Why Do I Spend SO MUCH For My Helmets?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Red Sand, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. Red Sand

    Red Sand Been here awhile

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    Howdy Fellow Motorcyclists!

    I just bought another Shoei helmet, a GT-Air 2!

    Since the mid 90's, I've only used Shoei helmets - I've used them exclusively for on-road and off-road use. A friend I ride with always uses Arai helmets with even longer brand loyalty.

    This time around I almost - almost - purchased another brand that provided similar features. It was about $160 less than the Shoei - but I removed it from my shopping cart and kept the Shoei.

    I ask myself: what is it about these helmets that keeps me buying them?

    I began listing the reasons: I know it will fit, in the past I've been delightfully pleased with the performance, comfort, ease of use, and appearance of my previous Shoei helmets.

    I don't have any reason to believe there is something unique or magical about Shoei compared to most other helmets in the same price range - and perhaps many that are less expensive. That being said, I have total confidence this helmet will meet or exceed my expectations.

    That same confidence would be questionable if I had purchased a lid from another, lower priced manufacturer.

    Thank you - ride safe, ride often!
    :)
    #1
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  2. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Now with more sarcasm

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    You answered your own question.
    #2
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  3. WJBertrand

    WJBertrand Ventura Highway

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    I was in the same boat. When my Neotec was ready for replacement I was having a lot of trouble trying to justify the price of the Neotec II to myself. In the end I jumped ship and bought a Bell SRT modular for about half what a Neotec II would have set me back. Been using it for about a year now and no regrets. It's comfortable, sizes run the same as Shoei and it seems to be holding up fine. No extra charge for graphics either. The other thing I like about the Bell is that you can buy a transitions shield for it even though it has the internal drop down visor. The Shoei nannys won't make a transition shield that fits any of their helmets equipped with an internal drop down visor.
    #3
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  4. yellowcarbon

    yellowcarbon Been here awhile

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    I've always worn Shoei. I started with a RF700, and worked my way up (RF800, 900, 1000, 1100). When the GT-Air came out, I loved the fit better. I've always been pleased with the fit, durability, etc.

    About 4 months ago, I needed to get another helmet and ended up gambling on a X-Lite modular that was on close out. I didn't read the fine print that they do except returns except on close outs, which had exchange only. So I got a Bell SRT Modular as an exchange and have not been 100% happy. It isn't a bad helmet by any means and it fits me well. But it just doesn't feel like my Shoei. I am going to try it out for a bit more but my next helmet will definitely be a Shoei again.
    #4
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  5. bwringer

    bwringer Gimpy, Yet Alacritous

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    My old Shoei Qwest fit me perfectly.

    Absolutely none of their current helmets fit.

    No idea what they changed, or why. I'd love to get another Shoei, but I can't. So now I have Bell helmets.


    A few years back, I was a long-term HJC loyalist. Suddenly, they changed the internal shapes of all their helmets and I had to switch to a different brand.


    The best helmet is the one that fits best. Everything else is secondary.
    #5
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  6. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    I've been a loyal Shoei customer wearing nothing but, since about 1980. Before that it was borrowed ones or none.
    2015-06-13 10.53.23-500x500~2.jpg

    Over the decades the prices have steadily increased making for sticker shock every time I was ready for the next upgrade. The quality was always there and I never had to wonder if a medium would fit me.
    I don't even remember what that first one was, RF 200 maybe ?? then an RF 700, RF 900 then RF 1100.

    IMG_0125.JPG

    The last one was a Hornet DS, first generation, and I'm finally ready for a replacement 10 years on.

    Hornet DS.jpg
    The Hornet ADV (second gen) has gained weight, and size and cost and I can't justify the first two considering the third.

    This time I'm going for a Nexx helmet. The European safety rating system ( ECE 22.05) is far more rigorously tested and enforced and the helmet is lighter than the Shoei offering by 300 grams and far more economical $400.00 less. It fits me just like the Shoei in the same size.

