As in the case of HJC's RPHA 10, it was developed together with Ben Spies at the beginning, then supplemented by feedback from their sponsored riders in its latter stages, resulting in the RPHA 10 Plus.
The RPHA 10 was a good helmet. Comfortable, light, had a relatively cool interior, allows good vision and was especially stable at high speeds. As with any product, there were a small number of niggles for HJC to sort out, of course, and we wanted to see how much they could do better.
Well, it turned out that HJC revised almost every aspect of the RPHA 10, resulting in the RPHA 11 as the next step in the RPHA series’ evolution, which had no doubt benefitted from their experience on the MotoGP battlefield and many hours in the wind tunnel.
HJC Helmet Malaysia extended a pre-production sample for a preview recently and we were surprised to find so many new features.
- Slightly taller overall shape for more crown clearance and comfort, taller chinbar for extra protection and curved bottom sides for comfort when riding prone.
- The chinbar has been redesigned for even better aerodynamics hence greater stability at speed.
- With the redesigned aperture comes a new and improved faceshield. The central locking mechanism is thicker and features and extra lock.
- New, larger chin vents flow more air and is adjustable (on the inside) to direct airflow either to the rider’s face or upwards onto the faceshield to further curb fogging along with the Pinlock insert.
- Wider aperture for better vision. While the chinbar is taller, so is the top part of the eye port. Similarly, the sides have also being widened.
- Addition of a forehead vent for extra cooling.
- The trademark top vents are now larger and reshaped, with redesigned inlets, while the adjustment knobs have been slightly relocated to provide easier access while riding.
- The top rear vents have been relocated to a position underneath the new rear spoiler for a stronger venturi effect, contributing to better heat extraction.
- New top spoiler for better stability at speed. It has a larger surface area with more “winglets” at the bottom, while a slat (opening) allows air to flow through for even more stability. The rear vents are located beneath this high pressure zone.
- The overall shape of the top padding has also been revised and there’s thicker padding for the forehead and crown. The cheek pads are now taller.
- Extractable cheek pads for emergency situations. They also feature reflective panels at rear.
We had the opportunity to ride around with it for a few days. If the RPHA 10 Plus was good, then the RPHA 11 was impressive.
While its predecessor is well known for being stable at high speeds, even when the head is turned to the side, the RPHA 11 was even more stable. I’ve already tested it to 220 km/h without any big wobbles, and the cheek pads didn’t force themselves onto the cheeks either.
The redesigned and additional vents flowed air effectively, for I even felt a pool of cool air around the rear part of my crown. The days were extremely hot when I tested it. It was also relatively cool when I was sitting still, despite the test unit being matt black.
The new aperture is very large overall so would only see a very small portion of the top of it. Similarly, side vision has also improved tremendously - a small turn of the head was enough to reveal a large part of the next lane and behind you.
HJC Helmet Malaysia expects the RPHA 11 to arrive in March 2016 and has not confirmed the price as yet.
HJC helmets are distributed by:
HJC Helmet Malaysia
No. 3, Jalan Sentul Manis
Off Jalan Sentul
51000 Kuala Lumpur
www.facebook.com/hjc helmet malaysia
Review and pictures by Wahid Ooi Abdullah