Helmet Preview: The New Shoei Neotec II


Shoei Neotec II Excursion

Choosing not to rest on their laurels, Shoei has taken an already excellent modular helmet design in the popular Neotec (see our review) and made it even more worth our hard earned dollars in the new Neotec II.

Features and Benefits


Multi-Purpose Utility

The Neotec II is touted as the premier, multi purpose helmet by Shoei. Comfortably used for upright or sport riding positions and even as an open face helmet.

If you’re an uncompromising gentlemen who (like myself) rides several different classes of motorcycles frequently the luxury of only needing one helmet is alluring indeed.

Modular Design

Shoei Neotec II Modular

I’m a big fan of modular helmets. Flipping up the chin bar to give my wife a kiss farewell, take a drink, have a mano a mano conversation with the police officer who just pulled me over, or simply being able to ride open face in high heat is my cup of tea… all easy thanks to the modular design.

Shoei improved the Neotec II chinbar locking mechanism in such a way that it officially passed their criteria to be used open faced if desired. The old Neotec wasn’t endorsed as such, but everyone used it that way regardless. Fight the power!

Shoei knew this and so the locking mechanism was improved to accommodate us rebellious types as such.

User-Friendly Controls

The big red button on the front isn’t for initiating a self destruct sequence or ejection off your bike. That might be on the Neotec 3 possibly…

It’s for lifting up the chinbar easily even while wearing bulky gloves. Ditto for the controls of two vents and a switch on the left side to raise or lower the integral QSV-1 sun blocking lens. Once you wear a helmet with this feature in it you’ll never use sunglasses again. It effectively blocks 99% of the UV rays encountered and is replaceable if damaged.

Visor

Shoei Neotec II

The CNS-3 Visor and base have an improved seal from the original Neotec to keep water and dirt out of your face. Add to that the PinLock anti fog system which Shoei claims is the best in existence at keeping your view fog free.

Shoei visors are a cinch to replace in seconds compared to say an Arai visor which is more challenging and takes practice to do without damaging something in the process.

DOT Approved

Shoei Neotec II Modular

The Neotec II unsurprisingly received a solid safety rating from DOT testing. It’s equipped with Shoei’s exclusive Multi-Ply matrix shell on the exterior and several layers of impact absorbing, varying density foam on the inside.

The mixture of organic and synthetic fibres on the outer shell were carefully chosen to keep the weight down wisely. The original Neotec weighed in at about 4 lbs. I couldn’t get an exact weight spec for the new helmet as of yet.

I have no doubts about the life saving potential of this or any Shoei helmet, but was a little surprised not to see a SNELL Memorial Foundation pass. It’s very rare for SNELL to stamp approval on a modular helmet, but I was hoping the Neotec II would reach what I view as the highest level recognition.

Silence is Golden

The biggest gripe with modular helmets is how much wind noise has to be endured by the wearer. Shoei chose to specifically target that and make this helmet quiet through extensive wind tunnel testing and design strategies.

Shoei Neotec II Modular

The vaguely coffin-shaped intake vent on the top not only draws cool air in nicely, but acts as a spoiler when the wearer is riding in an upright position.

In other riding positions the numerous ridges and scoops molded into the shell exterior work together to quiet airflow over the helmet and reduce or prevent drag and lifting. The skirting around the underside minimizes turbulence and the cheek pads have specific noise deadening qualities in them.

Sizing Options

The Neotec II is available in 4 sizes of outer shell ranging from XS to XXL. Six total sizes are possible by swapping out interior padding. This should ensure a custom fit when combined with the Interior Comfort System. This is the name given to the myriad of different sized pads available for the helmet that are removable and washable.

Micro Ratcheting Chinstrap

Shoei Neotec II Ratchet Buckle

I recently bought a new Harley Davidson modular helmet that doesn’t have a ratcheting chin strap figuring I could live without it. I was wrong. I’m really missing it now, since I had it on my previous helmet and liked it a lot. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.

