Shoei's new RF-1200 a significant leap over previous model

Publish Date: 
Oct 15, 2013
By Bruce Steever

TUSTIN, Calif. - During a sneak peak presentation in late September, Shoei North America unveiled its new RF-1200 street helmet to select members of the powersports press. Under the tagline of “the evolution of perfection,” the new RF-1200 features a clean-sheet design that offers a significant leap in performance compared to the outgoing RF-1100 model first introduced in 2010.

Compared to the RF-1100, the new 1200 is significantly lighter and more compact. In profile, the new helmet’s dimensions actually fit inside the perimeter of the older model. The lower edge now features a cutaway design to minimize weight, which is claimed to be a full 50-60 grams lighter for a size medium.

The RF-1200 is claimed to be the lightest Snell-rated helmet that Shoei has ever built, thanks to the compact design and multilayer AIM+ shell construction.

Thanks to Shoei’s wind tunnel development, the more compact RF-1200 offers significant aerodynamic improvements. Overall wind noise is very quiet without resorting to noise-reducing insulation that could damp critical environmental warnings. The narrow shell also cuts through the air nicely for minimal drag and lift as well as reduced buffeting.

Ventilation receives a large boost thanks to a third intake vent positioned dead-center on the forehead that works in concert with four exhaust vents incorporated into a new rear spoiler. (Shoei’s engineers found that the spoiler design was more effective at creating the vacuum effect to pull stale air from the helmet.) As on other Shoeis, the ventilation works through a series of channels to distribute the cooling air flow across the rider’s head. While the system doesn’t offer the “wind-in-your-hair” feeling of some racing models, the ventilation is very effective all the same.

Finally, a new chin vent keeps air flowing to the rider’s face, while the included chin curtain and breath guard work to manage airflow for cooler conditions.

Thanks to the compact shell, sight lines of the new helmet are exceptional, especially when looking up in a full tuck. To ensure clear vision, Shoei’s made-in-the-USA shield continues to offer a distortion-free view along with a standard Pinlock insert, but several improvements have made their way into the RF-1200 shield system.

The CWR-1 shield itself is all new and features reinforcing ribs on the top and bottom edges to stiffen the shield, which adds a robust and durable feels when operating the visor. The QR-E baseplates are also new and now feature an indexed adjustment system to align the shield in addition to the spring-loaded shield pivots which hold the shield snugly against the gasket. Said gasket is also updated, now using a dual-lip/dual-bead design for maximum wind- and water-proofing.

The final series of updates cover the interior of the RF-1200. Using a three-dimensional shaping for each liner component, the RF-1200 offers a firm but comfortable shape for a wide variety of head shapes. The liner now features Max-Dry material across most of the interior for sweat absorption and dissipation. New ear pads, as introduced on the GT-Air introduced last year, can be removed to expose audio-ready pockets, and the cheek pads now feature Shoei’s Emergency Quick Release System pioneered by the X-12 racing model.

A range of initial graphics and the usual array of solid colors will launch with the helmet for 2014, with pricing starting at $485.99 for solids up to $589.99 for graphics. Although the price has increased nearly 10 percent compared to the outgoing RF-1100, the new 1200 offers real performance improvements to continue to carry the RF-series Shoei helmet confidently into dealerships’ inventories.

Contact Helmet House or Shoei to learn more.