*This article was published in Vol. 51 No. 5 of Cycle Canada digital magazine.
AN IMPROVED DUAL-P LID
Comfortable and stylish helmet
In the last few years, I have been riding my adventure bike wearing whatever helmets I had at home, which meant old dried-out MX helmets for trail riding, or one of my modular helmets that’s fine on the road but not all that good for off-road riding. So I was happy to have the opportunity to try Shoei’s Hornet X2 adventure helmet, which is a new and improved version of the Hornet ADV.
The compact aerodynamic shell has a high resistance to impacts. The helmet is comfortable; it will fit most head types since the shell comes in four different sizes. Of course, it’s always best to try it on before buying it if possible.
The ventilation is not affected by the multi-density foam on impact zones. The wide opening provides a wide field of vision and room for MX-type goggles when needed, which is certainly a plus. The versatility of this helmet is its strong point; it is appropriate in all situations but the most demanding, where ventilation and weight won’t be equal to a pure off-road helmet.
The washable foam and pads are easy to remove. The material is good at letting the sweat evaporate and it dries fast. Channels in the side pads allow eyeglasses to slip in or out easily. For people who like communication systems, the helmet is designed for easy installation.
With the helmet neatly in place, the foam does a fine job of reducing noises. Personally, I always wear earplugs; 30 years at work in the industrial world made me aware of potential auditory problems.
The Hornet X2 is fitted with the Emergency Quick Release System (E.Q.R.S.) that allows paramedics to easily remove the cheek pads when taking care of an injured motorcyclist.
The helmet has the SNELL and DOT homologations, meaning it successfully went through standardized safety tests. Shoei has a reputation for high-quality construction and it uses the best technologies to manufacture its helmets.
The ventilation system openings are efficient. There is one, well-positioned in the chin piece, which allows a major air intake. There is another one under the shield that allows the air to circulate from the front to the rear through a channel with a sliding control button on top of the helmet. The opening under the shield is also adjustable. Generally speaking, the ventilation is fine as long as you are moving. When you stop, you feel the heat, as with most helmets.
The V-460 sun visor directs the airflow towards the opening just under it to maximize ventilation. The other openings allow air circulation without disturbing helmet stability. The one-position visor can be removed by turning lateral screws a quarter of a turn. Its aerodynamic shape keeps the helmet stable even at high speeds; you feel its presence only under strong lateral winds. The visor does a fine job to protect you against dirt and the blinding light of a setting sun, and it’s very stylish.
The included clear shield (CNS-2) is distortion-free and it gives a 99% protection against UV rays. You can easily let the shield partially open while riding to let more air in. A PinLock shield is also included, which can be very useful when riding in all sorts of weather conditions.
Shoei also offers a Transition shield that automatically reacts to ambient lighting and turns darker when hit by UV rays. This change of colour efficiently stabilizes the amount of light that reaches the eyes of the pilot. Interesting note: If you leave the helmet exposed to sunrays with the visor in place, you may be surprised by dark spots on the shield when putting the helmet back on. The spots will quickly disappear as soon as the shield is fully exposed to the sun.
I will keep using the Hornet X2 for a good while. With its comfort, field of vision, design and general quality, it’s an excellent choice. And it’s certainly one of the best dual sport helmets on the market. The Shoei Hornet X2 sells in Canada for eight hundred and change.