Want a safer open-face motorcycle helmet? Shark hears your plea, and is offering the new Citycruiser. It looks like, finally, a manufacturer has realized it’s time to change up the jet helmet formula.
Open-face helmets, aka jet helmets, aren’t terribly popular in North America, where the bugs-in-my-teeth crowd prefers three-quarters helmets, like the Bell 500, or no helmet at all. Almost everyone else uses some sort of full-face helmet. It’s too bad, because an open-face helmet does provide more protection than a standard three-quarters lid, and well-ventilated riding experience. At gas stops or other roadside confabs, an open-face helmet is even more convenient than a flip-front modular, and you get great visibility from them. They’re quite popular in Europe, especially with scooter riders, because they’re great all-around helmets … unless you land on your chin.
Almost every open-face helmet lacks protection in the chin area. Some offer more coverage than others; the Arai XC-W covers quite a bit of your face, but Arai doesn’t seem keen to promote this helmet. Years ago, Schuberth offered the J1 jet helmet, with a protective metal bar wrapped around underneath the visor, sort of like a stripped-down football helmet, but it didn’t seem to be very popular.
Enter the new Shark Citycruiser. It’s an open-face helmet, but Shark has extended the cheek protection along the sides of the rider’s face, so this helmet basically covers everything but the point of the rider’s jaw. It’s about as safe as you can get, and still call it an open-face helmet.
The Citycruiser isn’t terribly spectacular otherwise. The shell is thermoplastic, in two different outer shell sizes; interior sizes range from XS to XL). There are couple of vents to keep your head cool, an internal drop-down sunshield, removable microfiber lining, and there’s a quick-release chinstrap. It comes ready to mount the Sharktooth communication system, too. These are all good features to have, but nothing that stands out. The Shark Citycruiser doesn’t appear to use a Pinlock visor, and the color selection, for now, is rather muted.
However, it’s offering better all-round protection than similar helmets on the market. It’s E22/05-certified, not Snell-certified, but the Euro standard should be enough for sensible people.
Unfortunately, the Shark Citycruiser seems to be a Europe-only option for now. It’s not on Shark’s North American website at this time, nor is it advertised with US retailers. Hopefully that will change soon, as this would be a welcome option for riders looking for an open-face helmet, but wanting a little extra safety. For now, you’ll have to be content ogling the helmet and its various colors and other details at the Shark website.