Shoei RF-1200 Review The Good The Bad And The Ugly
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Welcome to our detailed review of the new Shoei RF-1200 helmet. New to the Shoei mix, the long-awaited successor to the RF-1100. Notice I have the previous bad boy on the table, and this is my new RF-1200 right in the middle.
Lots of changes are moving forward. Dare I say, a completely new platform, almost an entirely new helmet. They didn't throw away what worked on 1100. Quickly, I'm going to give you the rundown on what's different.
We're going to talk about fit, and then I'm going to dive into a lot of the nuances. New for 2013 moving forward, you're going to see a completely redesigned shell shape; more aerodynamic, more compact and aggressive.
You can see that really clearly when I put them next to each other. Better venting scheme through increased ventilation capabilities. Here's my favorite part: The Shoei RF-1100 was SNELL 2010 standard.
The Shoei RF-1200 is now SNELL 2010, but knowing that we're going to see SNELL 2015 be rolled out in the next or so, I am going to go out on a limb here . . . this is not based on Shoei, this is my opinion.
There's no way they would have launched this if it would not conform to the new standard that we should see rolling out in the next 12 months.
Here's the beauty of it: Size large in front of me, size large in the 1100 off to my left. 3 pounds 8 ounces, 3 pound 10 ounces. New Shoei, SNELL standard confirmation, and we're getting a lighter helmet.
Still using the AIM+ matrix, which is carbon fiber, organic resins, fiberglass in a multi-ply shell; super-high-end. You're going to look north of that $400 mark for this bad boy.
Again, this is what I have always called the gateway drug in the premium helmet lineup. A step down from here is going to be that Quest. A step up is the X12 race helmet.
There are so many folks that their first really premium helmet ends up being the RF line from Shoei. Let's talk about fit before I get into really going into the nitty-gritty nuances of the helmet.
Intermediate-to-long oval head shape on the RF-1200. It's going to be extremely close if not exactly the same as the RF-1100. They didn't want to mess with a good thing.
A little bit longer front-to- back. It fits me perfect. It's not an extreme long oval like you'd see from something like the SigaQ from Arai. It's just long enough to where it fits a lot of the US market really, really well.
I went out and rode in it. I found it to be very stable, very compact. I actually loved how encompassing it feels. We're seeing this as a trend moving forward. I'm going to show you really quickly.
If you look at the bottom of this, also if you could get a quick peek, this is the first RF series with emergency cheek pad removal system. I'm going to hold it right there.
I'm going to spin my 1100 and flip that up. Look at the difference in the profile of the entry and exit. You can really see that in my right hand, the RF-1200's going to have a much more snug, compact shape. They even did these cutaways in the bottom for ease of entry and exit.
I really liked it, and I found it really quiet, especially with all of the vents closed. The only vent that added any noise was the chin vent being open, but that's another story.
Let's start from the outside and work our way in. We already talked about the shell; AIM+ matrix, super-premium from Shoei. You're going to see side- by-side, very compact in its shape.
Again, you have these cutaways for weight savings to allow for more padding, which is going to ease from getting in and out, but also allow it to create a great seal to cut down on the wind noise. You're going to see a nice, sweeping design.
They've incorporated the spoiler a little bit differently, and now the back venting scheme is actually going to be a flip switch, not 4 independent vents. Taking our way into the vents, we might as well walk through them really quickly. Again you can see the differences.
Low profile on the front, 2 position vent on the chin, halfway and fully open, and that's going to vent to the shield. The shield is completely different as well, but I'm going to wait one second.
Let's finish our venting. New vent in between our chimney vents, like the RF-12, which is going to vent through the center line of your skull. You have 2, 2-position chimneys which are fully open or halfway that are going to live up here in the chimney position.
We also talked about our passive vents in the back that are open and closable. Again remember, Venturi effect; one of my favorite motions in all the videos we do. A sphere moving at speeds through air, especially in this position, you're going to get down force.
You're going to get stabilization. It's almost going to suck that warm, moist air out of your head. If I turn around my RF-1100, you're going to see a very different profile front-to-back on both of these helmets.
This one's going to be much more compact, where in my opinion, I've always loved the RF-1100, but I felt it was a little long for me.
It's just bigger than it needs to be, and Shoei's done a good job of minimizing the footprint, which allows you to save weight, be more compact, and have less helmet moving through the air that's going to be fighting the forces of wind at speed.
