Econ­omy and lux­ury in a very cool street hel­met

Cycle World - - News - By Mark Hoyer

Shoei RF-SR hel­met, a nicely priced fullfea­ture street hel­met with a lot of style.

The hel­met as the mo­tor­cy­clist’s “hat” per­haps hasn’t ever been as im­por­tant as it is now. No doubt, a full-face hel­met is your best de­fense against head in­jury, but as a style-con­scious gen­er­a­tion steps into rid­ing, many are choos­ing a hel­met as much for how it looks as for the pro­tec­tion it may pro­vide. More sub­dued col­ors and de­signs are prov­ing more at­trac­tive to many than the Tech­ni­color ex­plo­sions pop­u­lar on the racer side.

And ev­ery­body is at­tracted to a lower price.

It also seems that ev­ery­body who’s seen this Basalt Gray Shoei RF-SR has com­mented that it’s a cool color, and off­set­ting it with the Spec­tra Gold Shield ($99.99) adds a lot of zing.

From a ma­te­rial stand­point, this wal­let-friendly Shoei starts with a hand­laid fiber­glass/or­ganic-fiber com­pos­ite multi-ply shell Shoei calls Ma­trix AIM+. The re­siliency and en­ergy-ab­sorb­ing qual­i­ties of this type of ma­te­rial are ex­cel­lent, which is why most makers still rely on some kind of fiber­glass com­pos­ite when mak­ing shells. The work­horse of im­pact en­ergy ab­sorp­tion is the du­al­layer multi-den­sity EPS liner (the “foam”) de­signed to of­fer a high level of pro­tec­tion in com­pact di­men­sion, re­duc­ing weight and mak­ing the over­all size of the hel­met smaller.

Shoei’s 3-D in­jec­tion­molded shields are made in the US by the same com­pany that makes pilot vi­sors for mil­i­tary ap­pli­ca­tions be­cause it can pro­vide per­fect op­tics from ev­ery an­gle. This model uses the

CWR-1 (Pin­lock EVO an­tifog in­sert in­cluded), same as that of the top-line racer model, the X-four­teen, which is ribbed at its edges for struc­tural in­tegrity. The hel­met can there­fore also take the rac­ing-ori­ented CWR-F, which has posts and is ver­ti­cally flat to al­low for tear-off use. I al­ways feel like a jet pilot on a bike, even on my Nor­ton, which is so un-jet-like it is ridicu­lous.

The QR-E base­plate mech­a­nism holds the shield on, and it’s pretty much my fa­vorite in terms of ease of re­moval/ in­stal­la­tion. Zero trou­ble and no tricks re­quired. The five-po­si­tion-ad­just dial on the plate al­lows for tun­ing the ex­cel­lent seal of the shield to the eye-port. This is a 100-per­cent leak-free and quiet seal.

Touch­ing your head is the ul­tra-plush, padded fab­ric com­fort lin­ing that is com­pletely re­mov­able and wash­able. The neck-roll pad­ding pro­vides a slightly larger open­ing than on the X-four­teen, which makes it eas­ier to put on and re­move the hel­met, per­haps at the ex­pense of a bit more noise, though this is a quiet hel­met over­all.

As a first re­spon­der, I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the Emer­gency Quick Re­lease Sys­tem cheek pads that aid hel­met re­moval in case of in­jury. Those cheek pads are also avail­able in var­i­ous thick­nesses for best fit, and as long as the pads are in new con­di­tion, the com­pany will trade sizes at no cost. Four shell sizes ac­com­mo­date XS–XXL heads.

The Snell M2015/DOT hel­met’s de­sign is aimed at street rid­ers, so the ori­en­ta­tion of the three ad­justable in­take vents and two rear vents, plus the eye-port, are skewed to­ward more up­right seat­ing po­si­tions than, for ex­am­ple, the X-four­teen, which is a rac­ing hel­met built to live a lot of its life at full tuck.

The RF-SR is es­sen­tially a lot like Shoei’s more ex­pen­sive hel­mets and doesn’t give up very much in terms of com­fort and qual­ity. Also, for a full-face hel­met, the style and col­ors suit a wide range of mo­tor­cy­cle types, look­ing good with bag­gers, bob­bers, and sportier street­bikes. It’s an ex­cep­tion­ally nice hel­met for the price and has be­come my daily street-rid­ing go-to hat.

COM­POS­ITE: Multi-layer fiber­glass com­pos­ite is re­silient and shock-ab­sorb­ing. Ex­cel­lent ven­ti­la­tion starts at the ad­justable chin in­let. Shield mech­a­nism is among the best. Parts are re­place­able and the plate is ad­justable for per­fect faceshield seal­ing.

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