Shoei RF-1100: radical shape, visor mechanism

Dailies -


Shoei_RF-1100.jpgWe really dig the elongated shape of the new Shoei RF-1100. The four vents/spoilers mounted on the rear give the profile a forward thrust that was absent from the boring old RF-1000. Called the Shoei XR-1100 in Europe, it goes on sale there in September; we’re guessing that US sales will commence soon thereafter. That’s only a guess however, as no one at Shoei will respond to our emails.

Those new vents, along with the rest of the helmet’s shape, promise
better ventilation and aerodynamic stability than before, but that
isn’t the only trick up the RF-1100′s sleeve. Shoei invented the
original quick-change visor mechanism and is updating it for the
RF-1100. The mechanism now pushes the visor forward as it rotates up
and pulls it closed as it’s shut. This is meant to ensure a better seal
and therefore reduced wind noise. The visor is also larger, increasing
peripheral vision.

Since the current RF-1000 is Shoei’s second-tier helmet, sitting below
the GP-spec X-Eleven, we’d expect the RF-1100 to carry a similarly
affordable price — starting at just $385 for plain colors.

Shoei Europe via

  • generic1776

    Does this new lid meet the new Snell M2010 standard?

    (M2010 was developed after it was proven that the M2000 standard was “too hard” and would potentially cause brain damage due to not absorbing lower rates of impact.)

  • Steve516

    There is a Snell 2005 standard already FYI. As someone who has personally tested several helmets over the years, my recent 90 mph get off with a Shoei X-11 proves to me that the Snell standard works. There were 4 impacts, two of which were very close to each other.

    Basically – don’t get too caught up in all the mumbo jumbo you can read in the magazines and online. The best helmet for you is one that fits correctly – most folks are wearing helmets that are 2 sizes too big. The reason Shoei and Arai demand a premium is that they make more shell sizes and more helmet shapes than the other brands, which ensures proper fit for folks. Proper fit = proper protection.

    • generic1776

      While there may be a 2005 snell rating, the 2010 standard dictates that after Jan 1, 2010, newly manufactured helmets must meet the 2010 standard, while helmets made before the cut off date may still be sold, no new “stickers” may be acquired for helmets that would have previously qualified.

      I’ve destroyed a few helmets myself. 5 years ago I had a good enough get off to lose my memory of the previous week for a few hours. Did I receive permanent damage? maybe. But I got my memory back, which is nice.

      However, regarding the magazine articles and studies, they have all proven that the current Snell standard will transfer enough energy to cause brain damage, this was admitted by Snell, hence they developed the 2010 standard and new rules for qualifying.

      The best magazine article Motorcyclist ever wrote was the “blowing the lid off” series. The conclusion, current helmet designs are too hard and transfer enough energy to the head to cause brain damage.

      Will this stop me from buying a new lid? Nope, I bought a fresh RF-1000 about 3 months ago. Shoei helmets have fit my melon the best. The X-11 didn’t fit me right. The only (small) issue with the RF-1000 is it gets a bit stuffy when it is over 100* out… but that won’t stop me from riding.

      Fitment is unique to each person, buy the brand/model that’s best for you. Sometimes the highest end helmet may not fit as well as the cheaper model.

    • Case

      This is the best thing anyone ever told me about helmets:

      “The best helmet for you is one that fits correctly.”

      The guy at my local shop said the same thing and I think of it every time I put my helmet on. I was shopping helmet models based on the cool graphics, but they didn’t fit my head shape. After trying numerous helmets on I went with an Arai Profile. I’ve never once regretted spending the extra money.

  • Peter Lombardi

    wow… thats just plain sexy! i had my eye on a bell star here pretty soon, but damn, this might just change my mind…

  • Beatpusher

    @Steve516 I agree with a few of your point but – there are other helmet brands that offer the same shell size options for a lesser price. Shoie and Arai sell at a premium price because of their name and where they are manufactured.

    Snell 2010 is a desperate attempt to salvage a standard that was redicules to begin with.

  • Steve516

    @ beatpusher – I think you may be mistaken… HJC for instance uses two shell sizes to cover an entire range of interior sizes from XS to XXL. All they do is vary the amount of EPS and comfort lining material. Next, most other manufacturers offer polycarbonate helmets at the reduced costs, not composite helmets. Shoei offers the TZR for $300 or so in solids and chooses not to compete at a lower price point. Arai is more expensive for sure. Pick any brand and compare their least expensive composite helmet to a Shoei or Arai and then get back to me. There are other good brands that I would be happy to crash in, but when it comes to fit and sizing, in my experience, nothing compares to what Shoei and Arai offer. Its also a question of production volumes.

