Gear review: Shark Evoline Series 3 Pro Carbon helmet

There’s always some excitement when you unpack a new product from the box, and Shark’s lightweight Evoline Series 3 Pro Carbon helmet was no exception. But when I pulled it from the box by its base, the rubber trim at the front opening came off in my hand.

Not a good start. The trim is held on by glue, so it wouldn’t just snap back on, but even the most appropriate super glue wouldn’t hold it back in place. To make matters worse, when I pulled ever so gently on the trim at the opposite side of the helmet’s base, it also came away, just like that.

I tried half-a-dozen different glues and epoxies, for rubber and plastic and everything in between, but none would work. When you wear the helmet, those end trims are directly in the wind and if they come away just a little, they’ll soon be flapping in the breeze and come away a lot. As well, those are the points of the helmet that you want to hold onto when you pull it on and off your head.

In the end, I found some electrical tape and stuck the trim back into place with it. That did the trick. You can’t really see the black tape against the black helmet unless you’re up close, but even so, this just shouldn’t happen on a $700 helmet.

Clever design

Okay, let’s forget about the trim for the moment and look at the rest of the helmet. It’s very light and it’s very comfortable and it quickly became my go-to helmet. Shark’s been making the Evoline Series for a few years now and it’s been successful but a bit heavy; this Pro Carbon edition uses carbon fibre and multi-axial glass fibres (whatever they are) to bring down the weight from 1,820 grams to 1,715 g. That doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a lot of difference to the comfort of your neck on a ride. It comes at a price though: the Pro Carbon costs about $250 more than the regular Evoline Series 3.

The helmet’s great advantage is that the chin piece can be locked in place at the front to create a full-coverage helmet, or can be flipped right over the top to sit securely in place at the back, turning it into a three-quarter lid. Most other modular helmets don’t do this. They flip up so you can talk easily at a gas station, or have a drink or a snack without removing your helmet and showing everyone your sweaty hair, but they jut forward like the front of a ferry during loading and are unsafe for riding while open. The Evoline 3, however, is certified safe for riding whether the helmet is closed or open. It really is two helmets in one.

To be honest, I like an open helmet while riding (yes, I know I’ll lose my chin and probably more if I crash and hit it against the ground), but not always. A sportbike needs a closed helmet, while the ride on a cruiser or tourer often benefits from an open helmet. When it rains, you want a closed helmet. When you’re puttering around the countryside on your vintage or retro bike, you want an open helmet. The Evoline 3 provides both at the same time, and both look good. We’re not talking half-helmet beanies here, but effective three-quarter coverage, and it really is a very clever design.

Full featured

The Evoline 3 is loaded with features. There’s a second tinted visor inside the rim that works very well (it’s rated at UV380) and makes you look like Robocop. It means you don’t need to bring sunglasses, but if you do, you can ride comfortably directly into the sun with a dual layer of shading. There’s a new channel cut into the inside foam as well, so the arms of your glasses can fit inside the helmet without being pressed hard against your temples and encouraging headaches. When it gets dark, don’t bother with the integrated sun visor and just use the full, clear visor. It extends fully whether the chin bar is in place at the front or locked away on the back.

Like most helmets these days, there are ventilation channels that can be opened on the chin piece and at the top of the helmet to allow air to run through the inside. It’s a good idea and I always open the front channel to provide a fresh breeze for breathing, but I can rarely tell if the channels above my hair are open or not. The Evoline Series 3 was no different.

The chin bar is easily flippable by just pressing on a large, central lock button at the very front. You can do this fairly easily on the move with just one hand if you’re moving the bar to the back, but if you’re bringing it forward, to create a full-face helmet, you’re best to do this while parked. Both sides of the bar need to click into place and that needs both hands, which is not recommended at speed. Also, when you do this, your fingers will be fumbling and pulling on the rubber trim, so if it’s not come away yet, it soon will.

Full or three-quarters, the helmet is very comfortable but it’s not especially quiet – certainly not to a Shoei or Arai standard. You’ll want ear plugs for much more than a short ride, and this starts to become an issue if you ride with speakers in your helmet: If the helmet is loud, you need to crank the sound even louder to make it heard, and if you’re wearing ear plugs, you need to crank it very loud indeed, which is a terrible habit for hearing loss in the long term.

The Evoline Series 3 comes ready for fitting the integrated but optional “Sharktooth” intercom bluetooth system, for staying in touch with a passenger or other riders, or just listening to music or even making phone calls. We’ll have a review of this $332 system soon and will attach the link here when it’s ready.

Conclusion

So is it worth it? The Evoline Series 3 Pro Carbon is not cheap but a good helmet shouldn’t be cheap – it should be safe, and it should be comfortable. This Shark is both of those and it looks good too, whether it’s a full-face or a three-quarter lid.

Its main advantage over any other helmets on the market is that it transforms in moments between a closed and an open style. Both are effective and rated as safe for riding, and neither look dorky.

Its disadvantage is that it’s a bit loud to wear on the highway, though ear plugs quickly solve that issue. And the rubber trim is not stuck effectively in place. Electric tape can also solve that, but do you really want to sully your helmet with aftermarket sticky tape? No – thought not.

5 thoughts on “Gear review: Shark Evoline Series 3 Pro Carbon helmet”

  1. I’ve just bought my second Evoline. The first lasted six years and is still in good shape. I went to Europe to get the latest generation. I can say that build quality is still excellent. I have had no problems like were mentioned in the article. In fact, the newest version is superior in several ways…room for eyeglass frames, better visor movement (chin bar can move independant of the placement of the visor), smoother operations and lock-in for the chinbar. The vents are too good (I almost froze my bald head this morning at -1C). I use earplugs all the time, so I don’t know if it’s noisy or not. It’s the best helmet I’ve every worn and that includes one Arai and one Shoei.

  2. I also have an Evoline 3, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Mines 3 years old now. When it’s time to replace, I’ll be getting another one. The only problem I’ve had is the little plastic trim pieces on the jaw piece that cover the screws, I’ve broken 2 of them. Doesn’t effect the helmet, and I think it comes from opening or closing the helmet wearing my gloves .

  3. I’ve had a Shark Evoline 3 since last spring. Fortunately, I was spared the quality control issues you had with yours as none of the trim has never tried to cast out to live its own life away from home. My bike has a fairly large fairing which enables me to wear this helmet as a three-quarter, but on colder days I prefer the full-face configuration. Either way, I find it very comfortable and not too noisy, maybe because of the fairing. It may have been designed to integrate a Sharktooth communicator, but I had no trouble fitting my Sena 20S, sound and conversations remain clear whether the chin bar is open or closed. In my experience the Shark Evo 3 has proven a quality lid and an excellent purchase.

  4. Years back my Shark Evoline 2 took a direct hit on the chin bar. Vent plastic broke off, but the chin bar stayed in place and did its job. Could still rotate perfectly afterwards. It’s not only a smart design, from personal experience, I think the chin bar locking mechanism holds in an impact. Also, the main visor broke away in that accident and I couldn’t find it. I was thankful for the sun shield as it gave me enough eye protection to ride home.

    I replaced it with a 3. Neither had that problem with the trim on the front.

Join the conversation!