Already top of mind with BMW riders around the world, Schuberth GmbH has been making helmets for more than 70 years. However, it still remains a pleasant surprise for many riders in the U.S. who have recently “discovered” the brand. With the advent of a topflight new S2 full face helmet and some of the best communication-enabled equipment in the world, look for more brand recognition coming soon … a LOT more!
The German manufacturer brought in powersports industry veteran Randy Northrup to work with Belgian businessman Marcel Lejeune back in 2010, and in two short years, the brand has really branched out. “Starting from ground zero, we have developed a sales team, created a thriving dealer network and initiated a robust marketing campaign,” explains Schuberth North America VP Randy Northrup. As head of Schuberth North America, the former No Fear, Icon and Scorpion exec has had his work cut out for him, but he says the product’s quality speaks for itself.
“Schuberth is not just another helmet company,” emphasizes Northrup. “We are a ‘Head Protection Technology’ company.” In fact, Schuberth engineers superior head protection solutions for fields ranging from firefighting and riot control to auto racing and the motorcycle market. “From the beginning, the corporate philosophy has always been to be innovators rather than followers and to produce top quality products.”
This philosophy works, since Schuberth is the choice of leading law enforcement agencies around the world and is Scuderia Ferrari’s exclusive development partner on the automotive side. Since the original Aero 1, Schuberth’s first motorcycle helmet, was introduced in 1954, an impressive number of powersports industry firsts have stemmed from the Magdeburg-based manufacturer, including the first composite helmet (1976), the first helmet with an integrated internal sunvisor (1984), the first flip-up helmet (1994) and the first fully integrated Bluetooth-based communications system (2010), among others.
In 2008, the C3 came out, winning awards around the world as the lightest, quietest, most compact flip-up on the market, while in 2011, Schuberth unveiled the SR1 “Sport Racing” model, touted as the lightest (1390 grams) helmet to pass ECE/DOT testing and still meet most roadracing organizations’ standards.
“The latest Schuberth products to make headlines are our S2 full face helmet and the integrated antennae for the SRC communications system. Like I said, Schuberth is an innovator, not a ‘me too’ helmet company trying to make a name for itself,” says Northrup. “We are so confident in the quality of our products that Schuberth offers a full five-year warranty, backed by a three-year service program.” These special customer service programs apply to any new DOT/ECE-compliant C3/C3W, S2 and SR1 helmets purchased in North America (Canada and Mexico count, too).
“Our three-year service program provides customers with a free inspection and adjustment service on a pre-registered C3, C3W, S2 and SR1 helmet within three years of purchase,” Northrup adds. Customers simply present their email registration and original proof of purchase when bringing a helmet in for service at an authorized Schuberth Service Center. If damage or wear is noticed during inspection, retail customers are advised of any parts that should be replaced.
As F1 champ/motorcycle racer Michael Schumacher said when he was assisting in the design of Schuberth’s SR1 racing helmet: “We want to make the best helmets in the world for the best riders in the world.” Pretty tall order, but the resulting helmet has exceeded all expectations!
Celebrating its second successful year in North America, Schuberth continues at the top of its game with the release of its crowning achievement, the SR1 “Sport Racing” helmet. “Response to our award-winning C3 flip-up helmet was way beyond expectation, but we have also had demand for a full face,” Northrup explains. “We listened to our customers and our dealers and are proud to offer our premium full face helmet that sets a new standard in the application of aerodynamics and aeroacoustics in helmet technology.”
Northrup has to use terms like “aeroacoustics” and “turbolators” in order to describe some of the German helmet company’s ingenious design elements. What are aeroacoustics? It seems that Schuberth GmbH is the only helmet company in the world to utilize both a wind tunnel and an acoustic chamber as key components of their R&D process. The result is a helmet where only 88 dB reaches the rider’s ear at 60 mph!
Technical skill, superior engineering and precision are at the root of Schuberth’s success, claims Northrup. “Every Schuberth helmet is individually crafted rather than cranked out on an automated assembly line.” For example, the new SR1 takes a full week to be assembled from the raw fiberglass matting to the finished product, by a team of 35 highly skilled technicians.
“Made in Germany” really means something, notes Northrup. “German quality standards in helmet production are … and will remain … the key to Schuberth’s success.” Given their global push, Schuberth helmets are now exported to 55 countries, but North America remains a key target. “We have room for a few good dealers,” Randy readily admits. Already a hit with BMW dealers, Northrup notes, “we’re expanding into Ducati stores. We added Newport Ducati earlier this year and they have been having great success.”
Harley dealers have also found the Schuberth technology works well for some of their customers. “We have seen a great deal of interest and sales to the Harley touring rider looking to get a ‘real’ helmet … not some novelty beanie with a H-D logo slapped on it.” In fact, Northrup was headed out to pick up a couple of Harleys to use for future ads right after this interview.
“The factory will always remain totally committed to quality and innovation, and I am personally committed to bringing the helmets to the best dealers in North America.” If you have what it takes to deal with the best of the best in the North American marketplace, Northrup wants you. Learn more at www.schuberthnorthamerica.com.