Published on March 18th, 2016 | by Daniel Cousins
SHARK VANCORE HELMET – BETTER THAN THE RAW
Have you ever wanted to fly a jet fighter? Yeah, me too. But I’m a bit simple, pretty uncoordinated and mostly blind, so I’ll just settle for riding around on my ever-so-loud bike wearing my new Shark Vancore helmet going “pew pew pew” as I rip up traffic like a madman.
This isn’t Shark’s first go at the bad-arse helmet category – a while ago it launched the Raw into the market, which allowed riders to dress up like tactical police officers. I wasn’t too fussed on the look and after wearing one in a shop for a few minutes to see what all the lusty screeching was about, I was disappointed – it was like someone had combined all the crap bits of an open-face with all the shit parts of a full-face. But if my Facebook newsfeed was anything to go by shortly after release, the Raw was a huge hit. In between the constant barrage of adorable kitten photos, Farmville requests and violent transgender dwarf pornography, there were stacks of photos of men and women who I never would have picked as being interested in a helmet like this flaunting their new SWAT headgear.
The Vancore is what I think Shark’s Raw should have been in the first place – it’s basically the same unit with a solid chinpiece and detachable eyewear. It sounds simple but there’s a lot more to like in this new version.
First, the goggles. Holy shit, the goggles. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. They are crystal clear. Amazingly so. No distortion, no glare, no fogging, no nuffink – it’s like a perfect romance-movie sunset every waking moment. I pulled myself looking through those goggles. Not even kidding.
Shark obviously wants everyone to know they’re using the best and as such has printed OPTICS BY CARL ZEISS VISION on the goggles, so when you’re smashing someone in the face with your lid after they sit on your bike, they know they’re getting their eyeball sockets caved in by the best.
The right-hand side of the goggle strap is secured to the helmet in a semi-permanent fashion; the left has an easy-to-use-with-gloved-hands flip latch quick-release thingy. This is great for putting the helmet on and pulling it off your head so the goggles don’t grab on your nose and push your eyeballs in, however after a few weeks I can now get the helmet on and off comfortably without needing to unclip the goggles – expert level achieved!
The only thing I don’t like about the eye protectorisers is their love of filling up with water in the rain. The outer foam/plastic casing is great for allowing air to flow and stop fogging but sucks at keeping water out. It does disappear very quickly when the rain stops, though. Also the very close fit between the goggs and the helmet opening means there’s no way to get a finger between the two and have a scratch.
The enormous top vent works well and when it’s open I can feel it cooling what’s left of the hair atop my head. However, the vent at your mouth is fake – it just has dimples cast into the chinpiece to look like it provides ventilation. Weird.
The material inside the helmet is very plush and soft, so it doesn’t feel like sandpaper scraping up your face when you’re inserting and removing your head. The Vancore is all set-up for the Sharktooth communication system so you can hear your missus squawk at you from the pillion seat or even from home if you feel the need. However, the chinpiece rests extremely close to your mouth so I’m not sure there’s going to be much room to shove the microphone in. It will be intimate, that’s for sure.
The Vancore is as comfortable as any lid I’ve ever worn but it’s noisy due to the lack of seal between the goggles and helmet itself. It’s not too bad, just noticeable even with ear plugs in. If you want a touring helmet to do big distance in perfect streamlined silence then this is definitely not the lid you are looking for. I’m going to wear it to Tumba and see how it goes over a multi-day, many-kay romp through the Snowy Mountains, so if you see me smashing it with a boulder by the side of the road you know it hasn’t gone so well.
But I’m really hoping it doesn’t come to that ’cos so far this is a great helmet.