MXA TEAM TESTED: HJC RPHA-X HELMET
WHAT IS IT? Until now, HJC’s most expensive offroad helmet retailed for $145. Not anymore! The RPHA (Revolutionary Performance Helmet Advantage) line is HJC’s new line of helmets designed to bridge the gap between their previous offerings and high-priced, premium helmets.
WHAT’S IT COST? $349.99 (solid white), $354.99 (matte black), $359.99 (graphics).
CONTACT? www.hjchelmets.com or (562) 407-2186.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with HJC’s RPHA-X helmet.
(1) Construction. The RPHA-X shell is a matrix of carbon fiber, aramid, fiberglass and organic non-woven fabric. HJC engineers used CAD programs and rapid prototyping to create prototype shell designs that were tested in different environments before the final design was selected. This enabled HJC engineers to work out any bugs and refine the helmet’s strength and construction without wasting time.
(2) Fit. No MXA test rider complained about pressure points or uncomfortable features on the RPHA-X (an ungainly acronym). The eyeport fits a wide variety of goggle brands, and the liners are available in different thicknesses to fine-tune the fit, which was a good thing, because the RPHA-X had a deep-bucket feel. What does that mean? The helmet didn’t sit too far down on the brow, but the chin bar extended down past the jaw on test riders. It sat on our heads at a weird angle. To fix it, we combined HJC’s medium-sized inner liner with large cheek pads. This leveled out the helmet.
(3) Weight. With the RPHA series, HJC was able to cut helmet weight by tightly controlling the size and placement of the layers of fiber. This minimized overlapping and excess material. HJC hand-cuts and layers the cloth strips in place to ensure absolute accuracy. True to HJC’s claim, MXA’s medium/large-shell RPHA-X hit the scales at 2.93 pounds. That is impressive. MXA considers any helmet that comes in under the 3-pound barrier to be officially light.
(4) Venting. We could see daylight through the vents in the top of the RPHA-X. It’s a very breathable helmet that allows venting of perspiration on hot summer days.
(5) Durability. On any helmet, the visor is the most vulnerable part. The RPHA-X’s visor is very flexible, due in part to its lengthwise slits. Amazingly, it was able to take a hard face-plant without snapping. The RPHA-X comes with a five-year limited warranty and is Snell and DOT approved.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? There were two complaints: (1) Maintenance of the RPHA-X could be much easier all around. We would like hand-adjustable screws on the visor pivots, easier access to the nosepiece for cleaning and quicker removal/installation of the inner liner. (2) Although we fixed the fit by mixing and matching cheek pads, it should come from the factory with the proper profile.
HJC achieved their goals with the RPHA-X. (1) It is light. (2) It offers premium features. (3) It uses high-tech construction techniques. (4) It meets the mid-line price target. (5) It is a viable option for a motocross racer.