After spending three seasons sponsoring three-time MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, HJC Helmets surely learned a few things along the way, as you’d expect when your rider is reaching 220-plus mph on the straights. It appears that HJC has infused many of those developments into its new flagship RPHA 11 Pro helmet.
Although looking outwardly similar to the previous RPHA 10 helmet, upon closer inspection the RPHA 11 Pro displays a number of new features. A new Premium Integrated Matrix Plus (PIM+) shell incorporates a woven blend of carbon fiber, aramid, fiberglass, and organic non-woven fabric to create a strong and even lighter structure than before, though there are some key changes. Up front, the eyeport is widened by 5mm on the top edge to allow a better field of view in a racing tuck. Out back, the aerodynamic spoiler has been redesigned, both to create better negative pressure to pull air out through the top rear vents and to provide better stability at ultra-high speeds.
The bottom rim of the shell on each side now has a recess cutout (ostensibly to reduce collarbone contact in a crash), with new rear exhaust vents working with the revamped chin vents and new forehead vent to help provide cooling airflow throughout the interior. The Max Air Flow Top Vent shape has been slightly changed, with rubber trim on the ventilation adjustment dial controls for better feel and control. A nice bonus is that the RPHA 11 Pro comes with both a clear 2D Flat-Racing shield with antifog insert lens and a 2D Dark Smoke shield.
Even the removable/washable interior saw some upgrades, with the comfort liner now using advanced anti-bacterial Multi-Cool fabric for better moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties than the previous-generation material. The cheek pads now have emergency straps to allow quick and easy removal by rescue personnel, there are reflective patches on the rear portion for nighttime visibility, and the EPS liner is equipped with recessed speaker areas for Bluetooth setups, along with special channels for better comfort when wearing eyeglasses.
Right off the bat, the RPHA 11 Pro feels noticeably lighter than most helmets, and our scales confirmed that feeling with the HJC weighing in at 3.2 pounds (1,450 grams), putting it on the lighter end of the helmets we’ve tested. Slipping on the RPHA 11 Pro requires a smidgen more effort due to the snug fit of the neck roll, but the payoff is better sealing around the ear area for less wind noise. Overall comfort was excellent, with no pressure points on our oval-shaped heads and a definite improvement over the previous RPHA 10 model as far as comfort was concerned.
Also noticeable between the RPHA 10 and 11 Pro models was the improved visibility in a racing tuck from the wider eyeport. While the 10 certainly wasn’t bad, the 11 has a much bigger field of view. Shield sealing around the eyeport was good with no noticeable leaks, and replacing the shields is quick and easy; simply pull the lever to remove, and just push in at the pivot point to install. Aerodynamics on the RPHA 11 are excellent, with no buffeting or excessive noise at speed; turning your head results in some aero drag but not as bad as some helmets we’ve tried. Overall noise levels were very good, helped by the snug neck roll.
The only aspect of the RPHA 11 that didn’t impress us was the ventilation. While certainly adequate, considering this is HJC’s flagship model and the competition, the venting performance could be better. Opening up the forehead and top vents provide some cooling effect but not to the same extent compared to the class leaders like Arai and Shoei. On the flip side, the RPHA 11 Pro is several hundred dollars cheaper than its competition, and that’s always a plus for many.
The HJC RPHA 11 Pro meets DOT standards and is ECE 22.05 approved, has a five-year warranty, and comes in sizes XS to XXL. Solid colors retail from $399.99, while various graphics (including numerous Marvel Comics and Star Wars character replicas) start at $449.99.