extolling the virtues of the S2

Yesterday was an entirely unseasonably cool late July day. The temps stayed in the 70s throughout the morning, barely peaking above 80 in the late afternoon. Just a glorious, beautiful day. I really wanted to go for a ride, but I was busy for much of the day with work, work and more work. I posted a Facebook plea to some folks to meet up for dinner because I was really just going stir crazy.

Last night, then, I met up with some friends – I call them my biker buddies, but we’re more “motorcyclists” than “bikers” I guess. In the world of people who ride BMW motorcycles, “1%er” means something totally different than it does to a Pagan.

Anyway.

It ended up that I was the only one that rode to dinner, and after we were done I decided to go for a ride. I couldn’t think of anywhere specific to go (for which I have been castigated by at least 2 friends), so I got the idea to just do a lap around the Beltway.

Lately I’ve been using my old helmet, an orange Shoei RF1100, far more often than my “good” helmet. The good helmet is really a GREAT helmet; it is one of the more recent models offered by Schuberth, their S2 full-face helmet. It’s super trick and very high tech.

The one I got from Schuberth NA came in plain, stark bright white. Not bad for safety’s sake, but kind of plain. Now it sports some orange reflective tape (lights up when lights hit it) in kind of a random, Eddie Van Halen-inspired design.

The reason I’ve been using the RF1100 so much this summer is because it’s simply more comfortable on super hot days. Compared to the S2, the RF1100 is a damned wind tunnel – it’s wide-open neck hole allows a ton of air and noise to get to the rider.

Past all its high tech awesomeness, the S2 is one hot fucking helmet in the height of summer. The collar/neck roll is very snug against the rider’s neck, which is great for cutting down on noise – and it’s even pretty comfortable once you get used to that feeling, of having the collar ON your neck. Even with the copious amount of air that flows through the top vent, the S2 is simply too hot to wear when the temps get above 85ish degrees. When I ride my R1200GS, the chin bar vent is useless – yes, it flows some air, but the attendant noise from the filthy air flow around the least aerodynamic bike in the universe is crushing. On a bike with good air flow – like a K1200RS – the S2 is a quiet piece of work, with hardly any additional wind noise introduced by opening the chin bar vent. As a matter of fact, when I use the S2 when riding the K12RS, I can often forego using ear plugs. On the R12GS, ear plugs are a constant necessity no matter the helmet.

Well, since it was so nice out yesterday, I decided to throw on that S2 for my dinner/Beltway ride. I hadn’t worn it for a couple months, so it was a really refreshing surprise to put it on and remember what a great helmet it is – amazing fit and finish, incredibly comfortable and when I wear it, I just feel totally safe.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my RF1100 & it’s the helmet I recommend to people that are looking for a good helmet at a decent price, but the difference between the RF1100 and the S2 is like comparing a high school musical to a Broadway musical. It’s not competency that makes the difference – it’s just a different level of professionalism at work.

I have to take a second here to thank Schuberth NA and especially Iron Butt Magazine – IBM will be running my review of the S2 in its Fall issue.

Shoei & Schuberth helmets

Shoei RF1100 on the left, with a Schuberth S2 on the right.