HJC RPHA 70 Test & Review

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  • The HJC RPHA 70 bridges full sport and touring helmets

  • It is built upon the HJC RPHA 11’s principles

  • Lightweight, comfortable, safe, at a great value

  • HJC Helmet Malaysia have also introduced other models besides the RPHA 70 – click here to see more

It’s probably needless to say that motorcycle helmets have come a long, long way to where they are now. But along with that progress, helmets have become sub-divided into many categories for different uses. Gone were the days when a rider could almost wear just one helmet for every application (off-road riding notwithstanding).

Nowadays, you’d have specific helmets for the track, sport-touring, adventure-touring, touring, sport classics, cafe racers, customs, urban riding, and everything else in between.

We’ll pick the first two.

A race helmet should ideally be light, stable at high speeds, and snug-fitting. Comfort is relative, as a race helmet should hold tight to the wearer’s face and head, lest it moves around when blasting down SIC’s back straight at top speeds.

A sport-touring helmet, on the other hand, should provide all-day comfort, good ventilation and also good stability at high speeds. The emphasis for sport-touring helmets is comfort, something which is a compromise in racing helmets.

Courtesy of womenridersnow

Bridging that gap is never easy, as the resulting helmet is more often than not compromised for either spectrum. So how? You need both.

Or do you?

Built on the solid foundations of the HJC RPHA 11 race helmet (see here for more), the HJC RPHA 70 seeks to bridge those two concepts into one complete high performance package.

As with the RPHA 11, the RPHA 70’s shell is made from a what HJC calls their “Premium Integrated Matrix Plus (PIM+)” material, which consists of carbon fibre, Aramid, fiberglass and Kevlar; resulting in a lightweight but strong shell. The EPS has different densities around the helmet.

Traces of the RPHA 11’s design philosophies are evident in the RPHA 70’s tall chinbar, aerodynamic shell design, optically correct 2D faceshield with the centrally-located lock (which it shares with the RPHA 11), and interior paddings, in addition to the cheekpads that are extractable in emergencies.

Sport-touring features include the internal drop-down sunshield and large vents on the chinbar and crown (top of the head). The are deep cutouts for the ears, closed off by padding. Remove those pads and you have yourself built-in velcro pads to attach your Bluetooth speakers (I really welcome this).

The cheekpads are thick and tall. There are eyeglass “pockets” on both sides – spectacles wearers will welcome this. The crown pad is also thick and seems to float a couple of milimetres above the inner EPS lining.

Our first opportunity to sample the RPHA 70 was during the ride to Penang to cover the BMW Motorrad Nightfuel event (click here for our coverage and pictures). We rode a myriad of bikes including three variants of the R nineT, S 1000 R naked sportbike, K 1600 GT tourer, and G 310 R lightweight roadster. That means we rode on more bikes without fairing for wind protection.

The BMW S 1000 R was fast! You’d drone along at 60km/h in sixth gear, hit the throttle and you’re suddenly flying at 180km/h. But there was no wind protection. This was where the RPHA 70 showed its mettle. It stayed stayed stable without wobbling around, nor did it felt like ripping our heads off when we turned to the sides. Besides that, it resisted lifting and diving

Sep was testing the BMW G 310 R all the way into Penang (with top speeds close to 170km/h) and he reported the RPHA 70 being stable, too.

The HJC RPHA 70 is also relatively quiet at high speeds even without earplugs, which meant that I didn’t have to turn up my Bluetooth communicator’s volume to full blast, and it’s definitely a pleasant experience with earplugs in.

The sunshield dropped down and retracted quickly when activated via the switch at the bottom of the left chinbar. As with the main faceshield, the sunshield is optically correct, which means it won’t give you headaches from bad vision. My only gripe with the sunshield is that the bottom edges drop ever so slightly when its up, although Sep didn’t encounter this problem.

Airflow through the Advanced Channelling System (ACS) can be described as good and satisfactory. Air entering through the chin vents is directed upwards to the faceshield. A secondary and smaller chin vent directs airflow straight to wearer’s chin and mouth (the switch is on the inside). With the top central vent open, the wearer could feel a cooling stream of air moving past his crown.

We had encountered some rain on the way into Penang, and we thought we’ve come through the worst.

On that same evening, we rode from our hotel at Gurney Drive to the event ground next to the new Penang Bridge, when we got hit by the heaviest rainstorm we’ve ever encountered. There wasn’t even time to close the vents but thankfully, no water got through and the faceshield remained clear as we’ve installed the anti-fog lens which came in the box.

We’ve since donned the helmet everywhere we went, including riding around the city in all weather conditions and times of the day. As with most fullface helmets, the air inside could get a little stuffy on scorching hot days but all one needs to do is crack open the faceshield a little or, just ride faster.

Back to the subject about track usage: Not only does the HJC RPHA 70 comply to the ECE R22.05 standard, but it is also approved by the FIM. Approval by the FIM means the wearer could use the helmet for FIM-sanctioned racing events. That’s unprecedented, as most if not all, FIM approved race helmets are without built-in sunshades.

So, there you go. A real two-in-one helmet at one great value.

Features:

  • Advanced PIM+ (Premium Integrated Matrix Plus) construction: carbon fiber, Aramid, carbon-glass hybrid fabric for enhanced shock resistance
  • Anti-fog smoke tinted sunshield deploys quickly
  • RapidFire system for quick, tool-less faceshield removal and installation
  • Emergency cheek pads removal
  • Multicool interior with advanced anti-bacteria fabric provides enhanced moisture wicking and quick drying
  • Crown and cheek pads are removable and washable
  • Anti-fog lens prepared shield
  • Includes anti-fog insert lens
  • Glasses-friendly EPS design
  • ECE 22.05 and FIM approved

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