Shoei motorcycle helmets are worn by some of the world’s top racers. The company has been long recognised around the globe as one of the top producers in racing technology. In early days, Shoei’s first helmets were produced exclusively for the racing sector. Since the foundation in 1958, they have been designed and produced solely in Japan. Today, they are distributed and sold worldwide with a relatively small team, globally fewer than 500 people.
Although they are most recognisable brand in motorcycle racing they also make them for dirt, touring, and adventure markets. As a leader in safety and technology of motorcycle helmets Shoei was the pioneer with technological breakthroughs. They were the first to make vented helmet, first to produce carbon fibre helmet in 1976 and first to use the injection moulding to manufacture visors! Today they still beat many brands in helmet technology.
The common feature of all of the above is that luxury is at its best. Also, Shoei motorcycle helmets are considered to be the most durable with unheard issues. They are quite confident in giving these long warranties after which you should think of investing in a new lid anyway. Read more on why you should replace your helmet every 5 years and decide whether you need to do it.
The two factories that produce Shoei’s helmets are in Iwate and Ibaraki, Japan. First, multilayers of fibres are formed into a shape after which laser cutting remove all the protrusions, cut the vents and opening for the visor. The shell is then checked for weight and thickness.
Next, the final shape is painted at several stages combining of hand work and automation with the most experienced personnel inspecting the paint stages. In the final stage every helmet is assembled with ventilation sliders, padding, and visor seals after which detailed inspection is carried out on the assembly as well as on the paint work.
SHOEI continues to lead in safety and technical innovation, which can also be said to their Japanese competitor, Arai. These are the main players and top producers and you would rather struggle to find any significant differences in quality and safety they offer.
Bear in mind that reading reviews on the superiority of Shoei against Arai or vice versa may actually twist the reality for you. For example claims on the noise level or price comparison. Bear in mind that although the noise will generally go up with the more efficient ventilation system, noise is not only a factor of helmet design but the type of your bike and the seating position.
You’re always best to stick with the comfort, check the fit properly, and stick to the one that offers best comfort. People have different head shapes, ride different bikes and ride in different conditions. Noise will be factored by these. Again your comfort is the top priority so go to your local dealer check and judge for yourself. Obviously, they will not let you ride with it but you can get an idea after wearing it in the shop for 10-15 minutes.
Having said that, there are obvious differences is in the head shape and the type of helmets the two brands offer. If you consider the three main shapes i.e. round, intermediate oval and oval the round is covered with the Qwest and Multitec and the GT-Air is the intermediate oval. The rest falls between the round and intermediate oval and Shoei really lacks the true oval shape.
Arai, on the other hand, offers many models in the true oval shape and their range covers many more head shapes than that from Shoei motorcycle helmets. Arai however does not offer the modular type (Shoei has two options: Multitec and Neotec) but strangely enough have a few the 3/4.
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