I’ve spent almost a year with my Shoei Neotech II modular touring helmet, and it’s gradually become my first choice for all my riding except extended gravel roads, offroad trails and extreme cold (below 25 degrees F). As a creature of habit – 60-plus years’ worth – it took me a little while to get used to the securely snug fit, micro-ratchet chin strap, pin-lock fog-resistant lens insert and blunt shape. It also took me a bit to train my gloved hand not to open the flip-up face when what I was after was the lower front vent. Compared with my older dual-sport helmet, this thing was a modern rocket, and I’m no rocket scientist. But I am teachable, and it only took me five minutes to understand why the Shoei’s features were worth engaging.
What I Like: I love the helmet’s snug fit. It isn’t annoying or painful; it is reassuring, like a good hug. The helmet is so much quieter than my dual-sport helmets, so much so that when I wear them, I think there is something wrong with whatever bike I’m riding because it seems so noisy. Unlike my other helmets, I do fine without ear plugs with the Shoei. Initially perplexed by the opening face cover, I quickly fell in love with it. I could have a decent conversation with it flipped up – and I could don and remove the helmet without removing my glasses. At 4 pounds and a bit, the Shoei doesn’t seem heavy. At 75mph in the Kansas wind, the Neotec II’s aerodynamic design shines, my head no longer getting yanked about. The well-placed vents flow air nicely through the helmet – it was comfortable at 95 degrees and at 15 degrees (except for some fogging issues – see below), and the micro-ratchet strap is very easy to work, even with all but my heated winter gloves on. In the rain, virtually no water gets into the helmet, nor down my neck, and the padding is easy to remove for washing and easy to reinstall. The sun shield is easy to flip down and back up with gloves on. I really like this helmet.
What I Don’t Like: The major issue for me with the Shoei Neotech II is fogging at temperatures in the 20s and below. Even with the lower front vent and top rear vents wide open, I need to control my breathing to keep the fog to a manageable level. So on really cold mornings I choose my old dual-sport helmet because I can crack open the face shield a few millimeters to the first lock, whereas with the Shoei, the first lock has the shield about a centimeter open, which makes my eyes water from the cold air. I have not tried it in the cold with the chin curtain removed, but this might help.
Last Thoughts: At about $700 on the street, the Neotech II isn’t cheap – but quality rarely is, and you have only one head. As a creature of habit, I would say that I am now fully converted to modular helmet design with the quality and care the Shoei imbues. And the Neotech II is worth every penny to me for the fit, convenience (for glasses wearers) and most especially the quiet and aerodynamic features. Solid colors: $699/Graphics: $799. More info: Shoei Helmets. – Hank Will