Shoei RF-1200 Helmet | SR Tested

Shoei's latest RF-1200 is a new, next-generation design developed at the company's own state-of-the-art wind-tunnel facility

Shoei RF-1200 helmet

The successor to the best-selling RF-1100 helmet, Shoei's latest RF-1200 is a new, next-generation design developed at the company's own state-of-the-art wind-tunnel facility. Created from Shoei's Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ construction combining fiberglass with organic fibers, the RF-1200's shell is much more compact and aerodynamic than the RF-1100's. It's also significantly lighter too; Shoei is claiming the RF-1200 is the lightest Snell-certified helmet it has ever produced, with company reps telling us it averages about 50 to 60 grams less than the RF-1100 in the small and medium sizes and approximately 100 grams less in the larger sizes. Part of the weight reduction surely comes from the change to a rear spoiler externally fixed to the shell, instead of the molded-in spoiler shape of the RF-1100 shell. The RF-1200 comes in four shell sizes to accommodate sizing from XS to XXL. Shoei also says the RF-1200 is quieter due to its improved aerodynamics and new liner design at the helmet's base that prevents wind and other noise from penetrating that area.

The RF-1200's face shield system is new, with the CWR-1 face shield featuring reinforcement ribs above and below the eyeport to improve rigidity, with a Pinlock anti-fog laminate now included as stock equipment. The shield uses a locking mechanism on its frontal portion, rather than the previous shield lock that operated next to the left baseplate. That QR-E baseplate system (which automatically pulls the shield against the eyeport when closed) now has a fine-tuning dial on each side for an even better seal, and the rubber eyeport seal has a dual bead to improve that aspect even further.

Ventilation is handled by three adjustable upper intake vents and four rear vent holes underneath the spoiler that can be closed via a sliding door. The comfort liner is Shoei's latest 3-D Max Dry System II liner, which not only is three-dimensionally formed for comfort and wicks moisture twice as fast as typical nylon liners but now features different cheek pad sizes for a custom fit. The EQRS (Emergency Quick Release System), allowing the cheek pads to be easily removed to allow the helmet to be safely lifted from the rider's head, is also included.

Our last medium-size RF-1100 weighed 1,664 grams (3.7 pounds) but our medium-size RF-1200 complete with shield and Pinlock anti-fog laminate scaled in at 1,594 grams (3.5 pounds), which is better than Shoei's projections. Fit was snug yet comfy for our round-oval-shaped heads, with no pressure points. The shield detents are a little tighter than typical Shoeis but nothing obtrusive; and the new shield lock is easy to use, with the new shield seal working well to eliminate wind noise and even rain leakage. And the Pinlock laminate is the best anti-fog setup we've tested, bar none.

We found the aerodynamics of the RF-1200 to be excellent, with no buffeting even at near triple-digit speeds, and it's definitely one of the quieter helmets we've tested so far (Shoei's own GT-Air is one of the handful that are quieter). Ventilation efficiency is good but not great, with a distinct cooling feel that is limited to the top and upper rear of the rider's head; the noise increase with the vents open is minimal.

We couldn't find any gripes in the two months we've worn the RF-1200. It's available in 22 motifs, from solids to metallics to graphics.

Shoei RF-1200 helmet
Retail: $485 (solid); $498 (metallic); $589 (graphics)
Sizes: XS-XXL
Web site: shoei-helmets