Shoei RF-1100 Motorcycle Helmet Review
[This Shoei RF-1100 Motorcycle Helmet Review was originally published in the January 2010 issue of Rider magazine]
Shoei has been manufacturing motorcycle helmets since 1960, and over the past 50 years the company has become known for innovation and quality. Shoei was the first to use carbon fiber in motorcycle helmets in 1976, and it introduced the first ventilated motorcycle helmet in 1984.
The RF-1000—Shoei’s dedicated sport-touring helmet—was introduced in 2003. In his evaluation (Rider, July 2004), Mark Tuttle wrote: “From the RF-105 [in the mid-’80s] to the second-latest RF-900, the watchwords for the line have been quiet and comfortable.” Compared to the RF-900, the 1000 was lighter, more aerodynamic and just as comfortable, though marginally noisier. With the RF-1100, Shoei has further refined its best-selling helmet. The all-new, Snell M2010-approved shell is stronger and lighter thanks to Shoei’s proprietary AIM+ technology, which combines fiberglass with ultra-strong organic fibers. The RF-1000’s plastic, lift-reducing Aero Wing has been replaced with a shell-integrated rear spoiler.
The new shell features three front intake vents and six rear exhaust vents, all of which can be opened and closed with gloved fingers. Wind tunnel testing resulted in the exhaust vents being moved higher on the back of the helmet, which provides more negative pressure suction and better ventilation. Open some vents and close others for a balance between comfort and quiet.
A cool new feature is the Quick Release Self-Adjusting (QRSA) base plate system, which still allows for easy face shield changes without tools but offers a bonus. When the shield is lowered, the patented, spring-loaded base plate pulls the shield back to ensure a tight, waterproof seal. Since the RF-1100’s eye port is a few millimeters larger in each direction, the new CW-1 face shield is likewise wider and taller. Furthermore, it blocks 99 percent of UVA and UVB radiation and is compatible with Shoei’s optional Pinlock anti-fog system.
The dual-layer EPS liner offers two densities of protection with built-in ventilation tunnels for unrestricted airflow. The plush interior is fully removable, washable and replaceable, and it includes eyeglass channels and an integrated, padded neck collar to reduce wind noise. Interior padding combines a center pad contoured for a comfortable, yet firm, hold on the rider’s head, and multilayer cheek pads in six thicknesses. The breath guard and chin curtain are removable.
Although helmet fit varies person to person, the RF-1100 was immediately comfortable. I used to develop a hot spot on my forehead wearing the RF-1000, but not with the 1100. And thanks to the thicker padding around the neck, my head feels more secure inside the helmet. However, zooming along at 55 mph with all vents closed and no earplugs, the RF-1100 isn’t appreciably quieter than the RF-1000. Nonetheless, this helmet is one of the quietest and most comfortable I’ve ever worn. The new model is nominally heavier—3.5 pounds for the RF-1100 compared to 3.4 pounds for the RF-1000, size medium—but I never noticed that extra 1.6 ounces. I love the positive action and tight seal of the QRSA face shield mechanism, as well as the generous ventilation. Mark’s earlier assessment applies to the RF-1100 as well: “A solid improvement on an already great lid.”
Shoei’s RF-1100 comes in five shell sizes (the 1000 had four) to accommodate a full range of helmet sizes, from XXS-3XL. MSRP: $399.99 for solid colors, $419.99 for metallics and $499.99 for graphics (3XL available in limited solids and metallics but no graphics for $433.99-$454.99).
For more information: See your dealer or visit www.shoei-helmets.com