For myself and an increasing number of riders motorcycle, racing plays an integral role in the type of gear we buy and where we spend our time riding. This is good news as the market will begin dictate that more and more manufactures produce performance oriented garments that are comfortable enough to be worn at length on the street, engineered well enough to perform at the race track and also protective enough to ensure a rider the all-around highest level of protection. All of these aspects have been available individually, but now the demand and the technology allows for the production of much better and well-rounded products. A prime example of this is the all new X-Fourteen (X-Spirit in Europe) helmet that will be available from Shoei in the coming months.
Sportbiketrackgear.com has some insider connections and received some “pre-production” specifications this week that we feel are important to share with the ones we love most, our customers. By piecing bits of information together, we can actually glean a good amount of knowledge through our connections and what has been openly leaked onto the internet in the past five days. In my opinion, if the Shoei X-Fourteen produces all of the features and quality of Japanese engineering that Shoei is known for, not only will consumers get a big win when they purchase this lid, but the features we see on top level helmets could change as we know it.
The Shoei X-Fourteen was designed for one of the best racers of the current period, Marc Marquez, making our high expectations seem reasonable. Marquez has been working with Shoei for the past 5 years to create a better performing race helmet. According to sources, Marquez’s input helped Shoei reduce lift by roughly 3%, drag by 10% and,
wait for it, buffeting by nearly 50% from their previous model. The tremendous changes in the aerodynamics of the helmet is brought to us largely as part of the introduction of the all new rear stabilizers, which are fully interchangeable based on the application (i.e. from twisty slower tracks to faster tracks with fewer turns).
In addition to key aerodynamic changes, the racer’s comfort was heavily considered. The first of these adjustments is the angle at which the helmet is positioned on the riders head in relation to the line of sight while wearing the helmet. When using this helmet on the race track, it is very important that the rider has a wide range of sight to limit the peripheral distraction of a helmet while allowing for the most effective aerodynamic and balanced riding position. This position varies, mildly, based on the size of the rider, so Shoei decided that the best way to address this issue would be to make the interior liner completely adjustable. That’s right, according to sources, the interior line can be fine-tuned by three-degrees from front to back in order to help accommodate rider comfort in a corner or a full tuck. The liner is adjusted by using various snapping points around the helmet. We haven’t seen this versatility before, but if executed correctly, it is possibly very effective in providing a more comfortable and race conscious helmet. In addition to the adjustability, consumers will also find that each interior helmet pad is replaceable and owners will actually be able to adjust the individual points of padding to the thickness of their liking, making for one of the most comfortable off-the-rack helmet sizing yet.
Adding to the comfort and lowered points of distraction, is the addition of a completely independent ventilation system. Located on the chin are two separate air channels, one being the traditional vent running into the vision port and the second being the channels formed into the area of the cheek pads to help promote comfort in even the hottest weather. This new ventilation system will no doubt make the helmet more comfortable in warmer weather, but it is questionable how this increase in ventilation will affect the noise of this particular helmet. Shoei is known for producing a quiet helmet, we can hope the tradition will continue and that we will find the X-Fourteen to be just as auditorily satisfying.
For all of you Shoei lovers, I am sure this is all very overwhelming and you simply cannot wait to place a pre-order for this all-new-next-level from badass helmet, “but wait” you think to yourself… “I just purchased this awesome transition visor for my X-Twelve/RF-1200, whatever will I do”?!? But fear not my Shoei loving brethren, your transition visor will in fact fit the all new X-Fourteen. The awesome engineers at Shoei understand how important their products are to their customers and have designed this all new item to accept the same old face shield.
Overall, 2016 is shaping up to be the year of the helmet, which means nothing but good for
us and all of our faithful customers. The protection and comfort combined with racing ergonomics show us just how invested Shoei is, in not only the safety of those on
the track, but also the effectiveness of their product. The helmet redesign comes as a welcome surprise to those of us consistently looking for the next most protective and comfortable motorcycle gear on the market. Once more details are available about the new X-Fourteen at Sportbiketrackgear.com, we will be able to update our customers and begin accepting pre-orders, but I suppose we should probably let them officially announce the helmet first…