Updated March 7, 2014: Starting March 8, 2014, in recognition of International Womens Day, Schuberth Helmets is offering the C3W at a reduced price of $499.“We hear women riders and passengers complain that standard helmets feel too loose, dont fit right, or that their current helmet isnt even the right size,” says Sarah Schilke, Schuberths marketing and P.R. manager. “Schuberth hopes this program will enable more women to get into a properly fitted and comfortable helmet.”The special Womens Day price is available at participating dealers on sizes and colors currently in stock on hand.
Talk about hitting a nerve! After we posted a story last year about the introduction of Schuberth’s new C3W, the ladies’ version of its C3 flip-up full-face helmet, many WRN readers sent in comments slamming the $699 price tag. Lynn from Illinois wrote, “Like the looks and design, but I cant afford the price. I have to keep buying those lottery tickets!” L. Lee from Texas wrote, “All I can say is ouch!”
After wearing the helmet for a riding season, I’ve thoroughly tested it and can now understand why a company would slap a $699 price tag on a helmet and expect women to buy it. Before I explain, let me share one more reader comment, this one from Cindy in Wisconsin. She lays the foundation for what I’m about to share. “I transitioned from wearing a half helmet to the Schuberth C3W,” Cindy writes. “This helmet is extremely well fitting, comfortable and just about eliminates wind noise completely. I do not like feeling confined or wearing something heavy on my head, and neither is an issue for me with this helmet, because it is a modular. I tried on a lot of full-face helmets, and this one won hands down. I know it is pricey, but this helmet is worth every penny given all of its features. Buying the helmet was a financial stretch for me, but I made adjustments in my spending and I can honestly say that I have no regrets with my decision.”
I’ll admit that I, too, was a bit surprised when I first learned of the price, but after wearing the helmet for a while and finding out all that goes into ensuring that it will do what it says it will—protect your noggin in the event of a crash (and possibly save your life)—I’m convinced that my head is worth $699. And in comparison, Shoei, a more popular high-end helmet brand in the US, introduced a new flip-up this year, the Neotec, and it costs $662.99.
In our recent WRN Reader Survey, we found that women riders are more likely to wear full-face helmets than three-quarter or half helmets. Half helmets were a close second. With that in mind, the beauty of a flip-up helmet like the C3W is that you have all the protection of a full-face helmet with the ease and “openness” of a half or three-quarter when you’re not riding, meaning you can communicate with others without taking off the helmet. And Schuberth, by the way, was the first manufacturer to introduce a flip-up (or modular) helmet when it did so in 1998.
What Makes the C3W Just for Women
The C3W is one of the first attempts at offering a female version of an existing helmet, in this case the C3. The shell is the same, but the cheek pads on the C3W are shaped to fit a feminine face, which is a feature Schuberth decided on based on its research. Also, the cheek pads are lined with COOLMAX-brand antibacterial microfiber lining that I found very soft on the face. It’s the kind of material that would catch on a man’s facial hair, though, so this lining is not in the C3.
The cheek pads on the C3W are made of memory foam that conforms to smaller facial features. That said, I found the size small helmet I ordered to be tight on my forehead—and a medium-size helmet was too big overall. So to get the small’s forehead pads to soften up (the rest of the helmet fit me great), a Schuberth rep instructed me to pull the forehead pad out of the helmet and massage it to break down the foam. The rep said that all Schuberth helmets have a “longer than normal” break-in period due to the high quality of the materials. Eventually, the foam softened up for me and didn’t press on my forehead as much. I mention this in case another rider experiences the same thing.
C3W Features: Weight
Schuberth claims the C3W, at 3.6 pounds for the size small, is the “lightest flip-up helmet in the world.” I checked the weight against other flip-ups, and most are indeed heavier than the C3W. However, I did find that Harley-Davidson’s Women’s Modular Helmet with Retractable Sun Shield, made by HJC, also weighs in at 3.6 pounds—at least this is what the specs indicated. I didn’t weigh it myself.
All sizes of the C3W (sizes range from XXS to L) are made from the same size-small shell—the sizing differences are mostly in the cheek pads—so all weigh in very light. The light weight is important because one of the reasons people don’t like wearing full-face helmets is the bulky, heavy feel they create on the head. So keeping the helmet’s weight down, even by tenths of a pound, makes a difference.
The outer shell of a helmet takes the initial force of impact. The challenge is finding materials that provide adequate impact resistance without weighing down the helmet.
