Shoei GT-Air helmet
Japanese helmet maker Shoei has long positioned itself as a premium brand, at times producing models with hand-laid graphics that have, for a small group of people, become collectable.
The GT-Air isn’t in that ‘artwork’ group, rather it aims to be an upper-echelon all-rounder lid with a touring emphasis.
Describing the latest techno in modern lids seems to take longer each year. Suffice to say, Shoei has aimed to keep its protective qualities, reduce weight and noise, improve comfort and ventilation, much like other prominent makers.
One important distinguishing feature is the maker uses three different shells to cover its size range, rather than use the cheaper method of trying to do it all with one by just adjusting padding thickness. The result is a better and longer-lasting fit and a higher degree of safety.
Different people will find their heads fit the moulds of some makers better than others – for me, Shoei happens to work in full-face helmets (not so well for open-face) and I’ve tended to use it a lot over the years as a result.
For the user, the big difference for this helmet is in the double visor system. The outer is a relatively normal clear unit, designed to accept Pinlock anti-fog shields. Inside that is a tinted half visor, effectively a drop-down set of sunglasses, operated by a slide on the outer shell.
Both the outer and inner visors claim UV protection. The outer is replaceable, at a cost of around $100.
With the addition of the Pinlock shield, the main shield remains largely fog proof, with just a hint remaining near the edges. The drop-down tinted item isn’t, which means it’s off the menu on those misty mornings.
Overall weight for an XXL is around 1750 grams, which is not the lightest helmet out there but is respectable given the fibreglass shell. It’s about 100g lighter than my older XR-1100, which isn’t bad going, considering the double visor system.
As I mentioned, fit can be personal, though Shoei does offer some options for rigging the removable liner, so there is room for adjustment.
The GT-Air has picked up an early reputation for being quiet, with reason. It’s very good.
Overall the helmet feels good on the bonce, is quiet and is well-made. Price is listed as $800-900, depending on the graphics chosen.
For me, it works well as a touring lid, and I particularly like the versatility offered by that sun visor. It beats having to use sunglasses or carry spare screens.
PRICE: Solids: from $799, graphics: $899
AVAILABILITY: All good motorcycle stores