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The UK government has released more star ratings for new motorcycle helmets, under its controversial SHARP testing system.

The latest round of test results have seen lids like the Marushin Tiger, which retails for around £100, receive a 5 star rating, whilst a Schuberth S1 Pro, which costs £400, is rated with just two stars.

insidebikes asked the Schuberth UK importer, Henry Rivers-Fletcher at Oxford Products to comment;

“This is difficult because it comes across as sour grapes, but we – along with other importers and manufacturers - have some problems with the SHARP testing regime. Basically they use a range of helmet forms, a  kind of dummy metal head if you like, which they place the helmets on when doing impact tests.

Because the Schuberth S1 Pro in an L size, does NOT fit the SHARP L size head form, they place it onto an M sized form, and then boost the impact speeds by 10-15%. The reason that SHARP give for this is that the M sized head form is lighter than an L sized one, so they say that gives Schuberth some type of advantage. Obviously we disagree.

The Schuberth S1 Pro in an L is slightly smaller than the industry average, it also has extra sound insulation materials inside the shell, which is why an L sized metal head form will not fit. It will fit an M sized head form, but I don’t see how a perfect fit offers any real advantage.

We feel that adding an extra 10-15% on the impact speeds is just bad science, we want a level playing field when it comes to helmet testing.”

The UK government department responsible for SHARP testing has yet to reply to insidebikes’ request for an explanation on how their test regime has been formulated, or the variability of the results published so far.

A QUESTION OF SAFETY

Here’s the thing; ultimately the SHARP helmet safety tests are being promoted as a way of educating UK helmet buyers, but are they really any use at all? Why aren’t random point impact tests, or multiple impact tests being done on helmets bought from shops and at shows? Why is it that neither SHARP or the ECE 22.05 test demand a chinbar impact test on a full-face lid?

We say that the government should conduct rigorous, scientific and random impact testing, then publish the methodology, as well as the results, in detail. Anything less is simply an educated guess and guesswork isn’t good enough when lives are at stake.

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