Shoei’s newest lid, the RF-SR (MSRP $399.99), offers high-value design at a mid-level price. It’s set to replace the brand’s current entry-level option, the Quest, and carries a lot of premium-grade features. You really get your money’s worth with the RF-SR.
One of the things that stands out at first glance is the RF-SR’s sleek design. The hand-laid mutli-ply AIM+ Matrix shell is rounded and smooth throughout, with subtle contours leading to the rear spoiler lip and along the sides of the eyeport. Much less pronounced than on the Quest.
The flowing curves are disrupted by a V-shaped intake vent design on the chin and above the brows, which remind me, when viewed straight on, of Frank the Rabbit from Donnie Darko.
And because I’m a fan of cryptic, supernatural bunnies with a sinister bent, this suits me just fine. Plus, it’s nice that the airflow is generous when rolling down the road. It helps keep the CWR-1 shield fog free and the head cool. I used the RF-SR during the peak of summer heat in southern Oregon and that constant flow of over the face and crown was a boon.
Slider tabs with open and closed positions operate the vents. They’re simple, easy to find and operate with gloves on and eyes on the road.
If you find yourself in conditions where fogging is inescapable, the shield comes Pinlock ready with a Pinlock insert included. Shoei offers numerous shield upgrades as well, including a Transitions Photochromatic pinlock shield for $169.99.
The eye port provides a wide field of view, and I never suffered from any sense of encumbered vision. There’s a shield lock tab on the left-hand side that clicks-in automatically when you shut the shield completely, removing the need to fuss with any levers.
The QR-E Base Plate system is the same as you’ll find on higher-end lids in Shoei’s line, and the springs do a fine job creating a secure, quiet seal around the eye port. It also makes changing out the shield a snap, simply pull the tab and pop it out of place.
All told, these features make for a helmet that lacks conspicuous frills, but does some essential jobs of a motorcycle helmet reliably well.
Of course, safety is the most important job of all when it comes to a motorcycle helmet and Shoei didn’t skimp on that aspect either. There’s a dual layer, mutli-density EPS liner inside to absorb and distribute impact force more effectively. Iterations of the brand’s proprietary exterior shell technology are used throughout its line and there are four shell sizes available for a more precise fit. Sizes extra small and small share a shell size, medium is it’s own size, as is large, while extra large and double extra large share a size.
The RF-SR carries both DOT and Snell safety certifications. If things get really gnarly, there’s an Emergency Quick Release System which allows emergency responders to get the cheek pads out safely. One of those things you’re glad is there but hope to never have to use.
And as for fit…I’m a bit torn. I usually wear an XL, but fall right on the cusp between a large and XL in terms of measurement. In these cases, Shoei recommends trying the smaller of the two sizes, which I did. And for the most part fit is fantastic. The interior comfort system is cozy and well-padded. It kept my head nice and dry when sweating through the hot conditions and the cheekpads and crown liner are removable and washable.
You also get a breath guard and chin curtain, both removable, standard, a nice touch for an entry level helmet. It’s quiet on the road, the integrated communicator pockets put my Sena 20S speakers right in line with my ears, it feels light (scale weight is 3.6 pounds in Large) and it cuts through air really well.
What has me torn is the fact that after wearing it a while, my long-oval head shape gets a bit of a hot-spot at the top of my forehead. This breaks my heart because other than that, I love the way the helmet fits and feels. I’d like to try one of Shoei’s different crown liners at some point just to see if this trouble area could be resolved. If not that, then perhaps bump up to an XL.
I’m also a really big fan of the matte blue colorway. It doesn’t seem like it’d be so compelling, perhaps, in photos but it draws you in when viewed in person. Get in some sunlight and the color pops with even more depth. Shoei also offers the RF-SR in Tangerine Orange, in addition to a selection of black, white and grey options.
If I could find a solution to the hot-spot issue, the RF-SR would be a perfect helmet for me. The caliber of protection is high, the price is doable without incurring loads of debt and the functionality of its moving parts is reliable and fuss-free. Plus that blue man, that blue…