chin-piece forward, and when it is at the bottom of the arc push the chin-piece rearward, towards your chin, until you hear a satisfying click. This is best done as a two-handed operation, one hand at the back of the helmet, the other pushing the chin-piece in. It takes a little practice to get that satisfying click that indicates it is locked in place.
The visor is scratch-protected on the outside, fog-protected on the inside. It is easily detachable, always an important point should you want to take it off and wash it in warm soapy water. Don’t use fancy cleaners, as that can take off some of the protective coatings. On the inside of the visor is a sun-shield, much like a pair of sunglasses, which retreats into the helmet, and is put into place by using a slider at the top of the helmet. Also on the top of the helmet is a cooling vent for the top of the head that can be opened or closed. In the chin-piece is another vent that is primarily designed to keep the inside of the visor from fogging; yes, I know, the fog-protection is not perfect, but neither is it perfect on any other helmet.
The interior padding can be removed and washed for that brand-new smell. My L (large) Evoline weighed in at 3 pounds 10 ounces, 10 ounces more than my usual XL full-face (French heads must be bigger than Japanese heads), but that extra weight is in the construction of the movable parts. I did not find it overly noisy, as I have some flip-ups. Colors are black or silver, shiny or matte. Sizes run from XS to XL, and cost is $399.95.