Shoei RF-800 Helmet

story by Motorcycle Online Staff, Created Oct. 09, 1998
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It's no mystery why Shoei's RF-800 is their best selling helmet.

The RF-800 provides almost identical quality, comfort, aerodynamics and venting as "premium" helmets that cost hundreds of dollars more.

The RF-800's shell quality is very good. It resists most nicks and scratches and the finish is excellent. The RF-800 is also very comfortable. Initially the RF-800 pinched up top, but after a few days, the pinching went away. After a year of daily use, the RF-800 remains a very comfortable and durable helmet, suffering only the usual nicks and scratches of a heavily worn helmet.

A key feature of the RF-800 is the visor-latching mechanism. The visor may be detached and re-attached without tools or removing sideplates. A trigger on the helmet allows you to snap the visor on or off. If you are ham-handed and you constantly worry about breaking sideplates, the RF's trigger mechanism is a relief. Another feature of the trigger mechanism is that with the absence of sideplates, noise reduction is improved. The RF-800 is one of the quieter helmets we've worn.

Venting is good, although it could be better. Shoei's marketing department puts a big emphasis on the the RF-800's T-VENT system. Basically, the T-VENT is supposed to allow for more frontal air intake by increasing the the flow of the air coming from the lower intakes just above the chin. In theory, increased airflow at the upper intake will force more air through the lower intake and offer more comfortable shell temperatures and less shield fogging. Shell temperatures are very comfortable and air flow through the upper air intake is excellent. However, air flow through the lower air intake could be better. If you stop in cooler weather and the visor fogs from breath condensation, the shield must be open a crack before it clears up. Although this happens to every helmet, it seems to happen to readily on the RF-800. Luckily, the face-shield system has a preset opening lever that is easy to operate with gloves.

The RF-800 is considered Shoei's mid-level helmet, yet except for a liner that is not removable, you might might think you are wearing Shoei's top-of-the-line brand. That is what makes the RF-800 so attractive, it's much less than Shoei's X-9 premium model, and it provides many of the same features such as the trigger latching mechanism. Not only is the RF-800, at an affordable $268.00 MSRP for solid colors and ranging from $345.00 to $387.00 MSRP for advanced color schemes and race reps, a "best buy", it may be the best buy of any street motorcycle helmet.

Motorcycle Online Rating:
Shoei RF-800 ****
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