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Verdict: 
Comfortable, light enough, vented enough helmet with added aero/rain shell and mosquito net
Weight: 
225g
Contact: 
www.silverfish-uk.com

The Dharma is Spanish manufacturer Spiuk's top-end helmet and comes with a variety of features and accessories including a removable aero shell.

The Dharma helmet comes with a peak which is mostly pointless as it's only an inch wide at it's deepest point so it's too small to be much use as either a rain guard or sun shade. It serves no purpose other than as a styling exercise, but luckily it's easily removed and forgotten.

Also included is Spiuk's Double Pads Kit, that's an anti-insect mesh with its own padding that fits in place of the existing pads in the front of the helmet and puts a thin airy material barrier over the vents. So if your life is plagued by insects and locusts making a bee-line for your helmet then you might want to swap over to this lightweight screen.

More on-trend than either of those two attachments is the clip-on plastic aero shell. Spiuk don't trot out any impressive claims about how much time the shell will save you over 25km compared to an unfaired helmet, but don't let that stop you clipping it on to help you snaffle that Fast Bronze sportive time. Alternatively and probably more pragmatically useful you can press it into service as a rain cover or a vent shield to keep your noggin warm over the winter months. The shell leaves the two temple vents out front and the rear exhausts open so some air does filter through and there's still somewhere to poke your glasses but it's does make your head noticeably warmer. Popping the shell on will add 40g to the helmet.

Free of the aero shell, ventilation is taken care of with 20 vents. There are no bold claims about any special breezy technology infused into the helmet or the wind channeling capabilities magically induced by the placement of their vents, all Spiuk say is that it has an extraordinary helmet ventilation system.

Extraordinary might be putting it a bit strongly. As helmet venting goes it was perfectly fine, not as visually gappy as some other helmets but over a pleasingly long summer with some excursions to even warmer climes, with proper climbs, the Dharma never felt an uncomfortable sweatbox nor like sticking your head in a wind-tunnel. Just pretty normal airiness for a modern helmet really.

The straps are traditional helmet strap fare: standard buckle closure with adjustment via click shut yokes under each ear to get things just so. There's a little rubber loop to tuck away the loose strap ends. Take note, people, it's there to be used.

Spiuk's interpretation of an adjustable cradle is their W-Precision X1, probably named because it looks like a squashed X. The cradle has a three-position up/down adjustment to get the most comfortable fit on your head, and it's padded to further that end. It tightens to your skull with a very positive thumbwheel that's easy to play with on the move and in a deviation from the norm the thumbwheel has to be pushed in and turned anti-clockwise to release the tension. It's a very effective design.

The internal space of the Dharma is quite round, but with slightly flattened off sides, but those with thin slab-sided heads need not face away as the W-Precision X1 does a good job of fitting the helmet to most shaped heads. With the fore anchoring points of the cradle right up near the temple it wraps around the most awkwardly shaped skull, even if externally it can look mushroomy on narrower heads. It's quite a deeply sculpted space too, making the Dharma sit further down and around the head, which adds to the sense of security compared to some other helmets that can feel a bit 'perchy' on the skull.

When it comes to protection the Dharma has that covered with Spiuk's Conehead system. Spiuk inject their Conehead helmets with a dual density foam to create a stronger outer that absorbs impact better than the average helmet with lower density areas closer to the head for the low impact areas. This means the outer of the helmet is more resistant to the day-to-day knocks and scuffs, accidental drops and maybe the odd bump that may compromise other helmets' integrity, while the lower-density internal layer still offers sufficient impact protection when needed.

It's a system that, at least on the aesthetic front, seems to work. After a season of use, what exposed foam there is on the Dharma isn't showing the dents and nicks that other helmets can exhibit after being thrown on café tables and rattled round the boots of cars. The included microfibre bag also helps with this lack of degradation, it has to be said.

The majority of the Dharma is covered with an in-moulded protective shell, like most helmets these days. That fuses the shell to the inner EPS, and the whole lot is designed to work as one piece to diffuse energy on impact. Further helping impact protection is the Spiuk Supercage offering extra front strength in polypropylene and ABS.

All of that means the Dharma meets CE-EN 1078 helmet standards, but unfortunately the test period failed to come to any sudden conclusion as to whether it met those standards or not, nor did the test period include a identical crash in a helmet built to the same standards but at a fraction of the cost to see if the Spiuk was worth the extra money. Sorry to disappoint.

