They say that you have either a Shoei head or an Arai head. In my case, I am definitely the former.
Over the years I have flirted with numerous helmets, including the almost mythical Arai, but when it comes to comfort on long rides, I always seem to gravitate back to the brand I first got after passing my test in 1994.
So when the time came to replace my stinky XR1100, there really was only choice. A look on the Shoei website got me hankering after the impressively liveried GT-Air Dauntless TC-8 (the last bit is merely the colour reference), a sporty helmet that didn’t have the ‘look at me’ scream of a race-rep lid.
The first thing that you notice about the GT-Air is the slightly unusual shape of the shell. Shoei have resisted putting integral sunvisors in their helmets for many years, but the slightly elongated shell of the new GT Air allows fitment of an easy to use internal visor without, say Shoei, compromising safety.
To wear, it’s perfectly comfy – I have a Shoei head, after all, and at speed there are no issues with stability or noise. There is wind noise, of course, but nothing excessive. I don’t recommend it, but I’ve found myself riding at motorway speeds without ear plugs more often than not. Helmets are always a personal thing, and react differently with different riders, but I find it one of the quietest helmets I’ve ever worn (either that, or I am deaf already!).
I tend to wear a smaller than necessary helmet, because I like that snug feeling. However with some brands I have found that this can be a little claustrophobic and on hot days I often find myself sweating profusely. This was never really a problem on my flip-front Multitec, but the lining on my XR1100 always seemed to get very moist indeed, even if the comfort was never compromised.
Despite the addition of the sunvisor and the slightly bulbous looking shell, the GT-Air is slightly lighter than my old XR1100, at just under 1.4kg. I’ve had no neck strains while wearing it, despite a front vent that looks like an aerodynamic disaster. That vent incidentally allows loads of cooling air into the helmet and overall it is full of neat touches. Of course, there’s an obligatory Pinlock (how did we cope without them?) and I have not experienced any misting problems at all. The lining is plush and detachable, which means it can be washed, and there’s also a quick release system in order that the helmet can be removed quickly and easily in the event of an accident.
Of course, quality isn’t cheap. I value my head though, and the GT-Air Dauntless can be yours for £479.99 from Bike Nation.