What's the difference between a £100 helmet and a £500 helmet?
This is a question that we get asked a lot here at Shoei, why Shoei helmets are priced much higher than other helmets on the market. The answer is simple, it’s all down to quality.
The dedication from the professionally trained SHOEI technicians is unparalleled, which is why all helmet production is kept in Japan even though manufacturing costs have long since exceeded the level of Europe. Faulty products are practically unheard of, as every single piece reflects the spirit, and quality that SHOEI pride themselves on.
The finest materials used and rigorous quality assurance tests are completed to ensure that SHOEI helmets are of the highest quality and have been trusted by racers such as Marc Marquez, Shane Byrne, John McGuinness and Bradley Smith.
1. Prevention not just protection
It’s essential that Shoei helmets are built so that in the event of a collision your head will be protected from injury. Where Shoei differs is that their technology actually goes to help ‘prevent’ accidents.
Active safety - As opposed to “passive safety” that is ensured by compliance with the various country-specific safety standards, “active safety” means an improvement in wearing comfort to allow the rider to devote his full concentration to driving. Product properties such as improved inner padding for optimum seating of the helmet, the lowest possible weight to reduce stress on the neck muscles, an effective ventilation system for temperature regulation and a reduction of wind noises primarily serve the safety of the rider. This underscores the importance of the continuous further development of SHOEI helmets in the area of comfort technology
Passive Safety - This is the safety that ensures that your head remains safe and unharmed if an impact was to occur. All Shoei helmets adhere and go above and beyond the strict safety guidelines and rulings such as the ECE R22/05 standard. For more information on Shoei safety standards and quality control see the Shoei Assured website:
Wind Tunnel testing - As part of creative ‘Active Safety’ Shoei conduct wind tunnel tests on their helmets. This is to simulate the force of the air on the helmet, to aid in research when creating ventilation and shell shape etc to ensure the head can remain steady and comfortable when riding. You can see an image of the wind tunnel test below.
High performance ventilation - As you can see from the diagram below, the wind tunnel testing has ensured that ventilation in Shoei helmets is perfected. Allowing cool air to pass through the helmet, circulate and then hot air ejected from 4 ventilation outlets at the rear of the helmet. This prevents pressure building in the helmet as well as keeping the rider comfortable and safe.
3. Rigorous Testing
At Shoei thorough testing is conducted to ensure that Shoei helmets can withstand the pressures of impact. This is all aspects of the helmet, from the outer shell to the visors. No stone is left unturned. The testing is of course essential to the helmet to ensure that a high level of quality is maintained but it’s also important when it comes to making improvements for their next models. The quality research that is conducted during testing is why Shoei can keep producing such high performance items on a continuous basis.
Visor Impact - High velocity pellets are fired at Shoei visors. This is to simulate grit etc that can be thrown up from the ground as you ride. The shots are fired to see how well the polycarbonate injected visors deflect the impact and to ensure that Shoei visors protect you. The tests also highlight any modifications that need to be made to create the perfect product.
Pressure - testing is conducted to see how much pressure Shoei helmets can withstand. The structure of the helmets needs to be completely sturdy enough to deflect any force or pressure from the head and to maintain it’s shape. You can see from the image above this process taking place.
Impact testing - At Shoei they also test how much impact the helmets can take before each batch are shipped out. The helmets are dropped at varying angles and heights and the impact and force is measured by sensors and the damage inspected afterwards. The helmets aren’t shipped out until the staff are satisfied with these results.
As you can see from the image, Shoei helmets are tested to see how they cope with abrasion and how they react when sliding against various surfaces.This is to ensure that no cracking takes place and the material is high grade enough to withstand as much force as possible.
4. Quality Control and Precision
Everything is checked during the process of making the helmets. They are handmade and each process is measured and checked personally at every point.
Shoei helmets are all handmade. This way they can be quality checked at every point and can have the highest precision applied to them. Mass manufacture has never been the Shoei way. Shoei technicians take high amounts of pride in their work.
To ensure that each helmet is up to the Shoei standard, paint and decals are all applied by hand by trained Shoei technicians. Each is inspected before it leaves the factory to ensure there are no defects.
Hand checked - Each element of the helmets are checked before they are boxed. This includes checking the paintwork, the inner linings, emergency release and visors movement etc.
Multi Density EPS liner - Shoei helmets have multi density liners under the shell. These liners have been developed to catch and disperse moisture within the helmet to prevent fogging and to keep the rider's head cool when in use.
5 ply absorbent fiber shell
Shoei helmets have a 5 ply fibre shell. Each layer of the shell is designer to absorb any shock or impact. The more impact/force that is absorbed by the helmet shell means that the force on the rider's head during impact is drastically reduced. Because of this research and technology, many a rider’s life has been saved.
When Shoei create helmets, safety and protection is at the forefront of their thinking. Shoei pride themselves on their products and their tireless research has created helmets that are trusted around the track year after year by the likes of Mark Marquez.