    It is worth trying something new that is as well reviewed, as good or better safety rated / tested and better priced, rather than blind brand loyalty? I think so.

    Both DOT and Snell are by and largely self regulated ratings (manufacturers self test) and don't include visors where as the ECE rating is independently tested during design, and annually (and randomly) throughout the production run.
    You would hope that all manufacturers want their customers to survive and buy again. A good business model after all.

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    Maybe I'll be back to Shoei or maybe I'll find that the Portuguese manufacturer is just as good. The company CEO wears his own brand so believes in his product and survived a crash wearing one.

    Just because the price of any Brand is high does not guarantee its superior quality. As much as the big brands would hope we all buy into that philosophy.
    #6
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  7. jas123

    jas123 Been here awhile

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    I also have gone from the Shoei Hornet X2 to the Nexx helmet though I haven't tried it yet (winter here). I've had other shoei's and they have been excellent but had issues with the x2. A visor screw broke on a rode trip, pinlock shield didn't seal, and the interior seemed to wear out in 3 years. Plus it is the most painful helmet to remove that I've owned. Felt like it was ripping my ears off !
    #7
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  8. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Winter prevents any real time reviews here as well. I would think that the NEXX X WED 2 may be tight removing as they increased the lining size around the opening to reduce wind noise. It will depend on the material of the inner lining but I look forward to finding out.
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    Thankfully we spend far more time with it on than taking off. I hope it works for both of us. The one I tried on was the Touratech version since no one in Canada carries them. It was light! And super comfortable and made by NEXX with exactly the same shell shape. NEXX's XD-1 is the Touratech Adventuro, pretty much.
    BIG markup if you buy the Touratech. There are proprietary differences that I won't go into but the NEXX is more for much less money. Better liner, venting and has an internal dark visor. That adds just over 50 grams over the Touratech. I've done alot of helmet research, Winter......
    #8
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  9. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    I've been a Shoei guy since approx. 1980, but after the Neotec I, I'd had enough. The price raises at 2-3 times inflation just couldn't be borne.
    #9
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  10. YYZ Rush

    YYZ Rush Adventurer

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    I bet if they slapped Shoei sticker on this and sold it for $399.00 it wouldn't be on close out for $79.00.

    Attached Files:

    #10
  11. Red Sand

    Red Sand Been here awhile

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    In case there are any "motorcyclist green horns" reading this and they are uncertain about their first helmet, I would never purchase a helmet without first actually putting several on your head in the store.

    I believe it is true, there may be some sort of "break in" period with most, if not all new helmets.

    When trying on a new helmet, if it seems the fit is just a tad on the "almost too snug" side when first worn, after several hours of use you might discover the helmet is now "just right" . . . and, they should always be "snug" but not tight - make sure there are no pressure points (forehead, other areas) there are some excellent u toob vids about this (because some of the people who work in the stores are totally freakin clueless) . . . others may have different opinions & experiences but like bwringer mentioned earlier "The best helmet is the one that fits best. Everything else is secondary." . . . that's true as long as the safety value of the helmet is not compromised because, in my opinion, some helmets have pathetic safety value.
    #11
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  12. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

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    I was an Arai guy for the last 25 years but since they don't make a modular I bought a Shoei. In my mind they are almost identical in their quality. I did try a Schuberth for a couple of years but it just didn't mesh with me. The Neotec is a great helmet. But I never pay list. I know this is a whole different argument, but I buy all my helmets very slightly used either here or on the WERA racing forum. The original purchaser of my Neotec bought the wrong size and couldn't send it back for some reason so I picked it up for about 60% of list price. Same with a racing helmet I needed last year since mine was out of date. Someone here had bought it for their kid or wife and it was never used. Bought it for less than half of list.
    #12
  13. old scoot

    old scoot Been here awhile

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    I've always had an Aria, wife also. I've considered a cheaper helmet like a Shoe but when it comes down to it Aria quality wins.
    #13
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  14. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    Arai Helmets are certainly good consistent quality as are Shoei but they are not alone in that. Arai never fit my head just right, Shoei did. It was a revelation when I tried a Touratech /Nexx at a bike Show last month how well it fit and how much lighter it was. Point being it is good to try more brands when shopping for such a crucial piece of gear that you need to get right.

