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.
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.
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.