But for the 99.999999% of the time you'll be wearing a helmet the Spiuk Dharma did what all good helmets should do, and that was to be pretty much unnoticeable. The W-Precision X1 retention system ensures the helmet fits to most heads and has enough adjustment to make it comfortable, while the 20 vents keep your head from cooking.

If the green version you see here isn't your thing you'll be pleased to know the Dharma comes in eight other colours, some of them less garish, so you can match your helmet to jersey to bike to socks to nail varnish.

Verdict

Comfortable, light enough, vented enough helmet with added aero/rain shell and mosquito net

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Spiuk Dharma helmet

Size tested: Green/Black, 51-56cm

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Spiuk say their new high-end helmet takes all the features of the old DAGGON to the next level in the four pillars of a top racing helmet. As to safety, the SUPERCAGE adds strength, comfort, lightweight and extraordinary helmet ventilation system, characteristics that take DHARMA to the top while keeping the outstanding and distinguishing SPIUK design.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Multi-shell, in-mould helmet.

SUPERCAGE for extra front strength in polypropylene and ABS.

Polyamide inner layer.

CONE-HEAD technology. Dual-density EPS liner.

Excellent ventilation system. 20 large vents.

Curvature of the inside surface especially modelled by SPIUK.

W-PRECISION X1 rear fitting system with three-position tilt angle adjustment at the back.

Highly safe ultralight straps.

Anti-insect mesh and pads that can be easily removed and replaced.

Removable visor.

Aerodynamic closed shell.

Protective microfibre bag.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well made and finished helmet with the Conehead system keeping things smart for longer.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Light and airy enough ride and race helmet, can't comment on the crash protection performance, yet.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The Conehead system and in-mould shell mean the Dharma is still looking like new and should do for some time.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
5/10

Averagely light helmet for the cash, adding the aero shell bumps up the weight noticeably.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

Well padded with an effective W-Precision X1 retention system. Not hot, even when it's hot.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Light enough helmet for the price, plus aero-shell, bug-guard, visor and storage bag.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

For riding in it was comfortable and cool, what it's like for crashing in is currently unproven.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Comfortable, easy to adjust, racey looker. That aero shell looks handy for Winter.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

As a person with a flat-sided head it looked a bit stickey-outey, call me vain.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

 

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

5 comments

Avatar
massspike [138 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Seems like a lot of features for the price (safety and functional)...7/10 seems a little severe.

I will disagree with you on the visor...it would be nice to have this option for dealing with "low winter sun" this time of the year; and you could also use this as your trail riding helmet.

Avatar
truffy [649 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

It doesn't appear to have that SIPS (?) technology that stops your brain being whizzed into frappé. I think that for 120 drinking tokens the inside of your noggin shouldn't have to look like it's gone through a blender.

Avatar
VecchioJo [414 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
massspike wrote:

I will disagree with you on the visor...it would be nice to have this option for dealing with "low winter sun" this time of the year; and you could also use this as your trail riding helmet.

it would indeed be a nice option if the visor was big enough to be any use in blocking winter sun, it isn't, as mentioned it's very slim and offers no benefit

i've never worked out why a trail helmet needs a visor, unless it's there purely as an image statement to show you're not a roadie, none of the helmets i MTB in have visors

Avatar
massspike [138 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
VecchioJo wrote:

it would indeed be a nice option if the visor was big enough to be any use in blocking winter sun, it isn't, as mentioned it's very slim and offers no benefit

i've never worked out why a trail helmet needs a visor, unless it's there purely as an image statement to show you're not a roadie, none of the helmets i MTB in have visors

I find you don't need much of a sunshade this time of year because you just need it to stop the glare off your sunglasses (think of the relative size of a car sunshade to the windscreen -- its the positioning that works). I use an LG Power Cap and I would guess its bill is much smaller than this visor -- but it does the job when you are riding in a roadie position (its just not warm enough for all our conditions). I have a Bell helmet with this feature -- its not the best helmet but I will use it on sunny days when I am forced into a balaclava.

As for trail riding, the visor is there to help if you are riding in and out of trees on a sunny day. We probably get more intense sunlight during the summer so your eyes are continually adjusting to the sun/shade but in the trees dark lenses aren't as effective as a pink/red (even clear).

The beauty of this type of helmet (and my Bell) is that you don't have to use the visor but you can't add one if it isn't provisioned for (although Bontrager was selling an add-on visor for a while).

Avatar
jimmycrc [7 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

 7 really cant figure out how this got such an average review, I bought one of these about 4 months ago, and can honestly say its one of the best lids I've ever owned! really comfortable, sits nice and secure around the head, and looks pretty mean too!