I just got back from my first ride in the all new Shoei RF-1200 helmet. To sum up my experience into just a few words: it’s a Shoei. Okay, what does that mean exactly? That’s actually saying a lot, let me explain…
I have quite a few Shoei miles under my belt. From their very well received Shoei Neotec modular helmet, to the recently released Shoei GT-Air, as well as past models such as the RF-1000 (and soon RF-1100), and my experiences have ALWAYS been good ones. That is because Shoei helmets are built to a standard. Yes, they charge a premium for their helmets, but I can tell you from first hand experience – they are worth it. You might see another rider on the road with a Shoei and assume, “oh, he must have a lot of money.” I beg to differ, that rider’s financial status is not relevant – what seeing a Shoei should tell you is that rider has placed a high value on comfort and safety. Regardless of how big your bank account is, you can afford to own a Shoei helmet if you can afford a motorcycle and make it a priority.
First, let’s take a look at what sets Shoei apart from other brands:
1). They make all of their own helmets. This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but many helmet manufacturers these days, especially on the lower end of the price scale, simply affix their logo to a helmet that is made by a 3rd party.
2). Shoei develops their own helmets in house, using their own R&D team and in house wind tunnel testing. There’s a reason Shoei sponsors pro racers, and it’s not all about marketing. Racers push products to their limits, and in many cases, are real world motorcycle riders as well (meaning they also ride on the street). These guys provide a lot of feedback and are an integral part of the testing and development that goes into a new Shoei Helmet.
3). Quality production. Even with the other two points, Shoei could still choose to manufacture helmets to a low price point, but they don’t. All of their helmets are made using either their AIM or AIM+ shell construction, no injection molded plastics here. Shoei utilizes fiberglass and other organic fibers to make their shells as strong and light as possible.
And no, Shoei didn’t give me a helmet or pay me to write that, I am simply stating the facts. I have had the chance to try on just about every brand of motorcycle helmets out there. Shoei is one of those upper tier brands that you simply come to respect – they know what they are doing.
Without further ado, lets talk about the new Shoei RF-1200 and how it compares to its predecessor, the Shoei RF-1100. Probably the biggest, most noticeable improvement is the fact that the new Shoei RF-1200 is lighter in weight, and has a more compact shell design overall. This means more comfort and less fatigue both on very long rides or very aggressive riding where you are moving around a lot (such as at the track). The Shoei RF-1200 is actually Shoei’s lightest Snell certified full face helmet at the time of this writing.
Shoei has also developed an all new base-plate mechanism and shield. The CWR-1 shield features reinforcement at the top and bottom, which also serves to help further seal up against the double gaskets around the eye port. Shoei has also improved the seal by integrating a 5 step adjustment screw into the side of the base-plate. This allows you to fully customize how tight the shield rests against the eye port of the helmet. The new shield also has a shield lock that is now integrated into the tab on the shield, eliminating the need for the lever that sticks out of the side on the RF-1100. In addition to better operation, the CWR-1 Shield is also optically correct, thanks to Shoei’s 3D injection molding process.
Ventilation is always a hot topic when discussing motorcycle helmets, and that’s because in the middle of summer, having your head stuffed into an enclosed space can get pretty warm. Shoei knows their stuff when it comes to designing a helmet though, and thanks to extensive wind tunnel testing and good engineering, the Shoei RF-1200 doesn’t disappoint. Air channels reside inside the EPS liner, providing excellent coverage inside the helmet. On the outside, you’ll notice a re-designed chin vent, an all new brow vent that didn’t exist on the RF-1100, and 4 exhaust vents hidden behind the rear wing.
The Shoei RF-1200 is lined with Shoei’s 3D Max Dry System II interior, which wicks moisture twice as fast as traditional Nylon interiors. These liners are designed to cradle your head and face comfortably, while also further reducing wind noise inside the helmet. Emergency quick release cheek pads are now standard issue on the Shoei RF-1200 helmet, meaning EMT’s and other emergency personnel will have the option of removing your cheek pads before they remove your helmet. This will give them more room to work as they get the helmet off your head without additional trauma to your face or neck.
Probably the most noticeable improvement to the Shoei RF-1200 is the size and weight. The new Shoei RF-1200 is noticeably more compact and lighter than its predecessor. After riding in both back to back this morning, I can definitely say that I am thoroughly impressed with how well Shoei can build a motorcycle helmet. The RF-1100 was a great helmet to ride in, and the Shoei RF-1200 just cranks it up another notch. Be sure to check out our videos reviews, comparisons, and ride tests to see if the Shoei RF-1200 is the next motorcycle helmet for you!
We would love to hear your feedback! What do you think about the new Shoei RF-1200? What did you think about our ride test video? Would you like to see more reviews done this way? Thanks for reading and being a fan of Competition Accessories!