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letterofmarque 01-31-2013 11:39 AM

Icon vs Shoei - Helmets
I bought an Icon Airmada this fall - of all the full face helmets I tried on it was the only one other than Arai that fit me, and the pricing sold me on it. Originally I was under the impression that Icon was a brand that was more heavily influenced by style rather than safety. The helmet fit great and is DOT and ECE so I ended up buying it. However, after talking with several other riders, it seems like Icon doesn't have a reputation for making good gear.

I as surfing around and saw that New Enough has the Shoei Qwest in my size for $249.99, which seems pretty cheap. Only thing I notice is that the Airfoil, Neuron, and Ethereal models/graphics/whatever you call them are no longer on Shoei's website. I'm not sure what that indicates.

I want to make sure I protect my noggin the best I can. Sell the Icon which has almost no usage and buy one of those three Qwest?

GoonerYoda 01-31-2013 01:58 PM

As long as it fits your head and it's comfortable, go for it the Shoei.

scootertrog 01-31-2013 01:59 PM

Your Icon helmet is fine as long as it fits you correctly and it's comfortable. The biggest difference between it and say the Shoei or Arai is weight and aerodynamics. A little extra weight can be huge on a longer trip. Dependng on what you ride, wind buffeting can get to you as well.

acejones 01-31-2013 02:06 PM

If you crash and hurt your head, you can always sue the DOT.

letterofmarque 01-31-2013 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by acejones (Post 20620587)
If you crash and hurt your head, you can always sue the DOT.

Haha - I hope you meant this as I'm taking it. Great response.

sevenpointsixtwo 01-31-2013 02:49 PM

What size do you wear? I'll take that Airmada off your hands! :D

I've worn a number of helmets, but have always found Icon to fit the best. I've owned everything in this lineup: the original Mainframe and the Airframe, and am seriously considering the Airmada as an upgraded street helmet once my Airframe's time is up. I went with an Arai XD over the Variant for a dualsport lid because I found a better deal, but I'd have no hesitation to buy one anyway. Their helmets meet or exceed DOT/Snell/ECE/etc. etc. and feel solid and quite safe. I haven't (thankfully) tested them myself in a full-on collision, but I've heard good things from those who have.

The "Icon makes low quality gear and is driven by style not safety" line might have worked 5 years ago, but not now. Everything piece of Icon gear I've owned has been well constructed and durable, and has so far protected me well in my limited experience with crashing. It doesn't hurt that their gear (well, most of it. Ok, some of it) looks great while doing so. I can't speak for all of their stuff, but most of the stuff I've had has been manufactured in Korea, not China.

That said, you do pay for the brand, but you'd be doing that with Shoei, Arai, Bell, etc. The Airmada seems like a damn good deal at $180 for what seems like a quality helmet. So again, let me know if you don't want to keep it! :evil

Just my personal experience; I hope it's of some value in your decision.

Ride safe!

mhevezi 01-31-2013 03:45 PM

Icon Vs. Shoei? The answer is fairly clear, but different for every rider.

Sure, the top brands of helmets are generally better for your head, in terms of lighter weight, comfort and noise, but they my not always fit you the best.

Find a helmet that has a good, safe rating, and fits YOU comfortably.

That being said, I had an Icon a few years ago. Took it on a 500 mile trip. Looked AWESOME, but was heavy and noisey. Sold it soon after. Fit was good, not great, but the heavy weight and the noise were too much.

I wear a Shoei now. Lighter, quieter and fits me better, but that's me. Never buy a helmet you have not tired on, unless you are prepared to return it. Fit is very important.

Good luck and happy riding!

speed_kills 01-31-2013 06:51 PM

Icon is a brand produced by factories like HJC while Shoei is a helmet manufacturer. That's the main difference in a nutshell.

bmac 02-01-2013 07:54 AM


Originally Posted by speed_kills (Post 20622553)
Icon is a brand produced by factories like HJC while Shoei is a helmet manufacturer. That's the main difference in a nutshell.

More specifically Icon is a marketing company.

They typically don't produce the goods they sell but they contract production with companies that offer that service. They can experience more challenges than a company that makes their own products. For example, Icon could contract with HJC this year but next year HJC decides to put through a significant price increase. Icon than has to choose to accept the rate increase or look for a different supplier. If they choose a different supplier will the quality be as good, fit the same, use the same materials, etc...

Being a marketing company is not necessarily bad but it depends a lot on their priorities and quality control. What do they value more, product quality or low production costs? There is generally some trade off between the two and changes in the market place can push these companies to change direction from time to time.

Xeraux 02-01-2013 08:18 AM


Originally Posted by letterofmarque (Post 20619413)
Only thing I notice is that the Airfoil, Neuron, and Ethereal models/graphics/whatever you call them are no longer on Shoei's website. I'm not sure what that indicates.

Get the Shoei. If you ever need service after the sale, you'll be glad you did.

All it indicates is they're just this past season's helmet and Shoei has updated their site with the newer models. That's all.

KingOfFleece 02-01-2013 09:05 AM

Correct. Graphics change is all.

letterofmarque 02-06-2013 08:19 AM

Thanks for the help guys. I'm going to try on the Shoei. If it fits, a practically unused Airmada will be going on the flea market!

KEELAYMONSTER 02-06-2013 10:09 AM

IMHO, a helmet is the one piece of gear you dont want to slack on. I have had my fair amount of crashes racing motorcycles. I have hit my HARD with cheap helmets, all DOT apporved, and $800 helmets. In my experience there is a dramatic difference. One crash I was wearing an HJC street helmet. Went down at about 40 and bounced my head on the pavement. Knocked myself out and got a concussion. I remember hitting my head and It didnt seem like I hit that hard. Looking at the helmet there was almost no damage inside or out. This says to me the helmet is not really doing its job so well. My worst crash I was racing supermoto. I got sideways off the lip of a jump and it sent me flying. I basically landed on my head from about 20 feet up. Knocked myself out for what I was told was almost ten minutes. Severe concussion, exploded collar bone, and fractured wrist. I still dont remeber what happened that day or the following days and the next 3-4 months are very cloudy. I was NOT wearing a neck brace or Leatt. I was wearing an Arai dirt helmet, brand new. If it werent for that helmet I would probably have been in much worse condition. The helmet was severely dented in the internal foam and put a 3" CRACk in the carbon/composite shell. That helmet saved my life. It did its job. Needless to say I forked out the dough for another Arai. Shoei and Arai, IMHO, are the best. I wouldnt go for anything else.

Gamblekat 02-09-2013 10:35 PM

For what it's worth, I hated my Shoei Qwest. It was ridiculously loud at highway speeds, and would not stop fogging up no matter what I tried. I even bought the stupidly expensive pinlock visor, which did nothing. (The pinlock portion deformed whenever I touched the shield, breaking the seal and letting it fog up) The only time it didn't fog up was when it was blisteringly hot and dry, or I was on the highway. From what I've learned since buying it, I'm not the only Qwest owner that suffered fogging problems.

The sale price might make it a decent deal for you. Myself, I was pretty pissed off to pay retail price for a 'premium' helmet that was as loud as a $150 helmet, lacked basic features like a removable liner, and couldn't maintain decent airflow.

letterofmarque 02-11-2013 07:02 AM

Thanks for the thoughts. I got the Shoei and I'm trying to decide if I should keep it. I wore it inside my house for a little bit this weekend and while it wasn't uncomfortable, there was a red mark on my forehead when I took it off. I'm trying to figure out if that means it will cause problems if I wear it for longer time periods.

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