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Shoei Hornet X2 Reviews

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  • Price Range $594.99 ~ $715.99 Shop Now
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Steve Claus

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OVERVIEW
I've had the opportunity to test/abuse many different brands of helmets over the years, but they've all been in the Motocross/Enduro category.  Shoei's Hornet X2 would be the first outside that category, fitting squarely in their "All-Road" category.
 
FIRST IMPRESSION
The helmet looks AWESOME! The Hornet X2 comes in 11 different color schemes, mine being Matte Deep Grey. As soon as I opened the box I was super impressed as it was packed with the expected items (helmet and helmet bag), but also included additional goodies such as Breath Guard (for reduced visor fogging), Chin Curtain (for reduced wind turbulence and thus reduced noise), and Pinloc EVO anti-fog Shield.
 
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While unpacking the box one thing jumped out at me: There's something "odd" about the shell that I couldn't put my finger on. So, I went to the garage to get one of my other helmets and then it was obvious...the Shoei's shell is much smaller than my other helmet...hmmmmm. I did a bit of research and it turns out, Shoei doesn't use a single shell size for all of their helmets, but actually has four different size shells. This allows for minimizing the overall size of the helmet, while maintaining the proper/required amount of EPS and comfort materials.

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tech-active-safety-interior-comfort-fit.
 
 
FITMENT
I followed the sizing chart on the Shoei website carefully and I was surprised that the recommended size was a medium (I pretty much have always worn a large). Putting on the Hornet X2 for the first time was not what I expected:

1.     I had to fully undo the chinstrap...there was no way for me to get the helmet on with a "loose" strap due to the "small" opening
2.     My ears folded over like a taco, which wouldn't normally be an issue, but since the shell is "small" I didn't have room to even get a finger in (next to my eye) to unfold the tops of my ears. So, I grabbed the chin-guard and vigorously rotated the helmet left-rig-up-down until my ears finally settled into the ear cavities.
3.     The chin-guard felt much closer to my mouth than my other helmets, which gave me a moment of claustrophobia...probably just that I've not ever owned a "street" helmet before. So, I closed my eyes, took a deep-breath, and WOW! This helmet is BY-FAR the most comfortable first-fit helmet I've ever had on my head!
 
OVERALL PERFORMANCE
I met-up with my best friend Bryan Bosch for a 12-hour adventure ride in the Pacific Northwest (here's the official XL-ADV Ride Report), and this one ride put the helmet (and my head) to the test...new helmet, straight out of the box, on a 12-hour ride! How did it go? AMAZING! Now, the above strap and ongoing ear-taco issues still exist, but once the Shoei is on, it's amazing! Here are the things that are important to me:
 
Wind Noise: Very little wind noise, regardless of speed or direction (granted, I did have the Chin Curtain installed and that thing *considerably* quiets the outside noises). The shape of the helmet is very sleek and aerodynamic, so there are few places for wind noise to be created. The one obvious place on any helmet is the visor. On the X2 the visor is high and narrow (for great visibility), fully-louvered (to allow air to flow through), but still substantial enough to function as a visor is intended. My KTM 990 Adventure doesn't have much of a windscreen so the aerodynamics of a helmet are important to me. I was pleasantly surprised at how little drag there is at speed (70mph+) on my head, which makes for reduced fatigue and neck pain at the end of the day.
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Ventilation: The X2 has lots of ventilation (4 in, 7 out) that *actually* works, and all can be operated with ADV gloves on. I noticed the difference within 5-10 minutes of all vents closed vs. open, which can make a big difference in the comfort and duration of your ride.
hornetx2-ventilation.png.9375d8dc16d8255
 
Shield Fogging: One *really* cool item is the Pinloc EVO anti-fog Shield. I initially thought this was a gimmick, but it *really* works *very* well. I like to ride with my visor up, but when down I had zero-fog issues (I tried it with and without the Pinloc EVO, and compared with my old helmet back-to-back...no comparison...it works really well)...add the Breath Guard and there's no chance for shield fogging.
  
