If you’ve been into bikes for more than a day, chances are very high you’ve come across riders wearing Shoei motorcycle helmets. And if you watch any racing, you’ll certainly have seen them worn by the best of the best. So what is Shoei, and just how do their motorcycle helmets stack up?
Founded in 1954, the company was formed to produce polyester helmets for the construction workers rebuilding a war ravaged Japan. From 1958 to 1960 the company began developing a helmet to be used in motorcycle racing. By 1965, Honda began promoting Shoei motorcycle helmets as “genuine” equipment, and their popularity quickly took off.
Since those early years, Shoei has been at the forefront of motorcycle helmet design, introducing a number of new and unique features.
Shoei’s Motorcycle Racing Pedigree
Over the years Many riders have raced and won while trustung Shoei helemts to keep them safe on the track. Current MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez races in a Shoei X14. That’s good enough for me. In fact I’ve had my current Shoei RF-1200 for just over 5 years and it still looks great.
So what are the different helmets Shoei makes, and how do they compare to each other?
The RF-1200 series is arguably Shoei’s most popular lid, made to be a great all rounder, working well for sport riders and limited track use.
Designed from the outset to be the top of the pack for comfort, performance and protection. The shell is wind tunnel-tested ensuring the compact and aerodynamic shape reduces wind-noise, buffeting and weight. The RF-1200 is one of the most comfortable helmets on the market, and also one of the safest, being both DOT and SNELL M2015 rated.
The Shoei Neotec 2 helmet is an exceptional modular touring helmet. The lid moves a massive amount of air via upper air intake vents and well desinged exhaust outlets. The wind tunnel tested Neotec 2 works well in a variety of riding positions. The integrated shell spoiler reduces lift and drag at speed, and the chin bar Aero Deflector helps with stability. The seal along the neck opening is better than most, due to the Noise Isolator cheek pads that help keep turbulent air out. The Shoei Neotec 2 works with the Sena SRL Communication System for a custom-like installation. WIthout a doubt, this is the ultimate long distance touring helmet.
The Shoei X-14 Helmet is a true, dedicated track lid, and for good reason. Every line, every angle and every design choice, has been made in the name of lowest drag/highest performance and safety. There’s a reason the ebst rider in the world wears this helmet, and if you are truly dedicated to being the best on track, you should wear one too. Nuff said.
The GT-Air II is Shoei’s ultimate all-rounder. The shell design has been extensively refined over the years through the constant use of wind-tunnel testing. Featuring an built in sun visor, and improved airflow to keep you cool, the GT-Air also integrates with the SRL 2 Bluetooth Communication System by Sena.
The Shoei RF-SR Helmet delivers a quiet, comfortable ride, every time. Like all Shoei helmets, the exterior shell of the RF-SR is wind tunnel tested and produced in multiple sizes to keep drag as low as possible, meaning less turbulence, neck strain and total weight. You can dial in the perfect fit by swapping out different parts of the padded liner. Each RF-SR easily surpasses DOT and SNELL M2015 safety certifications.
The Hornet X2 is Shoei’s adventure helmet, but it will work equally well on road or off. The Shoei Hornet X2 Helmet offers dual-sport enthusiasts a great balance between on- and off-road form and function. Without compromising the core values of long distance touring, the Hornet X2 is a true all-road, all-weather helmet. The mouthpiece and chin bar are designed to improve air intake and ventilation, while giving the rider additional air space for that off-road riding heavy breathing.
The Shoei VFX’s liner incorporates the unique M.E.D.S. (Motion Energy Distribution System), which includes a special module in the EPS liner that absorbs sudden impacts by reducing rotational acceleration in the event of a crash. Shoei’s in-house testing revealed rotational energy was reduced by 15% compared to the VFX-W off-road helmet. The shell is built with high tech AIM+ (Advanced Integrated Matrix Plus Multi-Fiber), containing a mix of fiberglass and organic fibers. The result is a rigid, ultra-lightweight, but elastic structure. The braced nose cover has been designed to filter dirt and dust, and aluminum mesh stops roost from entering your mouth.
The Shoei J-O is a 21st Century version of the classic 3/4 “crash helmets” of old. The J-O Helmet is built with Shoei’s AIM (Advanced Integrated Matrix) shell for a lightweight and resilient shell structure. Featuring a goggle-inspired, three position drop-down visor, Nubuck leather trim, and glasses compatible cheek pads, the helmet is designed for comfort . A dual layer EPS liner is the final element ensuring a comfortable experience from start to finish.
So What’s It Going To Be?
From everything we’ve looked at above, it’s clear that Shoei is one of the top level manufacturers producing helmets to keep riders safe, comfortable, and stylish. They’ve been at the forefront of helmet design and safety developments since the 1960’s, and everything they make is made with care and attention to detail.
Whichever lid best suits your riding style, you can’t go wrong with Shoei.