Helmets. They must be one of the most subjective items on the motorcycling gear list, surely? The lid that one rider swears by, another will solemnly tell you not to touch. Helmets are a very personal choice, and what works for you often won’t be right for the next person. How it fits, how it feels, the ventilation, the visor…there are lots of factors at play here.
Before the world went bananas and dozens of helmet brands sprang up, it seemed like were only three or four brands to choose from. One of the big names was always Shoei. Just like David Attenborough, Shoei are believers in evolution, and it’s always been at work in their designs. Fittingly enough, their much-anticipated NXR2 evolved from their previous mega seller, the NXR. So let’s take a quick look at their new baby.
Who is the Shoei NXR2 for?
Shoei is pitching the new NXR2 as an ‘all rounder’, or if you like, a sports touring helmet. What that means, in essence, is that it’s a lid that’s built on the foundations of its predecessor the NXR, and serves up versatility to suit a wide range of riders. For Shoei, this has meant creating a feature-rich lid at an accessible price that many riders will find easy and pleasant to use and wear. Although the term makes me feel a little bit ill, I call this the ‘Camry Factor’. Helmet manufacturers like Shoei know that the way to make a lid popular is to create something safe, refined and functional without being radical, and that’s just what the NXR2 is.
Playing it safe
Shoei isn’t exactly a new name in the helmet game and thus they have a safety record spanning decades – that’s a pretty good place to start.
To look at some specifics, let’s start with the shell. The NXR2 features Shoei’s AIM 5-layer composite fibre shell tech, a reassuring and quite lightweight matrix of fiberglass, organic fibres and ‘special fibres’. Beneath the shell is a 2-layer, multi-density shock absorbing liner. Multi-density liners have a proven record of dealing with a range of different impacts and managing shock well.
There’s a host of reassuring details such as integration of the spoiler into the helmet shell, doing away with any shell thickness variations. Fastening is via tried-and-true double D-rings. The NXR2 package exceeds the updated ECE22.06 safety certification.
Let’s talk about fit, baby.
Shoei is offering the NXR2 in four shell sizes and a range from XS to XXL. That’s a huge plus because it means a wider fit range with fewer compromises. Inside, Shoei reckon they’ve aimed for a ‘round/neutral fit’, so if you’ve owned a few lids you’ll know where you stand right away with this. Some of us (okay, me…) have big square heads, and apparently ‘oval’ is also very common. Shoei offer replacement skull cap, cheek and head pads in varying thicknesses if you feel the need to customize a bit. As has become the norm nowadays, Shoei’s Max Dry 2 liner is easy to remove, washable, and wicks away moisture to make warm days a bit more comfortable. If you want to sneak some speakers in, the ear pads are easy to remove. An added bonus is that the liner is an ‘EQRS’ design. The short explanation here is that if you should step off and need help, first responders can simply grab red tabs at the bottom of the helmet and yank downwards to remove the cheek pads, which then makes the helmet easier to take off.
On a more mundane but no less important note, specs wearers will rejoice that Shoei has designed grooves into the helmet lining to accommodate glasses.
Shoei does great visor design. It’s one of the factors that started me wearing their lids long ago, and they’ve only improved their visor game with the CWR-F2 visor that features on the NXR2.
The visor is optically correct, with the opening tab and visor lock now placed in the centre - a nice move towards ambidextrous operation. The visor material gives protection from 99 percent of the sun’s UV rays, which is good news for anyone who has ever spent hours riding towards the sun and wound up with a face redder than Barnaby Joyce.
There’s a big old pinlock insert included with the helmet. Both the pinlock itself and the locating pins are set out beyond the field of view so that riders don’t suffer that ‘looking through two visors’ feeling. Removing the visor is quick and simple. Just open it, pull a tab and pop it off. Perfect for cleaning. Finally, the visor aperture itself has been widened to provide better peripheral vision
If you’re familiar with the vents on the outgoing NXR, nothing about their position has changed on the NXR2. You’ll still find two vents on the chin bar and three at the crown. The good news is that the intakes are now bigger and the tabs that operate them are chunkier and easier to use, particularly while wearing gloves.
Air enters at the front, circulates through channels in the EPS liner and, smelling faintly of your favourite hair product, exits through the big old rear exhaust port. All of the ports, including the zorst, can be closed when the weather gets cold and wet.
Summing up – one for the road
Everything points to Shoei taking a good thing and making it even better with the NXR2. Everywhere you look, advances have been made over the previous NXR, creating a helmet that’s quieter and offers more comfort and more functionality in a design that’s also light, handsome and easy to live with. For road riders including commuters, sports riders and tourers, the NXR2 promises to be a great choice.
Nit-pickers might point out the NXR2’s lack of inner drop-down tinted visor, but that’s easily remedied with sunglasses – which will fit just fine because of grooves in the lining made to accommodate them.
The NXR2 is available in solid colours as well as plenty of graphic choices, from subtle to ‘scary’ (the ‘Faust’ design features a Grim Reaper for those riders who just can’t get enough skeletons in their life). If you’re in the market for a new lid or just an extra, definitely try one of these on. If you liked the NXR, it’s a safe bet that the NXR2 will be your next happy place when you’re on the bike.
Shoei NXR2 basics at a glance:
- A great road-going all round design
- ECE 22.06 and DOT certified
- Multi-ply AIM matrix shell, dual density liner
- CWR-F2 liner is optically correct and blocks 99% of UV
- Pinlock included
- Average weight 1.4kg (depending on size
- Solid colours and graphics available
- 5-Year Warranty