I have been using the Shoei RF line for decades, from the original RF to the newest model, the RF-1400. I have occasionally strayed over the years, but always seem to end up back with this helmet line. I personally did not think the RF-1200 was an improvement over the 1100, so I had been looking around for something else – then Shoei announced the 1400.
I had seen some reviews from online sellers, people that hadn’t actually ridden in the helmet. Winter in Indiana is terrible for a motorcyclist, so I loaded the motorcycle in my Transit van and drove to Texas for no other reason than it was the closest place warm enough to ride on decent roads. I stopped at Ride Now Austin, and Matt the BMW guy came to help me in the helmet section. Turns out he knew me from the BMW MOA Facebook page and is not only a BMW guy, he knows a lot about gear, which was a bonus for me. I bought the helmet.
The RF-1400 is quieter than the 1200. At least part of this was achieved by adding to the neck padding, which does make it a little harder to put on. Some of the reviews said the lock and vent may interfere with each other, but I did not find that to be the case. The shield lift is now located in the center, with the lock just below it. I found if I use my index finger, I could unlock the visor and lift it with my bulkiest winter glove. Of all the locking visors I have used, this is the easiest to operate. Not once while riding Texas hill country did I accidentally open my chin vent when operating the shield.
I had also heard that mounting a comm system might be difficult. I have an ancient Sena and there was no way to mount it in the normal location. It has been a trend for helmet manufactures to make a cutout on the side of a helmet where your shoulders would be located. I understand this is done to help the rider turn their head when in more of a tucked position, which is why you don’t see it on a more touring helmet like the GT Air. The RF-1400 has a more drastic cut out and has a hard, non-removable pad (shown in close-up).
This is where I would normally place my Sena, but I had to move it forward. The wires were easier to run because there is a space between that hard pad and the normal cheek pads. It only took a few rides to retrain my muscles to use the communicator in the new location.
I did not get to test airflow though the vents, as I can usually only get a good feel for that on a hot day. My 1100 vented better than the 1200, so I expect this 1400 will be an improvement by the looks and placement of the vents. There are six intake vents and four exhaust vents. The exhaust vents do not close, but are covered by the rear spoiler.
The RF-1400 features a completely redesigned face shield system, so shields from the 1200 will not fit. One obvious improvement with the new shield is the first open position, which is lower so you can ride with it cracked to prevent fogging. The helmet came with a Pinlock EVO lens in the box. I was too excited to ride to take the time to install the Pinlock.
As with every Shoei I have seen, this one looks much better in person than in photos. There is something in the black paint – in the sunlight it reveals different highlights from purple to green depending on how the light is hitting the helmet.
MSRP is $499.99; for more information visit shoei-helmets.com.