Truth in reviewing forces me to reveal that Shoei's Hornet DS (for "dual-sport") helmet sat ignored for about a year while I clung to my increasingly odorous Arai Quantum. A recent opportunity to ride a Suzuki V-Strom 650 from Anchorage to Los Angeles convinced me to pack the matte-black Hornet and give the Shoei a try. Some 4000 miles later, I may have changed my mind.
This Hornet fits differently than a pure street helmet: snug but never painful, even after a 19-hour riding day. Off-road, the DS compromise asks little and returns much. The eye aperture is big enough to admit most goggles, though large-frame, over-the-glasses versions can be a tight fit. Its technical silhouette lends a dashing profile when parking your KTM in the corporate lot.
On-road, the Hornet is lightweight, well-shaped and ventilated to a fault. That fault would be that you can't close the beak vent enough to keep rain out without a strip of duct tape. The face shield leaked after a few hundred miles, but readjusting the base plate fixed that.
The visor will try to tilt your head back above 70 mph unless you bring your chin an inch or so closer to your chest. Or you can remove it altogether for long street rides. Like a dual-sport motorcycle, the Hornet is a compromise by design. Not quite as good as a pure street lid on the street, and a half-step behind a pure dirt helmet in the dirt. But if you're looking for one that does both, the Hornet is tough to beat.
Shoei Hornet DS Helmet
Contact: Shoei North America
Verdict 3.5 out of 5 stars
Great fit and dirt-proof. An equitable compromise for all-surface travels.