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alan katkich

alan katkich

HJC RPHA 70 ST: Hitting The Sweet Spot

If you are looking for a top spec motorcycle helmet in a mid price point from a reputable manufacturer, the HJC RPHA 70 may be for you. Read on to see our thoughts. 

Some of you might be surprised to know that HJC has been in the helmet game for quite a while. Since 1971 to be exact.

The South Korean manufacturer has also been a sales leader in the USA helmet market since the early 90’s. With factories in South Korea and Vietnam, HJC has been pumping out and capturing the lower price point helmet market very successfully.

In 2012 HJC introduced its RPHA (are-fa) lineup. It was the manufacture’s first foray into the up-spec, composite shell market. Going up against the big boys in Shoei and Arai to name a few.  RPHA stands for Revolutionary Performance Helmet Advantage. 

A marketing guy got paid a lot of money for that not so smooth acronym, but whatever. 

This helmet suits the sport touring rider very well. That means whether in the upright or the three quarter tuck riding position, the helmet will perform well for visibility and ventilation.

Let’s break this thing down and see what we have. 

Shell

The RPHA 70 ST has an aggressive profile that we really like. It comes in three shell sizes. The more shell sizes the better to ensure the best fit but three is pretty standard. It’s best suited for the intermediate oval head shape. 

It’s made with a fiberglass and carbon-glass composite shell. The same material used in their more expensive RPHA 11 track focused helmet. It’s fairly lightweight at 3 pounds 6 ounces. It is a pretty impressive shell for its price. I applaud HJC for using its top spec materials in what is essentially a mid priced helmet.

Related:  How To Size a Motorcycle Helmet

Safety 

DOT is the minimum safety standard for any helmet sold in the US market so I’m not going to applaud the RPHA 70 on that accomplishment. Having said that  it also carries an ECE sticker. This is a European standard that is not intended for the US market. It is a safety standard non the less and not all US helmets can claim to have passed it. 

If we look at the UK based SHARP helmet safety rating system, we’ll see it achieved a 3 out of a 5 star rating. The RPHA 70 scores very well on all but one impact location on SHARP’s testing method. Bottom line, the ratings indicate the helmet meets more than adequate safety standards. 

It’s equipped with emergency cheek pad removal. This allows EMS to remove the pads and subsequently remove the helmet without causing potentially more damage to a rider in case of an accident. 

Visor

The visor on the HJC RPHA 70 is top spec. It’s pin lock ready out of the box.

Fogging was never an issue.

It’s approximately 3mm thick. This is good for its price. It has a bit of flex but it isn’t flimsy. 

I love the center positioned lift tab which makes it easier to flip your visor with either hand.

Swapping the visor is an incredibly simple affair and will cause no frustration whatsoever. 

The RPHA 70 also incorporates a drop down sun visor. The actuation is along the jawline. It’s a smooth operating system. It doesn’t feel clunky or bouncy when you drop the visor down or retract it. 

Interior

The comfort liner of the RPHA 70 is an antibacterial, moisture wicking material. The liner feels somewhat stiff. It’s firm on your head and face but not uncomfortable by any stretch. It’s constructed of multiple layers with different densities of foam to dial in the comfort and stability your head needs. HJC has done a pretty good job here.

It’s removable, washable and all that stuff. Honestly, don’t buy a helmet that doesn’t have that for its liner. 

A couple things to note are the thinner segments on the cheek pads that allow for more comfortable glasses wearing. As an eyeglass wearer I certainly appreciate that. Also the ear pockets have a removable pad that exposes deeper pockets for ear phones if you are installing a com system. If you are not using a com system you can leave the pads in place. This contributes to a much quieter helmet overall without those voids exasperating wind noise. Good thinking HJC.

Ventilation 

The venting in this helmet is what I would term excellent. If you want a helmet for hot weather this is a great option. You can really feel the flow of fresh air over the top of your head. 

The RPHA 70 uses three intake vents and two active exhaust vents out the back. Despite the large amount of airflow through the helmet, noise is really isolated with the aforementioned ear pads that cover the speaker pockets. 

Miscellaneous 

Let’s touch on a couple other things of note with the RPHA 70.

There is a textured rubber on the bottom of the helmet on the neck roll. If you like to place the helmet on the seat of your bike, the grip it offers makes it less likely to slide off. A nice touch.

There are some pretty nice graphics options for this helmet. They raise the price a bit but to me it’s worth it. The graphics take the helmet to another level in the aesthetic department. There is also a new carbon fiber line for the RPHA series which looks seriously badass. Those are on a another level but something some might be interested in checking out. 

Conclusion: Recommended 

Since 2012 HJC has been stepping up it’s game in the upmarket helmet segment. 

The RPHA 70 ST hits the sweet spot in the market. You are getting a composite shell that is the exact same as their top of the line RPHA 11. Yet you are still sitting in the mid level price point. Sure there are a couple trade offs. One being the comfort liner isn’t as plush as ones offered by Arai for Instance. Despite that you are getting a well made helmet from a reputable brand with a good shell. 

This is a no brainer to me. If you have mid market money to spend, this should be on your list. 

Top competition 

The Shoei GT Air 2  

 Another mid priced, composite helmet with great airflow. 

Lots of color and graphic options available.

It’s sized for an intermediate oval head shape. 

It has a very aerodynamic shape.

Slightly heavier than the RPHA 70 ST.

Integrated sun visor. Has a better more plush comfort liner.

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