The Shoei RF-700


Years ago, I just had to face up to owning a "Shoei" head. It's not an uncommon form, a melon-shaped cranium with a moon-pie face, ears like tomato wedges, and okra for a nose. It's not a great head, but it's mine, and I'd prefer to keep my brain from becoming fruit salad.

Any decent helmet will do a good job of head-protection, so the choice of what to buy becomes based in individual preferences in comfort and appearance. Shoei's RF-200 has been been my choice for a number of years, because it sits comfortably on my head, has a ventilation system, and isn't deafeningly noisy. On the downside, the shell of the RF-200 has always seemed a little bulky and heavy, and because the chinstrap location tends to pull the helmet forward, down over my eyebrows, I find myself pushing up on the chin bar every few minutes. It was past time for something new.

My taste in helmets has always been toward basic white or black, so I was a bit skeptical at the lightning-bolts-over-magenta of the test helme

t at first glance. It's beautifully finished though, and what the heck, I was getting tired of the geezer image. It definitely goes better with my Triumph Sprint than with the Indian Chief.

Immediately upon donning the RF-700, the difference in the way the helmet is suspended on the head is obvious. RF-200's tend to put pressure right on the middle of the top, while the RF-700's interior is more like a crown, supporting itself on a padded ring on the circumference. It's different, but also more comfy.

The RF-700 also immediately feels lighter than the RF-200. It turns out that it is, although not a lot. The RF-700 weighed in at 3 lbs. 7 oz. (1559 gm), edging out the RF-200 by 1.5 oz. (43 gm). It doesn't seem like much, but the shell of the RF-700 isalso a tad smaller, and and contributes to the compact feel.

The RF-700 also wins back-to-back comparisons on the road, being less noisy, and having better ventilation over the top of the head, in spite of lacking the RF-200's trick It's beautifully finished though, and what the heck, I was getting tired of the geezer image. It definitely goes better with my Triumph Sprint than with the Indian Chief. little exhaust vents. Ah well. Such is progress.

The faceshield of the RF-700 allows quick changes without much readjustment, but the mechanism for raising it is fiddly, and a little awkward with thick gloves. On my test helmet, the nylon screws that attach the mechanism were insufficiently tightened from the factory, and wound up in the median ditch along with with a few other fiddly bits one evening when I flipped the shield up at a stoplight. Though annoying at the time, the screws and other parts were easily and inexpensively obtained at the local motorcycle shop.

The RF-200 has established itself as the standard of the industry over the years, and this helmet is a definite improvement over it. It fits my head better than anything else on the market. As long as the faceshield screws are checked for tightness, I give the RF700 my heartiest recommendation.

Motorcycle Online Rating: ****

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