HJC's new top-of-the-line lid is called the RPS-10, and the company is understandably proud of its latest product. Three years of development went into the RPS-10, with HJC employing CAD and rapid prototyping technology in addition to its new 130-mph full-size wind tunnel for high speed aerodynamic testing. Claimed to be the lightest Snell 2010-approved helmet on the market, the RPS-10 features HJC's Premium Integrated Matrix (PIM) construction that utilizes carbon fiber, aramid and fiberglass to create a unique woven blend that is both remarkably strong and noticeably lighter than conventional shell materials. A new production method uses a special pre-mold that precisely controls where the carefully sized segments of PIM material are placed in order to avoid unnecessary overlap of fibers. This also allows a more precise amount of proprietary resin blend to be used in the forming process, cutting overall weight even further.
The 2D Flat-Racing faceshield uses a patented center-locking system developed through testing and feedback from MotoGP star Ben Spies, and not only is equipped with Pinlock(r)-ready tabs, but also includes a clear anti-fog Pinlock(r) insert. The faceshield is mounted using HJC's RapidFire(tm)II Shield Replacement System that employs a spring-loaded latch that permits quick and easy shield swaps without tools.
The moisture-wicking SilverCool Plus(tm) interior liner is fully removable and washable, and also resists odor buildup with an antibacterial fabric that utilizes a gingko extract. Assisting in wicking away heat and humidity within the helmet during use is the Max Air-Flow Top Vent that has a rotating dial on each side that can be adjusted to seven different positions; the Advanced Channeling System (ACS) helps evacuate the stale air, and is claimed to increase ventilation by approximately 50 percent over HJC's previous designs, along with a lower noise level of about four dB. Like most top-shelf helmets, the RPS-10 includes a five-year warranty on materials and workmanship.
HJC claims that the small and medium-size RPS-10 weighs 3.30 pounds; our medium example scaled in at 3.35 pounds on our hyper-accurate scales, making the company's claim of the lightest Snell 2010-approved full-face helmet (as well as its published weight claim) basically right on the money. The weight difference is definitely noticeable when you hold the helmet and compare it to other brands.
Overall fit and comfort on El Jefe's oval-shaped head was excellent, with the plush lining and nicely contoured padding keeping the helmet snug without excessively pinching the facial area. Ventilation was very good, with a definite cooling felt on top of the head - although it's not quite on the level of the better-vented helmets on the market. The eyeport is large enough to provide excellent peripheral vision in a variety of sportbike-forward head positions, with the exception of the lower regions; the chinbar's comparatively large size means that any instruments that are fairly low in your line of sight will require you to tilt your head in order to see them.
The faceshield action was nice and positive, and shield replacement is fairly easy, although the spring-loaded latches require a good amount of effort with your thumbs in order to release the shield. The Pinlock(r) system has excellent anti-fog properties, but we dislike how its leading edge up top doesn't quite match the eyeport, leading to some distortion. Also, it's no wonder the Pinlock(r) system is included, as the RPS-10's chin vent is pretty much useless as far as defogging is concerned - the only real gripe we had with the helmet.
Overall aerodynamics were superb, with little buffeting or lift in a number of different head positions. Turning your head to look over your shoulder was also fairly turbulence-free, with very little pull even at a 90-degree angle to the airflow; the time spent sculpting the RPS-10 in the wind tunnel is obvious here.
We were very impressed with the HJC RPS-10. The company has often been perceived as one of the second-tier helmet manufacturers as far as performance and quality - but we think that's going to change with the new RPS-10.
Retail: $349.99 - $499.99
Colors: 6 solid colors, 3 graphic versions
Sizes: XS - XXL
What We're Testing
Arai Sai Max Vision Pinlock(tm) Faceshield
Utilizing the Pinlock(tm) anti-fog visor system already popular in Europe, the SAI Max Vision Pinlock faceshield is designed to fit Arai's Corsair V, RX-Q, and Vector-2 helmets, allowing clear vision during harsh weather conditions. The replaceable Pinlock insert is also available in a variety of shades and colors.
Alpinestars 365 Gore-Tex(r) Gloves
Designed as an all-weather sport riding glove, the full-grain leather 365 Gore-Tex(r) gloves from Alpinestars feature new X-TRAFIT(tm) technology from Gore-Tex that allows waterproof breathability with close fit, improved dexterity, and high tactility on the motorcycle controls.