Earbuds (for music): This is where the Shoei falls short for me. The narrow shell and minimal gaps in the the tight-fitting upper and lower cheek pads make it impossible for me to keep a set of earbuds in while putting on the the helmet. I've tried everything, including installing the cheek pads after the helmet is on...still no luck. So I went one step further and installed a SENA Communications System with in-helmet speakers and mic, but the speakers only made my ear-taco problem even worse. So, still no music option in the Shoei for me.
 
Safety: In all the research I've done it looks like most helmet manufacturers are meeting the same certifications and that there's not a lot of innovation in the safety space (with the exception of 6D and their ODS technology). Shoei claims "Active Safety Technology though Lightweight, High-Strength Materials" but in comparing the weight of the X2 to a comparable, yet much less expensive ($150) offering, the X2 is actually about 20 grams heaver. *HOWEVER* there are a few notable item of safety that Shoei has:
 
·         Advanced Integrated Matrix: This is a fancy way of saying that the smart kids at Shoei are using multiple layers of materials in the construction of the shell that will absorb the impact forces when you hit the ground, and thus reducing the shock to your melon. It's tough for anyone other than a Materials Scientist (of which I am not) to say that this actually works, but it sounds legit to me and I'm sure a reputable company like Shoei isn't going to hang their reputation on junk-science.
 
·         Emergency Quick Release System: This allow emergency workers to remove your cheek pads and helmet with reduced chance of moving your head and neck. This is totally legit, and I've seen it in action (though, it was a football helmet and not a motorcycle helmet). I've coached youth football for a long time. The new technology in football helmets (I think) is leading in the helmet design in general. I've seen Paramedics remove both traditional helmets and ones equipped with a quick-release system...night and day difference in the amount of movement in the head and neck. Shoei gets extra points for this!
 
hornetx2-bottom.png.8ed92ba52c80ef124d51
 
 PROS
·         Small shell size reduces outer size
·         Minimal drag reducing wind noise and fatigue at speed
·         Great ventilation
·         No shield fogging
·         Emergency Quick Release System
·         Easily removable inner-system for washing/cleaning
·         Still made in Japan
 
 CONS
·         Putting on the helmet is hard on my ears
·         I can't figure out how to get music while I ride
·         A little hard on the wallet compared to similar offerings
 
Bottom-line
I like the Shoei Hornet X2 a lot. It took me a bit to get acclimated to the the "smaller" shell, but after only one day of riding it feels great. It's well known that Shoei is a "premium" brand, but there are good reasons why. They are innovating and investing in areas that the other manufacturers aren't, multiple shell sizes being the prominent one. Is the Hornet X2 for everyone? YES! However, not everyone can, or will, spring for the premium-brand due to the premium price-tag. However, in the unlikely event you need the helmet to do its job, the Emergency Quick Release System may mean the difference between you walking (and therefore riding) again.

 

More @ http://www.shoei-hel.../hornet-x2.html

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Nate J.

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   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

I've had a bit of time with the Shoei Hornet X2 now - here are my thoughts.

Until now I've always worn 'standard', non-peaked helmets in a wide variety of brands from AGV to Shoei. My most recent, which I still own, is a Shoei GT-Air. I've been wearing sunglass style goggles with my GT-Air which work fairly well, but still allow a bit of dust and grime to reach my eyes when off-road. I wanted a helmet that I could wear motocross style googles with, and that also had a peak to provide some shade.

After I narrowed my list of potential new helmets down to the Arai XD-4, the Bell MX-9, The Touratech/Nexx Aventuro/XD1 and the Icon Variant I read the reviews, scoured the forums, talked to owners, compared the specs, and finally decided on the Shoei Hornet X2. I'm not here to tell you all the reasons why I did not choose the others helmets; however, as that would require a short novel. I'm here to tell you why I chose the Shoei Hornet X2, and what I think of it now that my head has been inside it.

