First impressions: HJC RPHA 11

After crashing my bike a year ago and riding with a less-than-new spare helmet I had sitting in my garage, I was in the market for a mid-priced replacement for my Scorpion 1100. So, Zac hooked me up with HJC RPHA 11 for a test. I must admit I have not been a fan of HJC, but after looking at the RPHA 11, I was intrigued and anxious for its arrival.

I was looking for a helmet with some high-viz paint, so I asked for the RPHA 11 with the Pro Riberte graphic, with the matt black finish and green highlight. Out of the box, my first impression was that this is one good-looking helmet. The subtle graphite graphics on the matte black finish had just enough green to catch the eye of drivers who would otherwise not see me.

The RPHA 11 carries ECE 22.05 and DOT safety certifications, but it is not Snell-certified like some of the other helmets in the RPHA line have been. That’s fine for the street, but might not pass at your local track.

When initially checking out the RPHA 11 online, I failed to note that the RPHA 11 comes with both clear and dark smoke visors, so when I opened the box I was pleasantly surprised to find the tinted visor included. That’s normally a $50 add-on for most helmets. The chin curtain and breath guard came unassembled and the chin curtain took some man-handling to install. The instructions indicated it would just slide in, so in faith I just pushed harder until it finally slid between the helmet shell and interior padding.

Changing the visors is a fairly simple process, as long as you over-extend the visor up. The first few tries I failed to raise the visor enough, which prevented the quick-release from activating and left me frustrated.

With the clear visor you could see where things need to line up, so after a few practice runs the switch became much easier and I can now make the change in less than 30 seconds.

The locking visor also has a quick-change option, and comes with an optional tinted visor.

There are many features to the helmet I could comment on, such as the locking shield, and emergency release for the cheek pads, but one of the first things I noticed was how light the helmet is.

At just 3.12 lbs, the helmet feels incredibly light. I was concerned that it may result in increased buffeting on my Honda 919 with a short windscreen, but I have not noticed any negative results of the lightweight composite shell.

It has been a cold, wet spring in the Maritimes, so the need for the six-stage venting has been limited. However, it is clear from the number of vents that airflow through the helmet is improved over other models. I’ll have to wait for warmer weather to test the various vents and their impact.

The enlarged eye port was notable over my previous helmets. With a semi-sport seating position on my bike, the edges of the eye port are barely in my peripheral vision, allowing a full range of vision in all directions.

The helmet is advertised as eyeglass-friendly and true to their word, my glasses slid on and off without any problem or squeezing.

I’ll be keeping notes over the next few months as I continue the test; I will share further thoughts once I put more miles down. For now, here are some notable pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Very light
  • The dark smoke visor was included
  • The visors interchange quickly, once you get the hang of it
  • Good venting across the visor
  • Good fit for an medium oval head shape
  • Eyeglass friendly.

Cons:

  • Installing the chin curtain was not as smooth as it should be;
  • Matte black finish seems to mark easily but I’ll have to see how it weathers after a season
  • More green paint on the sides would make it more visible.

The RPHA 11 retails in the $500-$600 range in Canada, depending which graphics you want and where you’re shopping.

2 thoughts on “First impressions: HJC RPHA 11”

  1. Couple of things….. The article is credited to Zac but in the first para it says, “Zac hooked me up with…..” So who wrote the piece? And was it provided by the distributor or purchased?

    Also a couple of fairly critical points weren’t addressed. Minor things such as list price and what approval the lid carries.

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