Fortunately it is a feature on the Neotec II.

The quick release strap is very useful for emergency removal of your helmet in the event of the wearer needing medical attention for example. Paramedics will often just cut a chinstrap to access a patient which would ruin the helmet.

Staying Cooler: Improved Air Flow

Shoei Neotec II Airflow

Venting from two front air inlets route cool air effectively through channels inside the EPS foam and liner to exit cleanly out the rear “exhaust” opening. No one likes a sweaty head and not all venting systems are created equal. This one has a lot of engineering and thought behind it. It looks like a winner.

SENA Seamless Integration


Shoei Neotec II SENA Integration

That air flow will come in handy to remove all the hot air you’ll produce using the SENA SRL Communication System (Shoei Rider Link). It has a talk time capability of 10 hrs after all.

Pair with your phone to access music media, make/take calls or talk to other riders in your group with very minimal weight increase. Nothing was missed by SENA in the SRL system, it’s got all the options anyone would list on their helmet comms wishlist.

SENA designed this system specifically for the Neotec II. The components install easily and completely on the inside of the helmet, so there’s nothing outside to create noise through added wind turbulence. The custom design ensures there’s no negative effect to the helmet’s level of protection either (no holes to be drilled in the shell or padding adjustment).

You have to buy the SRL system separately as it’s not included with the helmet. I couldn’t find an exact availability date for the system at the time of this writing, but more in depth details for the SRL are available on Sena’s website here.

Price Tag: “Cha-Ching!”

With all these features protected by a 5 year warranty and the level finery found in a handmade helmet, it’s no surprise the price to own a Neotec II isn’t low. It starts at $699 USD for solid colours and $799 for the detailed, graphic-rich ones.

Then you have to shell out some more bitcoin for the SENA… because it wouldn’t be right not to listen to music and call all your friends to tell them how much fun you’re having while out living life to its fullest on two wheels.

Let me add my voice to the many claiming that it’s worth the cost. I know someone whose life was saved because he was wearing a premium quality brain bucket. Specifically it was a Shoei on his head at the time of his accident. The helmet absorbed nearly the full force of the crash, destroying itself in the process, but without doubt preserving him.

Availability

Shoei already released the Neotec II to the European market back in October 2017. They expect to release it everywhere else this year. That leaves us here in North America and those in Asia some time to save up for this can’t miss offering in head protection technology.

Photo Gallery


24 Comments

  1. TPB
    January 13, 2018
    Reply

    “The quick release strap is very useful for emergency removal of your helmet in the event of the wearer needing medical attention for example. Paramedics will often just cut a chinstrap to access a patient which would ruin the helmet.”

    Really? Because I’m thinking that if you’re ever in a situation where a paramedic needs to cut the chinstrap on your helmet:

    A) you have worse problems then the cost of replacing your helmet; and,
    B) you’re helmet is probably already damaged and unusable in the future.

    If you prefer the wratcheting chinstrap to the standard double D-rings, fine. But it really isn’t a selling point as far as safety is concerned. OTOH, the removable cheekpads on the Nolan helmet reviewed earlier this week IS a selling point as far as safety is concerned.

    Note that I’m not criticizing the helmet–I’ve been wearing Shoei helmets for over 30 years.

    • DC
      February 3, 2018
      Reply

      It’s not about the cost/damage to the helmet. The Emergency Release System removes part of the paddding thus creating more free space arround your head so paramedics can more easily/safely remove the helmet from your head (with lower risk of neck injury due to removal of the helmet).