    A good friend can't wear either but wear Scorpion because it fits comfortably.

    Another friend has a Klim and says it's the best helmets he has ever owned. Super light and fits him perfectly.

    As said by others, it has to fit perfect above all else. The best quality helmet that fits poorly can do more harm than good in a crash. An overly heavy helmets adds to neck strain and fatigue.

    Most full face helmets will protect a rider adequately in a typical crash. Racing requires a lot more protection in that regard due to the shear speeds involved.

    A skull cap with "DOT" sticker on it is there just to keep from getting a ticket and is a token decoration.
    I've had rocks fly up from truck tires that hit the chin bar or cheek locations of past helmets so hard they took chunks off the helmet. Open face or beany and I'd have crashed as a result and had a shattered face. Racers don't wear them for a reason.

    Quality in any safety gear is very important and I understand that costs money. Manufacturers have to be able to make a profit to keep up research and development. Wind tunnel testing for helmets isn't cheap and some like Shoei have their own, while others like Nexx rent time.



    That doesn't mean manufacturers should be given carte blanche to profiteer.
    #14
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  15. GSBruce

    GSBruce Been here awhile

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    I've worn Shoei RF's since 2000, starting with the RF-800 and am now in an RF-1200. I buy them at substantial discounts every 4-5 years. They seem like a fairly priced premium quality product to me. There are much more expensive helmets out there.
    #15
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  16. kruzuki

    kruzuki Gear in the Machine

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    I tried an inexpensive (not to be confused with cheap!) HJC modular helmet. It was so comfortable, I've been wearing one since. Fraction of the price of a Shoei/Arai and meets all the safety standards.
    #16
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  17. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    When I have bought Shoei helmets through the years and not been set on a specific colour or graphic I can always get a deal on the less popular graphics in the helmet that I want. I drew the line at pink butterfly's but otherwise wasn't fussy.

    My helmet.JPG
    An example, a RF900 that was a tad flashy for me but the discount did the deal.

    The New Nexx helmet ("Orange Hillside" and precious little orange) is a graphic they are discontinuing so it is $90.00 less than any of the others of the same design. It's only paint.

    cdfb7da6a77be5d759b9345bec28171111bae804_2_PIA_63966_0_170.jpg
    #17
  18. scootertrog

    scootertrog Jedi Fart Master

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    I just wish the mfgrs would quit saddling up with a comm mfgr. I’d like to get a Shoei GTAir 2, but refuse to put up with yet another Sena failure! Shoei made it very difficult to put a Cardo unit where it needs to go. Same can be said for a couple other mfgrs. At least Arai has not gone down this road, yet.
    #18
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  19. lvscrvs

    lvscrvs Long timer Supporter

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    I used to wear Shoei then switched to Scorpion about 10 years ago. Much cheaper. Not quite the same quality but no major complaints. Excellent customer service. I get a new one every 3-4 years.
    #19
  20. Lycan1

    Lycan1 Grizzly herder

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    I always buy helmets with removable and washable liners. Apparently it is the body oils that start to break down the Styrofoam that most helmets use for the shock absorption. I tend to, as a result, keep helmets much longer than the recommended 5 years and have always been skeptical of that manufacture claim.

    I can easily inspect the inside of the helmet when I remove the liner and my helmets look new on that side even after long beyond that 5 year mark. The Environmentalists tell us Styrofoam last 100's of years, even in the landfill.... My helmet is far more pristine and protected from the elements.

    I can't imagine what a helmet with fixed liner would be like after a year, never mind five. A goat on a hot rainy day maybe?

    If money was never part of the equation I'd be a good little consumer every time a new graphic tickled my fancy. I'd need a spare room then as well for storage.

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    #20