HJC has been North America’s top-selling helmet brand for more than two decades, and its offerings include full-face, modular and open-face street helmets, off-road helmets and even auto and snowmobile helmets. After selling low-to-mid-priced helmets for years, in 2010 HJC released its first premium lid, the RPS-10, which was developed in HJC’s own 130-mph wind tunnel and received design input from then-MotoGP racer Ben Spies.
Two years later, HJC launched a full line of premium helmets under the name RPHA (“arfa”), shorthand for Revolutionary Performance Helmet Advantage. We reviewed the RPHA Max modular in 2012, and the line also includes the RPHA 10 (a rebadged RPS-10) sport and RPHA X off-road helmets. New to the line is the ST, which is geared toward sport-touring riders. It has a center-locking face shield like on the 10 and a large, single top vent and integrated sun shield like on the Max. All helmets in the RPHA line have shells made of HJC’s Premium Integrated Matrix, a combination of carbon fiber, aramid, fiberglass and organic non-woven fabric that makes the helmet both strong and light. Our medium-sized ST weighs just 3 pounds, 7 ounces.
The ST’s sleek shape slices cleanly through the wind, and its large chin and crown vents bring in plenty of fresh air. The moisture wicking, anti-bacterial SilvercoolPlus (Ginkgo) comfort lining is plush and easy to remove and wash. HJC’s RapidFire II shield removal system is child’s play, and the sun shield is easy to remove and clean as well. A new, single lever on the left side of the helmet is easier to reach and use than the sliding lever (to deploy) and button (to retract) on top of other sun shield-equipped HJC helmets. Though convenient, the sun shield isn’t very dark and too much light comes in from below. The face shield is prepped for the included Pinlock anti-fog insert and the chinstrap secures with traditional D-rings.
Comfort, fit, ventilation, aerodynamics, weight, noise reduction and functionality meet or exceed my expectations for a premium helmet in this price range. The DOT-approved RPHA ST is available in sizes XS-XXL (three shell sizes) in solid black or white for $359.99, metallic silver or rubbertone black for $364.99, or graphics for $399.99.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: See your dealer or visit hjchelmets.com
(This helmet review was published in the June 2015 issue of Rider magazine.)