  2. Jim Pruner
    January 13, 2018
    Reply

    I don’t disagree that in the case where someone has crashed and severe trauma is evident that a paramedic might just opt to cut a chinstrap in the name of speed. It’s their call and they know best how to respond, of course. Yes, a helmet is no good after a crash too. Agreed.
    What you will notice is that the release latch is bright red on the chinstrap. It’s not that colour for the wearer’s benefit or style. It’s high visibility for easy identification by an onlooker. Ditto for the flip up release button for the chin bar: bright red.
    There are many circumstances where medical assistance may be needed outside of one where the helmet is damaged. Allergic reactions, strokes, diabetic sugar deficiency and heat exhaustion can all strike suddenly when the rider is stationary, but wearing their gear and perhaps unable to remove it themself..
    I actually am a volunteer firefighter and recently in some training I received we practiced various techniques for removing a helmet from a patient. The instructor pointed out the fact helmet manufacturers are cognizant of the needs of responders and put features like these in their products partly for that reason.
    Preservation of the helmet isn’t the main reason for having these features, but it does leave the option there to be taken. If nothing else it just makes removal that much easier.
    Thank you for the comment!

    • TPB
      January 13, 2018
      Reply

      Thanks for your response. I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. In fact, for many years, the little nylon webbing tab that Shoei uses to make undoing the D-rings easier is…red.

      • Jim Pruner
        January 14, 2018
        Reply

        You know something funny about that helmet removal training I took? We first practiced removing the helmet carefully to avoid further head and spinal injury after pretending to cut the chinstrap. It was a real pain.
        It was only after all that we realized it was a modular helmet and flipped up the chinbar for easy access. Everyone at that point agreed in the future we would be looking for that magic button right off the start.

        • TPB
          January 14, 2018
          Reply

          Hah! That’s a little like forgetting to turn the kill switch to and being confused why the bike won’t start.

          Just curious: have you encountered any riders wearing a helmet with any of these various emergency removal aids?

  3. Jim Pruner
    January 14, 2018
    Reply

    Not personally I haven’t yet. I’m a volunteer mine rescue team member/firefighter up at a mine site so we don’t often have much going on beyond training, but no one is upset about our safety record that way.
    My friend who is a paramedic full time tells me that the majority of the time they just undo the strap carefully. Cutting them is more rare from what he says, but sometimes it’s the way they go.

  4. Garry Euler
    January 18, 2018
    Reply

    Shoei has always had a problem with weight of which you do NOT mention….as well as pricey…..to bad they make a very nice hat but these two item at least for me can be a deal breaker!!!

    • Jim Pruner
      January 18, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Garry. I did contact a Shoei representative to ask about the weight of the new helmet because the information was missing from the press release I received. Unfortunately the rep didn’t have an exact weight to give me for the DOT version at the time of this writing. I like you was disappointed not to get full info, but can only pass on what they give us since this is a preview and not a hands on review.
      I do mention in the write up that the old Neotec weighed about 3.5 lbs. I would guestimate the new one is around there or lighter based on the materials used in the Multi-Ply Matrix shell materials used (carbon fiber mixed with organic and synthetic fibres).
      The price is steep as you say. Everyone should buy what they can afford, but I’m convinced there is a difference with a Shoei or Arai that make them worth the extra dinero.

  5. bedmac
    January 30, 2018
    Reply

    I dragged my feet on buying the original Neotec precisely because I figured it was overdue for some upgrades. I gave up waiting and bought one about eight months ago. The new model doesn’t have me kicking myself. That’s not a knock on the new one – I love the Neotec – but if faced with the decision today I’d probably look for a closeout price on the old model. When those were gone I’d probably buy the new one.

    The ratcheting chin strap has some appeal. I have it on another helmet and quite like it. Mine has a strap with a firm material end which means it is easy to use even with gloves on. Hard to tell from the pictures provided how easily the Shoei would work, but I agree it is a plus though D rings are generally fine with me.

    I use a Sena 20 (first communications system I’ve owned and it changed my life). Integration on the new model is nice though I wonder if the manual controls are as easily usable on the new system, (the old one has a nice big jog wheel). Let’s say for the sake of argument it works fine. What I’m left wondering is whether it solves my one nit pic with my current set up: boom mic positioning and the chin bar. The latter seems to run into the former when I close it, and every time I do I find myself having to reposition it. I rarely ride with the chin bar up (and less so need to communicate when it is up) so I wonder why they didn’t extend the integration upgrade to the mic into the chin bar, or maybe it is and I’m missing it? (Yes I can jury rig a wired mic into mine and I may someday.) In any event, hopefully the integrated system will be available soon and I presume if you want to use an old system you can. A final note on the communicator: I can easily remove my communicator and charge it off my helmet. Does it work that way on the new helmet?

