For years, if you wanted to be protected by Alpinestars, you could get all kinds of coverage from your toes all the way to your… neck. The single piece of protective gear missing – and it was a glaring hole in the company portfolio – was helmets. The dirt guys got their wishes answered a few years back with the Supertech M10 helmet, but street and track riders were still missing out.
Shoei is known for producing premium motorcycle helmets, and the newly released in the United States Shoei X-Fifteen helmet represents the current state of the company's helmet art. When you have racers of the caliber of Marc Marquez wearing your helmet, you know that the helmet is one of the best in the world – as befits a six-time world champion. The big news for track riders is the 6.1% reduction in drag and 1.6% reduction in lift compared the the previous generation. During the development of the new shell, the helmet was tested at speeds in excess of 218 mph. So, we mere mortals should be OK during our track day exploits. Since these typically take place during the summer months, the seven intake and six exhaust vents will help to keep riders cool. Finally, the rider's field of vision has been improved.
On rare occasions my wife allows me to drive her Mercedes GLE. It’s a treat compared to my aging Tacoma. One of its tastiest bits is the Harman/Kardon sound system. When I saw that Sena’s newest modular helmet featured the same brand name audio engineering, I was quick to call E-i-C Brasfield and coerce him into letting me test one. He did, and I’m here to report that the Impulse is the best-sounding helmet I’ve ever worn.
A new month means a new giveaway here at Motorcycle.com. This time, Scorpion USA will provide one lucky entrant with an EXO-GT930 Transformer in their size. All you need to do is provide MO with a working email address, and when you win, we’ll notify you with instructions on how to claim your prize.
First available in October 2014, the Arai VX-Pro4 has been around for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean that the premium helmet, hand made by trained technicians, is any less effective than it was when it was introduced. After all, the basis for all of Arai’s helmets, the R75 Shape, has been around for much longer.
Bell has got four new Star helmets: Pro Star, custom-fit Star Carbon, Race Star, and the one under review here, the plain old Star. They range in price all the way from $1299.95 for the most expensive Pro Star to $499.95 for the Pace Orange/Black Star pictured. Compared to the others, the Star’s eye port is more oriented to upright riding than to peering out the top while tucked-in behind the bubble at Daytona. Though it’s of course a tad heavier than the more expensive Stars, it seems no heavier than a comparable premium helmet.
Learning about new products is always exciting here at MO. Testing and reporting on motorcycle-related products is an important (and fun) part of our job. When the new product in question is a makeover of one of our favorite pieces of gear – as is the case with the Shoei Neotec II – the excitement is even more pronounced. (There was even a little behind-the-scenes wrangling over who would be assigned the review.) Still, I’ve got to be honest. I was also a little bit worried about the update. What if Shoei changed my absolute favorite modular helmet – the helmet I wear almost every day – in ways that made me like it less? Given the popularity of the Neotec with the riding public, I’m sure I’m not the only one who may have wondered if the changes would all be good.
The chin bar. Quite literally, it’s what defines a full-face helmet. However, in the case of the Arai Defiant-X that we have here, it’s a bit of a departure from the rest of Arai’s full-face lineup. We’ll get into the specifics in a minute, but let’s take a step back and look at where the Defiant falls into line.
If we were presented with a rider and were told to guess which Shoei helmet that they wore, selecting an RF model would be a smart choice. The RF line has been one of Shoei’s best sellers for a generation. In fact, the first RF helmet was introduced in 1984, and the Shoei RF-1400 continues the path of incremental improvement to this ever-popular line. In the press materials below, the idea of Kaizen, a Japanese term for continuous improvement, is mentioned. Each new release in the RF family has layered new features on the previous model while still retaining the essence of the family. The same features that have made the line popular with riders also apply to the MO staff, which has collectively owned most, if not all, of Shoei’s RF line and can vouch for it being a sweet-spot helmet. The value delivered by this line of helmets has captured the hearts of riders ranging from bagger fans to track day riders and every kind of rider in between. The Shoei RF line of helmets has traditionally hit the Goldilocks price vs features point of this premium helmet, and the RF-1400 appears to be no different.
Let us sing a song of praise to our motorcycle helmets! Their primary purpose is to sacrifice themselves to protect our noggins. When you bang your head, their outer shell crushes to spread out and lessen the force of the impact before the soft EPS liner compresses to mitigate G-forces before they reach your delicate brain. But that’s not all helmets do. They protect you from abrasion in a slide, keeping your face pretty, and they absorb all manner of small impacts from juicy or stinging bugs to pebbles that your riding buddy’s sticky rear tire kicks up to face level. On the inside, their padding helps keep you comfortable by wicking away sweat while doing its best to limit noise and protect your hearing.