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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Review: Shoei RF-SR Entry-level Motorcycle Helmet

Get the best technology at a budget price

By By Genevieve Schmitt, WRN Founder
4/17/2018

Editor’s Note: April is designated by the motorcycle industry as Check Your Helmet Month. It’s good practice to check that your motorcycle helmet is in tiptop shape and can protect you in the event of an accident. Consider replacing your helmet every three to five years. If the helmet has been dropped, it’s likely you’ve damaged the impact liner. Also liners compress and lose their effectiveness over time.

The helmets that do the best job of protecting your head in a crash have the best technology incorporated into them. The best technology costs money. If wearing a helmet is important to you, no doubt you have weighed the price of a motorcycle helmet over the measure of protection and the assurance it provides you.

review shoei rf sr indian chief dark horse
I really like the Shoei RF-SR budget priced helmet. I'm reviewing it here while test riding the Indian Chief Dark Horse.



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In spite of receiving and reviewing lots of different brands of helmets throughout my 30 years of riding motorcycles, I inevitably fall back to the same two helmet manufacturers, Shoei and Arai, for my go-to helmet. These two helmet brands consistently offer me both comfort and a good fit right out the box, along with the level of protection I’m seeking. Schuberth helmets are also very well made, boasting top-notch technology, but I’ve found they are not comfortable for my head shape.

The last Shoei helmet I reviewed was the ¾ J-Cruise and has become a favorite of mine.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet
I’m wearing Shoei’s entry-level RF-SR helmet in basalt grey color. My Sena Bluetooth 30K system is attached as well. You can read my review of that 30K here.

The best motorcycle helmets cost about $500 and up, but recently Shoei introduced what the company is calling an entry-level helmet, mostly because of its price tag of $399. The RF-SR is the least expensive full-face helmet among Shoei’s offerings. Realizing price is a barrier for some riders choosing to wear the best helmet technology on their head, the RF-SR was developed at a lower price point, but boasts the same features as some of Shoei’s higher-end helmets.


Air Flow and Venting

If you wear a full-face helmet often you can tell the difference between a helmet that circulates air well and one that makes your head hot. I tested the RF-SR in the heat of Las Vegas, Nevada, and the vents did a good job of keeping the air around my head regulated. The way I judge this is that I didn’t feel overly hot and confined inside the helmet.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet venting
Three intake vents in the front and two exhaust outlets in the rear do a great job of regulating air flow without making the helmet too “noisy.”

Emergency Quick Release System

I hope it never has to be used, but the Emergency Quick Release System allows emergency medical personnel to remove the cheek pads easily from an injured rider’s helmet. With those out of the way, the shell of the helmet can slip off the rider’s head without creating unnecessary strain in the neck area.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet quick removal
The Emergency Quick Release System was developed by Shoei for its racing helmets. It’s a bonus to have this feature on an entry-level helmet.

Superior EPS Liner

The EPS liner (which stands for Expanded Polystyrene foam) is the type of material used in the making of impact resistant helmets. This is essentially what protects you when your head has an impact. The multi-density liner not only absorbs the impact, but years of R&D at Shoei’s factory have perfected the liner by putting varying densities of foam in key areas around the rider’s head.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet eps liner
The channels at the top of the EPS liner allow for cooling air to travel through the helmet increasing ventilation. Not all liners have this.

The Shell

The shell of the helmet is a rider’s first layer of defense. Shoei uses a proprietary blend of fiberglass and organic fibers to construct a shell that is not only strong, but lightweight. The helmet didn’t feel overly heavy on my head.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet shell
The shell comes in four sizes, which can be mixed and matched with varying liner sizes to allow for the wide range of sizes offered, from XS to XXL. It's best to get fitted at a Shoei authorized dealer to dial in the fit just right.


Faceshield

The faceshield on Shoei RF-SR has a wide field of view and is distortion free. If you’ve ever worn a cheaper helmet you’ve experienced distortion when there are “rainbows” on the faceshield, and objects can appear twisted. Good quality helmets don’t have this.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet pinlock faceshield
The faceshield on the Shoei RF-SR protects against 99 percent of the sun’s damaging UV rays. Included with your helmet is a Pinlock brand anti-fog insert. Attach this to your faceshield and it won’t fog up.

review shoei rf sr photochromic faceshield
Shoei offers Transitions Photochromic Pinlock Shield that replaces the clear shield. It adapts its shade based on the amount of sunlight. I was riding on a very sunny day so the shield was dark. It eliminates the need to wear sunglasses under your helmet. This shield costs an extra $169.99 and is worth it to me. I love the Photochromic shield. It’s just like my transitions eyeglasses that turn darker when it’s bright outside.

Speaking of changing out the faceshield on the RF-SR, it was very easy. Gone are the days when you fumbled trying to match parts on the shield to channels on the helmet. The Shoei system makes it very easy to remove and reinstall the faceshield.

The RF-SR comes in the usual basic colors of black, white, matte black, matte deep gray, and basalt grey (the color I’m wearing), but it also comes in two new exciting colors, tangerine orange (shown in previous photos), and matte blue metallic. I wanted the fun, bold orange but they were out of that color in my size for test helmets.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet blue
The matte blue metallic is a newer color to Shoei’s lineup and is available on the RF-SR as well as the new Neotec II helmet, a modular helmet I’m currently testing with a review coming this summer.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet back
All Shoei helmets adhere to the highest levels in motorcycle protection standards indicated by the labeling on the back.

shoei rf-sr entry-level motorcycle helmet strap
The helmet stays on your head with a canvas retention strap and D-rings.

With a price tag of $399, you won’t find a higher quality helmet at a cheaper price. If you’ve ever thought of stepping up to the big leagues in helmet manufacturers, Shoei is giving you that opportunity with the RF-SR model. Visit Shoei-Helmets.com to learn more.


Related Articles
Review: HJC FG-17 ACE Full-face Helmet
Review: Schuberth C3 Pro Women’s Helmet
Review: Shoei J-Cruise Open-Face Helmet
Review: Bell 500 Open Face Helmet
All Helmet Reviews

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