    With respect to Snell: I don’t think they certify – or maybe even test – any modular helmets. After talking to a representative of Snell at the touring motorcycle show here in the US I recall something about the modular mechanism reducing space for safety materials on the side; something about the lack of a test to predict resistance of the chin bar coming up in a crash. I could be missing some of the reasons or mis-remembering, but its lack of certification doesn’t concern me at all. At the end of the day, my faith is in Shoei.

    Finally: “vaguely coffin-shaped intake vent on the top”? There’s a joke about a Rorschach test in there somewhere!

  6. Jim Pruner
    January 30, 2018
    Reply

    Great insight from the readership bedmac. I’ll go see a psychiatrist soon to discuss your findings on the Neotec II Rorschach’s test. Hahaha.
    To my knowledge there are only two modular helmets that have gotten SNELL 2008 and later 2010 certificates so you’re not wrong in saying they aren’t often tested. I still hope SNELL May choose to look at the Neotec II once released in the US. Maybe that’s what they’re waiting for?
    I haven’t had hands on time with the new Neotec and Sena mic, but I think in looking at it the same problem may persist when opening and closing the chin bar sadly. Full integration of the mic would have been much better as you say.
    Excellent comments, thank you!

    • bedmac
      January 30, 2018
      Reply

      Nah, save your money on the shrink. A good proportion of the population already thinks were certifiable just for riding. And if it makes you feel better, my Neotec has two broad graphic lines that from the back always makes me think of a skunk.

      I poked around the Snell site and they do indeed test modulars. Quoting them: “in so-called ‘modular’ or ‘flip-up’ helmets the chin guard may be hinged so that, when released, it will pivot or flip up and out of the way for the rider’s convenience. Modular helmets must meet all the same requirements as those equipped with integral chin bars with the additional requirement that the chin guard release mechanism must be sufficiently secure to prevent inadvertent opening in a crash impact.”

      Having said that, I’m not sure the two brave helmets who received those certifications are out there for purchase now. They are, for the curious, the LS2 FF394 (L, XL, XXL; probably was sold with a catchier name) and the Zeus 3000 (S; there is a 3000A made but no indication of Snell on that model from their site). And I gather there is now a 2015 standard to deal with; no modular has made that list.

      It is an interesting question whether the absence of modulars getting Snell approvals is from failing the test or manufacturers simply not submitting their modular models for testing. I wonder what Shoei might have to say about the issue? And yeah, I think their passing the 2015 certification would be a good thing for them, even if it is not necessarily critical to my purchase decision.

    • TPB
      January 30, 2018
      Reply

      That’s not how SNELL certification works. They don’t “decide” to test helmets. SNELL is an independent, non-governmental agency. Manufacturers PAY the SNELL people LOTS OF MONEY. Then SNELL tests the helmet model(s) and *if* it passes, the manufacturer is allowed to put the certification stickers on the helmets.

      Also, while the research into the testing was done before SNELL 2010 and 2015, Motorcyclist magazine scientifically concluded that the DOT standard–at least on the street–was as good and possibly better than SNELL in real-world situations.

      So personally, while I do wear a SNELL-certified Shoei, when I buy my next street helmet, I won’t be overly concerned if it doesn’t have a SNELL sticker.

      Although it probably will because I’ll most likely buy another SHOEI full-face helmet.

    • Dan Hammack
      March 3, 2018
      Reply

      It is my understanding that no helmet with an internal drop down sun visor is Snell approved.

