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Shark Skwal Visor Broken - Dammit!

Blog Date - 28 February 2018

Sharon and I both purchased Shark's Skwal helmets in July '17. I plumped for a simple plain white Skwal whereas Sharon, being a bit flash, bought the D-Skwal with trick graphics and lights. Yes - lights. 

I found mine to be tight around the cheeks initially but it soon settled in to be a good helmet. Sharon's has been OK too, however she's finding hers not to be quite as comfortable and fog-free as the previous Sharks she's owned. Up until recently I'd say our purchases have been "satisfactory" rather than "impressive".

Then on my way home from mother dearest's place last week I pulled in to give my visor a wipe. I keep a J-Cloth in my pocket for those moments when the road salt, rain, dirt and grime have built up and a quick wipe down will improve visibility. When I lifted the visor to wipe the inside the visor popped out of it's mechanism.

Ah - right. It's one of them there quick release types. No worries, I'll just pop it back in. Except rather than simply popping out it had snapped one of the "C" arms. It's hard to explain with words so I'll let you see this image.

The broken part of the visorGosh darn it. 

DAMN! This is a £150 helmet. This isn't a £40 cheapie this is mid range and considered of good quality. I am disappointed. What disappoints me even more is the realisation that a replacement will cost me £46. Oh for goodness sake.

I've been riding for 29 years. I estimate I've covered around half a million miles. In all that time I have killed countless waterproofs, clothes and motorcycles yet I have only ever broken one other visor and that was from my BIG crash. I've never broken a visor by opening it. Until this day.

Sharon informs me that this is a very well documented problem for the Skwal range and Shark know about it. Using the power of Facebook I have the following conversation with Shark.

Ren -
Hi. I have a Skwal that I purchased in July this year. This evening the visor has broken around the claw where it attaches to the helmet. I got the helmet from FC Moto in Germany. How would I go about organising a warranty claim from the UK?

Shark -
Hello Ren Withnell,

First we apologize for what happened to your helmet.

Indeed, we received some complaints on screen breakage.
To always exceed the expectations of our customers, we decided to adjust the geometry of the ends of the screen.
These changes have been implemented since June 2017.
You can check if you got the latest version by looking at the number that is on right side of your visor. If this number is 017/094 or more, you have the new version. 

We invite you to contact your nearest SHARK Helmets retailers to order (for free if your Skwal is under warranty) this new visor reference ############### .

Thank you.
Have a good day.

Ren -
That is fabulous. I'll check the visor when I get home tonight and take things from there. Many thanks.

Note - I've blanked out the visor reference because I don't want someone else to use it!

The number on the old broken visor shows 017/090
017/090 means my visor is an earlier version.

My next step is to go to somewhere that sells Shark helmets. I wonder what the reception will be like because as you can see I purchased the helmet online. Urgh, but still. I have checked the number on my visor and it reads "017/090" so my visor is one of the earlier types. I presume they have made changes to strengthen the claw.

I visit Millennium Motorcycles in St Helens quite often, there's a cafe and a few friends congregate there. They stock Shark helmets. I, well, I don't really want to do this. I didn't buy my helmet from them yet I'm going to ask them to go to the hassle of getting me a replacement visor. Still. Chin up Ren, be a man, I am merely following Shark's instructions. Urgh. 

"I have a Shark Skwal helmet..." as I pull out the visor.
"It's broken, yeah we've had loads. We've none in stock, we'll order you one."

And that was it. No asking for proof of purchase, no inspection of the damage. I left them with my name and my number and that was that. A week and a half later I get an answerphone message stating the visor is now in and I can collect it anytime.

The visor is now on my helmet. All is well with the world once again. The only difference is now I have a spare Agrius Rage helmet I purchased for £35. £35, that's less than the cost of the Shark Visor. While the Agrius lacks the Shark's finesse and quality feel it is still a perfectly adequate helmet and scores the same 4 stars in the safety tests. 

The Shark Skwal helmet with the new visor in situ
There we go, shiny new visor fitted and working.

The Agrius Rage SV helmet on a bench at Ryka's Cafe
While not as refined as the Shark the Agrius is a perfectly satisfactory lid. 

I remain somewhat disenfranchised by the Shark Skwal now. I'm not entirely sure I can trust it. It's fine for local riding but imagine, imagine I'm in Spain or The Netherlands and the visor breaks - again. Stephen Latchford had his fancy Shoei helmet break at the visor pivot mechanism while in Spain. He had to purchase an "el cheapo" helmet for the rest of the trip and post the Shoei home in the "el cheapo" box. Maybe "el cheapo" is the future.


If yer buying owt from Amazon - use me link below. If ya do buy owt it meks me rich innit.

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Reader's Comments

CrazyFrog said :-
Personally, I have never spent more than £80 for a helmet and I always choose helmets that have got at least 4* in the Sharp tests. The GMac pilot is a very good value lid, 4* and only about £25 - £35 if you shop around on-line. I'd rather buy one of these and replace it after 3 or 4 years. If I'd spent £300 plus I'd be 'quite upset' at the idea of throwing it away after that amount of time.

