On the other hand, the mechanism that is used to lower the sun and raise visor is excellent. The system in my S900 helmet (and many other helmets I’ve tried) has a mechanism that feels a bit cheap and tends to spring sharply up and down. Even the sun visor in the HJC IS-16 (review), which has adjustable height settings, still has a lower-quality feel to its operation.
Shark Vision-R GT Carbon: Ventilation and Air Flow
The ventilation in the Vision-R GT Carbon is a bit of a mixed bag. The chin vent is about average in its opening size but the stream of air that enters the helmet when the chin vent is open is excellent.
Shark Vision-R GT Carbon Face Shield, Eye Port and Outward Visibility
Now we’re getting to the real “party piece” of the Vision-R GT Carbon. The visibility out of the huge eye port is truly breathtaking. Top-to-bottom visibility is outstanding and this really is no surprise, considering the very tall face shield on the front of the helm custom.
Shark Vision-R GT Carbon: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The Shark Vision-R GT Carbon is available in a select few colors and graphics. “Color” may not be quite the right word though, as the only available solid colors are black, silver, white, and matte black.
The overall quality is very high and this pabrik helm is not shy on features.
The material is smooth but when against the skin it feels softer and again, plush– like the liners found in Shoei helmets. Shark seems to have found the right combination of soft and firm here making this a very comfortable helmet for hours of continuous wearing.
Score: I rate the Vision-R GT Carbon as “Outstanding” for overall comfort, fit and padding as it is as comfortable as the best helmets I’ve tried and it stays that way for all-day rides.
These include an internal sun visor, an air pump bladder system in the liner and a new type of face shield removal system.
About three years ago (and just as the brand was developing some brand recognition in the U.S.A.), there was some sort of disagreement with their U.S. distributor and Shark helmets disappeared from U.S. retailers.
Taking a flashlight to the vent openings from within the helmet reveals that I can see the light on the inside of the external vent cover, so the vent channel appears to be clear and straight, but it’s just not very effective.
Score: The Vision-R GT Carbon gets a “Very Good” rating for overall ventilation.
The system in my S900 helmet (and many other helmets I’ve tried) has a mechanism that feels a bit cheap and tends to spring sharply up and down. The chin vent is about average in its opening size but the stream of air that enters the helmet when the chin vent is open is excellent.
As expected, the Pinlock insert is “un-foggable” and I simply can not get it to fog in most circumstances (perhaps over a boiling pot of water?), but there is a small price to pay. As good as the Pinlock inserts are, they still introduce some tiny distortions that can cause bright light sources to flare resulting in some unwanted “micro-glare”.
Shark has been making helmets for nearly 30 years and the company is based in Marseille, France.
Regardless of whether the bamboo is truly a “green” product or not, the liner is very comfortable and the thick padding seems to have just the right amount of cushion versus firmness. This is truly one of the most comfortable helmets I’ve placed on my head; it compares very well with other helmets that I’ve tried in this price range and above.
Score: Overall I give the Shark Vision-R GT Carbon an “Excellent” rating for all-around quality and it only misses the “Outstanding” rating due to the vent operation mechanisms. (See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.
Like the AGV Horizon reviewed recently, the optical quality isn’t up to the caliber of the main face shield. It isn’t poor by any means, but the careful observer will notice a bit of distortion to left and right, about 15-20 degrees off of the center of vision. I’ve seen much worse and I have not actually worn a helmet that had a sun visor that was optically superior to this one, but I have not tried the Shoei GT Air so I’m taking Rick’s word for it that there is a sun visor that bests the Shark.
The Shark brand was not commonly found in U.S. retailers until the last decade or so and during that time, many Shark helmet reviews were published on webBikeWorld.
The Pinlock for the Vision-R GT Carbon is the Max-View type, which means it covers a very wide portion of the face shield so the edges are kept well out of view except at the extremes of vision. I’ve had helmets with Pinlock inserts before and I never really found the edges that distracting, but now having used this Max-View, I’m spoiled by how unobtrusive it is.
It then adds several small touches to improve comfort and weight for the touring or long-distance rider.
This was very good news to me as I had been looking to purchase a new helmet to replace my aging Shark S900 (review) that I had purchased back in 2010.