  7. Jim Pruner
    January 30, 2018
    Reply

    The SNELL standard is continually raised for new helmets and if Motorcyclist concluded DOT is the same at some point I suppose it’s possible it was for that year standard, but I doubt it is now.

    DOT standard has remained static instead of evolving. A DOT approved helmet isn’t even necessarily tested before it gets the stamp since it’s actually the manufacturer that puts it there and then possibly later the model gets quality checked by a DOT rep to verify it’s worthy of it.

    I looked at the specific tests between the two and the current SNELL is stricter when it comes to acceptable amounts of energy transfer through the helmet to the head. Their standards centre around ensuring better protection for high speed crashes while DOT is more focused on lower speed ones.
    SNELL also does some tests that aren’t even on the DOT list, like chinbar strength and a test to ensure the helmet won’t get pried off the head in a crash.

    That’s why SNELL is better overall in my opinion.
    I think I’ve possibly found the problem here. It might be the drop down sunvisor that’s stopping the SNELL certification. I guess SNELL feels it poses a risk in a crash and won’t approve a helmet with it according to what I’m reading other groups discussing this question in forums.

    It’s interesting to note that the European standard ECE 22.05 has similar testing to SNELL in that its third party but they don’t worry about things like sun visors.

    • TPB
      January 31, 2018
      Reply

      You mischaracterized what I said and you misunderstand the test criteria. Motorcyclist did NOT conclude that the tests were the same. What they concluded–with using actual scientists–was that in real-world situations, DOT was actually a better standard FOR THE STREET. It is those “higher energy” standards in SNELL that make (made) it LESS useful in relation to the realities of most street accidents which do NOT involve high speeds. The ECE standard is quite excellent itself. While DOT is a “self-test” standard, as long as you are buying your helmet from a reputable manufacturer, it actually does pass the DOT standards. Why? Legal liability. Also, just to be clear, *I* did not say that the DOT standard was superior to SNELL or ECE, nor did I say that the SNELL standard was bad.

  8. Jim Pruner
    February 1, 2018
    Reply

    TPB I appreciate your knowledge on the different certifications and the effort you’ve made to share it with us here on the forum. It’s great to have engaged readership, sincerely I thank you and everyone else who comments for helping us keep our content accurate. It’s really great! I fully admit that I don’t always get everything right and I will happily edit what needs it with the aim of maintaining reliable information.
    I hope you don’t feel that I’m consciously attacking what you’re sharing in any way as that’s not my intent at all. I’m here to share and learn only what I’ve discovered in my research and in life just as you have.
    I do understand what you’re saying and I don’t think I was trying to suggest you felt DOT was better than SNELL or that SNELL was bad in any way. DOT is definitely a good and reliable standard in a helmet and I’m not aware of any helmets that have that stamp of approval undeservedly.
    Should anyone really fret about buying just a DOT approved helmet?
    No. It’s still good quality protection, so no worries.
    What I am saying is the SNELL stamp is a bonus, and one I would also like to see because I’m always looking for a second opinion on the quality of protection and if possible enhanced protection.
    I think the only area we possibly disagree on is whether SNELL is the highest standard in protection for any kind of crash?
    Yes I’m aware that there are differing factors between lower and higher speed crashes, but I believe if a helmet protects at high speed it will also protect effectively at lower speed. I admit I’m not a physicist, but I tend to think (possibly wrongly) SNELL would change their testing if it didn’t compensate for both lower and higher speed crash forces since both are important.
    Based on the mission statement of SNELL and the differences in the actual procedures and acceptable tolerances I read about that’s the SNELL position and I tend lean more towards banking on them than I would a study carried out by Motorcyclist and their scientists.
    Having said that, I’ll have to take some time and read the Motorcyclist findings you’re referring to because there’s value in differing opinions and findings when we look for the truth.

    • bedmac
      February 1, 2018
      Reply

      Here are the two articles that have largely fed the debate, 2005’s “Blowing the Lid Off” https://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/MotorcyclistHelmets.html and 2009’s NYT’s article (may be behind paywall) “Sorting Out the Differences in Helmet Standards” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/automobiles/27SNELL.html Both are by Dexter Ford.