PS. Your miserly nature must be affecting me through t'interweb Ren.

PPS. Actually, no, on reflection I've always been as tight as a Ducks derriere.....
01/03/2018 12:32:56 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Welcome to my world. My schuberth has had 3 visor mechanisms. 1 pin lock visor pin and 2 visors. They replaced the first 1 of each under warranty but I had to pay for the others.
01/03/2018 13:42:19 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I agree with Pete Frog. Cheap and cheerful as long as it fits. The visor "mechanism" on my Nitro is merely a hole with a large headed bolt through it - unlikely to fail......
01/03/2018 14:55:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I wonder...

I guess the "high end" helmets have to keep up with the other high end brands. If Shoei create the Super Duper Multi Faceted Easy Visor then AGV need to come back with the Super Duper Mega Double Chocolate Quick Visor. While doing this the hardcore long term R&D gets put to one side. Hence helmets with issues - primarily the visor to helmet interface.

El Cheapo lids just use what they know will work.
02/03/2018 17:35:16 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Always remember.

Never NEVER NEVER buy a schuberth helmet. They are totally crap....

Except for the M1 which is quite good.
02/03/2018 20:03:39 UTC
GG said :-
Hi ALl,

I have the same helmet in black. I have bought it about 2 and a half year ago. I have broken five visors at all. I think it's the worst technology that Shark had chosen. It won't work at all. It breaks every 3000-4000 km. It is very annoying. And I will forget Shark. Last they said that they solved the problem with another compound and it will last forever. But today it has broken again. And again and again and again. My question is what should I do during a long tour or trip? Shall I bring some reserve with me???? No!!! No more patience. I will get it in the rubbish. You should do the same.

Bye, GG


30/06/2018 21:22:42 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi GG. I'm disheartened to read your message.

When my visor broke I purchased a cheap helmet while I waited for the new visor. I have been using the Shark as my daily helmet and so far, 4 months later, it's fine. But I have lost some faith in it.

I've just been to Spain for almost 2 weeks and rather than taking the expensive Shark I took the cheap Agrius helmet. I'll continue to use the Shark for local runs simply to get my money's worth out of it.

In future I will be looking much harder at visor mechanisms when I'm buying helmets.
01/07/2018 06:00:29 UTC
Henrik said :-
My 15 years old, ultra cheap, Nau-helmets have Been the best, in every way, nothing broken, best shape, keep shape, keep good looking, good cloosing mechanism, still looks like they Will serve med for years and years to come

My wife got a fancy new Carberg with flip, If we are lucky I Guess it Will last max 5 years,..

Once again, you DONT her what you Pay for
01/07/2018 08:07:19 UTC
Henrik said :-
"dont get what you pay for"
01/07/2018 08:08:49 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
15 years is rather a long time to keep a helmet - I generally change mine after 5 - 6 years.

But I agree the cheap ones are often the best - I've found that Nitro fit my head well, are comfortable and very reasonably priced.

Ren - why not just chuck the expensive helmet as GG did? What's the point in having one you can't trust?
01/07/2018 09:44:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
In the interest of being environmentally friendly (and maximising my return on investment) I shall continue to use the Shark helmet until it is rendered worn out. By using it for local runs (which is most of my riding) if the visor does "fall apart" once more I am not too far from home and grabbing my spare helmet. This also means the spare helmet, the cheap one, will last longer.

Unless you wear a helmet day in day out as I do perhaps it's hard to appreciate I can wear out a helmet within 2 years. With the constant putting on and removal and general wear and tear they go slack, which is not healthy.
02/07/2018 07:11:58 UTC
Henrik said :-
Got 2 Nau's ,... another one, and some off-road helmets

So its not that I have used one single Nau helmet for 15 years for everything

Still they are very used, and proven, to be absolutely the best for me

Meanwhile I see expensive helmets getting rediculess fails and fall apart around me, and I am happy I just bought the two cheap Naus back then

They where around 25 GBP each
02/07/2018 07:43:26 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I've never heard of Nau helmets. Where was it made?
02/07/2018 21:14:47 UTC
Henrik said :-
Anadia, Portugal,... http://www.nau-helmets.com/

Use one of them for cam


www.nau-helmets.com/ ...
03/07/2018 06:03:03 UTC
Henrik said :-
Bringing the bike with you on trailer ,.. saw this

On the camp in Odda, Norway


03/07/2018 06:04:45 UTC
Henrik said :-
But way more cool bringing the 200+ kg Transalp on the back of an old rebuild fire-car, Margius Deutch,..


03/07/2018 06:08:54 UTC
Henrik said :-
The nose


03/07/2018 06:09:45 UTC
Henrik said :-
Lots of hits on Nau, even trail-models,...