The paint on the shell of my Shark Vision-R GT Carbon is very well done, though very (very) close inspection reveals the paint is not perfectly smooth, with some slight rippling. The feel of the surface clearcoat is well finished and completely smooth. I found no indications of imperfections or dust particles trapped in it.
When compared to most helmet brands that I’ve tried, the head sizing for the size large that I’m reviewing here is pretty much spot-on. That includes Shoei, KBC, AGV and HJC as a comparison– although personally I find AGV helmets such as the AGV K3 (review) and AGV K4 (review) have a chin bar that fits very close for my head shape.
Opening and closing the chin vent is easy and the sliding cover has strong detents, although it could be a bit smoother in operation and it does make a plastic creaking sound as it slides.
Internal Sun Visor
The Shark Vision-R GT Carbon has a built in drop-down sun visor, which also covers a very wide portion of the view and comes down far enough to not be a distracting line at the lower portion of vision.
Shark Vision-R GT Carbon Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Liner
Previous models of Shark helmets have typically fit on the narrow side, but the S900 I purchased a couple of years ago seemed closer to neutral, though still leaning towards the narrow. The Shark Vision-R GT Carbon also feels close to neutral in fit and with the inflatable cheek pads, the fit can be customized to feel snug for narrow to average width jaws.
The Shark Vision-R GT Carbon starts with the unique Shark Vision-R helmet with its panoramic view.
Speaking of the air pump, it is fairly large and I found that with it in place I could just about touch the pump with my chin. It wasn’t really distracting for me but I could see that owners with a more prominent chin may find it a little bit of a nuisance. This can be helped somewhat by repositioning the pump behind the chin bar.
The optical quality of the face shield is excellent as well and it is very thick, measuring just over 3.5 mm on the side and on the perimeter around the space for the Pinlock insert. This drops to just over 2.5 mm thick where the Pinlock insert is located.
Shark helmets are starting to reappear at several online U.S. retailers and the network seems to be growing again.
The helmet liner is very smooth and it is composed of bamboo fiber, which has the benefit of better moisture wicking and absorption properties than materials like polyester and cotton, as well as being tougher than those materials. Because it grows so quickly and thus is easily replenished, Bamboo is also touted as being eco-friendly.
Shark seems to have found the right combination of soft and firm here making this a very comfortable helmet for hours of continuous wearing.
The unrestricted view is such that I would challenge riders who think that full-face helmets limit vision too much to try a Shark Vision-R GT Carbon (the non-Carbon GT version is available here in the U.S.A. and has the same eye port size).
I have used the sun visor many times over the last several months and it operates as smoothly today as it did on day one.
Score: The Shark Vision-R GT Carbon easily rates an “Outstanding” for both horizontal and vertical visibility and I would say it is in class of its own here. For optical quality, the face shield is also “Outstanding” but the internal sun shade rates only a “Very Good” due to the minor optical distortion
I’ve seen much worse and I have not actually worn a helmet that had a sun visor that was optically superior to this one, but I have not tried the Shoei GT Air so I’m taking Rick’s word for it that there is a sun visor that bests the Shark.
I would classify my head shape as “Slightly Narrow” in the webBikeWorld Helmet Shapes scheme and I find the Vision-R GT Carbon fits me very well, with no inflation of the cheek pads needed. I found that I could remove the inflatable cheek pad with no change in fit.
There are two graphics available that have the same pattern: black-on-white with red accents (the version reviewed here) and a “LUMI” black luminescent version, which reverses the color scheme and loses the red accents. The LUMI version will glow at night after being exposed to light.
What was surprising is how good side-to-side visibility is. The edges of the helmet really don’t intrude into view unless you’re trying to look far to the side, such as when turning to do a head check before a lane change. The unrestricted view is such that I would challenge riders who think that full-face helmets limit vision too much to try a Shark Vision-R GT Carbon (the non-Carbon GT version is available here in the U.S.A. and has the same eye port size).
The clearcoat is thick and also nice and seems evenly applied however one can feel a slight “bump” at the edge of the decals that make up the graphics.
On the top of the helmet are two small rocker-style switches to open and close the top vents. Not much air seems to flow through them to the two small holes in the EPS liner on the inside. I did feel a faint bit of air flow on the highway when I had my head tilted down just a bit, but the volume of air flow was very weak.
The sun visor operating mechanism on the Vision-R GT Carbon is smooth and fluid as it is raised and lowered. It will not allow the sun visor to stay in place in an intermediate position.