Shoei Neotec Modular Helmet | MC Tested

By Ed Milich, Photography by Shoei

When I’m racing or riding hard in the canyons, I wear a full-face helmet because it provides uncompromised protection. But when I’m café racing around town or just running errands, I often wear a flip-up helmet for convenience. After all, it’s much easier to pop up the chinbar at the bank rather than remove and carry your lid. Showing some face makes for easier conversation, and mitigates one’s appearance as a battle-clad Stormtrooper, which keeps the clerk from reaching for the silent alarm. The usefulness of a modular helmet is undeniable, so I was excited to try Shoei’s Neotec.

The Neotec is new for 2012 and is an evolution of the Multitec, which is still offered as a more economical option. The Neotec has been updated with revised aero- dynamics, venting, padding and the new CNS-1 faceshield, which provides a wider and taller eyeport for better visibility.

I wore the Neotec riding San Francisco-area backroads, highways and city streets for months. Its comfort is excellent, and functionality cannot be overstated. I particularly appreciated the integral sun visor, which drops down via a smooth-sliding lever to provide instant-aneous glare protection when exiting a tunnel or emerging from beneath a tree canopy. In the city the sun visor alone provides effective wind protection at moderate speeds with the faceshield flipped up, yet still blocks your eyes from harmful UV rays. The helmet’s elevated forehead allows the sun visor to recede beneath the shell without compromising the thickness of the EPS liner.

The Neotec has three large, multi-position vents—one each at the chin, forehead and rear of the helmet. You can’t quite tell what’s open versus closed looking at them, but with the helmet on your head and 30 mph on the speedometer, it’s pretty obvious. With all the shutters open, the Neotec allows a goodly amount of air ingress. A new, fully removable liner and chin curtain help seal out road noise, but at high speed some turbulence still crept into the helmet and caused my eyes to water.

The Neotec’s pivot system positions the chinbar on top of the helmet when it’s flipped up, making it feel top-heavy, so it’s best to flip it back down once underway. The pivot and latch mechanisms are made of stainless steel for strength and reliability, and the chinbar slides into place with a reassuring thwack. The action is smooth, and with practice I learned to drop the chinbar with a quick head nod.

Overall, Shoei’s Neotec helmet is a great balance between the freedom of an open-face and the protection of a full-face. It’s nearly as quiet, stable and light as Shoei’s road-conquering RF-1100. It’s available in solid colors starting at $648.99, and while that price makes it Shoei’s second most expensive helmet, its two-in-one functionality makes the Neotec a good value. Modulars are becoming less of a compromise, and the Neotec is leading the charge.

Shoei Neotec Modular Helmet
PRICE: $648.99
CONTACT: Shoei Helmets
www.shoei-helmets.com
Verdict 4.5 out of 5 stars
One helmet that can truly do it all.

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