If you’re an avid fan of MotoGP, you’re probably familiar with the Shark helmet brand some of the racers use. Shark has been manufacturing crash helmets since 1986, and today it’s the helmet of choice of some of the top riders like Miguel Oliveira, Johann Zarco, Scott Redding, Sam Lowes, and Jorge Lorenzo, among others. A couple of months ago we were given the rare opportunity to tour the Shark headquarters in Marseille, France to see for ourselves how Shark helmets are designed. As expected, most of the stuff we saw there are highly classified trade secrets so we were not allowed to publish most of the photos we took. Instead, we were briefed about the design principles Shark applies to their helmet design which we could share with our readers.
The truth is nobody really knows if a helmet works until it saves your life in an accident. This was the realization of a Shark helmet user when he figured in a motorcycle accident. According to Mr. Francois Berni, Export Manager of Shark who facilitated our tour, the motorcycle rider sent them a letter thanking them for saving his life. And with the letter was the actual helmet itself. According to the letter sender, he was riding at a fairly fast clip when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed, flinging him to the guardrail head first. The impact was so severe the helmet shell caved in. But miraculously, the motorcycle rider only suffered minor bruises and was discharged from the hospital the following day. The Shark helmet did the one thing it was designed to do, and for that he was truly grateful.
While most helmet manufacturers employ the same techniques and use the same materials in their products, it’s how these materials react to outside forces that differentiates them from one another. Shark spends hundreds of hours designing each component of a helmet; rigid outer shell, impact absorbing liner, comfort padding, chin bar, air vents, breath deflector, face shield, and retention system, using state-of-the-art computer-aided design software, or CAD. The CAD software was fed with thousands of hours’ worth of data using hundreds of sensors from actual crash tests of helmets, and data obtained from the analysis of actual helmets involved in real world, as well as racing, crashes. This allows Shark engineers to make the necessary adjustments to each component, such as foam density, material thickness etc., before a certain design could be approved for production. You see, unlike other crash helmets that provide safety by means of a rigid outer shell casing, Shark engineers optimized every component to allow the entire helmet to absorb, and redirect the impact forces away from the rider’s head, like a crumple zone of a car.
You might say your cheap helmet conforms to DOT, European, or even SNELL standards for crash protection but costing a lot less. Regardless of price, any helmet that conforms to these standards is better than helmets that don’t. Shark helmets not only conform to these standards, but they exceed them as well. As a premium brand, Shark helmets may cost a little bit more to acquire. That’s because Shark guarantees each helmet for quality and workmanship. Each helmet has a unique code on the chinstrap that allows Shark to track the exact date and place of manufacture in case of warranty claims. In the end, you might want to ask yourself if your head is worth the price.
You can buy your Shark Helmets in Bikerbox, they are the exclusive distributor of Shark Helmets in the Philippines.