Shoei Neotec II Motorcycle Helmet Review
Since its introduction in 2012, Shoei’s modular Neotec line has been a popular choice for motorcyclists in the touring segment. Now, the line has been reinvigorated with the new Shoei Neotec II.
With a focus on greater versatility in virtually every environment short of the racetrack, the completely redesigned Shoei Neotec II aims to please in more ways than just long-distance riding. The result is a helmet featuring optimized aerodynamics, comfort, and tactile functions, allowing the Neotec II to remain a top offering in its segment.
The shiny new Shoei Neotec II boasts an all-new shell design that makes use of Shoei’s proprietary Multi-Ply Matrix AIM shell technology. For the laymen, that equates to a blend of fiberglass, organic, and high-performance fibers to construct a lightweight shell. Shoei claims that this shell construction provides an optimal amount of impact absorption, strength and elasticity.
Taking care of impact protection is a multi-density EPS liner. This allows Shoei engineers to use EPS foam of varying densities in areas the areas that you’ll need it most during a crash. This process also allows for weight reduction as less crucial areas can opt for a thinner or less dense foam.
In recent years, Shoei has put extra emphasis on aerodynamic performance through extensive wind tunnel testing and it’s paid off in greater stability, as well as noise reduction, making for an improved riding experience.
Most recently, that’s been seen with the race-ready Shoei X-Fourteen, and the all-new Neotec II is reaping the benefits from that research. While still similar in basic shape to its predecessor, the Neotec II has a far more aggressive profile—one that shares quite a few commonalities with the RF-1200, especially the rear spoiler design.
On the chin are two deflectors to help the Neotec II to slice through the air. In addition, the revised shell features what Shoei calls Vortex Generators on the seam of the modular lid. These smooth the airflow back and away from the helmet.
The redesigned shell also has a greater focus on streamlining the aerodynamics on external elements, such as the internal sun shield’s slider and the Sena SRL’s buttons that have been seamlessly integrated into the shell.
In all, these features make for an astoundingly stable helmet when riding our quick-stepping Suzuki GSX-S1000, a bike that has no wind protection and a penchant for coaxing an eager throttle hand.
Even in the most exposed environment, the Shoei Neotec II was stable, offered zero lift, and has nearly eliminated all superfluous air turbulence. Head-checks are not met with resistance, making this new modular a great option in traffic or on long-distance treks.
One of the major improvements for Neotec II is in the flip-up chinbar, which happens to share an axis with the all-new faceshield and locking mechanism. The chinbar features an enlarged, recessed button that is easily manipulated with a gloved hand, making for completely smooth actuation when moving it to the locked-closed or locked-open position.
Having a locked-open position is a distinct advantage over its predecessor, as this allows one to keep the faceshield in the up position without it falling unexpectedly. Due to the chinbar and faceshield sharing an axis, if you are to lift the chinbar with the faceshield open, it will close on its own – a handy feature, indeed.
Peripheral vision remains just as good as the original Neotec, as these two helmets have an almost identical viewport. I found the vision to be more than satisfactory in the canyons, as it allows me to spot my exits with an unrestricted vantage point. I don’t see foam and plastic, when I should be spotting tarmac.
Equipped with a Pinlock Evo liner, the new, optically correct faceshield has several refinements aimed at keeping the elements out of your helmet. The upper portion is tapered, allowing for a positive seal against the helmet every time. As you’d expect with any Shoei, it operates in a basic push-pull manner and locks closed with an audible snap.
In conjunction with those aspects, the seal beading has been extending across the entire upper region of the helmet, while the lower sections have small cutouts. Without an explanation, one might believe those missing sections in the lower seal to be manufacturing defects. However, they allow water to drain out and away from the interior or the helmet.
In severe conditions, the original Neotec tended to allow small amounts of water in through gaps in the seal that ended near the rear of the view port. With the extension of that bead and the drains on the lower section, that issue has been resolved.
Eliminating the need for faceshield changes and making this an ideal commuting or touring option, is the internal sun shield. Operated by a slider on the left-hand side, the sun shield has nearly flawless movement and drops low enough to provide good eye protection.
