Shoei Helmets Review

Shoei has been a top brand in the helmet game for decades, producing safe and consistent high-quality headgear that can be used for motorcycles, auto racing, and motocross racing. Shoei helmets are a go-to for experienced bikers who know quality, and in the last two decades the features on all motorcycle helmets, including Shoei helmets, have improved by leaps and bounds. Venting, comfort, easy-snap straps, transition shields, and Bluetooth are now the norm. In this article, we will review the Shoei helmet RF-1200 along with a few of its competitors.


Shoei helmets are helmets designed by Shoei Co. for motorcyclists, off-road enthusiasts, and motocross racers. Safety is Shoei’s top priority, and they have an excellent reputation in that regard, exceeding DOT, SNELL and other safety ratings set by regulatory agencies.

Product Specs


We review the RF-1200, also known as the Shoei NXR, a full-face helmet with an adjustable clear visor and an excellent quality rating. The RF-1200 is the updated version of the discontinued RF-1100 crash helmet.

Helmet Pricing


Motorcycle helmets are not an inexpensive add-on, but a necessary part of the purchase price for a new or used bike. Most begin in the $200 range, but quality helmets run between $300 and $400 and should be the only helmet you will ever need.

How Shoei Helmets Compare


We picked a few similar helmets available on the market to see how they compare on price, ease of use, safety, design quality, and warranty. We’ve also included a list of pros and cons for each helmet.

  • BILT Techno 2.0
  • O’Neal Commander
  • Bell Qualifier Unisex

Shoei Helmets: RF-1200 NXR

Shoei Men's Rf-1200 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet (Large, Matte Black)
  • Around every corner is a brand new adventure, and with that comes the uncontrollable desire to push the limits while...
  • At SHOEI, they know that feeling quite well, which is precisely why they never stop pushing progression within their...
  • Enter the all-new RF-1200.

A slimmer, lighter-weight helmet coming in at only 16 pounds, this Shoei is easy to put on and take off, with good ventilation and high safety ratings. This helmet seeks to cut down on noise and does so, but the NXR doesn’t exceed a few other pricey helmets in reducing noise. The best feature of this Shoei is the combination of comfort, a light weight, and strict adherence to safety standards. Although there are lighter helmets on the market, the Shoei combines an aerodynamic profile with a lightweight material to give this helmet a feel that other helmets do not match.


Ease of Use: 5/5 Stars

The two components that make a helmet easy to use are the chin strap and visor. A helmet with a chin strap difficult to buckle and unbuckle is a hassle even if the rider learns its ins and outs. Likewise, a visor that doesn’t adjust well, rattles, or doesn’t seal well makes riding uncomfortable and is a major distraction. This Shoei helmet includes a traditional D-ring fastener which won’t break and is easy to learn. The visor adjusts with one flip up the finger and requires little interaction.


Safety: 5/5 Stars

This Shoei helmet is DOT-certified and will hold up in most instances without breaking, cracking or denting. The cushioning provides an extra layer of protection, and the shield won’t splinter on impact. Shoei helmets hold up, and the company has an excellent reputation on the overall safety of its helmets. This helmet also meets FMVSS218 standards and SNELL2015 safety requirements. The Emergency Quick Release System (EQRS) allows for quick removal of the helmet in case of an accident.


Design Quality: 5/5 Stars

The Shoei helmet is designed to be lightweight and maximize aerodynamics to reduce wind noise and enable the rider to feel like they are hardly wearing a helmet. Lighter, slimmer, and more comfortable—the RX-1200 achieves all three, meaning riders will notice a difference in wearability. Styling ranges across the board for the RX-1200, but matte black is available with the Shoei logo for a conservative look. Design of the chin strap and visor are excellent and recessed venting operates as it should for a highly breathable helmet. The removable, breathable shell liner offers a great seal and adjustable fit for weather.


Warranty: 5/5 Stars

Shoei helmets offer 5-year warranties on all their helmet lines.

PROS 

  • Lightweight
  • Offers cheek pads for customized fit
  • High safety ratings
  • Comfortable
  • Sizes from XS to 4XL
  • Small shell size
  • EQRS system
  • Customizable look

 CONS

  • Graphics won’t appeal to everyone
  • Not noisy, but not the quietest
  • Expensive

BILT Techno 2.0

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Are you a biker who rides with groups, or often takes a passenger? This helmet has a two-way voice intercom control for up to a quarter-mile range and comes with a Bluetooth option to enhance communication. BILT makes what some consider the safest helmet on the market. They go way beyond your grandpa’s (or even dad’s) helmet with extreme comfort, GPS, and the ability to make phone calls while listening to music. This helmet has few downsides and comes in at a reasonable cost.


Ease of Use: 5/5 Stars

This helmet has a lot of features, including Bluetooth capability and a two-way intercom. As a result, it is more difficult to use than other helmets because it is more complicated. But the features it has are easy to use and made to optimize communication, even at a distance. The visor can be flipped up without difficulty, and the chin strap uses the standard D-ring with a chin curtain to reduce noise.

Safety: 5/5 Stars

The BILT Techno 2.0 is a technological marvel that is also one of the safest helmets ever made. It exceeds DOT and SNELL standards. Do not be fooled by its high-tech, pretty-boy look; this helmet is constructed with materials that maximize safety in a crash.

Design Quality: 4/5 Stars

The BILT is a well-designed helmet with all the features, including venting, one-flip visor, and adjustable fit with removable interior parts. However, we find this helmet does not fit as well as the Shoei helmets we’ve reviewed, and customer feedback reflects this. Perhaps it is because the BILT runs small, so it’s more difficult to find the right fit. For most riders, the BILT will fit well. It is also not as quiet as other helmets we’ve tested at high speed (55 mph and faster) because of the ventilation.

