When it comes to full-face helmets, the saying, “You get what you pay for” has rarely been more apt. At the high end, $500-$800 is a lot to fork over for a lid, but it typically gets you premium features and unparalleled comfort, ventilation, quietude and lightness. Riders seeking to pay as little as possible typically make do with much less of the above…and often don’t seem to know or care.
For myself, if I lived in the real world—the one in which you have to click “buy” or produce a credit card before UPS shows up with a new helmet—I know I would want most of those same premium features, but would prefer to pay, well, less. Economy with dignity, let’s call it.
To that end, Shoei—a well-known maker of premium full-face helmets like the RF-1200, which goes for $485.99-$626.99—has created a full-facer which shares all of the most important qualities of its higher-priced lids but costs just $399. The new RF-SR has the same Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ shell as the RF-1200, which combines fiberglass and organic fibers for strength and light weight, and it also comes in four shell sizes to insure a good fit in the RF-SR’s size range. The RF-SR also uses the strong, distortion-free, Pinlock-ready CWR-1 face shield on Shoei’s QRE adjustable base plate system, which facilitates quick, toolless shield changes and draws the 3D molded, scratch-resistant shield tight up against the dual-lip seal when it’s closed. Like the RF-1200 the RF-SR’s adjustable comfort liner is removable and washable, and it has an emergency quick release system that allows EMTs to quickly remove the cheek pads, making it easier to remove the helmet from a downed rider. And the RF-SR’s fit is just as snug and comfortable on me as Shoei’s other lids.
Of course, the savings had to come from somewhere, but the obvious differences are primarily cosmetic: The RF-SR only comes in seven solid colors vs. the RF-1200’s 33 solids and graphics, and the RF-SR’s vent components are black on all of its colors vs. color-matched or detailed. Other differences are more subtle: The RF-1200 has more aggressive venting and airflow channels in the EPS liner, but the RF-SR still has three adjustable vents in front that are easy to use with gloves on, and a pair of exhaust vents in back, and air flows readily throughout the crown and in the chin/eyeport areas with them open. The RF-1200’s comfort liner is also a sportier, more advanced material to control sweat, odor and cooling, but wearing them back-to-back my noggin was unable to detect a difference. The weight difference is equally negligible, as a large RF-SR is only 1.3 ounces heavier than the 56.3-ounce large RF-1200.
Quality construction and materials, comfortable and quiet with a very good shield and shield mechanism, Snell and DOT-approved—the Shoei RF-SR has everything you need, and nothing you don’t. It comes in sizes XS-XXL.
For more information, see your dealer or visit shoei-helmets.com.