Helmet: Shoei X-Spirit II (in USA, Canada and Australia: X-Twelve) (2010-present): Is an expensive racing helmet suitable for everyday use under all weather conditions?

     n theory: he X-Spirit helmet was introduced by Shoei in 2004 for the requirements of the racing category. In 2010 it was replaced by the X –Spirit II, theoretically featuring the following main differences: 
1) Improved peripheral vision by the visor, 
2) improved air flow, 
3) red pull tabs under the cheek pads, which can be pulled to disengage the cheek pads for easy removal by emergency medical personnel. 
      The -Spirit II does not feature an expire date, however it should be replaced 5 years after the purchase date or 7 years after the production date, whichever comes first. The outer shell is made of a 6-ply organic fibreglass. 
     There are 4 different outer shell dimensions, xs-s, m, l , xl-xxl, which aims to preseving the external size and weight of the helmet to a minimum. Thus the medium size weighs 1.450 g (+/-50 g), while the small size weighs 1360 g (1400 g with the additional parts which are supplied as standard). Probably the several shell sizes have an impact on price also. 



     The inner liner is fully detachable, washable and the size of the cheek pads may be changed (there are four sizes available) in order to provide a better, personalized fit. The visor is detached without any tools required. 
     An anti-fog lens, a breath guard, and a chin curtain used to decrease the air turbulence in the helmet are standard equipment. A double-D strap closure is featured. The end of the tab may be secured. Japan is the manufacturing country. The spoiler at the rear produces an alien look, which may be perceived to be weird from some riders. 



      Adjustments: There are many, adjustable or not vents functioning as air inlets or outlets. Specifically pressing the chin inlet upwards it is turned off, pressing it downwards it is turned on. 
      The second air inlet at the front-top of the helmet is closed at the right, open to the left. The third air inlet at the top of the helmet is closed at the right, open to the left. There are two permanent open vents at the sides of the front of the helmet. There is an outlet at the top back of the helmet, which is also closed at the right, open to the left. Finally, there are two permanent open vents at the rear bottom of the helmet. 
     Thus, except from the chin inlet at the front, the other three adjustable vents are changing mode with the same manner, close to the right, open to the left, which is an easy lesson to learn. 
 


      On the road: The test was conducted from the beginning of October to December 2012, riding several bikes on various fields of use. At the beginning of the test the weather was hot for this period of the year. Indicatively, despite that all the layers of the cordura suit were removed, still an air mesh summer suit would be much more comfortable. Thus despite that the initial tests were conducted in October, weather conditions were actually summer hot. 
     During the latest tests, air temperature was between 10 to 20 C, (50 to 68 F) which is considered to be normal at this spot on earth. Thus the winter cordura suit was again used, with all three layers attached. No ear plugs were used of course, in order to evaluate the noise produced. There was no problem concerning the use of nylon framed sun glasses. 
     The colour, the finish and the build quality of the helmet are top class. The weight of the helmet is comparatively low for the standards of the category, just 1360 g for the small size. The double-D strap closure will not puzzle an experienced rider. The fit of the helmet is really good. Ear canal is closed, at least as long as the helmet is new, hence soundproofing is really good. Comfort to the rider is superb, as well as the light, qualitative sensation and the peripheral vision provided. 
      The initial impression about this helmet is striking, from the combination of the build quality combined with the light weight, since subconsciously quality is associated with increased weight on various objects. 
 


      On town rides, riding a cub (!) and scooters, the weight of the helmet is not bothering at all and it cannot be felt really, as an example when the head turns very quickly. Opening and closing the visor is light and qualitative. 
     The vents are not protruding much above the helmet thus changing their adjustment with summer gloves is easy. Doing that by wearing winter gloves though, rider cannot get adequate feedback that the vents adjustment has changed. The chin vent is exempted, which is probably the most important one, which is easily trimmed. However after a little practice the left hand goes directly at the right place, pushing to the right closes any vent, pull to the left opens it, thus there is no problem after a while. The switches are moving easily. 
      During the initial hot days of the test, the air flow was not adequate on normal town speed traffic. Thus the helmet is not recommended on hot climates and low riding speed as the rider will son start to sweat. On everyday continuous urban riding, the sweat was a common head operation. he body was also sweating in the suit.  If the helmet is new and expensive, its difficult for the owner to retain an indifferent attitude, since the liner will soon need cleaning. A jet helmet is a complementary must then to this decent helmet. 
      During the latest reviews in early December on proper winter weather, the helmet was as warm or cool as it should be, even on traffic jams, on sunny days with no wind. 
  
