Shoei RF-1200 Motorcycle Helmet Test
I have always liked Shoei helmets for their compact size and aerodynamic shape, so I was eager to try the new RF-1200, the latest in the legendary RF line.
With the Medium weighing in at three pounds, six ounces, the RF-1200 isn’t as light as a couple of its competitors, but it is in the ballpark and is Shoei’s lightest full-face model to date.
The outer shell is constructed from a multi-ply fiberglass and organic fiber matrix and, unlike most other manufacturers, the RF-1200 comes in four shell sizes for its six sizes (XS-XXL).
Shock-absorption is handled by the typical dual-layer, multi-density EPS liner, however Shoei’s unique and precise placement of the different foam densities allows the RF-1200 its compact design.
Three forehead ports and a wide chin port provide excellent interior airflow that is scavenged by four exhaust vents under the rear spoiler section.
Riding in the Los Angeles heat, I was impressed with how well the venting works without adding wind noise inside the helmet. Part of the RF’s quietness is the raised center section of the helmet’s skirt, which gives the neck liner substantially more sound-absorbing padding.
The lining is removable, washable, adjustable, and replaceable, and the Max-Dry material absorbs and is claimed to dissipate moisture twice as fast as traditional interiors.
The secret to the RF-1200’s amazing fit and comfort are the three-dimensionally shaped pad components that match the wearer’s head contours, and the multiple thickness cheek pads that are available. Overall, the RF-1200 was reassuringly firm without being tight in the wrong places, and at high speed the helmet didn’t wobble or rotate back and forward, making for distraction-free riding.
Shoei’s Emergency Quick Release System enables the cheek pads to be pulled out in an emergency, so the helmet can be removed without creating unnecessary strain on the neck.
The RF-1200’s easily replaced shield has a coating that cuts out 99-percent of UV rays, and a new rib along the top and bottom edge improves rigidity and eliminates distortion. The inside can be lined with Pinlock variants.
Priced accordingly for a premium helmet, the Shoei RF-1200’s materials and build quality are exceptional. A significant improvement over its excellent predecessor, the RF-1200 is smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic, and quieter.
Although the fit is firm, it is very comfortable and, because it’s so well vented, those long, hot days in the saddle will be all the more enjoyable.
For additional information, visit Shoei’s website.
Story is from the November/December issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine. For a digital version, click here.