Schuberth M1 with SRC review
Schuberth has been making modular motorcycle helmets for as long as I can remember, and ever since then they have had the reputation for being the at the pinnacle of that business. Little did I know that Schuberth has branched out over the years and now they offer a couple full-face variants as well as the M1, the 3/4 helmet that I had the pleasure to review.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was the huge vent on the front. I can honestly say I have never been able to feel the difference when a helmet’s vent was open until this helmet. When riding down the Southern California freeway I could actually hear and feel the difference between opening and closing the vent. The rear exhaust vent is actually built into the large Schuberth logo on the back of the helmet. The overall fit and finish of the M1 are excellent. The liner is completely seamless. Apparently it’s bonded ultrasonically to the backing material.
The M1 even comes pre-wired for the Schuberth bluetooth communicator system, called the SRC. As for other features, the M1 has all of the standard features you would expect from a helmet that starts at $499 for solid colors. There’s a drop down sun visor, tool-free shield removal, and a ratcheting quick-release chin strap. The chin strap actually brings me to my first little issue with the helmet. It’s extremely minor. The female end of the mechanism should be on a slightly longer strap, since it kept getting pinned between my face and the cheek pad.
I normally wear a Shark Raw (now called the Drak) 3/4 helmet. It has a pear of built-in goggles and a little face mask attached to the bottom of it. I think it looks super cool. The biggest difference I noticed between the two while riding is the field of view. The M1 has a very well made face shield. The viewport on the helmet is also very wide. This provided me with such a better field of view than my daily rider helmet.
Shuberth SRC Communication System
One thing that sets this helmet apart is that it comes with speakers and microphones (yes, plural) built-in regardless of whether or not you purchase the SRC. If you buy the helmet alone, it has a cover plate on the back where the SRC would normally mount. Cardo, makers of the Scala Rider, are the designers of the SRC.
With the SRC attached, it extends around the left side of the helmet so you can reach it comfortably with your left hand. You can find one microphone behind each cheek pad.
As a user of Sena products for several years, using the SRC came with a learning curve, to be sure. There are only 3 buttons on the unit: volume up, volume down, and the power/multi-function button. The pre-installed speakers sounded great. I wore earplugs while riding and could still clearly hear the podcasts I listened to on my commute. The problems arose when I wanted to pause and play audio, and when I wanted to activate Siri to place a call. In order to start the audio you press the multi-function button once. To pause you hold it for 2 seconds until you hear a little beep. If you hold the button for 3 seconds the unit turns off. See where there might be a bit of an issue? I’m sure I would have learned the nuances eventually, but the first several times I ended up just turning off the unit when I wanted to pause audio. Additionally, despite reading the instructions a few times, I could never figure out the first time which button I was supposed to press/hold to activate Siri. On a positive note, Siri never had a problem recognizing my voice. The call quality was not as good as my Sena 20S. When someone calls me on that unit they usually have no idea I’m even on a motorcycle, because the noise reduction is that good. On the SRC, that was not the case. My wife reported much more wind noise when I would try to call her. It was enough to make me not really want to use the unit to call anyone. Sena makes the newer communication systems in Schuberth helmets, and I would be very interested in trying those out.
The combination of the Schuberth M1 with the SRC will set you back about $660. The issues I had with the bluetooth unit make it hard for me to recommend the SRC, but damn if that M1 isn’t a great helmet. If you don’t intend to place calls with your SRC, buy it. The audio quality coming out of the speakers was fantastic. If you are a 3/4 helmet person, this is the top of the line and I think it’s well worth it. Now if only I can get my hands on the new C4…