Notice the way the neck roll comes in as well. New for the RF-1200, brand new shield. This was the CW 1. This is the CWR 1 face shield. A few key differences that come stock in the box.
Remember, UV- resistant. It's going to be a heavy-duty polycarbonate. Here's the beauty of it: The first thing you're going to notice are these pin-lock posts. They come standard.
Wait, there's more; pin-lock lens, max vision in the box. There's no anti-fog coating on this shield. What it is in the pin- lock's max vision lens which comes stock with this helmet included that allows you to basically fight the effects of fog in cooler to cold weather riding times of the year and the rain by physically creating that double- pane window barrier.
You just install that lens; it takes 2 seconds, very, very easy to do. That's a $30 to $70 upgrade, depending on the shell or depending on what helmet you're wearing, if you want to add it after the fact.
Also noteworthy on the RF-1200 is that while we have this new style CWR 1 shield which is max vision and pin-lock, sold separately, there's also a photo-chromic transitions CWR 1 pin-lock shield which goes from clear to smoke in sunlight, saves you having to do any shield swaps.
Definitely over $100, premium upgrade after the fact. Really nice that Shoei's taking this leap into that next-generation technology. Also note that if we look at this here on our CWR, there are 2 ridges.
You can see where those ridges come into play at the top and the bottom; they're very pronounced. They're there for reinforcement. It is a bit of a beefier shield.
It's going to be a bit beefed up for 2013 in the RF-1200. Moving along to the side, now what they've done is you're going to notice, it still has a shield mechanism that's going to come down, and you can see the way that that mechanism sucks its way into itself.
If I position it, it opens and closes. When it comes down, there's a spring-loaded hinge that pulls it back, and that's through the new QRE base plate system. What you also see is the are on the base plate now, which almost . . . the base plate has this carbon fiber style to it, which is new. You're going to see that the pins are not on the shield, they're on the base plate.
The shield-change mechanism is honestly as easy as it's ever been. You just put it in the up position and it pops right off; very, very simple in its design. Snap it right back on.
Shoei also, from wind noise standpoint, from ease-of-use standpoint, has eliminated their side lock, which you see on the RF-1100. You see they used to use that side lock with multi-position switch.
Now they're going to a much more simple design, and that's going to be lock-incorporated right under the piece that you hit with your finger. Notice that's done in carbon fiber style as well, just to add a nice accent to the helmet.
Coming back around to the front, I want to talk about one more feature of the base plate. The base plate you'll notice, has this little dial. It's right down at the bottom; you use a dime or a screwdriver.
What you can do on both sides is you can tune the tension of the spring to decide how hard you want this shield to be pulled back against the helmet, and what seal you want to create. Some folks like it to be easier. Some folks like it to be tougher.
It depends on how you're riding, and that all ties together with the new style of double-walled bead that goes all the way around the eye port. Notice the eye port; you have this big gasket, double-wall that goes all the way around.
Here's one of the really cool things: When I flip it back to the top, there's actually a bead underneath. You see that bead in there? What that bead does is it makes sure it never flattens out. It creates rigidity.
Again, this is the latest generation of eye port gasket and seal from Shoei, knowing that this helmet is a phenomenal helmet in all riding scenarios, from the track day to the everyday commuter.
It knows if you get caught out in the rain, you're going to be very thankful. Not only can you tune in this shield to pull back and suck in and create a tight seal, but you're going to get the benefit of the extra bead reinforcing that double-walled construction that now creates a great seal from Mother Nature.
You're going to love that pin-lock as well. Again I know I sound like I'm ranting and raving, but I love it when prices don't dramatically change, and the consumer, the hardcore rider, somebody that appreciates the value in a premium helmet gets more helmet.
Looking at it as I move past my outer shell, this is a pearl black. There are metallics, there's a metallic black, there are solid colors, there's also a ton graphics.
Check out the beacon, check out the phantasm; very cool new graphics launching here with the new Shoei. If I flip it on its side, I'm going to move into the guts.
I did talk to you about emergency cheek pad release system, a first on the RF series. We don't have it on the RF-1100; it lives on the 12. There's also an integrated chin curtain that I've removed; I typically do for the videos.