Schuberth uses a proprietary process for the outer shell that incorporates a special resin composition with a fiberglass/Duroplast weave construction. The manufacturing process for the shell allows for a uniform application of the materials, which makes for a thinner and lighter shell because the engineers dont have to use extra materials to compensate for inconsistencies in the helmets thickness or integrity. The inner shell, the part that absorbs the impact and really protects your head, is made of EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam enhanced to meet Schuberths standards. There is also EPS in the chinbar, which undergoes drop tests.
One of the features I notice most when I wear a full-face helmet is the noise factor. Don’t you wonder why some full-face-wearing riders wear earplugs? Doesn’t that seem silly when they’re already wearing a full-face helmet that covers their ears? Well, riders wear earplugs because of the noise created when a helmet has too much wind going through it. Over time, this can chip away at hearing. I know a guy in his mid-60s who’s been riding motorcycles for more than 40 years, and his hearing stinks! He blames it on years of riding without earplugs.
Helmet acoustics and noise exposure are features for which Schuberth has taken the time to achieve better-than-optimal resultscompared to most full-face helmets, with the C3W coming in on the low part of a decibel rating scale. How did the helmet “sound” to me? Well, I did notice the noise, or lack thereof, when I wore the C3W. I did not wear earplugs while wearing it, partly because I don’t like being that shut off from my surroundings, but I didn’t need to. With the visor down, even while riding at 70+ mph, the C3W is quiet relative to other full-face helmets I’ve worn, and that cocoon of quietness is noticeable.
It’s nice to have a helmet that fits securely and has little wind noise, but how does that affect ventilation? Well, how a full-face helmet “breathes” is a very important factor for several reasons. The obvious one is that the control of airflow inside the helmet is what keeps the rider cool or warm. The less obvious reason is how the ventilation handles the release of carbon dioxide, the air we expend. The concentration of carbon dioxide in a tightly closed helmet can cause symptoms of fatigue. Schuberth’s forced ventilation system ensures that the amount of carbon dioxide in the helmet remains far below toxic levels.
During times when you’re riding in cold weather and your neck is sealed off with a scarf or high-fitting collar, Schuberth suggests opening the face shield to its first position when traveling at low speeds or standing still with the motorcycle, like at stoplights. The shield will click into that first position shortly after it’s lifted up.
Another thing I notice when I wear a full-face helmet is the distortion of certain objects when looking through the face shield. Schuberth promotes its face shields as “Optical Class 1,” which means nearly distortion free—and indeed this one is. The C3W also comes with a Pinlock system, which allows the attachment of a separate fog-resistant lens inside the face shield. Are you starting to see why this helmet costs as much as it does?
The C3W’s anti-roll-off system is the feature that impresses me the most. Turns out it’s a patented Schuberth design, so it’s found only on Schuberth helmets. To keep the helmet in place in the event of an accident (and to prevent it from rolling forward off the head), Schuberth uses additional neck straps that are hidden in the helmet’s frame. This also reduces the risk of injury in the event that force causes the helmet to strike the chest.
In addition to making motorcycle helmets, which it’s been doing since 1954, Schuberth manufactures helmets for the military and industries like mining and firefighting. The extensive testing its helmets go through is impressive. The Germany-based manufacturer is the only helmet company that owns its own wind tunnel, and engineers spend countless hours dialing in features like aerodynamics and acoustics to optimum levels for the motorcycle rider. In addition, the company has gone through rigorous testing to ensure its helmets meet or exceed the standards set by the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). The commission sets technical regulations that helmet manufacturers must meet to receive the ECE designation, and I’m told those regs are stricter than the DOT or SNELL ratings.
Incorporating built-in Bluetooth communication systems is the hot thing right now with full-face helmets, and Schuberth has partnered with Cardo Systems to offer the Schuberth Rider Communication System in the C3W. The system is “plug-and-play” for riders who purchase the additional communication module that attaches to the bottom of the helmet.
Last, but certainly not least, the Schuberth Mobility Program, a supplement to the generous five-year manufacturer’s warranty, is another feature that justifies the nearly $700 price tag. Active during the first three years of ownership, the mobility program allows an owner to replace a registered C3W helmet that’s been damaged in a crash with a new one at just one third of the price. Very innovative! Additionally, a three-year service program allows owners to get free helmet service during the first three years.
