Working from the outside in, the only thing familiar about the Shoei RF-1200 shell is the multi-ply composite shell construction found on the RF-1100. The 1200 has a new external shape meant to be more compact and lightweight. Shoei also spent time in wind tunnel development, which has changed the aerodynamics and ultimately resulted in a noticeable reduction in wind noise. Despite being smaller, quieter, and lighter, the RF-1200 shell manages to provide the same legendary level of strength and safety, making it what Shoei claims is their lightest Snell-certified full-face model.
Shoei RF-1200 Helmet Review:
Moving onto the interior, the RF-1200 features a dual-layer EPS liner with improved direct ventilation behind a fully removable, washable, and adjustable liner. The EPS liner benefits from wind tunnel testing and strikes a balance between great airflow and a quiet ride. There are three upper air vents, one chin vent, and four upper exhaust vents that will help you keep a cool head.
Coming back to the liner and cheek pads, Shoei is offering multiple thicknesses of cheek pads to fine tune the fit of the RF-1200, and the liner has been optimized to fit the contour of your head. Also, the cheek pads feature a quick release system borrowed from the X-12 which lets first responders safely remove the helmet without pulling on a rider’s neck. The internal head shape of the RF-1200 will remain the same as we have grown accustomed to with the RF-1100 -- Good news here, since the intermediate oval shape of the RF-1100 struck a chord with quite a few riders.
The next big change on the RF-1200 is the new CWR-1 face shield. First off, this is great news for those living in cold, damp climates: the new face shield is Pinlock ready, and the RF-1200 comes with a Pinlock lens included. The new face shield is also thicker overall compared to the RF-1100, while maintaining optical clarity. There are reinforced ridges at the top and bottom of the shield to improve rigidity, and to provide a better seal against the weather gasket.
Slightly controversial is the switch from a lever shield locking mechanism on the base plate to a simple locking tab on the bottom of the face shield itself. The new locking tab is quicker to use, but you lose the option of locking the shield in a cracked position. The simpler shield lock mechanism allowed for an upgrade in the base plate on the RF-1200, though, and now incorporates a five position adjuster. Think of this as a preload setting for your face shield; you have five tension settings you can easily switch between to adjust how the face shield seals with the helmet.
The Shoei RF-1200 Helmet will come in the usual array of solid colors, as well as a few graphic designs. There is a Hi-Viz option with the Beacon graphic, which is great to see as an option for all of our Hi-Viz enthusiasts. The solid color also sports a bright yellow, called Brilliant Yellow, though not technically considered "Hi-Viz."
Now that I have bored you with the technical details, it is time for some seat-of-the-pants impressions. We love this helmet. It has caused quite the buzz in the RevZilla office, and we expect it to be the next bread-and-butter product for Shoei. It is comfortable, well made, and looks fantastic. Shoei has taken a great product and made it better, which is quite a feat considering how good the RF-1100 has treated us. How could you go wrong with that?
-- Flip Zwicki
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