In pursuit of a full carbon fiber helmet, I stumbled upon Titan Carbon Fiber Gloss black (GLCA200) from SMK. The carbon fiber on the outer shell was the first thing that caught my eye, later on researching a bit more, I found that there is much more to it than just the crazy-looking carbon fiber weave on the exterior. Now that I have used the GLCA200 for a good couple of months, here is my experience with one of the most affordable carbon fiber full-face helmets.
First thing first, The SMK GLCA200 comes in two shell sizes, one shell size for head sizes between Xtra small, small and medium and a larger shell for head sizes large to 2XL. This is important firstly because you will easily find your correct size, secondly because there is no compromise on fitting larger head sizes inside a shell made for Xtra small and small head sizes. I went for the 2XL size helmet, 620mm and above, 2XL size helmet is hard to find as whatever stock that comes to dealers is quickly picked up by the riders.
Shell is made of carbon fiber (composite) and the company has not covered the carbon weave with any fancy paint or graphics job. Thus, giving it the carbon fiber look, a couple of layers of lacquer adding to the glossy look. Now we could not test how good the helmet is in protecting our heads while riding but helmets with a carbon fiber composite shell usually are on the top tier in terms of safety.
When it comes to helmets, people usually make their buying decisions based on the paint/graphic job, etc, but the insides of a helmet is equally important when it comes to safety and comfort while riding. The GLCA200 comes with multi-density expanded polystyrene (EPS), softer density nearer to the rider's head while harder density on the outer side. Dissipating the impact away from the head in case of a crash much more efficiently than single density EPS, Multi-density EPS greatly improves the impact-absorbing characteristic of the helmet.
The liner inside the GLCA200 is breathable which is a common feature today, on our recent mid-summer, Sunday ride to Jaipur from Delhi, with the temperatures on the highway close to roughly 47degrees the GLCA200 felt comfortable. The airflow inside with two inlets and two outlets kept our heads well ventilated. Often, one can not stand with the helmet on for a few minutes as the heat gets you, and the GLCA200 proved to be very comfortable during such instances. Removable and washable padding, speaker pockets, and Hypoallergenic Liner it's all there.
One interesting thing is that the GLCA200 also comes with EQRS or Emergency Quick Release System which the company calls the Emergency Red Tab Release System, this system comes with a Pull Tab near the bottom of the helmet, pulling this tab will remove cheek pads in case of emergency helping the first responders to remove the helmet without causing extra injury to the rider. The bottom liner is also reflective making it easier for other road users to see the black helmet at night.
The GLCA200 in its 620mm size offered us a great snug fit, the padding while being snug is comfortable for long rides and we came back with no headaches. The weight of 1650gms is on the higher side, we have seen lighter helmets but interestingly the weight is well distributed and no strain was felt on long rides. There are pockets on the sides for eyewear temples, while I don’t wear specs, riders who do would find this very useful.
Carbon Fiber helmets tend to be noisier than fiberglass helmets and the GLCA200 is no different, at triple-digit speeds the wind noise does creep in, which gets louder if the vents are open. The interesting part is that we did not experience our ears ringing after some spirited riding. Cheaper helmets often cause the riders to experience ringing sounds in the ears.
While we ordered our GLCA200 with a clear visor, the helmet came with a Pinlock 70 fog-resistant lens inside the box. This is an accessory in most of the helmets and getting a pinlock 70 for free is really nice touch. The Pinlock 70 creates a double shield system through a silicon seal between the helmet face shield and Pinlock insert lens, which makes up a double glass type of solution that prevents fogging. The Pinlock insert absorbs moisture on the inside and offers you continuous clear visibility. Even while using the GLCA200 during the rains in the month of June, we experienced no fogging of the visor. The Delhi winters will be the true test of the pin lock though.
The GLAC200 comes with a dual visor setup adding to the versatility of the helmet, additionally, the visor is UV and scratch-resistant. In our usage period of 2 months, we have not found any scratches on the visor yet. The helmet comes with a quick releases system in India, while abroad it is available with a double D-ring system, we would have preferred a D-Ring system over a quick release system.
With ISI approved helmets becoming mandatory in India, the GLCA200 offers both ECE 22.05 safety certification and ISI certification as SMK is a sub-brand of the Indian Helmet manufacturer – STUDDS. Being a product of an Indian company also means the spares are cheaper, pads, liners, straps, and visors will be cheaper than the imported brands. Available at the price of Rs 11000, the GLCA200 is one the cheapest Carbon Fiber full helmet, this is something you should look at for the quality and safety that it offers, the raw carbon fiber weave visible on the outer shell is an added bonus.