There are many factors that one want’s to consider when choosing a helmet - fit, comfort & weight, quality, safety, visibility & goggle fitment, airflow, sound level, and drag just to provide a short list. I’ll touch on each as it relates to this helmet.

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Fit, Comfort & Weight:

Everyone’s mileage will vary when it comes to fit and comfort. Not only is this a very subjective variable, but everyone has a slightly different shaped noggin. What fits and is comfortable for me may not fit well or be comfortable for you. I like a snug fitting helmet that provides just enough pressure on my cheeks to make them ‘pooch’ up a little above the cheek pads. I’m ok with a helmet that takes a bit of effort to get over my head, but feels snug once inside. I have an ‘intermediate oval’ head which is great as most helmets are made with this head shape in mind. My head measures in at 23”, and if you look at Shoei's size chart that puts me smack dab in between a Medium and a Large. Knowing my fit desires I went with a Medium and the helmet fits perfectly. My head makes even contact with the interior in all locations, there are no pinch points, and the helmet simply fits perfectly.

Yes, this helmet is the heaviest in it’s class. The specifications state that the helmet weighs 3.9 pounds, but I found that my medium weighs in at 1.7Kg/3.75Lbs. Full disclosure - this was using a non-calibrated luggage scale, so it’s likely that either the helmet is closer to it’s specified weight, or the published weight is for an XL. Compare this weight to the Touratech Aventuro at 3.21 Pounds, or the NEXX XD1 at 3.3 pounds and the Hornet X2 is a heavyweight. In my mind weight is not the only factor when choosing a helmet, and a half a pound isn’t really a ton when you really think about it. Shoei really does a good job of disguising the weight on this helmet though. The helmet is VERY well balanced. Other reviews have detected a slight amount of forward weight bias, but my highly calibrated neck muscles cannot detect this weight bias at all. I wonder if a correctly fitting helmet makes the difference here? Shoei also seems to have been able to reduce the weight once air is moving over the helmet. What I mean by this is that the weight seems to disappear completely once the aerodynamics of the helmet and the peak come into play at speeds above 25 to 30 miles per hour.

Quality:

Shoei is known for their quality, and they kept that reputation alive in this helmet. Construction is top-notch which is expected at this price point. The graphics on the Seeker version are flawless, the lines are clean, the shield is perfectly formed and seals evenly across the entire circumference of the seal, the shield has a thicker ridge in its construction its top edge to provide added rigidity, the shield is crackable with 6 detents as it is raised an lowered, and one can tell a lot of thought went into the design not only in the helmets visual appeal, but also it’s function. The ONLY niggle I can find is that when the peak is removed, the vent hole that routes the venting from the peak into the helmet is exposed on the top of the helmet. If one was riding in the rain with the peak removed it is conceivable that water would work it’s way down onto the top of your head. Shoei really should provide a plug for this hole when the the peak is removed - Without actually wearing and using the helmet this might actually seem like it may be a problem, but please see my comments in drag section below.

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Safety:

This helmet is both Snell approved and DOT certified. The cheek pads are removable with the helmet on by pulling on two red straps attached to the cheek pads to ease removal of the helmet by emergency technicians. And, not really related to safety specifically, the chin strap is over length a bit so one doesn’t have to completely unbuckle the D-ring buckle to remove/don the helmet. Really not much else to say in respect to safety, although almost ALL of the variables discussed in this review do relate to safety in one way or another.

Visibility & Goggle Fitment:

The visibility out of this helmet is stellar… period. The field of view is very wide - I can just barely detect the edges of the field of view in my peripheral vision, and the face shield is optically correct with zero abnormalities. I tried both the FOX AIRSPC goggles and the lesser expensive Scott Hustle goggles in this helmet. The FOX AIRSPC goggles don’t really fit inside the opening - the nose guard has to be removed to get the goggle inside the helmet at all, and there is very little space for airflow around the goggles once they are fitted to your face. The Scott Hustle’s fit perfectly; however, with enough room for ample airflow to enter the goggles. As an added bonus Scott has a wider variety of available lenses in varying colors for the Hustle goggle than is available for the FOX AIRSPC - Scott Hustle for the win! Also, Shoei claims that the visor can be closed with goggles in place. While this is mostly correct it is not entirely accurate. The visor can be mostly closed with goggles in place which is completely understandable as there is a strap in the way of full closure. See selfies below :)

