Shoei RF-1200 Full Face Helmet

Used and Abused

Shoei RF-1200

Shoei RF-1200

Choosing the right helmet is like choosing the right mate. Except you should upgrade every few years…when it comes to a helmet.

Photo: Hot Bike Staff

It’s hard for me to give up my full-face roots when it comes to helmets. You have to understand; I've hit the pavement at over 100 mph while on a racetrack and literally watched the pavement scraping through my visor only inches from my head. A thing like that tends to leave a lasting impression.

Choosing the right helmet is like choosing the right mate. Except you should upgrade every few years…when it comes to a helmet. Ha! I just got my hands on the Shoei RF-1200. If you browse through the website or catalog, you’ll notice it’s not the most expensive helmet the company sells and isn’t the top-tier racing helmet worn by most world-class racers. That’s because the RF-1200 is designed for street riders like you and me but with all the engineering and knowledge of the top-tier racing helmets. Get the picture?

For starters, it’s more compact than the RF-1100 it replaces. The ventilation is amazing and has and adjustable flow thanks to a three-position lower intake and three upper air intakes feeding four upper exhaust vents. The QR-E Baseplate System (a fancy name for the thing that holds the windscreen on) actually pulls the screen closer to the helmet for better wind and noise protection when closed. Should the worst possible situation occur, an emergency quick-release system allows safety personnel to remove the cheek pads to easily remove the helmet.

The RF-1200 comes with a five-year warranty and is Snell certified. There are seven metallic colors to choose from at $498.98, 13 graphics from mild to wild at $589.99, and two solid colors for those less flamboyant just shy of $500 at $485.99. I usually opt for the flat black color, but the Inception TC-1 is a complicated name for a cool retro-inspired appearance that will look great on everything from a bagger to a chopper.

Putting the helmet over my pumpkin-sized dome had me screaming, “I can’t believe it’s not butter.” It’s lighter, more comfortable, and better looking than the model it replaces. As I always say with helmets, I haven’t crashed tested this bad boy yet and hope I never do. But you can bet it’ll be the first one grabbed when I head out for a ride—at least until the RF-1300 comes out several years down the road.