Way back in January of 2015, Shoei introduced the Hornet X2 helmet, and our man, Tom Roderick, attended the event, coming back with a shiny new helmet for his efforts. Flash forward to this past August as I was preparing to take our somewhat annual adventure tour, and I noticed that my trusty Shoei Hornet had been manufactured in 2012, making it about a year older than we recommend wearing a helmet. So, I decided to see why Tom liked the Hornet X2 enough to say that it was his favorite ADV helmet.

Shoei Hornet X2 Review

If you pay attention to the photos here on MO, seeing me wear a Shoei should come as no surprise. My first helmet was a Shoei, and only a special few other helmets that I’ve regularly worn over the following 29 years have displayed a different logo. (The Bell SRT-M I’ve been sporting lately is a good example.) 

Shoei Hornet X2

Those slats are responsible for the Shoei Hornet X2’s good behavior at highway speeds.

Since Tom already covered the Hornet’s construction in his review, I’ll let that stand. What I’ll go over here is what the helmet is like in regular use. As is typical of Shoei lids, the XL helmet fits my noggin just this side of perfect. (Truth-be-told, the RF-series of Shoeis fit me better than any of the others I’ve tried over the years.) The removable, washable, replaceable 3D Max-Dry Interior does a great job of wicking away my sweat – and there was a ton of that in our travels through the 100+° August desert. Although I’ve never had to use one, I’m always glad when a helmet includes the Emergency Quick Release System (EQRS) for easy helmet removal by trained medical personnel. 

What really struck me about the Hornet X2 was how quiet it is at speed. Now, I know that adding a big sun visor to the top of the helmet should make it all kinds of noisy, but it doesn’t. Yes, there is a bit more wind noise compared to a regular full-face helmet, but not much. Then there’s the problem of essentially attaching a sail to the top of your helmet. Lesser-designed helmets cause lots of lift at highway speeds, but the X2 did not. Well, at least not until I reached speeds that my father has told me I should never admit to reaching on public highways. Similarly, turning my head to check my blind spot at speed did exert a little more torque on my neck than on a helmet without a peak. However, this was much less than my previous generation Hornet.

Shoei Hornet X2

Removing the X2’s sun visor is as easy as turning two of these quarter-turn fasteners and pressing a release on the top of the helmet.

Ventilation in the Hornet X2 is also very good, with its 11 vents (4 intake and 7 exhaust). Not much else needs to be said here.

The Hornet X2 offers plenty in the form of versatility for your on/off-road riding. First, the eye port is wide enough and the face shield flips up high enough to allow room for goggles to be worn. So, if you crave the extra air around your face when off-roading, you’re in luck. Additionally, the sun visor is easily removable via two quarter-turn fasteners on either side and a slide mount on top. While the fasteners are easy to unlock, the center slider required a little futzing to get it loose, but removing the visor makes it much easier to pack the helmet in a bag for non-riding travel. 

Shoei Hornet X2

Although the quick release looks very similar to those of Shoei’s other models, this one is more difficult to use.

One of the features I’ve liked about Shoei helmets over the years is the ease with which I could swap shields. Unfortunately, although Shoei claims you don’t need to loosen the sun visor, I couldn’t swap from tinted to clear (and back) without doing so. Also, getting the varied tabs to line up between the shield and the helmet mounts was a challenge, making the X2 the most difficult Shoei I’ve ever encountered. So, if this is an important feature for you, you’ll go into it with your eyes open. 

Overall, my time with the Shoei Hornet X2 has been enjoyable, and I’ve particularly appreciated its quietness and lack of interaction with wind. Shoei’s wind tunnel development paid off! Other than the slight hassle of swapping face shields, I highly recommend the Hornet X2 for adventure riding. The SHOEI Hornet X2 is available starting at $595. Learn more at Shoei’s website.


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