MO Tested: Schuberth E1 Modular Helmet

John Burns
by John Burns

Wow, we’ve been waiting more than a year for Schuberth’s new modular to get here if the date on this MO story from last year is correct, but now it’s finally here, a brand-new E1 in Hunter Blue (one of 15 available schemes) in this case. At that coming-out party last September, Schuberth said the new E1 is a lot like the C3 modular it’s been manufacturing for years, but with an adjustable visor to make it an “Adventure” helmet. Mission accomplished!

Schuberth E1 Modular Helmet

Editor Score: 87.0%
Aesthetics 9.25/10
Protection 9.0/10
Value 8.0/10
Comfort/Fit 8.5/10
Quality/Design 8.0/10
Weight 8.0/10
Options/Selection 9.0/10
Innovation 8.5/10
Weather Suitability 9.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 9.25/10
Overall Score87/100

Not the New Schuberth E1 Adventure

In fact they claim the C3 and the new E1 are both the quietest, lightest and generally most advanced modulars you can buy, with many of the same features. I pulled the new E1 on over my noggin and proceeded to ride. That’s me in the burgundy Shoei Neotec in 9 out of 10 MO photo shoots, what I consider to be the modular helmet (or any helmet) benchmark, so I really have no choice but to compare the Schuberth to it.

The bottom of the Schuberth seems a bit snugger than other brands, and its shell is stiffer to pry apart as you pull it on over your ears. Once it’s on, it feels just right, but getting it past the ears is never easy. My E1 is an “L” (59 cm or 7-⅛) which is my usual. There are only two shell sizes, the smaller of which contains four sizes, XS, S, M and L. The bigger shell accommodates three sizes, from XL (61) to XXXL (65 cm).

The ratcheting chin strap buckle is sweet indeed, easy to secure or undo even with gloves on.

I call this one “Hunter Blue E1 on Air Mattress.” The beak pops off and on easily and ratchets into three positions, this one being lowest. The matte finish seems like it will be more resistant to abuse than shiny paint, which is a good thing in an Adventure helmet (that’s also designed for sporty touring).

It’s very neutral in the air, not wanting to yank your head in any direction at speed, and with the faceshield clamped positively closed, there’s very little wind noise – though I’m not able to back up “the world’s quietest modular claim.” There’s a cracked position for the faceshield just up from locked that lets in a little air, also quietly, and a couple good-sized chin vents, backed by a foam filter to keep out bugs, behind them.

The totally distortion-free shield comes with what looks just like a Pinlock insert, but which Schuberth says is “double-glazed”, which should work excellently to keep things fog-free on damp days. Shield removal is intuitive and easy without consulting the manual, and Schuberth offers six options in addition to clear. One of my favorite things about modulars with an internal sun visor, like the E1, is the fact that you can just lower the visor when the sun’s bright. The E1’s sun visor works great and is also replaceable.

What distinguishes the E1 is its external visor, or beak, which allows it to be called an Adventure helmet. It ratchets onto the faceshield mechanism and adjusts into three positions, moves up with the modular chunk of the helmet when you raise it, and comes back into the same position when you lower it. It’s a snap to remove and leave in the cargo bay of your NC700X when you don’t need it, which for me is nearly all the time. But you can barely tell it’s there when it’s attached at normal speeds, adding very little noise or buffeting, and giving you that Ewan McGregor look.

Venting-wise, there’s a big three-position air intake on top that vents out the back of the helmet, but which doesn’t move nearly as much air as the Shoei Neotec. You don’t really need a wind tunnel to expect that, since the Schuberth exits are a pair of 1mm round holes at bottom rear, instead of the Shoei’s big rear vent. In the Shoei, you can actually feel the wind in your hair.

My main complaint occurs whenever I try to stick my prescription Wayfarers in. Unlike most premium helmets and even most cheap ones, there doesn’t seem to be any provision for glasses, or at least not much. I thought maybe thinner cheek pads, but since my L is already the biggest of the small shells, no thinner ones are available. And looking at a bunch of other helmets reveals that most of them leave a little room in the EPS liner in that area for glasses to slide in, but the Schuberth doesn’t.

Schuberth explains: “There is a natural break where the cheek pad and crown liner meet that creates a channel for most reading or prescription style glasses. However not all glasses will fit in this channel, as the helmet fits each individual differently and every set of glasses have a different profile. The majority of reading or prescription glasses will fit, however some fashion glasses earpieces are too thick for the channel.”

Right about where the Schuberth logo is would be a good place to leave an indent for glasses. The fully removable/washable interior is made of COOLMAX and Thermocool and other high-tech materials designed to keep your head cool and dry.

Basically, you won’t be wearing any thick-framed glasses with the E1 unless you get busy on the liner with a knife or something. My wire-framed Aviators work much better, but they’re not my favorites for riding. So I gouge the earpieces in past my temples anyway, slightly disgruntled. That snugness doesn’t end with goring your temples on the way in, though: Anytime the helmet rocks forward a little, like when you close the front, it presses my glasses down on the bridge of my nose. Ouch.. If you don’t wear glasses, disregard this whole paragraph. Three paragraphs.

My final complaint is about the size of the modular release button, which is on the small size, sort of tucked behind the chin bar, and can be hard to locate even with lightweight gloves even after you’ve been wearing the E1 a while. A minor quibble, but that button is instantly findable on every other modular I’ve worn.

Past those things, as you’d expect for this kind of money, this is an excellent helmet. Like the Neotec and my favorite Arais, the basic shape is longish oval, and on my head the E1 fits snug and securely, with no pressure points, and was comfortably wearable for hours at a time right out of the box

World’s lightest modular? Not according to my local postal scale, which has this size L E1 at 4 pounds, 1 ounce. The Neotec weighs 4 lbs, 0.5 oz – and my new HJC IS-MAX II weighs 3 lbs, 15 oz – so the Schuberth is right there in the modular ballpark, but not especially light.

One techy-cool option for the E1 is this SRC audio system, which simply replaces the standard neck roll. The plug at the top snaps into an antenna already embedded in the liner, and from there you’re Bluetoothing, intercomming, cell phoning, GPSing and FM radio-receiving for $299.

There it is; it’s a very nice helmet for $889 (solid colors are $829), but for me, for that kind of money, I’d more expect a perfect helmet. To my head, the Schuberth doesn’t exceed the high mark set by the Shoei Neotec, but then the Neotec doesn’t have a beak or Schuberth’s SRC system (which MO has not yet had a chance to test). Really at the end of the day, it’s all about fit and personal preference when it comes to helmets (and if you wear glasses in this case).

If the Schuberth fits, it’s definitely a very safe and secure-feeling high-quality helmet that projects that solid Teutonic vibe, and when it comes to buying one there’s no substitute for a brick-and-mortar store where you can try one on. There’s a Schuberth dealer locator at the site below.

$829 – 889
ECE R 22.05 and DOT-approved


John Burns
John Burns

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5 of 8 comments
  • Meaty Midrange Meaty Midrange on Oct 21, 2016

    Does these actually sell for $800+, or is that the MSRP that gets discounted in the real world? It's a nice helmet, but holy crap that's a lot of money. I bought a Kawi Concours 1000 motorcycle in great condition for $800.

    • See 2 previous
    • Meaty Midrange Meaty Midrange on Jan 11, 2017

      My Neotec "Imminent" helmet arrived yesterday. I took it out for a test ride and I'm very impressed. #1 feature for me (in S FL) is the incredible air flow. No other helmet I've used came close. The obvious quality and very light weight make spending $600 feel like a good decision.

  • SRMark SRMark on Oct 24, 2016

    Being anti-social has its advantages.