A while ago, I was invited by SHARP to an open day at their helmet-testing facility in Salford. They had contacted a number of motorcycle bloggers and hoped to get some feedback and opinions and - I assume - some publicity broadcast through the blogosphere. I wasn't able to make the open day because of lecturing commitments, but Highwaylass was, and wrote about it here.
Yesterday, they contacted me again and asked for opinions on the new website. I visited and gave them some feedback. In my opinion, it's a pretty good site, with a lot of information and tools for comparison between lids and so on. Although SHARP has been controversial (Arai, who some regard as making the best helmets in the world, have criticised the testing methods), it remains a worthwhile attempt to encourage helmet makers to compete on safety as well as graphics, styling and which racer they manage to sponsor this year. The EuroNCAP programme has been successful in doing this for the car industry, so maybe SHARP will have similar results for crash helmets.
So go and have a look at the site and see what you think. SHARP have put the media side of the operation in the hands of a company called Brando Social, and the lady who contacted me, Sarah Austin, says she would be interested in any feedback from blog readers. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For what it's worth, my 'main' helmet (a Shoei XR1000) rates only three stars out of five. It's well-made, comfortable and doesn't mist up. My 'reserve' helmet (a Caberg V2R costing a third as much as the Shoei) rates five stars, but the plastic creaks and the visor mists up in an infuriating way. I take the Shoei by choice, every time, three stars or no. The key thing is to wear a helmet. After that, I reckon it's degrees of perfection they are talking about. Anything with the appropriate certification will protect you.
The helmet I am wearing for local rides in all this nice weather is an open-face made by Can, cost me under £30, and doesn't even get a mention by SHARP. Heh.