New RF 1200 Brings Big Refinements

Shoei's New RF 1200

In the rarefied world of premium helmets, Shoei has managed to consistently maintain a stellar reputation for exceptional quality, stringent engineering practices, and cutting-edge aesthetics for more than half a century, so when they tell us new product is on deck, we go into high alert. There have been several releases from the 55-year old Japanese manufacturer this year, but perhaps none carry the weight of its latest rollout: the all-new RF-1200, which Shoei says is lighter, more compact, and more streamlined than its predecessor.

RF 1200 side First is the form. After extensive wind-tunnel-testing, the company found it could significantly modify the helmet's shell size; the smaller dimensions result in a weight reduction of approximately 50-100 grams (depending on shell size), making it the lightest Snell-rated full-face helmet Shoei's ever made.

RF 1200 Top

Ventilation has also been fiddled with on the RF-1200, with the addition of a third intake vent positioned directly above the visor. A new chin vent shunts breezes up to the face and across the visor to limit fogging (and if that's not enough, a Pinlock insert is included too). The rear vents also undergo a redesign, with four exhaust ports now incorporated into a new rear spoiler to draw air out of the helmet more effectively.

RF 1200 lower chin vent

The face shield system on the Shoei RF-1200 doesn't get overlooked either. The new CWR-1 shield now incorporates thick ribs along the edges to increase its rigidity, while still maintaining the optical clarity of a standard unit, with a distortion-free view throughout its entire range (and protection against 99% of UV rays).

Naturally, that requires a new base plate system; dubbed the QR-E system, it operates together with the new eye port gasket to mechanically draw the shield onto the shell when it's sliding into the down position, to better seal out air and water. Pinlock mounting tabs come standard too, should you want to pop on the Pinlock Fog-Resistant visor.

Inner liner Interior comfort gets its due as well, with a liner that uses the new 3D Max-Dry System II (the name refers to its sweat-wicking capabilities). Fit is more ergonomic says Shoei, with cheek pads available in different thicknesses so you can further customize your experience (at additional cost). The new RF also shares the GT-Air's handy EQRS (Emergency Quick Release System) which allows a quick release of the cheek pads, so that the helmet can be more easily removed by emergency personnel. We're glad to see built-in speaker cutouts in the liner of the RF 1200, and a breath guard and chin curtain are also included.

RF 1200 back The RF-1200's smaller profile, integrated spoiler, and contoured cutout along the bottom give it a leaner and more aggressive vibe than the previous model. The back of the shell and neck roll has been redesigned too, and the result is a dramatically more refined appearance. Even better is the fact that the RF-1200 brings a 5-year manufacturer's warranty, and will come in 22 colors and graphics -- so you can really enhance that new look.

Look for a full review in an upcoming issue.

Solid Colors: $485.99

Metallic Colors: $498.99

Graphics: $589.99

www.shoei-helmets.com