The Kabuto RT33 is a relatively lightweight street/sport full-face helmet, brand new for 2015.
One differentiator is that the RT33 meets DOT and ECE standards but is not Snell certified like the other two, which accounts for the lighter weight.
It splits the difference between the top-of-the-line Kabuto FF-5V (review) and the Kabuto Aeroblade III (review).
That’s a pretty thin difference to slice, because all three of these Kabuto helmets are similar, all are very good helmets and all of this makes it very difficult to choose between the three.
The RT33 also has generous padding and the eyeglass-friendly cheek pads.
Moving our way through the current Kabuto (formerly OGK) helmet lineup brings us to the brand new RT33.
This gives Kabuto three very similar helm custom in $50.00 price increments, starting at $349.95 for the Aeroblade.
The RT33 splits the difference between the current flagship helmet, the Kabuto FF-5V (review) and the Kabuto Aeroblade III (review).
The helmet on pabrik helm has the latest Kabuto/OGK upper ventilation system that we liked on the Kabuto Ibuki (review) and it provides a lot of air flow.
It comes with a Pinlock insert and the face shield is Pinlock-ready but does not have the annoying molded indent surround found on some competitors.
The RT33 is a very nice helmet with a lot going for it, making an interesting but difficult choice between the three.
That’s a nice problem to have!
The RT33 picks up an ECE rating in addition to DOT, which saves some weight over the Snell certification of the FF-5V and Aeroblade III.
The ECE rating means that apparently the RT33 sold in the U.S. is the same as the RT33 sold in Europe (despite some helmet manufacturer’s claims that it’s not possible to certify a single helmet for both).
After mulling it over, however, Burn and I would take the RT33 and save a few bucks over the FF-5V. The RT33 also has an efficient upper vent system that’s easier to use and its light weight is a plus.
The RT33’s vent system is the same type found on the Kabuto Ibuki flip-up helmet we reviewed previously.
For more information on the differences between helmet safety standards, please refer to these webBikeWorld reports:
The helmet is currently available in a limited color range however; solid colors include only matte black. A high-viz or white yellow or orange would be just the ticket for helmet happiness.
The internal shape is what we ‘d call very “Neutral” with a “Slightly Narrow” fit. It’s perhaps just a touch rounder than what seems to be the current standard of “Neutral” to “Slightly Narrow” that most helmet manufacturers have turned to over the past few years.
You also get a nicely padded, fully removable Coolmax liner that feels– for better or worse– very similar to some of the Arai offerings.
The RT33 has a relatively large and very nice owner-installed chin curtain (install with the foam on the inside!) and the excellent Kabuto upper ventilation system that brings in a lot of air with very little extra noise.
The RT33 has excellent build quality, with all of the moving parts and the liner having a good fit and feel. It seems to us to be very closely competitive with the HJC RPHA series, which are priced at around the same level.
That puts the RT33 in a tough spot, as the overall quality is excellent but it’s not quite at Shoei or Arai levels.
And again like the other Kabuto helmets, the RT33 has the “eyeglass friendly” cheek pad system, which helps to fit straight-temple eyeglasses or sunglasses.
The internal shape of the RT33 feels more “Neutral” than a typical Shoei.
DOT vs. ECE Helmet Safety Standards
The ECE 22.05 Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standard
Snell M2015 Standard
The downside? The RT33 lists for $399.95 in solid colors and $449.95 in graphics.
The RT33 ear pockets have a flat, lined bottom, good for mounting speakers. Most intercoms should fit the shell, with the intercom mount sliding between the outer shell and the EPS liner.
You do get a Pinlock-ready face shield on the RT33 however, along with the insert included in the box, and that’s about a $50.00 value.
Kabuto RT33 Fit, Sizing and Internal Shape
The Kabuto helmet size chart lists this RT33 in size large as a 59-60, but the label inside the helmet reads “58-59 cm”. The former is correct.
RT33 graphics include the red/white/blue or a black/white/silver “Rapid” graphics of our example and a very nice-looking black/orange/green “Veloce” graphic pattern.
