Shoei RF-1200 Review

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shoei rf-1200 review

>> Aaron Cortez

October 22, 2013 - San Diego, CA

The New Shoei RF-1200, Ridden and Reviewed at!

When it comes to premium motorcycle helmets, the Shoei brand is consistently known for exceptional quality, meticulous engineering, and stunning good looks - a reputation that is well-deserved. Shoei has been on a roll this year releasing exciting and innovative new models, but this week, Shoei rolled out the long-awaited newest generation of their ubiquitous RF line-up, the Shoei RF-1200! We recently got our hands on this gorgeous new all-purpose full-face helmet, and are excited to give you our first impressions in this Shoei RF-1200 review.

The new Shoei RF-1200 vs the RF-1100

Shoei RF-1200 Review

This helmet has big shoes to fill. Its predecessor, the Shoei RF-1100, is a favorite across the motorcycle world and has been one of our bestselling helmets since its introduction in 2010. The RF-1100 was truly a benchmark in the full-face helmet segment, but while doing the Shoei RF-1200 review, we found it to be an improvement in every way. It really is, as Shoei calls it, “the evolution of perfection,” and it covers all the basics that riders want; it is lighter, smaller, more aerodynamic, and more technologically advanced than the RF-1100.

Shoei RF-1200 Shell

Shoei RF-1200 Review

The shell size has been reduced significantly; the profile of the new Shoei, created through extensive wind-tunnel development, could actually fit inside the dimensions previous model. This is big for me; one of my main complaints about the RF-1100 was that it was slightly bulbous in appearance, especially from the front, but the Shoei RF-1200’s narrower profile solves this problem. Changes to the shell design net a reduction in weight of approximately 50-100 grams depending on shell size, making this the lightest Snell-rated helmet that Shoei has ever made.

Shoei RF-1200 Ventilation System

Shoei RF-1200 Review

Ventilation has also been dramatically improved with the Shoei RF-1200, with the addition of a third intake vent centered directly above the visor. A new chin vent directs air flow to the face, and across the visor to prevent fogging. The rear vents are also a big change; the four exhaust ports are now incorporated into a new rear spoiler, which is more effective at creating a vacuum to draw air out of the helmet than the RF-1100s spoiler-less design. This is another area of the previous model that I am glad Shoei changed; I was never fond of the RF-1100s four separate sliding ports, which always had the appearance of an afterthought to me.

Shoei RF-1200 CWR-1 Face Shield

Shoei RF-1200 Review

The face shield system is also all new on the Shoei RF-1200. Shoei incorporated thick ribs along the edges of the new CWR-1 shield to increase its rigidity, giving the structurally solid feel of a thick shield while maintaining the optical clarity of a standard thickness one. The QR-E base plate system is also new, and works in conjunction with a new eye port gasket to pull the shield in tightly toward the shell at the closed position, effectively sealing out air and water. It also has built in Pinlock mounting tabs for easy use of the popular Pinlock Fog-Resistant Shield system.

Shoei RF-1200 Liner

Shoei RF-1200 Review

Inside the helmet is another round of big improvements. The Shoei RF-1200 uses the new 3D Max-Dry System II, so named because it wicks away sweat twice as fast as previous liners. Shoei has updated their fit with a more ergonomic head shape, and cheek pads in different thicknesses can purchased for a customized fit. A nice carry-over from the GT-Air helmet is Shoei’s EQRS (Emergency Quick Release System) for quick release of the cheek pads, facilitating removal of the helmet by emergency personnel. And as more of our customers are integrating communication devices into their helmets, another welcome upgrade is built-in speaker cutouts into the liner that will accommodate most speaker systems.

Shoei RF-1200 Colors & Graphics

Shoei RF-1200 Review

With all the technical features aside, we can finally get down to that all-important feature of a motorcycle helmet – how it looks! The narrower, smaller shell profile, integrated spoiler, and a contoured cutout along the bottom of the shell make the Shoei RF-1200 look leaner and slightly more aggressive than its predecessor. The back of the shell has been redesigned to eliminate the awkward-looking angle at the back of the RF-1100s crown, and the result is a package that looks altogether more refined. Shoei knows the RF line has customers from all walks of life, and they make the RF-1200 in 22 colors and graphics, enough to appeal to almost everyone. The graphics on the Black/Blue “Dominance” model we tested is absolutely stunning in person, but the RF-1200s lines are so clean, it looks perfect in solid colors as well.

Shoei RF-1200: Quality & Support

Shoei RF-1200 Review

The Shoei RF-1200 is the latest evolution of one of most popular sport riding helmets on the road, and it more than lives up to its reputation. On top of all these features, Shoei is widely known to have some of the best customer service in the industry, and they stand behind their products with an exceptional 5-year manufacturers warranty. This isn’t just the latest must-have helmet; it is an investment in your safety (and with these looks, in your image too.)

So whether you log thousands of miles in rough weather on a big sport-tourer, or prefer to shred asphalt leaned over through canyons on a sport bike, we guarantee that every sport rider will be as impressed as we were during our Shoei RF-1200 review. Check out all the new graphics and get yours (before your friends do) here at!

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