      Away from urban areas on hot weather, with the air vents open, the helmet is relatively cool and due to the closed ear canal as it was mentioned above, very quiet. Closing the vents it became even more quiet, although it is getting warm under these circumstances. Retaining these adjustments at a sporty pace on B-roads on hot weather conditions venting was not adequate. As soon as the vents were opened, cooling and ventilation were back to normal after a while. 
     On such use the light weight, the decent fit, the superb visibility and stability of the helmet will be satisfying to every rider. Of course, as the riding pace becomes faster and the ambient temperature is decreased, the helmet justifies the high tag price, since rider feels top safety and comfort at the same time. 
  
      On the highway on a supersport bike, a 2008 Honda CBR600RR, up to the speed of 160 Km/h (99 mph), with the vents closed, the helmet is very quiet, although due to the hot weather it becomes cooler if the vents are opened and it still remains comparatively quiet. 
     If the vents are closed and the sun is at the opposite direction, rider may feel the trapped heat behind the visor on his face. On winter weather conditions the helmet is superb on the highway, providing the exact insulation that a rider needs. In case of rain on the highway, there was not any leaking water or a fogged visor. 
  
      Travelling at a speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) or faster on the same bike and in case of open vents, the air flow inside the helmet is eventually felt, although the noise is increased also. Closing the vents, the helmet becomes comparatively quiet once more while there is no ventilation issue for the rider. Thus except from very quiet, its stable, it doesnt oscillate due to air, this spoiler at the rear seems to increase substantially the stability and directional stability of the helmet on the straight and sweepers. 
      An additional remark for this speed on this specific bike: Opening the chin vent there is a hiss noise produced, which reminds of the sound from the airplane loudspeakers, just before the captain speaks up! Or otherwise stated, being a helmet that quiet, every new sound produced is directly noticed! 
  
     Conclusion: he X-Spirit II is a qualitative, utterly comfortable and quiet helmet, most suitable to cold climates and sporty rides. Under the heat of the summertime and on low speed riding, its better to own an additional more suitable helmet, or rider may select the more ordinary-everyday use (sport/touring) helmet XR 1100 (in USA, Canada and Australia: RF-1100), which will prove to be better then. However the X-Spirit II becomes a superb helmet away from the urban environment, while on colder climates it will be a superb helmet for the whole year on every use. 
     On any case, the vents will remain open much more frequently than as an example of  Arai Quantum and RX7GP (in USA, Canada and Australia: RX-Q and Corsair-V) providing less ventilation and less noise than the Arais. In terms of helmet use its lighter yet more specified. 
  
      The X-Spirit II has been evaluated with five out of five stars from the British institute SHARP while the (ex) X-Spirit got an evaluation of 4/5 stars and the more basic helmet XR 1100 gets also a 5/5 evaluation. 
     Thus a logical question is if a rider paying about 40% higher than an XR 1100 gets a 40% better helmet especially if it is not used on very demanding riding. The answer is that the editor of this article would prefer the cheaper XR 1100 then. After all, when someone pays this sort of money, some occasional disadvantages which would seem acceptable on cheaper helmets, they become a disappointment at this level of price. From the other hand, how much is someone willing to pay for his head or how much does a rider afford to pay for? 
  
 Price single colour 679 , graphics 879

 Visor clear or tinted: 59. 

 + Weight 

 +Build quality - finish 

 +Noise level 

 +Comfort 

 - Ventilation: use on hot weather, low speed riding 

 -Price

 

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