The Kabuto RT33: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The RT33 has what Kabuto calls the “ACT EVO R” shell, a fiberglass identical either composite to or very similar to the fiberglass composite shell of the FF-5V, Aeroblade III and Ibuki flip-up.
Like the other Kabuto helmets, the liner padding feels comfortable and thick. While the fabric on the RT33 liner isn’t quite as plush as a typical Shoei helmet, it does seem to do an excellent job at moisture wicking.
This shape should fit most head shapes other than the extremes at either end of the spectrum (see the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page).
The Kabuto Kamui (review), with its internal sun visor (and currently holding down fourth in the Kabuto lineup) has a composite polycarbonate shell.
The red, blue and white “Rapid’ graphics shown here has a deep and very nice metalflake in the colors and the photos don’t do it justice.
The higher-end fiberglass composite shell of the RT33 and its higher-end stable mates helps to make up some of the $100.00+ price differential from the Kamui.
Like the other Kabuto helmets we have reviewed recently, probably the closest similar fit comparison is the Arai RX-Q (review) and it’s our guess that the current crop of Kabuto helmets probably fits more head shapes with better comfort than just about any other brand.
Score: The Kabuto RT33 gets an “Excellent” rating from us for paint and overall quality. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.
Since the helmet is so new, it’s difficult to find on sale with a discount, while some older Shoei, Arai and Shark helmets that start with a higher list price can be had for around the same list price as the RT33.
Overall, we rate the Kabuto RT33 as very comfortable, especially for “Neutral” to “Slightly Narrow” head shapes
Kabuto RT33 Noise Levels
Again like the Aeroblade III, the RT33’s noise levels are relatively low, considering the good ventilation.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual.
Score: The Kabuto RT33 gets an “Excellent” rating for comfort and liner materials and padding and a comfortable fit.
The air volume doesn’t really raise the noise levels much, again like the other Kabuto full-face helmets.
When riding a motorcycle, always protect your hearing. See the wBW Earplug Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
If it wasn’t for one issue, this might just be one of the quietest full-face helmets available today.
While the RT33 may not have quite the same ultimate volume of air flowing through as the Aeroblade III, it’s better than most full-face helmets and it does a good job at keeping the head cool in our current 32+ C (90+ F) humid weather.
More information on helmet fit can be found in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, along with the chart that lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets and also by shape on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
This area could use more padding, as noise leaks in through the back and can be heard as the air rushes through the space between the bottom of the rider and the helmet’s neck.
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Like the other Kabuto helmets, the chin vent on the RT33 isn’t quite as effective. There are no direct vents through the chin bar, something Kabuto should address.
Both of us noticed this and the noise can be almost totally eliminated by holding a hand, finger or something in that area.
Score: The Kabuto RT33 gets a “Very Good” rating overall for noise control.
Kabuto should redesign the bottom of the liner to account for this, which could then make the RT33 exceptionally quiet.
This provides a plentiful amount of air intake and the exhaust is located more towards the top of the helmet, which pulls air through.
Ventilation and Air Flow
Helmets with the Kabuto name (and before that, OGK) have always had a reputation for outstanding ventilation and the RT33 is no different.
There are a couple of big vent holes through the EPS that directly port the air through the front vent and the same in the rear, and this helps.
Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit; the type of motorcycle and windscreen; wind speed and direction and even the type of clothing that is being worn. For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.
As it is, the noise levels from the top half of the helmet are controlled better than average, with the lower half a little worse than average for an overall “Very Good” rating which, if fixed, could be “Outstanding”.
The RT33 has the same type of upper ventilation system as the Ibuki flip-up, with a single, wide slider in front and another in the rear.
The problem area is with a gap at the lower rear of the RT33, just at the point where the cheek pads meet the rear of the helmet liner.
The air does flow up through the top of the chin bar and the owner-installed chin curtain helps.
Overall, the ventilation in the RT33 is better than average but perhaps not quite up to Aeroblade III standards.
Note that our helmet evaluations are normally a combined effort of several riders over time, on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.