    Shoei and Arai don’t make very many helmets, and thus can keep a close eye on quality. KBC I believe is the largest helmet manufacturer right now (Korean Bucket Company – no joke). They not only make their own helmets, but sub out for many of the other brands as well (HJC and AGV do this also for instance, but not Shoei and Arai). Right now in the US there are something like 39 different helmet brands, and world wide there are only 9 companies making helmets. We know for sure 2 of them do not sub out.

    Again, I’d be happy to crash in a KBC, AGV, HJC, you name it, so long as the fit was good. All the studies show that more than any testing standard, the most critical component for reduced trauma is proper fit. That is the reason I posted my original post. I have tried every brand of helmet out there over the years, and for me, and for most of my customers as well, nothing fits as well as a Shoei or Arai. You get what you pay for in many cases. Arai has 4 or 5 distinct shell shapes on the market now. All are basically the same price, but the fit and shape are different. Arai and Shoei spend time and money measuring large groups of American heads and their helmets are better because of it. Schuberth for instance is a really nice helmet, or Nolan even, but they really work best on northern European heads.

    I don’t know if Snell 2010 is a desperate attempt as you claim. I do know that the Snell foundation works really hard to protect us, and in many respects it is a tighter standard. Some folks will argue that BSI or ECE are better because the liners are more compliant. Snell has a different theory…

    The reason fit is so important (regardless of helmet) is because with most folks having a helmet 2 sizes too large, the impact to the head is repeated. First the head impacts the liner, then the liner compresses, causing more brain slosh. A proper fit means one controlled deceleration and less brain slosh.

    So, again – make sure it fits properly.

    • michaelse

      thanks for the informative post. As a relatively new (4 months/4500 miles) rider, I learned alot about helmets.

    • Foodforthought

      What is the right fit? I measure 23″ around my head, so I should be a med/lg shoei rf1100. I purchased one and I can barely get it over my ears and my ear hits some hard plastic inside the helmet when it is on. Do I go to an xl and add cheekpads? Or buy an arai and loose some of RF 1100 features I need, like keeping wind out of my eyes when I am running.


  • Mitch

    Please, please please let them have some nice/cool designs. The current crop of Shoei helmets are sad compared to Icon and KBC.

  • Beatpusher

    Hey steve no argument on the fit issue, it is crtical and unfortunately there is not enough emphasis placed on this at a dealer level. I’ve found Arais to be very uncomfortable myself. Shoei’s RF series are great helmets.

    There are other companies with more than a couple shell sizes in composite shells. True Arai is the only company to offer multiple EPS shapes. IMO they are still over priced.

    The important thing is that people are wearing the helmets. The rest is all debatable.

  • zanon

    Steve516: Thanks for bringing up the point about fit. Totally overlooked. Arai is dead serious about fit, they talk about it all the time on their website. This is the #1 improvement, I think, that can be made in helmet safety — the importance of good fit.

    generic1776: “blowing the lid off” is a great article. And their conclusions are spot on: safety requirements (Snell) make helmets too hard, and reduce the protection they offer. I don’t know if you can get any DOT only motorcycle helmets.

  • zorc

    “Shoei invented the original quick-change visor mechanism and is updating it for the RF-1100. The mechanism now pushes the visor forward as it rotates up and pulls it closed as it’s shut. This is meant to ensure a better seal and therefore reduced wind noise.”

    It looks like an OK helmet but all this visor stuff had the x-lite (nolan) model 901 in year 2000. It was a great helmet, to bad it was ahead of its time and is no longer in production.

  • clayton aka one jay

    back to the subject… the new shoei rf-1100 looks awesome. i used an rf1000 for about a year and a half, and due to excessive break in, it grew about a full size to where it was not snug on my head anymore. the fact that the comfort liner in the 1100 is completely removeable/ replaceable is awesome. i am also anxious to experience the improved noise level and ventilation. graphics should be your last concern in choosing a helmet. i’ve had 3 shoei’s now and one saved my head already. they are great helmets and i dont expect the rf-1100 to let us down.

  • Leah

    I just got my 1100 and it’s perfect!

  • ragnarok zeny

    Talking about the stock exchange is always interesting and enlightening. I’ll wait for the next posting. Thank you.

  • adam p

    hey i have a shoei helmet and the radical shape mechanism broe off is there any way to fix or replace that?