HJC RPHA 70 full face motorcycle crash helmet review

HJC-RPHA-70-ST-Featured

HJC RPHA 70 ST: Style, safety and comfort- does the RPHA 70 ST have it all?

South Korean helmet maker, HJC, has been producing motorcycle helmets for about 45 years now, and are known for providing decent quality, affordable crash helmets.

So, for their latest helmet, the HJC RPHA 70 ST, to be selling for around the $450 mark, we’re expecting something pretty special. Not only is it their joint most expensive helmet (OK their range-topping RPHA 11 Carbon costs a bit more, but the 70’s the same price as the standard composite RPHA 11), so it’s properly treading on the toes of the big boys – the Arais, Shoeis and Schuberths of this world. And to do that, it needs to pack a real punch.

Note, in Europe the RPHA 70 ST drops the ST (Sports Touring) and is sold as the plain RPHA 70, though it’s the same helmet.

So what does the RPHA 70 ST offer?

We’ll, it’s a full faced helmet aimed at the sports-touring market – which really means anyone this side of track racer – though it should be more than happy on the track too.

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-semi-flat-black-front-view
RPHA 70 ST ‘Semi Flat’ matt black

But there’s quite a few innovations that HJC reckon they’ve thrown at the RPHA 70 ST – more than pretty well any new crash helmet launch we can remember. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, here’s the main features of the new HJC RPHA 70 ST full face.

  • Composite-fiber shell (carbon, aramid & fiberglass)
  • SHARP 3 Star rated (Eu version)
  • Full carbon version also available
  • Drop down sun visor
  • EQRS (emergency quick release)
  • Double-D ring fastener
  • HJC anti-fog insert included
  • Wicking, anti-bac interior
  • Glasses groove
  • Sizes XXS-XXL
  • 5 year warranty
  • Expect to pay around $360-$550

Looking to buy an HJC?

We recommend Revzilla (PA) for outstanding service and free delivery, and both Rocky Mountain ATV/MC (UT & KY) and 2 Wheel (CA) for great service, free delivery and returns*. Please click any link to drop onto their HJC helmets pages or see here for more info about our recommended stores, including T&Cs.

Safety

There’s a full carbon fiber version of the RPHA available. But most of the RPHA 70 ST range are made from what HJC call their Premium Integrated Matrix plus or PIM for short. That’s a complex 6 layer composite laminate, including layers of carbon, glass fiber and aramid (kevlar) designed to offer good impact resistance while being light weight.

Of course, impact resistance is only one half of the equation when it comes to an effective crash helmet (with energy absorption being the other half) and if you look at the SHARP safety tests covering HJCs you can see they’ve a mixed bag of results.

Their average score across all tested HJC helmets is just over 3 out of 5. And while the composite-shelled FG-ST scored a maximum five, their top of the range RPHA 11 only managed a modest 3/5.

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-grandal-rear-view
Rear view of the RPHA 70 ST Grandal showing red EQRS tabs.

Similarly, the European version of the RPHA 70 ST (just called the RPHA 70) was SHARP tested and given a 3 star safety rating; which isn’t the best. However, it’s worth remembering that the most important thing with any helmet is to get one that fits right – a SHARP one star helmet that fits perfectly will protect you better than a five star helmet that’s a poor fit. Check our fitting guide here.

Moving on from helmet shell and shock absorption performance, the RPHA 70 ST does have some other useful safety features.

Foremost among these are the emergency quick removal cheek pads (EQRS) – designed to help removing the helmet by emergency staff.

There’s also good ole double-d ring fasteners – it might be an old style way to fasten a helmet but they’re safe as houses and a must if you want to take your helmet on the track.

The RPHA 70 will also come with both an anti-fog insert (though it’s not a Pinlock) and anti-fog coated drop down sun visor.

Of course, having an integral sun visor can be very useful. And having it anti-fog coated should be really useful too, though we’ll have to wait and see if the coating’s actually any good: it’s one thing saying it’s anti-fog coated but entirely another whether it works well or not!

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-octar-red-black-side-view
Another cool design – this time it’s the Octar in red & black

Obviously, it’d be great to see a top SHARP test result so we know it’s gonna protect your noggin.

Looking to buy an HJC?

OK, this helmet isn't available in any of our recommended US retailers at the moment, but we've a couple of recommended European stores you can buy one from. SportsBikeShop (UK) are based in the UK and offer outstanding service and competitive prices. Or there's MotoIn (Ger) for a wide range and excellent prices - based in Germany. Please click either link to see their full range of HJC helmets and latest prices. Note, helmets bought from non-US suppliers will exclude shipping and won't be DOT Certified for legal use in mandatory helmet law states

Helmet Noise

It’s rare that we come across a particularly quiet helmet. Usually, one person’s quiet helmet is another’s noisiest helmet they’ve ever used!

