Yamaha Tested: Shark EVO-ONE 2 flip-front helmet

Shark EVO-ONE 2 helmet

Another sign of old age and decrepitude from Dowds?

How much: £399.99
From: Shark
Pro: Good flip mechanism, comfy, looks good for a flipper
Not so: Rattly vents, not cheap

In my previous moto-journo life, I'd not have been seen dead in a flip-up helmet. They were for touring bores, coppers, and weirdo German tourists, and I'd be sticking with my full-face whoop-de-doop Arai RX-7 thanks very much.

But a few things have conspired, and now this Shark flipper has become my daily rider for the last 18 months or so, the lid I grab to pop down the shops or to pick up one of the kids from Scouts.

Firstly, the tech has improved greatly, and flip front helmets are now far better than they used to be in terms of fit, protection and ease of use. Shark sent me this EVO-ONE unit to test when it was new, and tbh, I left it at the back of the cupboard for a few months, convinced it wasn't for me. Then, one day I was booked on a photography job, and pulled it out, so I could flip it up and take pics from the back of a bike. And bugger me if it wasn't actually really good. The flip opening is a little stiff at first, but it's loosened up nicely, and is a breeze to get on and off, particularly with my earphones in (full face lids sometimes pull them out, being so tight round the ears).

There's a flip-down internal sun visor so you don't end up stuck with a dark visor at night, and the main visor comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert. The vents are easy to use and work well, and the seat-buckle type strap is quick to fasten. There's a high quality feel to the build, especially little things, like the symmetrical logo on the aluminium side plates that reads the same whichever way the chinbar is positioned. (EVO-ONE is palindromic-ish, if you make the 'N' and the 'V' a bit weird haha). It's also properly homologated as a bike helmet in both modes - i.e. as an open face lid with the chinbar up, and also as a full-face helmet with the chinbar locked down.

It's not all gravy though. The vents on top have started to rattle in the wind, which is annoying on a motorway run, and the little plastic spoiler at the back on top has come loose, so I've sellotaped it in place like a kid's NHS glasses from the 1980s. Classy Al. The worst bit though is catching yourself in a mirror when the front is flipped up, and realising you've turned into your dad. Or grandad. Gah. Keep her flipped down though and it's all good.

For all my love for this lid though, I lost it last week. I was taking the train to Yamaha to pick up a bike, and left it on the luggage shelf, like a proper senile old daftie. I've got a backup, new EVO-ONE 2 (in red) for best, so it wasn't the end of the world, but I popped up to the Waterloo Lost Property Office and asked anyway. Bugger me if someone hadn't handed it in, restoring my faith in humanity! It cost me £2 to get it back (the standard return fee for 'hats' apparently), and all was good once more.

* Seems I'm not the only one who likes an EVO-ONE. French MotoGP ace Johann Zarco is obviously paid megabucks to wear a Shark Race R Pro full face race helmet when racing, but he chooses an EVO-ONE 2 for road riding. Here's a vid of him with his flippy helmet.