Warranty: 5/5 Stars

Like Shoei helmets, BILT offers a 5-year warranty on its products.

PROS 

  • Two-way intercom
  • Can listen to music and make calls
  • Great ventilation
  • Adjustable padding
  • High safety ratings
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Good value
  • Great range on the intercom

 CONS

  • Fogs up despite ventilation
  • Sizing is challenging

O’Neal Commander

O'Neal Commander Bluetooth Helmet (Hi-Viz, X-Small)
  • Integrated Bluetooth helmet with Anti-scratch & anti-fog shield. Built-in drop-down sun visor. Removable and washable...
  • Fully adjustable flow-through ventilation. Integrated aerodynamic spoiler. Double D-ring chin strap with retention...
  • FCC approved Bluetooth 2.0 technology with 10 hours talk time, 130 hours standby

The Commander can be used to talk for up to about 120 feet, but it is also a “high-viz” helmet made to be seen. This helmet is approved by the DOT and ECE and has the usual features we expect in helmets beyond the $250 price range: venting, an easy-to-use visor, and a lightweight profile. Its only major limitation is the lack of color options; this helmet only comes in fluorescent green-yellow, but the point of this helmet is to be seen, so it makes sense. We love the removable, microfiber suede liner, which can be tossed in the washing machine to remove grime and sweat.

Ease of Use: 5/5 Stars

Using a double D-ring strap, the O’Neal is as easy to put on and take off as any other helmet, and the fit is decent enough. Sizing for these helmets is good, with few complaints about them running too small or too large. The visor flips up easily, and its resistance to fog and scratches are welcome features. The helmet isn’t stunningly lightweight, but it isn’t particularly heavy either. It has a problem handling phone calls (see Design Quality), but regarding everyday use, the O’Neal holds up well to the competition.

Safety: 4/5 Stars

The O’Neal stands up to abuse and passes DOT safety ratings. The high-viz color adds a few notches to its safety rating. Riders should wear bright colors on their jackets, but not all bikers like that look. This helmet increases visibility, especially in lower light conditions. Despite the high-viz advantage, this helmet does not quite reach the amazing safety quality of Shoei or BILT.

Design Quality: 4/5 Stars


Warranty: 5/5 Stars

O’Neal offers a five-year warranty on its helmets.

PROS 

  • Adjustable interior fit
  • Two-way intercom
  • Bluetooth for music
  • High-viz color
  • Ventilation is adequate
  • Meets safety standards
  • Removable, washable liner
  • Affordable

 CONS

  • A bit noisy
  • Phone calls don’t work
  • Safe, but not the safest

Bell Qualifier Unisex

Bell Solid Adult Qualifier DLX Motorcycle Helmet - Matte Black -...
  • Bell invents the protection for breaking boundaries.
  • Their purpose is to enable awesomeness.
  • For 60 years they've answered that challenge and spawned many industry firsts.

Bell is another company with a long history of turning out high-quality motorcycle helmets, on par with Shoei helmets in its reputation. This Bell Unisex is the least expensive helmet on our list. This full-face helmet is decent regarding safety and has Bluetooth capacity. Our favorite feature on this full-face helmet is a shield with a light-to-dark transition lens.


Ease of Use: 5/5 Stars

The Bell features a one-finger flip visor with anti-scratch and UV protection. This helmet has the D-ring strap and removable cheek pads to customize its fit. One of its best features is the ability to change the shield quickly, which can be a hassle in many motorcycle helmets. This helmet weighs only 4.5 pounds, so it is easy to haul around or lock up on the bike. The moisture-wicking removable liner can be easily washed. This helmet is designed to accommodate Sena and Bell intercom and headset systems although those are sold separately.

Safety: 4/5 Stars

The Bell meets DOT safety requirements but does not go above and beyond as Shoei helmets and BILT do. The aerodynamic profile means it fits well and doesn’t add any stress to the rider’s neck or head by moving around—as long as the fit is good. This helmet includes a photochromatic lens that adjusts to light conditions, so visibility is improved for those riders who struggle with glare and hate wearing sunglasses.

Design Quality: 4/5 Stars

A well-designed helmet which is an excellent value, this Bell has only two minor design flaws which remove one star from our rating. The vents work well but sometimes rattle slightly, which can get annoying fast. Also, the face shield may need adjustment and doesn’t work well for those wearing thick glasses or sunglasses. If you wear glasses, consider how much of a hassle it may be to put this helmet on and remove it. Overall, the design allows for a Bluetooth headset, isn’t too noisy, and has decent ventilation along with all the usual interior-adjustment features like padding.

Warranty: 5/5 Stars

Bell offers a five-year warranty like all the other helmets reviewed here.

PROS 

  • Transitions depending on sunlight
  • Easy adjustments to shield
  • UV coating on the shield
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Removable padding
  • Great value
  • Meets safety standards
  • Lightweight

 CONS

  • Should be avoided for those wearing thick glasses
  • Some vent rattle reported

Conclusion

The old guard of the helmet industry, led by Bell and Shoei, continues to manufacture great motorcycle helmets. If an intercom and Bluetooth connectivity are important to you, we recommend the BILT as the best helmet on the market for two-way communication, range, and making phone calls. However, most riders are looking for safety, practicality, and value in a helmet. We love Bell Qualifier Unisex for its affordable price and great value, but overall, we prefer the Shoei for its solid construction, great fit, and lower noise level. We give the Shoei helmet an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

Featured Image via Pixabay

 

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