French helmet specialist Shark is one of the best in the business, and is the choice of headgear for some of the world's most elite racers. MotoGP racers like Johann Zarco and Raul Fernandez are rocking the Shark Race R Pro lid, however, apart from being an established name in the racing scene, Shark's innovations are also present on the street.
Take, for example, the brand's newest helmet, the Skwal i3, a first-of-its-kind helmet designed not only to protect riders in the event of a crash, but also to improve their visibility to other road users. The Skwal i3 is the first helmet from Shark, or from any mainstream manufacturer for that matter, to feature built-in lights. More specifically, the helmet features a built-in brake light which can detect when you're slowing down, and likewise illuminate the brake light alerting road users behind you.
Having a brake light at the level of your helmet is certainly a useful feature, especially when riding in traffic, as the hoods of many trucks and SUVs are much higher than the taillights of most motorcycles. Plus, the fact that the light is attached to the rider's head makes it much easier to notice given how much a rider's head moves as they ride. The way the brake light on Shark's Skwal i3 works isn't exactly new technology, either. It makes use of a three-axis accelerometer which can sense the degree to which a bike is slowing down. Under normal braking, it flashes thrice; under heavy braking, it flashes rapidly five times.
Apart from the built-in brake light, the Shark Skwal i3 also flaunts built-in LED lights on the front and sides of the helmet. This further increases visibility at night, and looks pretty cool, too, if that's your thing. The helmet has a built-in rechargeable battery which is plugged in to a USB Type-C cable. According to Shark, it takes just three hours to charge the battery, and it's good enough to provide up to 12 hours of ride time.
Moving on to the features that make this helmet a helmet, well, Shark has made use of the same Nexan-injected polycarbonate shell we've seen in some of its other lids. The Skwal i3 also gets Shark's patented tool-less visor detachment system, allowing you to quickly and easily swap visors. The helmet is sold with an Optical Class 1 anti-scratch visor with a Pinlock 70 insert. There's also room for 40-millimeter speakers, allowing you to install your helmet comms system of choice.
Overall, the Shark Skwall i3 is safe not just in terms of construction and design, but thanks to the integration of its built-in lighting. It conforms to the latest ECE R22.06 safety standard, and is sold in sizes ranging from XS all the way to XXL. A total of 13 graphic options are available, and the helmet retails for 319 Euros, or about $351 USD, through select helmet retailers.