In addition to Glossy White, shown above, the C3W is available in Pearl White, Glossy Black, Glossy Silver and Matte Black (what I tested). Sizes for the C3W range from XXS to L. To find the right size for you, simply measure the crown of your head in centimeters and match it up to the sizing chart on Schuberth’s Web site.
Nearly all of the features I’ve outlined in this review are also present in the C3 helmet—except, of course, the female-friendly features mentioned earlier. The C3 comes in High-Viz Yellow and High-Viz Orange for riders who like wearing those “see me” colors.
While I can’t actually test the impact and crash protection of this helmet, I’m convinced that, of all the helmets I own (and I own a lot!), this one will do the best at trying to save my head.
Schuberth doesn’t claim that every woman will fit in the C3W—or like it, for that matter. There are no absolutes. But Schuberth has done its research and done a fine job at providing women riders with a helmet that’s more suited to their smaller features. And for that, I applaud Schuberth. To learn more, visit SchuberthNorthAmerica.com.
39 thoughts on PRODUCT REVIEW: Schuberth C3W Helmet, Just for Women!
Has anyone tested the Schuberth helmet in the rain? I have a cheap Bilt helmet and the rain runs inside the visor. I am in the market for a new helmet after a slight accident in the Georgia mountains. But I would really like a helmet that keeps the rain out. The Bilt kept my head protected but I don’t like it when it rains. I am willing to pay the price it it stays dry inside when it rains.
Any helmet will allow rain in if you don’t have the visor completely sealed shut. Sometimes, if the visor fogs up (which happens a lot in the rain), I will crack open my visor to allow a little more air inside to help the fogging. This lets rain in from the top of the visor.However, if you have a helmet with a good seal (Schuberth full-faces and flip-ups all have excellent seals) and a Pinlock-equipped visor, you can keep it closed and not worry about fogging.
Best article by far about Schuberth helmets! I’m a guy who’s worked for Honda and Ducati for years. Tried the men’s C3 and found the C3W felt better and was between a large and medium padding for guys. I dig the interior for women on the C3W, it compares only to the new Bell helmets with leather interior. In buying a new helmet I’ve read countless articles. Only Women Riders Now has the most comprehensive facts and details I needed to make an informed decision. I’ll be reading more of your website!Thanks!
Does the C3W for women work with the UClear Bluetooth? Thanks!
Here’s our answer from Brian Lee, Technical Service Manager for Schuberth Helmets. “As for the Uclear units, those with the bloomless mics may be difficult to get a good position as they are attached to the speakers. Their systems are technically not approved to be installed in our helmets but some of them should fit without issue, depending on the microphone/speaker combination.
I can’t afford this helmet either. Do you have any other modular helmets that are less expensive but with durability in mind, and lady friendly?
Please check our Helmet Reviews section for stories and reviews we’ve done on other helmets. I don’t believe we’ve reviewed other modular helmets though. I am currently reviewing the Scorpion EXO-CT220 three-quarter helmet that is budget friendly but feature rich. Look for that soon on WRN.
Hi, I read in a previous comment that they have a cut-out for a ponytail. Is this true? That would be awesome. Also, has anyone wore this while riding a bike with a small windscreen? I’m wondering if it would help with wind buffeting. My present modular helmet is horrible and I wear prescription glasses, so the experience sometimes causes me to have difficulty seeing the road as my glasses are shaking with the helmet.
This helmet does not have a cut-out for a ponytail. You are thinking of the Harley-Davidson Skyline helmet for women, reviewed here on WRN..I have a motorcycle with a small windshield — I have the Klock Werks Flare Windshield, which actually moves the air around my head, so I don’t feel the wind buffeting at all. Regardless of what type of windshield you have, the helmet is so light that wind buffeting is hardly noticeable, in my opinion.