You will see a seam at its lowest, though it doesn’t create a distraction like other drop-down visors can do. At dusk, I have no issues seeing the road. Without it, I would have been left carrying a spare faceshield or squinting my way home.
While not a flaw in operation, there is a notice of warning with the sun shield. Because it is cable actuated, one should never try moving it directly by hand—either pushing or pulling it into place. That tends to kink the cables, getting it stuck in position and rendering it inoperable. That kind of repair will most likely have you sending it off to Shoei for a tune up. Always use the slider.
Whether you’re slogging your way through traffic or out on the open road, ventilation is another key point of the Shoei Neotec II. Up front you’ll find one vent on the chinbar that not only provides cooling directly to your face, but also helps defog your faceshield. That same vent also supports an exhaust vent above your eyebrows. Near the crowd is a three-position vent that feeds an always-open exhaust port in the rear.
The chin vent can be easily adjusted without a thought, while the upper vent takes a bit of pressure to manipulate. Since surface is virtually flat and lacks a lip or detent to push from, it requires more focus to use.
Taken together, the venting in the Neotec II motorcycle helmet is more than adequate. During early morning rides, when commuting into the office, you’ll be able to defog your visor or glasses easily. When it heats up in the afternoon, riders shouldn’t experience any discomfort and will have plenty of fresh air to keep them focused.
While we can’t speak to fitment—you should always work with your nearest authorized dealer to make sure you have an optimum fit—we can speak to the interior padding and feel. Returning to the fold is the removable, adjustable and washable padding systems that have become common place on all Shoei helmets. The interior is wonderfully soft and luxurious, offering a noticeably plusher experience than the X-Fourteen and RF-1200, which I consider to be remarkably comfortable helmets.
Noise reduction on the Neotec II is provided by new Noise Isolation cheek pads. They cut the sound by providing a tighter, more secure fit around the neck. Thanks to these initiatives, along with the aerodynamic advancements, turbulent air causing a ruckus under your chin is not a worry here. Should you need to do any fine-tuning and require thicker or thinner cheek padding, Shoei will replace your pads free of charge—a great service to ensure a perfect fit.
For riders that use corrective eyewear, as I do, you’ll find getting your glasses in and out of the Neotec II quick and painless. Even after several hours in the helmet, the plush padding didn’t create pressure points against my temples.
In-helmet communication has become more common these days thanks to brands such as Sena. However, a common complaint with aftermarket communication solutions is that they don’t often work seamlessly with the helmet. Padding might not be accommodating to the speakers or wiring, and mounting systems could be better.
In this case, the Shoei Neotec II has been specifically designed to use the Sena SRL communication system. All wires are tucked away into their designed compartments and brackets, allowing for a completely unimpeded fit. That’s a huge positive.
That does mean that you’re married to the Sena SRL system. Fortunately, it’s a great addition to the ride. As a recent convert, communicating with your riding buddies certainly pays for itself when calling out obstacles or making sure that your fellow riders recognize your local law enforcement officers properly.
Should you choose to forgo the Sena SRL Communication System, you’ll have all the necessary covers to and inserts to block off all the button, battery and padding holes. In addition to that, the in-helmet communication devices do add a bit of weight to the whole package.
On the note of weight, the new Neotec II weighs about the same as the original Neotec, which is certainly on the heavier side. However, due to great weight distribution, that isn’t something that becomes apparent while on the bike and in the wind.
Securing everything in place is the new ratchet chinstrap, in lieu of the traditional double-D ring buckle. Although I was wary of this mechanism at first, its ease of use is undeniable and can be strapped into place with a single hand.
No matter the street environment, the Shoei Neotec II has an integrated solution to get the job done, making it one of the most versatile lids on the market. Whether you’re touring the country or just getting to the office during the week, the Shoei Neotec II’s plush accommodations and improved aerodynamics has certainly raised the bar when it comes to a modular helmet.
Shoei Neotec II Review: Fast Facts
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: Seven solids; three graphics
- Prices: Solids, $699. Graphics, $799