Editor’s Note: April is designated by the motorcycle industry as Check Your Helmet Month. It’s good practice to check that your motorcycle helmet is in tiptop shape and can protect you in the event of an accident. Consider replacing your helmet every three to five years. If the helmet has been dropped, it’s likely you’ve damaged the impact liner. Also liners compress and lose their effectiveness over time.
The helmets that do the best job of protecting your head in a crash have the best technology incorporated into them. The best technology costs money. If wearing a helmet is important to you, no doubt you have weighed the price of a motorcycle helmet over the measure of protection and the assurance it provides you.
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In spite of receiving and reviewing lots of different brands of helmets throughout my 30 years of riding motorcycles, I inevitably fall back to the same two helmet manufacturers, Shoei and Arai, for my go-to helmet. These two helmet brands consistently offer me both comfort and a good fit right out the box, along with the level of protection I’m seeking. Schuberth helmets are also very well made, boasting top-notch technology, but I’ve found they are not comfortable for my head shape.
The last Shoei helmet I reviewed was the ¾ J-Cruise and has become a favorite of mine.
The best motorcycle helmets cost about $500 and up, but recently Shoei introduced what the company is calling an entry-level helmet, mostly because of its price tag of $399. The RF-SR is the least expensive full-face helmet among Shoei’s offerings. Realizing price is a barrier for some riders choosing to wear the best helmet technology on their head, the RF-SR was developed at a lower price point, but boasts the same features as some of Shoei’s higher-end helmets.
Air Flow and Venting
If you wear a full-face helmet often you can tell the difference between a helmet that circulates air well and one that makes your head hot. I tested the RF-SR in the heat of Las Vegas, Nevada, and the vents did a good job of keeping the air around my head regulated. The way I judge this is that I didn’t feel overly hot and confined inside the helmet.
Emergency Quick Release System
I hope it never has to be used, but the Emergency Quick Release System allows emergency medical personnel to remove the cheek pads easily from an injured rider’s helmet. With those out of the way, the shell of the helmet can slip off the rider’s head without creating unnecessary strain in the neck area.
Superior EPS Liner
The EPS liner (which stands for Expanded Polystyrene foam) is the type of material used in the making of impact resistant helmets. This is essentially what protects you when your head has an impact. The multi-density liner not only absorbs the impact, but years of Ramp;D at Shoei’s factory have perfected the liner by putting varying densities of foam in key areas around the rider’s head.
The shell of the helmet is a rider’s first layer of defense. Shoei uses a proprietary blend of fiberglass and organic fibers to construct a shell that is not only strong, but lightweight. The helmet didn’t feel overly heavy on my head.
The faceshield on Shoei RF-SR has a wide field of view and is distortion free. If you’ve ever worn a cheaper helmet you’ve experienced distortion when there are “rainbows” on the faceshield, and objects can appear twisted. Good quality helmets don’t have this.
Speaking of changing out the faceshield on the RF-SR, it was very easy. Gone are the days when you fumbled trying to match parts on the shield to channels on the helmet. The Shoei system makes it very easy to remove and reinstall the faceshield.
The RF-SR comes in the usual basic colors of black, white, matte black, matte deep gray, and basalt grey (the color I’m wearing), but it also comes in two new exciting colors, tangerine orange (shown in previous photos), and matte blue metallic. I wanted the fun, bold orange but they were out of that color in my size for test helmets.
With a price tag of $399, you won’t find a higher quality helmet at a cheaper price. If you’ve ever thought of stepping up to the big leagues in helmet manufacturers, Shoei is giving you that opportunity with the RF-SR model. Visit Shoei-Helmets.com to learn more.