But the word on the RPHA 70 ST seems to be pretty unanimous. This is one helluva quiet helmet. it sounds like HJC has worked some kind of alchemy with the aero and padding because not only is it reportedly one of the quietest helmets around, but that noise doesn’t seem to increase even when the vents are open.

Now, we don’t want to over-promise here and you should still expect to wear ear plugs if you buy an RPHA 70 ST, but we didn’t find a single opinion other than along the lines of ‘damn, that’s a quiet helmet’.

Ventilation

HJC reckon they’ve done a lot of work on making the RPHA 70 ST one of the best venting helmets on the market – and owners seem to agree.

There’s a couple of chin vents; the top main vent directs air up onto the back of the shield and around the chin area too. The upper vent is easy to operate using a slider in the usual position on the outside of the helmet.

The lower vent is smaller and a bit more fiddly to operate as its slider’s on the inside of the helmet, which is never ideal.

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-octar-black-yellow-top-view
This one’s the RPHA 70 Octar yellow/black. Unique top vents visible

With the RPHA 70 ST, these top vents are actually both intake AND exhaust vents. Bizarre. The switches on the top/size vents are also there to help regulate, not only the amount of cold air entering the helmet but the amount of warm air exiting it too.

We were initially pretty cynical about the venting arrangement – thinking could well be a cost-saving exercise (easier and cheaper to manufacture/fit intake and exhaust vents at the same time).

But now the RPHA 70 ST has been on the market for a while, owners give the ventilation nothing but praise – saying you can really feel the ventilation on your head, really keeping your head cool on hot days.

And because the RPHA 70 ST is designed to work for both sports and touring riders, they’ve made special effort to make vents that work in a sportsbike tuck as well as more upright position.

All in all, it’s difficult to fault the venting on the RPHA 70 ST.

Shield and Sun Visor

The clear shield that comes as standard has both HJCs rapid fire II quick release system and is Pinlock antifog-ready.

The rapid fire system works pretty well to whip off the visor with little fuss.

However, it was initially thought that the anti-fog insert would be a Pinlock – which are great. As it turns out, HJC supplies their own version which isn’t quite as good, according to several owners.

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-metal-pearl-white-side-view
‘Metal’ pearl white 70 ST (sun visor down with optional tinted shield)

A new thing that we’ve not come across before is a two position shield-lock. Close the shield as normal, and the shield locks in position. That’s not new and lots of helmets do that – and you just have to push the shield up at the catch and it opens in one action.

However, with the RPHA 70 ST you can also slide the lock to the left and it’ll lock the shield closed – so even in an accident where the catch is knocked, the shield shouldn’t open.

It seems a bit over-kill for a road helmet but might come in useful if you spend a lot of time on the track? You’ll have to decide for yourself.

HJC also reckon they’ve redesigned the shield gasket to give an even better fit, reducing water/dust ingress and sealing out more road noise. This is possibly a welcome improvement as we do occasionally hear folks moaning about poor sealing on HJCs so hopefully this will improve things.

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-grandal-top-view
HJC RPHA 70 Grandal

Finally, on the main shield, it does have a ‘cracked open’ position which many riders like; it’s good as a defogging position letting in a bit of ventilation while still protecting the face. So that’s (always) welcome.

Onto the sun visor.

HJC call it a ‘wire type’ sun visor meaning (I think) it’s more controllable – not just giving the options of either fully up or fully down but allowing you to drop it down as much as you like.

They’ve also designed it so the switch is further forwards and easier to reach (much better than on the top/rear of the helmet) and made the slider nice and ridged so it’s easy to operate in gloves.

Nice one HJC.

The sun visor is also anti-fog coated. Again, that’s good (lots of sun visors aren’t) though we’ll have to wait and see if it actually works!

Comfort and sizing

The HJC RPHA 70 sizing goes from XXS through to XXL (that’s size 52/3 through to 62/3).

On the inside, you’ll find the usual removable/washable lining that you find in all but the cheapest helmets (and increasingly even in the cheapest of the cheap helmets!) and you’ll also find a glasses groove to help riding in shades and glasses more comfortable.

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-grandal-green-side-view
Same Grandal design as above but this time in green.

Check out the RPHA 70 spec sheet and it looks like it’ll cover all the bases in terms of active fabrics too. It’s moisture wicking, it’s anti-bacterial, odor-reducing and quick-drying. HJCs usually make very good internals and there’s no reason to suspect the RPHA 70 will be any different.

It doesn’t contain some of the swanky materials of some of the competition (see the HJC FG-ST’s SilverCool lining or the Bell Star range’s X-static silver or Cool Jade materials!) but it ticks all the boxes and owners reckon that it’s a very comfortable helmet. One or two thought it was a bit too tight at first, but said that it breaks in quickly and, now it has, they love the comfort even on long rides.