It comes stock; you can add it on if you want. As you move further into the guts, you're going to see Shoei's actually . . . it's hard to see with the naked eye, but they're using the 3D Max Dry 2 liner now, which is just as wicking, has the same property as the original 3D Max Dry we saw in the RF- 1100, but now, it's going to be softer to the touch, so it's a comfort feature; creature comforts.
Remember, the goal of the helmet is to not make you think that you're wearing a helmet. You focus on the road; you focus on the ride at hand.
When you're not thinking about your gear, you're riding safer. You're spending no cycles thinking about anything that might be uncomfortable. Double D-ring construction. Let me start to pull my neck roll. Before I do, remember, much more compact in the entry and exit.
If you look at this side-by-side, again I'm going to flip it up one more time; it's a very different approach to getting in and out of this helmet. I'm going to call out the fact that we sell the Icon Airmada do a really compact approach to getting in and out of their helmet.
I like that you're starting to see more manufacturers think about the compact factor of getting a good seal between your jawbone and your collar, creating less wind noise, blocking that wind, but also creating more of a snug fit.
Remember, they have those cutaways on the side to add more padding, to allow you flexibility getting in and out, save some weight. Then honestly, if you're using something . . . I'll even go so far as to say if you're using an STX road brace or an STXRR, you're going to have a little bit of room for that table to interface with the helmet as well, depending on how you're riding.
As I start to pull these, I'm not going to pull the emergency cheek pad because it can leave some of the snaps behind. Here's my cheek pad; completely interchangeable.
Notice the difference in materials: 3D Max Dry 2. Then right here along this cheek pad area, this is where your sideburn would be. Notice that it's different material. You're going to see on the crown of the head where your hair is, because it's going to be really a conduit to wick sweat away from your head.
Notice how it's constructed, again, tying in with the neck roll. Double D-ring construction; that's par for the course. You see a lot of guys doing micro-metric at this point.
Double D-ring if you're taking to the track, and again this is a great track day helmet, as well. Here's going to be my other side as we start to open up the guts. You can start to see the inside.
Nice red accents throughout. The red accents really don't do anything; they're really just for style. Then I'm going to pull my 3D comfort liner; 2 snaps in the back.
As I work my way to the fore area, you're going to can see it up along the brow line, again remember, they're using the connectivity in this way to keep the snaps away from your forehead.
You never feel these snaps, but sometimes you'll see snaps all on top of the forehead. Depending how angular your head is or how long oval, you might feel them. 3D in its design, cutaways.
If I turn it inside-out, you're going to see more of that dual type. Comfort in the top, wicking along the sides with that extra material. Nice big neck roll in the back under your occipital ridge for comfort.
If I move the helmet back, remember, some of the nuances here, we can always change cheek pads, but now you can change comfort liners as well, if you want to tune it.
You're going to see a few new things going on in the inside. The first thing I'm going to call out is they've changed the ventilation scheme to make a compact helmet. Remember, it's a dual-density EPS; 8 big 5mm to 10mm vent holes along the crown.
There's actually a secondary level of channeling in between that top cap layer, because it's 2 pieces of EPS. That's the expanded polystyrene, which is going to create that impact absorption. What you don't see are those big channels that directly interface with your head.
That's a choice that they had to make based on the design of this helmet. I will tell you that I rode in it and I actually rode it on the Mission RS yesterday for about an hour, and I didn't really notice any difference of the ventilative properties.
If anything, it felt like a nice step forward and it was quiet. The other thing you're going to notice is that now Shoei is making pre-done cutaways for speaker pockets.
We all like com systems, especially on a helmet that could be a great sport touring commuter helmet, something like the Sena or the Cardo.
You have a cutaway for that speaker pocket. You can see it here; you can see that little divot. When you're not using it, you have the ability to fill it with a dense foam that creates a seal that's comfortable around your ear.
You don't want that void just living in there. Again, very well thought out, and there are even little plastic snaps so it's going to hold itself in place over time.
Remember as a whole, the Shoei RF-1200 really is the Goldilocks of sport helmets. It is absolutely premium. It is absolutely an investment. It's going to last you years.
It's a really nice iteration on what they've done previously with the RF-1100 series, which was one of the best-selling helmets in the last few years.
I think folks on the track, for sport riding, for sport, touring, and commuting, are all going to have a phenomenal, phenomenal experience with it.