Tested: Shoei Hornet ADV review

Simon Hancocks
By Simon Hancocks
HancocksToad Currently riding a Ducati Multistrada 1260S and loving it! Commutes about 20,000 miles a year and has just finished restoring the slowest Ducati ever built. Happiest when in the saddle.

 

Date reviewed: November 2017 | Tested by: Simon Hancocks | Price: from £439.99 | www.shoeiassured.co.uk

I’ve been using the Shoei Hornet ADV for two months now and have done about 1500 miles in the lid. I chose an adventure helmet as I work in Peterborough and live in Coventry meaning in the morning the sun blinds me on the way to work and then on the way home again; I leave when it is dark and get home after dark, ruling out a tinted visor. A peaked helmet to block the low sun, is in my mind, the best compromise…

 

Outer shell

The Hornet ADV is constructed of six layers of composite fibres with a multi-density polystyrene internal padding, which is claimed to give ‘optimised protection through the use of materials of different absorption levels at different areas within the helmet’. Obviously I can’t comment on the performance of this aspect, but I’m confidents that with Shoei’s years of experience and on-track expertise it would mean I’m in safe hands.

 

Weight

The medium Hornet ADV weighs in at 1610g including the peak, Pinlock and visor. Which compares to 1530g for the Arai Chaser X and 1332g for the lightweight Shark Spartan.

 

 

Ventilation

There are three sets of vents – chin, brow and on top of the helmet – that can be opened and closed, with rear-mounted exhaust vents that remain permanently open. The chin vent is quite small but does a good job of getting air into the helmet. There is a brow vent, which is quite small and hard to find when on the move, especially when wearing winter gloves; that said, it does a surprisingly good job of moving air around the top of your head. The top vent I have open the majority of the time – I found the mechanism quite stiff at first so added some silicone lubricant (included in the box), which improved this.

 

 

Visor

The Visor on the Hornet ADV is very large with good peripheral vision. The design is extremely deep, which makes glancing at the dash and mirrors easy to do without moving my head. The visor is removable but requires the peak to be taken out to do this, and takes about five minutes to remove both the peak and visor and then to reinstall again. I did use mine without the included Pinlock on one trip and found that the visor fogged rapidly even with the vents open. I now have it installed and enjoy clear vison regardless of the conditions.

The visor mechanism is a ratchet-type system, which I am not normally a fan of but I have to say on the Shoei it works really well. It’s firm enough that the visor doesn’t flap about yet has enough steps that the visor can be held open about 10mm for extra ventilation. I wouldn’t say the visor mechanism has totally won me over; I still prefer the smooth operation and removal method that Arai use, but this is as good as a ratchet-closed visor will get in my opinion.

 

 

 

Lining

The lining of the lid is completely removable and washable and includes Shoei’s Emergency Quick Release System (E.Q.R.S), which allows the emergency services to remove the cheek pads in the event of a crash before removing the helmet. This helps to help keep the spine straight and prevent further trauma in the event of a crash. The interior is extremely plush and soft and although the helmet has a quite narrow opening, which initially feels too small, once your head is inside the lid it is an extremely comfortable place to be.

 

 

Fastening

There is a Double-D ring type fastener and popper to secure the strap and stop it from flapping around. This is my preferred method of securing a motorcycle helmet, so it’s no surprise I give it a thumbs-up. A nice touch here is that the strap is lined with the same soft material that lines the rest of the lid – even with a few days’ worth of stubble the chin strap is comfortable to use. The strap cover is also removable should you need to freshen it up with the rest of the interior lining.

 

Fit

As with any lid; it’s best to try before you buy. If that isn’t possible measure your head and go by the sizing guide on the manufacturers website. My helmet is a medium and as mentioned above it is a very comfortable fit. A lot of people talk about having the wrong head shape for particular brands of helmet but I must be blessed with the head shape of a mannequin as the Shoei fit seems to work for me too!

I did get caught out initially with this product as the chin skirt doesn’t some installed and is taped in a bag, in the box. I rode around for a few days thinking the helmet was extremely blowy – with the chin skirt fitted it is a completely different experience!

 

 

 

Noise

For a lid that has such a large peak I expected it to be much noisier but it really isn’t. Earplugs – as with any helmet in my opinion – are a must, but on a couple of shorter trips at motorway speed without them I found the lid to be comfortable to wear.

 

Peak

As this is my first peaked helmet I had some pre-conceptions about how it would feel. I thought it would snatch and grab the air at motorway speeds and wrench my head around – I was completely wrong! Shoei has done an extremely good job with the vents on the peak to make a helmet that is neutrally balanced and easy to wear.

It’s totally solid at motorway speeds – I expected it to bounce and wobble about a bit but it doesn’t. The only point I need to make is that it does tend to catch cross-winds; shoulder checks on the motorway do put a bit of strain on your neck but nothing too major. The helmet performs so well when looking straight ahead that probably means this is noticed more, but for its ability to block the sun, it’s well worth it!

 

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an adventure-biased helmet that’s competitively priced the Hornet ADV is a great option. If you think the plain white option that I have is a little boring, check out the Shoei site as there are tons of coloured and graphic options too. The peak works perfectly for the situation that I needed it for and the levels of comfort provided by the lid are second to none.

For a great price on this helmet, visit BikeNation

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