Sunday, October 12, 2014

Shoei GT Air - time for a new helmet

Over the years, I have found that only Shoei helmets seem to fit my head properly. I've tried all the brands, all the styles, all the price ranges. This time, I did make a point of trying lots of the European brands that are not popular on the other side of the Atlantic, where I come from. None of them seem to fit my funny shaped head like a Shoei.  I've owned a few other brands over the years but was never very happy with them.

I've been using two helmets lately. Both are a few years old, and both are due for replacement. My Shoei TZ-R was a very bargain, and it has lasted very well. In fact, it still looks awesome from the outside, and the original face shield is still in near perfect shape. The interior liner padding and cheek pads, however, well they're pretty worn and they smell pretty funky.  I wash them regularly, but they are well past the "best before" date. And my Shoei Hornet DS? Same thing. The cost of refurbishing the inside of the helmet is rather pricey, and even after you spend the cash to do that, you've still got an old helmet.

So, I've been looking around, and I found a very good bargain on select models of the Shoei GT Air. It seems that a handful of the solid colour models are being phased out, and prices knocked down. Funny, because the GT Air line has only been around for 2 years.

Everywhere I looked, this helmet was €529. For the same helmet with flashy graphics, €579. That's a lot of coin. How much did I pay?  Well, the giant Louis store just north of Tegel airport had solid colours on for €399 (red, yellow, or silver). To compare with Canadian/American prices, Revzilla has the identical plain silver GT Air for $549 USD right now.

This is a premium helmet with a clear face shield and an integrated Pinlock insert to prevent fogging. This fancy helmet also has built-in, spring-loaded, drop-down sun shades like a fighter pilot's helmet. Way cool.

OK, enough with the keyboard diarrhea, let's get to the point:


  • By far, this is the quietest helmet I have ever worn. It's seriously quiet. Really. Can't emphasize this enough. Well done, Shoei. 
  • The fit is excellent. But this is subjective. It fits my head, and that is key.
  • Ventilation is very good. Not awesome, but very good. There are two intake vents: chin and forehead. There is one exhaust vent at the top, rear of the helmet.
  • The Pinlock visor is awesome. No fogging at all.  I did notice that when I wear my glasses (I don't always wear them as my vision isn't that bad) my glasses fogged up a little one particularly cool morning this week. Note that it was my glasses fogging, not the visor. I removed the chin skirt though, and no more foggy glasses! I may try the chin skirt again as the weather gets colder.
  • The Euro-version of this helmet uses Shoei's quick-release mini-ratchet locking clip mechanism to fasten the chin strap. It's pretty cool in that it's easy to fasten and unfasten. There's a con, though. See next section.


  • The mini-ratchet locking clip mechanism seems to be positioned too far back -- what I mean is that it digs into my throat rather than hugging under my jaw/chin. It's like they mounted the anchor points too far back on the sides of the helmet, so that the buckle is sitting against my Adam's apple. I find I am leaving it adjusted rather loose just so that I can slide it forward to keep from choking me. I think I prefer the old fashioned, tried-and-true long strap with double D-rings. Maybe I'll get used to it eventually.
  • Aside from the comfort issue with the chin strap buckle, I really can't find any real fault with this new helmet. 
  • If I wanted to really nitpick, I might say that the lip for raising the visor is a little small. Pretty minor annoyance. However, the visor itself is very, very good with excellent feel through the movement during opening and closing. Top quality visor all around.