The Neotec is Shoei’s top of the range modular/flip-up crash helmet and superceded the popular, and cheaper, Multitec (and has itself now been phased out for the Neotech II – meaning there’s now some great deals around on the Neotech I).
It’s been designed to be the quietest and safest flip-up lid on the market and to add a drop down sun visor to the range. Shoei are known for excellent build quality and attention to detail; and that usually translates into safety, meaning they’re our current 6th safest crash helmet brand in our top 10.
- SHARP 4 star safety rated (out of 5)
- Fibreglass shell
- Average noise suppression
- Great ventilation
- Wide visor aperture
- Good for glasses wearers
- 1.8Kg (large size)
- Typical price range: £360-£460 depending on retailer/model
Note: the Shoei Neotec is now discontinued, replaced by the Neotec II.
Shoei as a brand are generally pretty good for safety (they’re currently number 6 in our top 10 safest brands) and the Neotech is no exception – scoring four out of five stars in the SHARP crash helmet safety test. That’s pretty good going – and only failing slightly on the side impact tests. Having said that, one of the potential weaknesses for a flip-up helmet is if the chin guard opens under impact. SHARP reported that the chin guard remained closed in 93% of impacts, which is actually pretty good for a flip-up, though you’ll have to decide whether that’s good enough for you!
The helmet shell is what Shoei call AIM or Advanced Integrated Matrix – essentially a composite of different layers of fibreglass – but it seems to do the job pretty well. It’s manufactured in 3 shell sizes; the smallest covering sizes XS to M, the medium covering size L and the largest for sizes XL-XXL. That’s good for safety, fit and the look of the finished helmet – check here to see why.
The Shoei Neotech comes with a micrometric chin fastener which is a really easy to use system, and it’s made from stainless steel for extra safety to stop it breaking under pressure.
Crash helmet noise is always subjective and depends largely on the kind of bike you ride and whether your last helmet was noisy or not. In general, most folks find the Neotec about average for noise and a little above average for a modular helmet, which tend to be noisier than a full-face. A few people commented that opening the top vent increases noise and that fitting the removable chin curtain quietens things down a little.
Shoei do say the Neotec has been designed with a ‘vortex generator’ that ‘creates small turbulence around the frontcover to avoid air leaking into the helmet and creating windnoise.’ Hmm righto. Maybe it’s a bit different in their windtunnel but with the blast and bluster that goes on around my lid when I’m tonking down a motorway, I’m fairly cynical whether any vortex generation would make that much difference – and that’s borne out by its only average rating by owners of the lid.
All that said, if you ride with ear plugs (like most of us do) then you should be fine.
Size & Comfort
The Neotec comes in XS – XXL sizes and 3 shell sizes. It’s got a fully detachable and removable lining so you can wash it and keep it stink-free, and it’s got replaceable cheekpads so you can buy pads of different thicknesses to get the fit just right. As long as you get the right fitment in the first place, without pressure points for your head shape, people say it’s extremely comfortable. The lining is plush and, because it’s got good ventilation, it’s comfortable even for full day’s riding.
Ventilation can be tricky to get right on a modular helmet, especially one with an integral sun visor because the visor sits within the shell right where the forehead vent would usually be. But with the Neotec, Shoei have got things just about right. There’s a single chin vent and forehead vent and just one exhaust vent. All are nice and big so they can be easily operated with gloves, and all work really well according to owners – not well enough that you don’t need to fit the Pinlock to stop fogging up when it’s cold/wet, but well enough to keep your head cool and visor fog free in mild/hot conditions – and to keep you comfortable on long journeys.
If you used to own a Multitec flip-up (the Neotec’s predecessor), Shoei say the Neotec has 267% better airflow (I found it more like 253% – but they were close) – suffice to say it’s better.
The Shoei Neotec comes with two visors – a plain external visor and an internal sun visor.
The main visor works well. Owners particularly like the positive feel of the visor mechanism and how it stays open just where you put it; not slamming shut when you start to gun it a bit. It’s also got a wide opening for great peripheral vision. It’s opened by a tab towards the left hand side of the visor – one or two people commenting that they’d prefer it in the centre but that’s the kind of thing you’ll just get used to over time – my Roof Desmo has its visor tab in the centre but at the top of the visor which I found awful at first. Now, it’s second nature.
The Neotec comes with a Pinlock in the box – and once fitted you’ll find you can ride in pretty well any conditions without the main visor fogging. That’s not to say the sun visor won’t fog (or your glasses!) but the main visor on the Neotech is truly sorted. The only slight niggle is that Shoei’s visor removal mechanism is looking a little dated these days. They used to be one of the best – pull a lug below the visor pivot and the visor comes off, reverse to seat it. But compared to some mechanisms (notably HJCs Rapidfire system), Shoei’s now seems a bit fiddly and labourious.