Dear Shelley,Regarding your comment of of March 12: While I can’t speak for other helmet manufacturers, I do know that the engineers at Schuberth have done extensive multi-country research on women’s head sizes and facial structure and determined that XXS-L almost entirely covers the spectrum of women’s heads. Of course there are always exceptions like my friend Alice who needs an XXXS, or the women who don’t have the “typical” facial structure and wear a standard fit just fine. Schuberth is the only manufacturer with helmets specifically fit for women and in that helmet model, the most sold size is Small.As far as fit goes, your measurement of 7-1/2 would in most cases correspond to our Large helmet. Of course fit is a function of head/face shape as well as size. Perhaps you would fit better into the standard fit C3. One other thing to note, it is very common for people to wear helmets that are too big. A helmet should be like a firm handshake, as snug as possible without causing pain. You want the helmet to be in contact with your head and face in such a way that your skin moves with the helmet if you move it from side to side – this is because in the event of an accident, the helmet will only absorb the impact as it is designed to if it is against your head so the shock absorbing liner can do its job immediately. A helmet that is too loose can be dangerous because in the event of an impact your head will slam into the inside of the helmet before it can start to absorb the impact. Helmets do “break in” and form to your head somewhat – usually not an entire size, but a helmet that feels tight when it’s new will break in, but a helmet that is loose and comfy will never get smaller. I hope this is helpful to you and to other readers. Want to keep WRN’s audience safe and comfortable!
Hello WRN Readers! Regarding the question about Hi-Viz C3W helmets (dated June 19, 2014): While we have had some demand for Hi-Viz in the women’s fit, it has not been enough to sustain adding that color-way in fives sizes to the line. However, for customers who need the women’s fit and want the Hi-Viz (or any other color that doesn’t come standard in the C3W pr C3 Pro Women), it is possible to have our service center retrofit a standard C3 for you. Our service center can be contacted at 949.215.0893 or email at USAemail@example.com.
Just bought a pearl white, wondered why women couldn’t get high viz? I ride an F 650 GS and got hit last year with a high viz helmet. Nonetheless our heads are important aren’t they. Shouldn’t we have the option?
We will make sure someone from Schuberth see this. Thanks for your feedback.
The article says the helmet sizes go up to large. I wear a man’s large and find that in a helmet made specifically for women I have to wear XL. My hat size is 7 1/2. Do manufacturers think all women have small heads? My head size is not due to hair bulk. I keep my hair very short. I’d like to see the measurements for the different sizes.
Please visit Schuberth’s website; the link is at the end of this article. Click on the helmet and then click the “specs” link to see the sizing chart.
I have owned the Schuberth C3 for a couple of years now. It is expensive, but well worth it. I have Tinnitus and hearing loss, so it is important for me to have the quietest helmet there is. The Schuberth fits the bill. I bought my wife the Schuberth C3W for Christmas this year (don’t tell her). I am surprised no one mentioned that the C3W has a recess in the back of the liner to allow for a ponytail. The liner is the color it is to hide make up stains, and cosmetics are supposed to easily wash off. The pinlock feature is fantastic. Say goodbye to fogging!
And in comparison, Shoei, a more popular high-end helmet brand in the US, introduced its first-ever flip-up this year, the Neotec, Shoei has been offering a modular helmet for a while. At least for the 5 years I’ve been riding.
Shoe’s first flip-up was the Multitec introduced in 2007. Thanks for catching this for us.
Well, I’ve looked at this thing pretty thoroughly and still can’t come up with a good reason to charge that much. I’m thinking that $499 is about where this should be. I can’t help but feel if it was for the guys, that would be the price. Just my opinion. There are just too many really good helmets out there. Can’t find anything really original to justify that price.
I have a Nolan N43 Trilogy. I paid $225 for it. It fits well. It’s light, it’s cool(er), it’s convertible (full face, 3/4) and it comes with a visor and the “click down” sunshade. I also bought the J&M speaker kit for the helmet. I have no need to spend $700 on this helmet. I love the one I have and highly recommend it.
Tamela wrote, “As for the need to attach the helmet to the bike, I got this T-shaped helmet lock insert. Works superbly.”I’m not quite sure how the fastening mechanism on the Schuberth is going to work with that type of T-extension. Unless I’m missing something here. Instead, I’d suggest getting a small rope lock to wrap around the chinbar to lock it to the bike somehow.
Genevieve,In your review, you wrote:”Additionally, those other communication systems clip on to the helmet so yes they would work with the C3W.”I’m testing the S2 at the moment, and believe it has the same lever as the C3 that drops down the internal visor. This lever gets in the way of the area where you’d mount another type of comm. system. You could theoretically mount a unit behind the lever, but it probably won’t have enough reach for the microphone arm.
Ahhh…good point Trish. Let’s see if we can measure the length of the microphone arm and see if it would fit. Trish’s followup response June 29, 2012: “If you use the adhesive mount, usually supplied with any communication systems (instead of the screw mount), you can locate a communication system above the slider for the internal sun shield.
