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Shoei X-12 Preview

Shoei X-12
Shoei X-12 First Look
by Rick K. for
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Owner Comments (Below)
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See Also: Shoei X-Twelve Review


The new Shoei X-12 was released on October 1, 2009.

We purchased an X-12 in the TC-1 "Streamliner" graphics in size XL.

And we also bought a new Shoei RF-1100 in the "Monolith" graphics, also in size XL.

Here's an X-12 taste-tease with a couple of quick photos and some initial impressions.

X-12 Quality

Everything I said about the RF-1100 with regards to quality is ditto for the X-12.

This is after only a few hours of ogling and handling after receiving the X-12 and the RF-1100 yesterday.

The quality of both helmets appears to be outstanding.

The X-12 looks stunning in the Streamliner graphics, with its deep red metalflake accent stripes and the metalflake stars along the side.

But, this is as it should be -- I'm am positive that X-12 owners will accept nothing less than perfection in a helmet costing...are you ready for this?  $769.99 list price!  Yikes!!

Whether or not there is a market for a helmet costing that much and how large that market will be is yet to be determined.

Obviously, the Shoei X-12 is a direct competitor of the stomach-churning price of the Arai Corsair V (review), which can set you back up to $870.00, depending upon graphic and color choices.

The question is this: does a $700+ helmet protect your skull any better than a helmet costing half as much -- or less?  If a helmet meets DOT, ECE, Snell 2010 -- or a combination thereof -- isn't it just as good?

That's the whole idea of standards. Does money buy more safety?  Once everyone else comes out with a Snell 2010 approved helmet, what will be the differentiator?

We'll have to leave that up to our readers to decide.

But here's one more factor in the equation: experiencing first-hand the quality of the RF-1100, I'm not sure what you get for your 50% premium when buying an X-12. The RF-1100 seems that good.

In another universe, if I were King of Shoei, I think I'd want to consider marketing an Arai Corsair V equivalent "race" oriented helmet at a much lower price point.

Just because Arai is asking huge prices for a helmet doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea to match the price.

When all is said and done though, the X-12 is initially just as stunning as the RF-1100 when it comes to perceived quality.

Shoei X-12, Front View
Shoei X-12, Rear View
X-12 Features

I have yet to carefully study the differences between the X-12, the X-11 and the RF-1100, so perhaps there is something else that justifies the astronomical price of the X-12.

It has the same CW-1 face shield as the RF-1100 with the same tight fit.

The AIM+ shell in 5 sizes ranging from XS to XXL; along with many other features shared with the RF-1100, including the 5-year warranty, which is effectively the life expectancy of the helmet.

The X-12 does add an emergency release system for the cheek pads.

A pair of red "Pull" tabs are located on the bottom of the helmet, between the liner and shell. These can be pulled to release the cheek pads, which allows the helmet to be more easily removed from an injured rider's head.

Both the RF-1100 and X-12 feature face shield locks, which is usually only something found on a race-oriented helmet.

And the X-12 features Shoei's "3D Max" liner system, claimed to be "proven to absorb and dissipate sweat two-times faster than traditional nylon interiors", according to Shoei.

The X-12 is also available with the Pinlock anti-fog insert system (review)

X-12 Helmet Weight

I quickly placed both of the new Shoei helmets on the scale, and, like the RF-1100, the X-12 has gained weight over its ancestor, the X-11.

As with the RF-1100, I'm surprised to discover that the X-12 has gained 156 grams over the size XL Shoei X-Eleven we reviewed previously.

The X-12 and the RF-1100 are among the first helmets to meet the new Snell 2010 safety standard (report).

But it is not clear whether this or the addition of new features, the new liner, the shield removal system or other parts is responsible for the weight gain.

More on weight comparisons in the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page, which lists the weights of all helmets we've reviewed to date.

Shoei X-11 and X-12 comparison
Shoei X-11 on the left and the new Shoei X-12 on the right.
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The helmets just arrived and none of us have had a chance to ride with them yet, so I can't comment on balance, air flow or even internal shape.

UPDATE: Shoei sent us information on the shell sizes for the X-12:

Shoei X-12 and RF-1100 Shell Size Chart
This Head Size... ...Uses This Shell Size
S, M M
First Look Conclusion

That's a very brief first look and first impressions of the Shoei X-12.

Stay tuned for more; we'll of course have our full webBikeWorld review, slide show, video and more. We'll also compare the X-12 with the X-11 and RF-1100.

As with the Shoei RF-1100, first impressions are shaded by the very high quality of the fittings, paint and graphics on the X-12 compared to most/many other helmets we have around here.

Next: Shoei X-Twelve Helmet Review

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