Shoei RF-1200 Review – webBikeWorld

30 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Shoei RF-1200 Review – webBikeWorld
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Shoei RF-1200 Review

The Shoei RF-1200 is officially announced to the world today (October 14) and you’re reading the world’s first review!


The Shoei RF-1200 is the latest iteration of the very popular and venerable RF-series.

It’s an all-around sport, sport-touring and streetbike helmet that comes in lots of different colors and graphics and it spans 4 shell sizes in an XS to XXL head size range.

The DOT version of the RF-1200 is also Snell 2010 certified and the fit, finish, overall quality and feel of this helmet are second to none.

The shell feels super-solid and combined with the close tolerances for the vents (and the metallic silver finish on ours), the RF-1200 seems for all the world like it was carved from a solid block of metal.

But. but. the RF-1200 now competes with the fabulous Shoei GT Air (review). which has superb ventilation and very low noise levels, plus an internal sun visor.

Granted, the GT Air has a list price about $65.00 more than the RF-1200; however, the added features may be worth the extra dosh.

The RF-1200 does generate more noise than I’d hoped it would in some circumstances, however, and the ventilation just doesn’t seem to match the GT Air. Shoei RF fans are sure to be pleased with the new design, however, which is a definite improvement over the RF-1100.

Shoei RF-Series Helmet Evolution (Click Photo).


Shoei has been on a tear in 2013 and the RF-1200 is just the latest example.

The RF-series has been Shoei’s bread and butter helmets, with a lineage going all the way back to the RF-102 in 1983.

I’m not sure if there were RF-200 to RF-700 helmets, but I do remember the RF-800 and one of my favorites, the Shoei RF-1000 (review) of 2003.

More recently, in 2009, the Shoei RF-1100 (review) was introduced, and although a nice helmet, I didn’t quite mind meld with it. It seemed big and heavy and the vents were a bit clumsy.

While I can’t say that Shoei listened to my complaints particularly, they did listen to their customers and the result is the 2014 Shoei RF-1200. It’s lighter, trimmer and has a an outstanding build quality, with very close tolerances on all of the various bits and pieces.

The Shoei RF-1200: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality

Being the bread and butter helmet for Shoei, the RF-1200 has to satisfy many different customer requirements and demands. One of those is the variety of color choices.

I opted for plain ol’ metallic silver for my RF-1200, which I thought would better capture the curves and lines in our photographs. Motorcycle helmet photography is tricky at best, so neutral solid colors usually work best.

While a silver metallic paint color may seem a bit boring when compared to the other colors and graphics available for the RF-1200, ours has a stunning finish, with tiny sparkling metallic points and zero flaws in the deep paint and clearcoat.

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The paint on our helmet is noticeably better than any other silver metallic helmet we’ve featured recently in webBikeWorld reviews. It’s hard to believe that silver metallic paint can be so different, but it is — like the difference between a custom paint shop and, well, a spray can.

Don’t like silver? No problem! The RF-1200 comes in a wide range of graphics and colors, including the popular yellow and Shine Red, both of which are highly visible. Here’s a look at the current palette, taken from the Shoei RF-1200 press announcement:

As soon as I lifted the RF-1200 from the box, I noticed that it feels like it’s carved from a bloom of aluminum. The chin vent, the rear exhaust vent and the gasket around the bottom of the helmet all have very tight contact lines where they are attached or assembled to the helmet shell.

This also gives the helmet a modern and clean look, despite the fact that there’s nothing too unusual with the shell shape.

The chin vents, top vent and the newly added brow vent snap open and close with a precise feel also and it just demonstrates that this is the goodness you pay for when you fork over around five C-notes for a motorcycle helmet.

The liner and padding doesn’t disappoint either; it’s plush and comfortable in typical Shoei fashion. A large chin curtain is included in the box, along with a Pinlock anti-fog insert.

The RF-1200 helmet shell comes in a very generous four sizes for the relatively small head size range of XS to XXL, which means that owners should be able to have a much more proportional fit between their head size and the helmet shell size, avoiding that space helmet look.

The shell is the Shoei AIM+ composite and this one meets the DOT safety standard in the U.S. and it’s also Snell certified to M2010, unlike the Shoei GT Air (review). which is DOT only. This makes the shell feel very stiff; in fact, it has near zero flex, which is either good or not, depending on your views of the Snell standard.

But one thing’s for sure: the fit, finish and that seemingly no-flex shell — along with the silver aluminum color on ours — all give the Shoei RF-1200 that carved-from-billet feel.

Score: The Shoei RF-1200 gets an Outstanding rating from us for paint and overall quality. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.

The Shoei RF-1200 with the optional (and very dark) tinted visor.

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