Looks and Graphics

With its chunky mouldings and and aero-influenced spoilers, the HJC RPHA 70 looks about as modern and purposeful as any helmet on the market today.

Of course, much of that is about making a helmet that works; about reducing buffeting and improving stability. And it’s also been shaped to create a pressure differential that’ll help draw air through the helmet for ventilation.

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-semi-flat-black-side-view
Side view of the matt black ‘Semi Flat’

But it’s not just about the aero. That complicated shape’s also been designed to make the helmet look visually compact too – to trick the eye into thinking it’s smaller than it actually is.

And all that design work is accentuated by some really quite striking graphics.

There’s no hi-viz version (yet) but most of us want either a plain black or white lid and you’ve the usual choice of matt or gloss in there (they’re the Metal or Semi-Flat range).

There’s also the Octar, the Dipol, Grandal and Lif graphics – most available in at least two or three different color combos.

You’ll find many RPHA 70 ST helmet designs up and down this page, but there are a lots more available. So, for the latest designs and prices, please click our recommended retailer links below.

Best places to buy an HJC crash helmet?

Revzilla are based in Philadelphia and offer outstanding service (at the time of writing 9.75/10 at Reseller Ratings) 30 day refunds and free shipping on orders over $39.99 to 48 states.

We also recommend Rocky Mountain ATV/MC who score 4.9/5 at Google Customer Reviews, offer free shipping to 48 states on orders over $75, 45 day no quibble returns and will pay for shipping if it doesn't fit right.

2 Wheel are based in California, have excellent customer ratings at Google Customer Reviews and offer free deliveries to US Conti 48 as well as 1st free return delivery if your gear (incl helmets) doesn't fit.

They are our Recommended Stores for quality of service and if you click one of our links and buy from them, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we pay for the site).

Click to visit Revzilla
Click to visit HJC helmets at Revzilla
Click above to visit Rocky Mountain ATV/MC
Click above to visit HJC at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC
Click to visit 2 Wheel
Click above to visit HJC at 2 Wheel

HJC RPHA 70 Video

Overall/Summary

The HJC RPHA 70 ST is a well thought-out and carefully designed helmet. And it looks pretty cool too!

It’s not the cheapest, but with that complex laminate shell, a carefully designed shield and sun visor system and features like the EQRS and anti-fog shield insert (not a Pinlock), it offers lots of features and technology for the money.

It scored just above average when the European version of the RPHA 70 ST was tested by the UK SHARP testing labs (see here for 4 & 5 star rated helmets) but it is universally praised for its comfort and quietness.

And because it’s been designed as a sports touring helmet, it should be at home whether you’re sat laid back on your Harley or tucked in on your Duke.

It’s also light weight too – though if you want an even lighter weight version, there’s a full carbon RPHA 70 ST available.

All in all, the RPHA 70 ST is a great all-rounder that owners seem to be very well pleased with.

Alternatives to the RPHA 70?

There’s loads of options if you’re looking for a ‘do everything’ full face helmet. We’ve chosen a few great helmets here to check out, but if you want more options, maybe have a look at our more expensive priced helmets where you’ll find other helmets in the same price range (and more) as the RPHA70 ST; or our great value helmets pages – or even our top 10 full face helmets lists.

But if you’re after some other suggestions, take a look at the AGV GT Veloce – a SHARP five star rated full face helmet that has a nice wide Pinlock-equipped shield and is slightly cheaper than the RPHA 70 ST.

hjc-rpha-70-motorcycle-crash-helmet-lif-side-view
Here’s the HJC RPHA 70 in Lif graphics

If you want a great brand, you could try the Shoei Ryd (only available after Spring 17) – or for something more tried and tested, how about the Shoei GT Air – it’s a great helmet with some excellent features, only let down by a SHARP 3 star test result.

For a helmet that scores maximum results for safety, try the five star rated HJC FG-ST – that’s a fiberglass helmet that’s loads cheaper than the RPHA 70 ST but comes with $30 of Pinlock Max Vision in the box. Great value that helmet.

Looking to buy an HJC?

We recommend Revzilla (PA) for outstanding service and free delivery, and both Rocky Mountain ATV/MC (UT & KY) and 2 Wheel (CA) for great service, free delivery and returns*. Please click any link to drop onto their HJC helmets pages or see here for more info about our recommended stores, including T&Cs.

More HJC crash helmet reviews/info?

Visit our HJC page to quickly browse all our HJC helmet reviews including the HJC IS-17, FS-15, R-PHA-10 full face helmets and the R-PHA-Max modular/flip up.
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