Shoei X-Spirit II, £524.99-£639.99
Time tested: Three years
What’s good? I believe the Shoei X-Spirit II saved me from a serious head injury. After a mechanical failure caused my front wheel to lock-up during a track session, I was flung over the bars straight onto my face. The front of my Shoei X-Spirit was knocked square and I was left unconscious, sustaining three fractures to my left cheekbone. A bit of surgery and a titanium plate later and I was more-or-less fixed, but suffered from dizziness for twelve months after. In spite of that, three years later, the Shoei X-Spirit II is still my lid of choice for road and track use. I strongly feel that the quality and toughness of the outer shell did its job in absorbing the force of that full-frontal impact, saving me from much greater, lasting injuries. For daily duties I find the fit and comfort spot on. The lining was revised over the previous model and as a result is much softer and kinder on the skin. I wash it fairly regularly and it hasn’t deformed or lost that much of its shape. I’m also a huge fan of Shoei’s visor system – it’s by far the easiest to use and most secure of all, and doesn’t need locking down at speed (like other Japanese helmets). I also like the really wide aperture.
What’s not? The lining can be a little tricky to put back in. I think there must be a knack for it because I can’t seem to get the brow area of the skull cap seated back in properly. Even after watching Shoei’s online video guide, it’s still currently being held in with strips of gaffer tape.
Quality rating: 5/5
Value rating: 4/5