MC Tested: Shoei RF-1100 Helmet

By Ari Henning, Photography by Shoei

When I heard Shoei was replacing the RF-1000, my first instinct was to stockpile the lids to hold me over for the next decade. The RF-1000's excellent fit, no-fuss shield changes, great venting and stunning good looks make it one of the best all-around lids available. Could Shoei really improve on something so good?

My trepidation dissipated the moment I slipped the new RF-1100 onto my head. Ahhh, the 1100's fit is just as superb as its predecessor, and you can't beat that new-helmet smell. A fully removable liner makes keeping things fresh that much easier, and the Snell 2010-compliant design means more shell sizes for better fit and protection.

Shoei says the RF-1100 improves on comfort, noise, aerodynamics and venting. Venting is too passive a word for what the RF-1100 does. It's more like ram-air for your head. The large tabs are easy to operate with a gloved hand, and their independent functionality allows you to tailor airflow to suit your preferences.

A more aerodynamic shell and revamped cheek pads help make the RF-1100 one of the quietest helmets I've worn. Shoei uses a new forming technology to integrate the rear spoiler into the shell for smoother lines and better aerodynamics, which not only makes things quieter but reduces head buffeting and resistance to directional changes. Inside the helmet, reshaped cheek pads extend further forward to wrap around the chin, reducing turbulence and blocking road noise. A new tighter-fitting visor increases the peace even further.

The RF-1100's new CW-1 shield is about 5mm taller and extends further toward the temples. That may sound nominal, but the larger eye port improves peripheral vision and provides a better line of sight when looking through tight turns. The shield is held in place by Shoei's new spring-loaded QRSA (Quick-Release Self-Adjusting) base plates, which actively pull the shield against the new eye port beading to insure a precise, tight seal every time you close the visor. Changing the visor is the same 5-second procedure it was on the previous model, and the handy shield preset lever is retained.

After over 4000 miles of one-on-one time with the RF-1100, I'm pretty pleased with Shoei's latest street offering. I love the way it cuts silently through the air, and the venting is the best out there, but the tabs require frequent lubrication and have a tendency to pop off their rails if neglected. As with Shoei's Hornet dual-sport helmet, the snaps that hold the liner in place are weak and the back of the liner has started to come loose when I pull the helmet on. A dab of superglue remedies the problem but annuls the removability of the liner.

The RF-1100 is available in your typical pallet of solid colors, as well as metallics and an arresting assortment of tasteful graphics. Despite the small drawbacks, the RF-1100 is an instant winner and a worthy replacement for the do-it-all RF-1000.

Shoei RF-1100
Price: $399.99-$499.99

Contact: Shoei Helmets

Verdict 4 stars out of 5
A step above its predecessor in nearly all respects.

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