As I alluded to in this post a few weeks ago, I have a hard time getting a helmet that fits me well, and one that’s comfortable.
So over the past few weeks I have tried on all manner of helmets: Kabuto, Nolan, Bell, Shark and Aria to name a few. All bar one of those listed had pressure points or were ill-fitting.
The one helmet in that list that I tried, a Bell Carbon, was comfortable, passed the “tear it off from the back” test and had a good safety rating.
Winner! Or so I thought.
Alas, it didn’t have the required slots for my sunnies*.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the arms to slip by my temples without inflicting a significant amount of pressure. *Sigh*.
To my delight, the Minister for Finance (AKA The Pillion) released some funds from the treasury, and I bought yet another Shoei, this time an NXR (also know as an RF-1200 in some parts).
As usual (for me at least) it is a great fit, is plush and I can get my sunnies in without too much drama. You guessed it, it has slots specially designed into the helmet for just this purpose. The helmet came standard with a pin-lock visor and insert, chin curtain, breath/ nose guard and bag.
A note on the pin-lock insert; in Australia it’s not legal to ride with these in place at night because the lens does not meet the Australian Standard for light transmission.
There must be hundreds of reviews on the NXR, so I won’t waffle on and rehash old statistics and brochure blurbs… I can however, do a side by side comparison with my old Shoei XR-1100:
The XR (on the right in the photos) is a Bradley Smith Replica with a manufacturing date of May 2012 (bought new in September the same year). This was and is a great lid and I’ve been very satisfied with it. I’ve just worn it out.
I’ve always had light-coloured helmets with lairy graphics, be they smoking exhaust pipes or a dog in full flight, they’ve always been colorful. This time around I opted for something completely different, I lashed out and bought a Brigand graphic.
The helmet is matt black, I’ve never owned a black helmet before and to be honest I was a bit cautious about buying it. After all, black absorbs heat, and riding around in the Australian sun in a black helmet probably isn’t the smartest thing to do.
Having said that, the NXR appears to be better ventilated than the XR.
Have a look at the photo above: both have a chin vent and both have small vents above the temples. The NXR has gone one better and has one additional vent across the forehead area.
This makes a huge difference to air flow.
The chin vent on the NXR has a much smoother operation as compared to the XR as well, great for gloved hands.
The rear of the helmets are completely different.
The XR has 4 small exhaust vents, 2 on each side. While the NXR has one large vent (it’s actually 6 vents with one control) across the back which forms part of the stabilising airfoil thingy, whats-a-ma-hoos-it.
I’m guessing that the turbulence caused by the airfoil draws out hot air from the helmet as well as adding to stability, but I’m speculating and really have no clue.
The NXR airfoil thingy has been positioned slightly higher as well, this maybe why Shoei has done away with lower stabiliser shown at the nape of the neck on the XR.
Incidentally, I always thought that little lip on the base of the XR was to stop the rain running down the back of my neck… but noooo it was more technical than that.
Side-on, the biggest difference is the way the base of the NXR arches up just below the ear.
Allegedly, this was done after numerous requests from riders and industry experts as a way to reduce collar-bone injury. I hope I never get the opportunity to find out if this actually works, but I’m all for the idea if it saves a broken collar-bone.
The visor attachment system has been redesigned as well, as have the visor de-tent notches which are firm and offer a positive click without being too fiddly with a gloved hand.
The one thing I didn’t like about the XR was the de-tents didn’t allow me to crack the visor open a smidge to de-fog. I’m not sure if this was because of poor adjustment on my part, or bad design. Regardless, the NXR allows the visor to crack open about 6mm (1/4″) to allow for de-fogging.
Something you might not notice in the photo above is the NXR is slightly shorter front to back. This along with a smaller overall profile results in a 10% weight saving, down from 1500 grams to 1350 grams (3.3 lbs to 2.99 lbs).
I thought the smaller shell size might result in the chin bar being a bit closer to my mouth, but it isn’t the case. Well not that I can tell anyway.
The reduction in size and weight doesn’t sound like, or even look like much when you compare the two helmets, but it is definitely noticeable when it’s on your bonce and I have a suspicion that the smaller shell size and redesigned visor system has produced a slightly wider field of view as well.
The ear pods for the XR are as you see them in the photo above.
There are recesses for a speaker to sit in, but there is no cover in the event that you choose not to install an intercom. The NXR (below) provides soft ear pads which can remain in place if you choose not to install an intercom.
Leaving these in place, a slightly tighter fit around the base of the helmet and optional chin curtain, aid in making the helmet quite a bit quieter than the XR.
If you decide to install speakers, the soft ear pads are easily removed, and can be easily reinstalled at any time. Just don’t chuck ’em out and put ’em somewhere safe for future use.
See those little red do-dads in the pic above?
They’re not there for good looks. They’re part of a quick release system that allows first responders to tear out the base of the helmet in the event of an emergency.
Overall, the NXR looks the goods and has had several improvements over it predecessor. If I can get 3 years out of it like I did the XR, I’ll be more than happy.
On a final note.
This helmet complies with AS 1698 (The Australian Standard for helmets) and is also ECE 22.05 compliant although there does not appear to be a label on it to support this.
This might not mean much to some of you outside of Australia, but to Australian riders it means we can legally wear this lid in Queensland, NSW and Victoria as long as it bears the ECE 22.05 certification.
It’s hoped other states will follow suit in due course.
Strangely, up until November 20, 2015 it was legal to wear an ECE 22.05 certified helmet in those states listed above, but it was illegal to sell said helmet anywhere in Australia. You could however buy them from overseas online with no problem.
Fortunately, on November 20, 2015 the Feral Guv’mint revoked The Australian Consumer Law Safety Standard (Protective Helmets for Motor Cyclists). This now makes it perfectly legal to sell any ECE 22.05 certified helmet in Australia.
Here’s to seeing some high quality helmets not currently available in Australia landing on our shores in the near future.
- Sunnies: Sun glasses.
- Lairy: Ostentatiously attractive; flash
- Bonce: Head.
- Mi Vida Loca: My Crazy Life
I have no affiliation with Shoei and have bought this helmet from my own funds – no payment has been received for this comparison.