I’ll be in the market for a new helmet next season (currently wear an Arai Quantum II), and will have to take a look at this. I do agree that a light colored lining is not the best!
I’ve had this helmet since 2011 and added the communications package in 2012. As for the need to attach the helmet to the bike, I got this T-shaped helmet lock insert. Works superbly.
I tried the C3W and the regular version fits my face better. So I guess I don’t have the “feminine” cheekbones they made the new design for.Also, I find it ironic that when I read this article on your Web site, right underneath it was an advertisement for a helmet for $34! I had to laugh out loud at that.
We occasionally run Google ads, which serve up ads similar to the content around them, or similar to what you’ve been searching for recently. I saw that too!
I tried on a bunch of helmets last weekend, as it’s time to replace my old Arai Profile. Shoei helmets don’t seem to fit me, so that left Arai and Schuberth in terms of quality comparison (the shop didn’t carry Nolan, which I gather is similar). Comparing an Arai with the Schuberth C3 (they didn’t stock the W version), I did not notice any discernible difference in weight. I did distinctly notice the anti-roll-back feature in the C3, though, which was the thing I liked best compared with the Arai. I am sure I could find happiness with either helmet, although I would be very interested to take each one for a test ride and check wind noise (I do wear earplugs with my current Arai).Good to know about the female-friendly features, although I wish they wouldn’t use a light color for the helmet lining — ignorance is bliss, right? I really don’t want to know how dirty it is!
I’ve been keeping my eye on this helmet and really waffling on trying it due to the price. Thanks for the thorough review. I’ll still have to save up for it, but am beginning to be convinced it’s worth it.
Good article but not sure what makes this modular so much better than Nolan that I use. (I’m proof it does its job very well.) But comfort is the key to wearing a helmet. If this one is more comfortable to the ladies that have difficulty wearing a full face and they are able to wear this one, then it might be worth the price tag. But I can’t help but wonder how much of that cost is because it advertises “made for women.”
I too purchased this helmet at the end of last summer (2011). I love this helmet and initially thought it was heavy but over time I’ve gotten used to it. The one problem that I have with it is that there is no where to hook it/lock it on my bike when I go somewhere. The last two helmets I had, had the ring so I could lock it on my bike. This one doesn’t have anything and therefore I carry it around with me because I’d hate for it to be stolen after paying $700. On the plus side, there isn’t anything else wrong with it and yes my noggin is worth the money to protect!
Ahhh… you bring up a good point. That secure neck strap on the C3W lacks a good old fashioned D-ring, which is what most standard bike helmet locks use.
Your review is right on! I bought the C3W last summer and could not believe how perfectly it fit and how perfectly it reduced the weight and eliminated the noise. I LOVE IT! In my opinion, it is worth every cent. Thanks for a great review!
Your review was very interesting. When reviewing these helmets, it would also be good to know if the helmet is adaptable to other communication systems like the J&M, NCom, etc. Also, you didn’t mention whether your peripheral vision was as good or better than an open face or other full face helmets. That is usually my draw back from a full face. I can’t see to my sides well enough to make me feel comfortable enough to wear them.
Debra,This was not a review of a full face helmet versus an open face hence the reason I didn’t mention the peripheral vision. That said, I found the peripheral vision to be the same that I experience with other high end full face helmets I wear, namely my Arai helmets. Additionally, those other communication systems clip on to the helmet so yes they would work with the C3W.
My hubby and I invested in the helmets and communication system this year. It was a financial stretch for us. The quality is outstanding and the Cardo communication system is superb. You can’t always plan what’s going to happen when you ride; we feel this helmet gives us the best possible protection we could buy.
I’d have one in a heartbeat if the helmet shape fit my head. Unfortunately the shell shape is more round/oval and my head is more long oval front to back. Happy with my Arai XD3, but I’d love a modular.
I switched over from the Shoei Multitech to the Schuberth nine months ago. It’s worth the money. Light, quiet, soft pads, good airflow, good anti-fog, and the sun visor is incredibly convenient. The Shoei was louder, comparatively. I wonder how their new one is.
I was really surprised at the weight of the C3. I went and grabbed my Arai Corsair to compare. My helmet, also size small and currently priced at $700+, weighs 3 pounds 9 ounces. I have been loyal to Arai forever, but the Schuberth really gives me something to think about.