Club, Endurance and Isle of Man racer, been riding bikes since 1970 something, got the bug sitting on the back of my dad’s 400 Four. First ride was an Italjet followed by RM80 and YZ125 dirt bikes, current bikes range from agricultural to exotic. Writing about bikes for four years.
Shoei X-Spirit III
I was testing the Shoei X-Spirit III for six months. Or at least up until the IOM where it was permanently borrowed. I have recently picked up a new one in the exact same colour scheme.
The X – Spirit III is Shoei’s latest race helmet – hence the aggressive, distinctive styling and bright graphics. The styling is designed to offer controlled airflow and the ‘wings’ and spoiler are meant to boost stability. Initially, I thought wings were somehow part of an intricate ventilation system but their function is purely aerodynamic and when riding at higher speeds they keep the helmet really stable and free from buffeting although I found it took more effort to turn my head at speed. Under braking turning my head was very natural and the X-Spirit III feels happiest in a high-speed tuck position.
There is a small lower air spoiler at the front of the helmet which helps control the airflow over the front. It seemed to deflect some wind from my neck as well. The ventilation system is adequate, the X-Spirit III doesn’t offer the extreme airflow that some race helmets offer – the benefit of this being that it’s a much quieter helmet, both with and without ear plugs. Wind ingress is less than other helmets I have tested over the last couple of years by some margin and the six closeable vents meant I could easily modulate airflow and temperature, although the vents are a little tricky to operate while wearing gloves.
The visor opening mechanism is very simple to operate using one finger and wearing gloves. The visor is similarly easy to change - you simply push a release button on each side and it pops off and a light push on each side clips back on. I think this will be the helmet of choice for riders that need to make a quick visor change in their pit stop. When the double visor lock system is locked down there is no wind on your face at all and combined with the fabric chin curtain (supplied in the box), nothing gets in.
On the side of the visor there are little notches that Shoei calls ‘Vortex generators’. Their purpose is further reduction of drag and lift. I tested visors with and without the Vortex generators and according to wind tunnel data, they may make some difference but on the road, I didn’t notice whether they were doing anything but they do look cool, which is important, right?
Vision above the eye line is great, you can see further ahead without giving yourself neck strain keeping your head up when tucked in. Like the AGV Pista it feels like the helmet is fitted with a skylight.
The X-Spirit III is really comfortable; I would go as far as to say one of the most comfortable helmets I have worn. The interior has well placed modular pads and it felt super snug straight out of the box. The fully removable interiors will help keeping it box-fresh (with the occasional wash), while the different size interior thicknesses are available should you need a custom fit. The fabric is a quick drying and the liner can rotate by 4 degrees up or down so you can get more vision in the tuck position.
The X-Spirit III is fitted with the Emergency Quick Release System. (EQRS) - useful for allowing emergency services remove the cheek pads to examine without causing further injury. Shoei offers the Spirit in four different shell sizes and the shells is a six-layer shell construction designed to be shock-absorbent shell with optimum rigidity.
£649.99 (£549.99 pain colours)