Shoei Hornet X2 - Reviewed


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If you ride an “Adventure” bike, you’ve gotta wear an “Adventure” helmet, right? Until now, that meant you had to compromise. You had to put up with a visor that would try to rip your head off the minute you turned to the side or looked up, or a noisy-*** helmet that left you deaf at the end of the day. The face shields, although good, were not great, and had distortion. But hey, at least you looked the part!!

Compromise no more . . .

I now have about 1,000 miles in my Shoei Hornet X2, including a 5 hour ride and a 6 hour ride. I can say, without question, this is the nicest helmet I’ve ever ridden in. I’ll try to reign in the hyperbole from here out, but . . . it’s a damn nice helmet.

Let’s take a look at the helmet. Here are your basic four views. Note that the X2 comes with a clear shield, complete with a Pinlock anti-fog lens. Nice! Dark and mirrored shields are available too and, so the rumor goes, a photochromatic Transitions shield will be showing up soon. I, for one, cannot wait!





FIT – So, How Does It Squeeze Yer Noggin?

The materials are so nice and comfy, the X2 feels (I imagine) like it would feel to have Sofia Vergara hugging your head to her bosom. (More hyperbole, sorry)

Fit-wise, the X2 is very close to my RF1100 if maybe slightly snugger all around. The shape is very similar and I think the X2 will continue to break in. It is snugger in the cheeks too, but you can exchange them through Shoei. I’m not going to exchange mine since I think they’ll soften up over time.

VENTING – Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow!

The main vent is the chin bar vent.


Although my friend Devin swears the chin vent looks like a “Hipster” moustache, I really like it. On my RF1100 and XD3, opening the chin vent creates a wind storm in the helmet. On the X2 it creates a nice breeze which seems to blow up the shield and not directly into my eyes. It’s like the difference between having someone blast you in the eye with a can of compressed air, and having a nice cooling breeze softly cooling your face.


The eyebrow vents are effective and do a good job cooling the forehead area. They are surprisingly effective and definitely aid in cooling on warm days. They are also easy to operate, even with thick gloves on, as you just slide the little tab horizontally to open and close the vents. Here they are closed:


I really didn’t detect much flow from the vent on the top of the helmet. However, that may be more due to me wearing a skull cap than a lack of flow. I also haven’t yet ridden in any really hot weather which is where venting really shows up. It’s also easy to operate with gloves on and has a very positive click to open and close.


Aiding in the venting, are channels throughout the Styrofoam.


The face shield is very high quality and I could not detect any visual deformities through the shield. The included Pinlock is a nice touch and, as always, works great. I rode through rain and very cold weather with zero fogging and no leakage. I really like that the shield can be changed out without tools, although it takes practice before it gets easy.

The cheek pads have nice pockets/channels for eye glasses. They’re perfectly positioned, at least for me. You can see the gap at the top of the cheek pad where the glasses frames just slide right in.


Installing my Scala G4 was incredibly easy. The X2 has removable foam ear pads and the pockets are perfectly sized, at least for G4 sized speakers. I have Torx speakers in my RF1100 and those are a little bigger so they might require a little “adjustment” to fit.

THE VISOR – Oh. My. Gawd.


Ok, I’ve saved the best for last: the visor. On the original Hornet, the visor was a joke. (Sorry Shoei, but it was.) It was not adjustable and was set too high where it basically did no good. It looked good, but the execution failed. On the XD and XD3, the visor angle is adjustable which is a very nice feature, allowing you to angle to visor to block the sun and to prevent turbulence. After my original Hornet, I swore I would never, ever buy another ADV helmet without an adjustable visor.

Oops, I did it again. However, much like Brittany Spears (groan), Shoei got it right this time. The visor’s angle is perfect. It’s just low enough to block the sun, but high enough that it cuts the air cleanly. Even if I could adjust the angle of the visor, I wouldn’t.

It is also clear that Shoei’s wind tunnel time paid off in spades. (I’ve never understood that expression, by the way.) Yes, you can tell the visor is there when you turn your head to the side or look up. But just barely. It is NOTHING like the XD3 or the original Hornet. It is very close to being completely transparent to the wind. Look at that thing, it’s a work of art. It’s like the front wing on a Formula 1 car. They probably consulted with Adrian Newey on its design. (Actually not as he is known to be a huge fan of Arai helmets, but I digress.) It is nothing short of amazing.


The visor can also be removed, although I have no idea why you’d want to, without tools. Simply turn the side “bolts” 90°, pop out the sides, depress a little tab on the top vent, and slide the visor forward and off. This is what you get:



Not too bad looking I guess. Without its visor, the XD3 looks like a Simpson Bandit, a helmet I’ve never really liked. The X2 looks a wee bit better, although I’m not a fan of the hole in the top nor do I really like the black pieces on the sides. I’m told by my Shoei contact that a piece will be available soon to cover/fill the hole in the top of the helmet.

Lastly, here’s what comes in the box:


You get the helmet, a Pinlock anti-fog lens (a $30 value, nice), a breath deflector (part 3, which I’ve installed in my helmet), a chin curtain (4), 3 manuals, 2 stickers (steekers!!!), a little bottle of silicone lubricant (for the rubber bits the face shield contacts) and a nice soft carrying bag. A note on the chin curtain: While it’s nice and does a great job in quieting the helmet, it also really cuts down on the air flow so you wouldn’t want it in on hot days. It also extends pretty far back, making it near impossible to use a hydration system. You’ve been warned.

Overall, the Shoei Hornet X2 gets 10 out of 10 beers! It is that good.

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