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Airflow:

The helmet comes with not only a pinlock anti-fog lens, but also a nose guard and chin guard. Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to use any of the three yet as average temperatures here in Utah at the moment are 90 to 100 degrees, but from my experience with the GT-AIR the pinlock lens is indispensable in the cold weather and works very well. The nose guard helps keep your breath off the shield while directing outside air onto the shield, and the chin guard helps keep the cold brrrr air off your chin and neck. In the heat with both the nose guard and chin guard removed airflow inside the the face area of the helmet is exemplary! You don’t have air blasting on your face drying out your eyes, but you can feel the air circulating around your face. The forehead vents direct air in and onto your… forehead (imagine that), and the vent on top of the peak directs air down into the top of the helmet, around your head, and out the back. When your head is all nice a sweaty is when you can really tell it’s working as you get a wonderful cooling sensation all around your head as the exterior air works its way around your head drawing the hot air out the back - sublime.

Sound Level:

Again, Shoei quality in play here. This helmet is quiet for a peaked helmet with an elongated chin bar. I actually have a calibrated decibel meter, but couldn’t figure out a way to use it to measure dB levels inside the helmet, so you’ll have to settle with my calibrated ears instead. I was so surprised by how quiet it seemed to be that I ran straight home to make a quick comparison, threw my GT-AIR on which is known to be a quiet helmet, and made a quick comparison. The Hornet X2, in my opinion, is not discernibly louder than the GT-AIR. I tried to tell my ears to notice a difference but they simply couldn’t. Not really anything else I can say here - the helmet is quiet. I can’t complain.

Drag:

Let’s face it. What we really all want to know is how drag relates to the Peak. So here goes - Shoei pulled off some kind of magic with the peak on this helmet. It’s like it’s not there! My personal top speed on the freeway is 80 Mph, and at that speed wind pull on the peak is all but undetectable. I thought that maybe my Tenere’s windshield combined with my short stature might be to blame for such perfection (With my windshield and my height the air blast hits my head about 2” above my eyes) so I stood on the pegs at 80… Ok, a tiny bit of pull there but nothing to whine about at all, and when do you stand on your pegs at 80 Mph? So, let’s take it down a notch to 40 Mph standing on the pegs. The peak isn’t there. It’s like it doesn’t exist. You say you want to turn your head to check over your shoulder? Go for it. You’ll find out the peak is there when you turn your head, but it doesn’t pull at all. You can just kinda feel that it’s there, but there’s no real pull to the side happening at all. In normal sitting position the peak blocks the sun at about 20 degrees above the horizon. Anything below 20 degrees above horizon and you can tilt your head forward slightly and all is well. The peak on this helmet is superbly designed and sprinkled with magic Shoei dust. I can’t rave enough about it! How does this relate to the little vent hole in the top of the helmet when the peak is removed as mentioned earlier? I see no reason to remove the peak, so who cares about the hole - I’ll never see it. I believe Shoei knew this, so didn’t bother creating/manufacturing a little hole plug for you to lose and re-buy, and lose, and re-buy.

Summary:

Overall I am very happy with this helmet and don’t have any complaints. It fits very well, is comfortable, and its weight is very well disguised utilizing good balance and aerodynamics. Shoei didn’t disappoint in the quality department as expected, it has both Snell and DOT approval, visibility is great, goggles fit well inside as long as you get the right goggles, airflow is superb, its quiet, and most surprisingly, the peak has almost undetectable drag when seated, standing, or turning your head. Overall this is an excellent helmet - you will not be disappointed.

The only cons I could find, weight and the hole in the top with the peak removed, are negated by excellent design and aerodynamics. I can find no viable cons with this helmet.

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