I recently purchased a new motorcycle helmet, the Shoei-GT Air. The Shoei Gt-Air used in this review is the Journey edition, for more details on this and the other Shoei GT-Air models look for the link below this video to see all the other paint schemes available for the Shoei GT-Air.
This is my 4th Shoei helmet so you can safely say I am a fan of their products. Shoei helmets just seem to fit me right, it does not matter which model of Shoei I pick up from the rack I know that I can find a size large and get a perfect fit. Like any correct fitting helmet the first couple of weeks wearing it can be a little uncomfortable because they are a little tight until they break in. Once a new Shoei is broken in though it fits me with all day comfort, I can wear it with no pressure spots or tight spots. I encourage you to find a helmet model that fits right, it may be a Shoei or it may a helmet that fits a slightly rounder shaped head, but it is important to find a helmet that fits your head shape.
There were a few features that led me to purchase the Shoei GT-Air and i wanted to talk about those features and why they were important to me.
Shoei GT-Air Pinlock
The Shoei GT-Air comes with a Pin-Lock visor. If you are not familiar with the pin lock type visors they have an insert that snaps to the inside of the visor and essentially creates a double pane glass effect for the face shield and eliminates fogging. I ride year around and in the winter full face helmets are prone to fogging, with a pin lock visor fogging is a thing of the past. I have tried my best to get this face shield to fog up and it just will not do it. Pin lock is the way to go if you ride in a climate that is prone to fogging up the face shield of your helmet.
Shoei GT-Air Drop Down Visor
Another feature that really impressed me about the GT-Air is this is the first full face helmet from Shoei with the drop down visor. In the past I carried a tinted and clear visor with me at all times. I often need the clear visor when I leave for work and the tinted visor for the ride home. That is now a thing of the past, because there is a glove friendly switch on the side of the helmet that allows the visor to drop down and protect your eyes from the sun and road glare. I have been tempted by a few other brands that have incorporated a drop down visor like the HJC line of helmets, but in my testing Shoei has done it right. For one the visor drops down low enough to cover my field of view. Some of the other helmets I have tested do not drop the internal visor down far enough and still leave you subjected to road glare. Also, the drop down visor in the Shoei GT-Air is dark enough to do a good job of blocking the sun.
Shoei GT-Air Aerodynamics
Another great feature of the GT-Air is it is very quiet and aerodynamic. Prior to this I wore a Shoei RF-1100, while the RF-1100 was a great helmet it was not nearly as quiet as the GT-Air. One of the reasons the GT-Air is so quiet in the neck roll at the bottom of the helmet. The padding below the ears and around to the back of the helmet is tight against the skin and virtually blocks out all wind noise from that area. On my old helmet the RF-1100 I could place one hand under the padding beneath my ear and reduce the wind noise considerably, this told me that a lot of the noise from the RF-1100 was from that area. The GT-Air is also vey aerodynamic, it reminds me of my old Shoei X-11 in that regard. Going down the road at 70mph it takes a little bit of neck effort to do a head check, this helmet is made to point straight down the road and when it is pointed straight down the road it slips through with very little drag or buffeting.
Shoei GT-Air Issues
I have a couple of issues with the Shoei GT-Air so far, one could be a bigger problem and the other is a little more minor. The first complaint so far with the GT Air is the air flow. You would think with a name like GT-Air this would not be the case. While the ventilation is not horrible, it is not as good at flowing air across the head and face as the RF-1100. It makes since that one would need to pick air flow or noise reduction, it seems you can’t have both. I am sure helmet manufacturers struggle with that balance between air flow and noise reduction when they are designing a new helmet. I live in Texas so the summer heat can be pretty brutal here. I will reserve my final judgement on air flow until I have the chance to ride in temps over 100, which should not be too far out here in TX. Watch this post for a follow up on air flow after the summer heat hits in TX.
My second complaint with the GT-Air is the way the helmet face shield is vented when you just want a small crack for additional air flow. Most helmets have a way to make a small crack in the seal at the bottom of the visor to get a little more air flow to the face. The GT-Air has a way to crack the visor open but going down the road at highway speeds the force of the wind shuts the visor. The only other option is to open the visor to the first ratcheted position but that offers more wind on my face than I want.
In spite of the couple of complaints I have about the GT-Air I am very happy with this helmet. It is typical Shoei quality which is top notch and it fits me very well. If you have worn a Shoei in the past this helmet is right on par with their other helmets when it comes to size. Because of the way the neck roll is designed it does feel a little tighter pulling it on, but once in place it fits like every other Shoei I have owned.
You can not go wrong with this helmet.