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Shark D'skwal


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After a year of ownership I've replaced my first ever helmet, my Shark D'skwal. It seems like a popular model at an entry level price point so thought I'd post up the good and bad in case it helps.


The good

The price point is pretty realistic for people getting into motorcycling. You can pick them up for £149.99, and mine was even cheaper as the dealer was having an offer on helmets that weekend. I think I paid about £115ish in the end, and that included the pinlock visor.


It includes a ratchet strap and internal sun visor. The ratchet strap when I was a newbie saved faffing with a d-ring (although on my new helmet I've picked that up quickly enough, I can't help but feel in amongst thinking about everything I needed to do on the bike it's one less thing)


The sun visor is operated by turning a lever on the left side of the visor, I always found this really easy to find and use no matter what gloves I was wearing.


Ventilation always seemed good on hot days, I wore this in literally all weathers, and never had an issue with rain getting in where it shouldn't. I did find that the chin vent always had to be open or my glasses would steam up.


In terms of vents, there are two, the chin and one at the top. The top is actually so effective at bringing in cool air it got closed in the autumn and has only been opened once since on an abnormally warm spring day.


There is room for glasses, although I did have to push them in a bit and I fear the initial days bent my rimless glasses slightly. It did get easier though (or my glasses fitted the shape eventually......)


The bad


The coating on the sun visor peeled. No idea why, it may have been when I cleaned it but I only ever used visor or glasses cleaning products. Luckily it wasn't noticeable when using.


I found the vents hard to operate in gloves. The top one took a fair bit of hunting around before finding it and operating it, and I never dared to attempt it whilst riding. The chin should have been easy but I'd have to fumble around to find it, frequently pushing on what I thought might be the vent but was actually the helmet shell.


The absolute biggest bad point though, is the visor itself. I think the design is lacklustre and actually introduced a major weak point in how it mounts to the helmet. Basically there are two plastic prongs that you wiggle onto the helmet. The idea is that there's no complicated mechanisms to take the visor on and off, which sounds good.


 

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However, as I removed the visor to fully clean it inside and out maybe once a month (not exactly a crazy schedule) I think over time the prongs got weakened. They're relatively flimsy and as I removed the visor one morning just before a ride.... snap. The top prongs on the right hand side snapped.


The visor still seemed to seal ok once in the down position, was a touch flappy when open.


A look online showed me two things:

 

  1. Lots of owners reporting this happening in review comments, and that they were on their second or third visor
  2. A replacement visor was going to be the best part of £46

 

This left me in a bit of a quandary. A new visor was a significant cost vs the overall cost of the helmet. And I was worried that if I bought a replacement, and the same fate befell it, Then I was now looking at the best part of £100 spent on replacement visors, money which would have paid off a substantial chunk of a helmet upgrade. So even though I felt bad as I knew the helmet had a fair bit of use left in it, I bought a replacement Arai yesterday. Hopefully it's not buyer's remorse but in just one ride I felt some of the benefits of the more feature rich helmet, but I'll leave that for a separate review.


Conclusion


If you're new to riding and fearful of the cost adding up then this probably isn't a bad choice. But do consider the visor design. It will definitely get you going though, which is why I wouldn't warn anyone off it. I know it also comes in a ridiculous number of designs if that's your thing, mine was just black.


I'm going to leave mine in the helmet bag for a bit in a safe place just in case I need it in an emergency.

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