Onto the sun visor – it’s anti-fog and anti-scratch and uv repelling (to the same EU standard as your shades, apparently) – so that’s all good. There’s a little slider to the left/below of the visor pivot to raise/lower the sun visor (see the top image on the white helmet). Some owners find it a bit fiddly to find as the knob is on the small side. I guess keeping it small reduces the amount of noise created by the airflow – but it also reduces how easy it is to find and use too. But one good thing about the sun visor is that it’s entirely analogue – so you can slide it a quarter of the way down and the visor will drop a quarter – rather than some sun visors that have either fully up or fully down. That’s great to see and makes the Neotec sun visor particularly useful.
Not much to say here really – it works just like it should with a well-made positive feel to it. If you wear a communicator, it can get in the way of your boom mic, but then you expect that with a flip-up and it just means you need to reposition it a little when it’s down.
To open the chin guard, you press the big red button on the front and up it goes. The open/closing mechanism is all steel, designed to hold the chin guard firmly closed in an accident – though as we saw, that only ‘mostly’ works.
Looks & Graphics
Shoei’s tend to be pretty reserved in the syling and graphics. The Neotec is available in plain colours only at the time of writing – with the usual silvers and matt blacks and whites. The black/yellow Borealis is the only exception to the rule and is their most way out version – and I reckon it actually looks pretty cool. Otherwise, the Neotec is really function over form. If you’re after something a little more way out – you might want to check our Coolest Crash Helmets section.
Shoei Neotech Video
If you want to get a feel for the helmet, checkout this vid that takes you through the features of the lid.
Other stuff – fasteners, audio, glasses etc.
The Neotech is about average weight for a flip-up. If you’ve not worn one before, they’re generally a wee bit heavier than a similar full face and when the chin bar’s up, they can feel a little weird/unbalanced. The Neotech’s no worse than others in this respect though and they feel totally fine and balanced when the chin guard’s down.
If you wear a communicator or bluetooth set of any sort, the Neotec is generally a friendly place to put it. There’s removable pads in the ears to fit the speakers (though not that much room if your speakers are large) and most people reckon there’s lots of room behind the chin bar for a microphone. Reports from Sena and Blueant F4 bluetooth users are that both were easy to fit and work just fine with the Neotec. As mentioned, the only real issue is that the chin bar can move your boom mic a little – but as issues go, it’s not a biggie!
In the UK, the Neotec comes with a micrometric fastener. These are great and really easy to use, though if you wanted to take your helmet on a track day, it needs to have a double-d ring fastener to award it an ACU Gold sticker (required for track day use).
As for glasses wearers, well flip-front crash helmets are generally glasses-friendly because you can slot them on really easily while wearing the helmet with the chin guard up. The Neotec is no exception. It also has a notch in the liner to allow the stem of your glasses to fit inside the helmet without them pressing into the side of your head and there are no reports of any glasses wearers having a problem at all.
In Summary, the Shoei Neotec is a a great performing flip-up/modular crash helmet that’s a solid development from previous Shoei’s. It’s got excellent ventilation, a sun visor and main visor system that works well and is all-day-long comfortable if you get the right fit. It’s only really let down by the noise levels – they’re good in comparison to some other modulars but poor in comparison to the best performing full face helmets. And while it should perform well in an accident, there’s a slight concern over the chin guard popping up and its only average rating for a side impact. It’s also not cheap, but if you’re happy to pay the premium, then you’ll undoubtedly be rewarded with a crash helmet that is a pleasure to live with.
Alternatives to a Shoei Neotech?
Popular alternatives are the Schuberth C3, the Caberg Tourmax and the Shark Evoline 3. The Schuberth only scored 3 stars when tested by SHARP, but it’s a well liked flip-up that’s slightly lighter than the Shoei and is a very high-quality lid. The Caberg Tourmax is about the same weight as the Neotec and has a dual-sport form (bit like a cross between a motocross and a full face lid) and offers lots of great features at a low price point – though it hasn’t been SHARP tested. The Shark Evoline 3 is a polycarb helmet that scored a maximum 5 stars for safety. It has an integral sun visor and is popular with owners.
For other helmet reviews check out either our Crash Helmet Reviews or SHARP 4 & 5 Star Crash Helmet reviews sections! Or indeed click a feature name in the panel top right to see helmets that score particularly highly for the feature. And, as always, if you have experience of the Shoei Neotec, please add your thoughts in the comments section below – cheers!
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