Tested by: John Milbank¦From £349.99¦www.nevis.uk.com¦01425 478936
Flip-front lids are the choice of many touring riders as they offer the protection of a full-face, with the option to completely open the front if necessary. Besides making filling up at the pump easier, when riding in hot conditions they can be a huge relief.
While most flip-fronts (like my Shoei Neotec) work fine when ridden in the open position, you can – technically – be breaking the law if they’re not homologated for use this way. Also, with the chin-piece on the top of your head, there’s inevitably more drag, which can make riding uncomfortable.
Shark’s Evo-One is a dual-homologated helmet that cleverly positions the chin-guard to the very rear when open, using a genius piece of design that automatically opens the visor as you flip the chin to the back or front. Ride with the Shark open but the visor down to protect your eyes, and when you need to fully close it the visor pops up to allow the chin to lock safely into place.
Starting at £349.99 for plain colours, up to £379.99 for patterns like the Astor KWR on test, the Evo-One is built using two shell sizes across the XS to XL range, comes with a Pinlock Maxvision for a fog-free visor, a ratchet-type strap adjuster, space for intercom speakers, a removable lining, and has a drop-down sun shield that’s said to be 23% larger than the previous Evoline model, and is easy to set at a height that suits you. An elasticated neck skirt and soft pull-down wind deflector in the front keeps draughts out of the lid, though this can be a little fiddly if you have a prominent chin and thick gloves on.
The cheeks wrap further around than some other flip-fronts, but this makes for a stable and comfortable design. Glasses fit fine once the lid is on, but you won’t be able to put the helmet on your head without first removing your specs (a small point, but something I appreciate about the Neotec).
While no helmet is quiet enough to use without earplugs, the Evo-one seems a fraction louder than some others I’ve tried. I’ve also found that, although an ‘autoseal’ system seals the visor against the Lid, in extremely bad conditions, a small amount of water got into the rear upper edges of the visor, before rolling along above the Pinlock aperture and dripping down in front of my eyes.
The chin guard is easy to open, though when bringing it from the back it can sometimes be a little awkward. It’s easy to pop the chin-piece back then lock the visor open again, but when riding it’s a touch frustrating until you learn. When locking into the full-face orientation, it’s important to give the chin a good press back and slightly up, to ensure it locks. Before I got the knack, I’d often open the visor and realise I’d been riding without the chin-piece properly locked. The instructions say you must close the visor by pulling down from the top, not the front edge to stop the screen pressing down and rubbing the Pinlock on the shell. It’s more natural than it sounds, but worth noting.
While the operation can take a little getting used to, it’s well worth trying one on to see if it’s the answer you’ve been looking for, and can transform your summer tours.