      Complicating things is that the articles discuss issues with Snell’s 2005 standard, some of which were addressed with the 2010 standard, and now we have the 2015 standard. So it’s a relevant question just how useful the articles are to today’s helmets; in some ways – as good as it was to originally raise the questions asked – the information itself has become more like folklore in online discussions over time. And we are not even addressing the ECE Standard. It’s a debate that will likely never end, especially when the focus is on the quality of the test simulations.

      Perhaps most telling at this point: In the Draft 2018 FIM Technical Regulations for MotoGP riders’ required equipment, accepted standards are ECE 22-05, Snell M 2010 (until the end of 2019), Snell M 2015, JIS T 8133:2007 (until the end of 2019), JIS T 8133:2015 standards. Find this information on page 166 of the FIM Regulations here: http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/sport/grand-prix/

      It’s difficult to read that and not conclude that having the Snell imprimatur is a positive factor in a helmet purchase decision. (Though, as I pointed out earlier, it was not for me a critical factor.)

  9. Jim Pruner
    February 6, 2018
    Reply

    I couldn’t agree more, Bedmac. Thank you for tracking those articles down.

    Maybe you should be writing for us, eh?

    • TPB
      February 6, 2018
      Reply

      Again: the requirements of a racing helmet and a street helmet overlap but are not the same.

      While a follow-up to the DOT vs. SNELL vs. ECE vs. JIS standards would be useful, it’s unlikely to happen unless one of the print/online publications decides to invest the time and money into a new scientific evaluation comparing and contrasting their relative strengths and weaknesses.

      And here is why that won’t happen: as best as I recall, when Motorcyclist magazine published their findings, they took a big advertising hit from some helmet manufacturers that took some time to repair. That was before the Great Recession when things were still financially pretty hunky-dory in the land of print and media in general. Today, in 2018, Sport Rider is now just an online presence, Motorcyclist is 6 (?) issues a year (not 12) and Cycle World has just become a quarterly publication. Doing anything that would risk the loss of even a single advertiser in the current state of publishing is a non-starter.

  10. Jim Pruner
    February 14, 2018
    Reply

    Very good points TPB. Sad to say, but the almighty dollar is powerful.

    I would love to write a new comparison study or be involved. Maybe I’ll pitch it to our team here and see what it would take to do. The owners are all very safety cognizant when it comes to gear.

  11. Ron Newton
    April 14, 2018
    Reply

    I have owned a Neotec 1 for four years and tried on the new model, size Large, today at a dealership here in Canada. Loved the fit, finish and new features EXCEPT the ratchet chin strap. Even at full extension it was too short –even on first ratchet claw it dug into my skin under my chin; could barely squeeze a finger under the strap. The sales person tried to lengthen the strap but no luck. He said the helmet was only a demo for pre-orders so ventured that this might be corrected.(?) Certainly I can’t be the only round-faced or heavier chin potential customer who will encounter this problem. (Plenty of strap on my current D-ring Neotec, and I previously owned a Nolan modular helmet with ratchet chinstrap that didn’t have this issue with insufficient strap for adjustment.

  12. Jim Pruner
    April 23, 2018
    Reply

    I contacted Shoei directly about this issue with the chin strap length and they responded by saying that they’ve tested it on literally hundreds of different people and never encountered someone who couldn’t be accommodated with the strap after it was extended.
    They say that it’s likely the salesperson didn’t understand how to lengthen the strap correctly. The best technique according to Shoei is to remove the rubber cover that is on it and then adjust the straps before sliding the cover back on. If you don’t take it off it is really difficult to get the strap to slide through the metal adjuster.

  13. Jim Pruner
    April 23, 2018
    Reply

    One other update on this helmet is that the head shape on it is reported to be a Long Oval.

    That information wasn’t in the press release I originally was sent.

    FYI.

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