Guess they are still in buisiness
absherco.co.uk/product/nau-trials-helmet/ ...
03/07/2018 06:17:07 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
In my ideal world Henrik I'd have a small camper like the VW T5 in the picture and a trailer with either a 125 or 250 on it. I'd use the van to cover the big boring miles and the motorcycle to explore.

I had a quick look around the net and the present range of Nau helmets while not the most expensive are no longer dirt cheap. I suspect they've gone up-market a little.
03/07/2018 07:50:25 UTC
Borsuk said :-
I like the fire engine camper van, seriously cool.
03/07/2018 12:16:56 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
It is very cool but probably not as fuel efficient as the VDub.
04/07/2018 08:12:40 UTC
Wasnotwas said :-
I have gone through 3 skwal visors all broken in the same place as yours... it's caused by pulling up the visor. Currently looking for my 4th one as I broke the previous one last summer. Now only use it in winter and a cheap one for the summer with no pinlock.. would not buy from shark again
15/08/2018 08:56:40 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oh bummer Wasnatwas. I'm assuming you've had the latest visor greater than 017/094 as per the post?

The other thing I'll do to get the use from the lid is lubricate the pivot mechanism to ensure I don't have to heave on it to get it open. I'll wait and see if it helps.
15/08/2018 11:20:55 UTC
Keith said :-
I have the exact same break now what ?
These visors are priced as if to last 2 life times
I think that the opening lip should be in the centre
Of te visor to correct this problem , as to have the same
amount of pressure on each side when opening the visor
What do you think
Is it that easy to sort out this problem ?
Really mad about this
26/08/2018 21:26:08 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I think having the opening lip in the centre on any visor should even out the stresses of opening them. Thing is plenty of other helmets have the "offset" opening lip and they don't suffer. I know Shark know they've dropped a clanger here. It won't do their reputation any good at all, it would certainly put me off getting another.

My replacement visor so far has been OK. BUT - while I'm happy to use the lid for local stuff I won't be taking it on longer trips where I can't get home to collect my spare. I'll just use it for commuting so I can get investment out of it.
26/08/2018 22:32:34 UTC
Sharon said :-
I have had two previous Shark helmets before buying the Skwal. Both were excellent helmets.
I have yet to suffer from a broken visor on my Skwal (fingers crossed) but I am aware of the problem so I try to be extra careful when opening and closing the visor.
Even though my visor is intact and even though I love the graphics on my Skwal and it's funky lights, function wise I am not in love with this helmet like my previous Sharks.
It is less comfortable and more noisy then either of the other two.
I wonder if Shark thought more about looks and flashing lights than functionality on this model.
I would not personally buy another Skwal but I would buy another Shark because of how great the other ones were.
So don't dismiss Shark as a brand just because of one bad model. However if this was my first experience of Shark helmets I can understand why others have said never again.
I just wish we could road test helmets in some way. Because they are expensive mistakes if we choose a wrong one and how can we know they are wrong until after we have purchased them and put them on out heads and thus made them unreturnable.
26/08/2018 22:53:35 UTC
Peter said :-
Hi,

I recently experienced very much the same with my brand-new Shark Skwal.
Fortunately, I just arrived back home from another trip on a beautiful sunny day.
When opening the visor, it immediately snapped out on the left side. Part of the the "C-Ring" of the visor was broken and still stuck in the helmet. When removing the visor entirely I found that it was also broken on the right side, but not yet snapped out of the fixture. The number on my visor reads "016/043" That helmet was not even five months old.

I bought it online at Helmexpress.com in Austria and contacted the shop via E-Mail explaining the matter. The shop quickly replied on the next day and offered to send me a new visor as a gesture of goodwill. Within a few days I had a new visor for free. They also sent me an E-Mail with a sticker for free return delivery of the broke visor.

All things considered the return and replacing procedure of the visor with Helmexpress.com was quick and easy. Yet I am disappointed that it happened in the first place and feel somewhat disturbed about the wording "as a gesture of goodwill", because the helmet was obviously still under the five-year warranty.

Cheers,
Pete

Broken C-Ring left side
31/10/2018 11:12:17 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Only just read about the Shark helmet issues. Not good and wouldn't be easy to sort out on a trip. Tried one on, early 2018 when replacing Shoei Qwest, the fit, comfort and quality just wasn't there. Glad I didn't buy.
Regarding the warranty, I'd love to read the small print.
Upt'North.
31/10/2018 14:03:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Peter. I understand Shark knows they have an issue and seem to be replacing the visors without quarrel. SO FAR...my new visor is holding up but Is still stand by the notion that I've lost faith in it and won't use it for big trips. Shame. I guess they dropped the ball badly.

Upt'North - I once read Microsoft's terms and conditions for Windows XP. God only know what it actually says, I couldn't (be bothered to) make head nor tail of it.
31/10/2018 20:14:03 UTC
 

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