When I was first thinking of buying a new helmet, I often day-dreamed of owning a Shoei or a Schuberth, if they’re good enough for the emergency services then they should be more than good enough for me. But I was content with upgrading from my Nolan N-103 to the brand new Nolan N-104, excited in fact, as I really enjoyed riding with the N-103. I went to my local helmet dealer and immediately tried the Nolan on, it was brilliant from the off, but at the same time, Shoei had just released the Neotec. Long story short, I came out with the Shoei….
When paying for the Shoei (ouch!) the dealer gave me the sales talk about the lids, how much they weigh, the warranty, how they are hand finished, etc… So, I’ve got the helmet home now and the first thing I really notice is the weight, or lack of it. For a flip-front helmet with integrated sun visor it only weighs 1615 grams, compared to some other helmets of the same ilk, which are packing in at around 2000 grams. Despite this lack of weight I can’t believe how solid and well built this helmet is, no flimsiness at all in the open position and the visors still open and shut (one year on) with the same resistance and feel as new.
First thing to admit regarding the fit and comfort is that I seem to have an odd shaped head, and for me the ‘bedding in’ process was a bit longer than usual, however fast forward a short while and it fits absolutely perfectly. Shoei seem to have taken as much, if not possibly more care with the internal quality as they have with the rest of the helmet. The padding inside is so plush it makes putting the helmet on enjoyable rather than possibly a chore. Even after about twenty thousand miles of use it really does still feel like a new helmet, with the internal padding still giving that plush feel but with the added bonus of not only being sculptured in the right places from the factory but also now being ‘moulded’ to my head shape.
I know there is a certain degree of noise that comes through on all flip-front helmets, even the mighty Schuberth helmets, but the Neotec is still a very quiet helmet for the design. There is wind noise that comes through at the sides at motorway speeds but none of this is turbulent or buffeting so therefore causes no problems to the ears, and due to the extremely good padding and lining of the helmet, the noise is not a loud one by any means and town riding is almost silent, but without being dangerous and disorientating. How do they do that? The first time I made a noise myself in the helmet I thought someone else was in there with me!
The integral sun visor is fantastic and the mechanism is silent, again testament to the design and build of these helmets. This can be used with the chin guard in either position. The ventilation is fantastic, there is no ‘city gap’ notch on the main visor, the last main notch being a good 15mm away from closing completely but with the very simple and very effective ventilation system, nothing else is needed. The vent on the chin guard is easy to operate, just a simple tilt up or down and its open or closed. It directs masses of air straight to the Pinlock enabled visor and keeps any fogging down to a minimum at the very most. There is an exhaust vent at the rear of the helmet which draws any heat in the helmet away from the head when in the open position. The main vent on the top of the Neotec has got to be its most impressive, it is a two stage slider set-up which slides back to reveal two vents when in its most open second position, and half the vents in its half open first position, simple. Due to the slider on the top having a ‘scoop’ on the front it directs air straight into the vents and on anything but the warmest day, it can actually get a bit chilly in the fully open position it’s that good.
Small things like the padded ratchet chin strap, the one-hand-needed-smooth-as-silk chin guard opening mechanism, and the whisper strip under the chin are all very well made and just round off what I think really is a fantastic helmet and in my opinion, although a lot up front, is well worth every penny that I paid.