Shoei GT Air II: long-awaited successor to one of the best rated touring helmets.


A look over the Shoei GT Air II touring helmet.

The GT Air II is Shoei’s replacement for the original GT Air helmet that was launched around 2012.

That was a highly rated sports touring helmet that owners seemed to like for more or less everything – everything that is except its rather average score when SHARP tested in in their helmet testing labs.

shoei GT Air II lucky charm helmet front top view
Top view of the Shoei GT Air 2 Lucky Charm

Like the original, the 2nd gen GT AIR II is designed for more upright riding – so if you’re thinking of buying one for your new ZX10RR, maybe think again (and check out our track helmets pages). But if you’re riding something more adventure/touring/naked it should be just about right.

Shoei says they’ve uprated just about everything on the GT AIR II – it’s been wind tunnel designed to be more slippery, reduce noise and improve airflow. So it’s got a few more aero grooves in the shell and is a bit pointier-shaped than the old helmet. But other than that, it looks very similar to the first gen GT Air.

They’ve also increased the drop on the sun visor too and thrown in EQRS for good measure.

So, here’s the lowdown on whether Shoei has managed to improve what was already a very good helmet like they say they have – or whether it’s all a load of marketing hot air.

  • Expect to pay £450-£550

Best places to buy a Shoei GT Air II?

Please click below to visit the Shoei GT Air II helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShopBuy from GetGeared


Shoei has built-on and improved what was already a great sports/touring helmet.

The changes don’t look massive – you can see the similarities between the helmets if you check out our review of the original GT Air – but the slightly improved aerodynamics, deeper drop down sun visor that gives more cover, and the venting system that brings more air into an already well-ventilated helmet, all manage to take the GT Air II up a notch.

shoei GT Air II helmet Reminisce graphics side view
Reminisce Graphic GT Air 2

Because the GT Air II hasn’t been tested by SHARP we can’t be 100% on how protective it is (we’ve scored it 4/5 because the similar AIM-shelled Neotec II and RYD scored 4 & 5 stars respectively).

But what we do know for sure is that it’s well rated for comfort, visor system (with Pinlock anti-fog included) and noise suppression by owners who pretty much universally rate the GT Air II highly. And not just by owners – because it’s Ride magazine’s Best Buy high end sports touring helmet (2021) too.

Overall then, the Shoei GT Air II is an excellent all-rounder helmet that could well be one of the best performing sports touring full face helmets on the market.


(more about helmet safety)

Like the old GT Air, the GT Air II uses Shoei’s AIM (advanced integrated matrix) composite fibre construction shell that works in conjunction with a multi density polystyrene shock absorbing liner to absorb impacts and protect your bonce.

Shoei GT Air II 2 redux black crash helmet rear view
Red EQRS tabs visible underneath this GT Air II in Redux graphics

AIM is where Shoei lays down a couple of layers of fibreglass together with proprietary organic fibre layers to produce a strong yet flexible helmet shell. They keep the precise construction of AIM shells close to their chest, but it’s a slight step down from their top of the range AIM+ shells which incorporates another layer of what Shoei calls ‘special fibres’.

I guess they’ll soon do an even better version called AIM++ where they include ‘extra super special fibres’, right Shoei?

For the GT Air II they’ve made three different shell sizes to cover fitment sizes XS-XXL.

Shoei matches that AIM shell to a multi density polystyrene lining. That’s designed to absorb shocks at different rates and is just about state of the art for crash helmet design at the moment (OK there’s sliding plane helmets out there like the Bell MIPS helmets and 6Ds ATS-1 with EID tech but they’ve not been independently safety tested yet).

The European GT Air II is also ECE tested/approved and of course if you buy in other territories, it’ll be covered by your local testing regime (DOT for the US etc.).

Shoei isn’t saying much about helmet safety improvement over the old GT Air which is a shame really as that didn’t score massively well when tested by SHARP in the UK.

Here, it scored just 3 stars which was Shoei’s worst performance in many years.

Having said that, there are two other Shoei helmets that have come out since the original GT Air and that use the same AIM (or advanced integrated matrix) helmet tech as the Air 2 – that’s the NXR and the RYD which scored 4 stars and maximum 5 stars respectively, so it’s not necessarily relevant to compare the old GT Air with the new and we’ll have to wait until some independent testing houses get their hands on the new model until we can draw conclusions.

Shoei GT Air II 2 conjure motorcycle helmet side view
Shoei GT Air 2 in Conjure design

Inside the GT Air 2 you’ll find a welcome EQRS or emergency quick release system and this time there’s a metal micrometric fastener to keep everything secure.

There’s also a welcome Pinlock ready visor with a Pinlock thrown into the box to keep your vision fog-free. And to help with that, there’s a new ‘cracked open’ visor position to assist with defogging duties should you need it.

Of course, to maximize your protection from any helmet, your number one objective is to get your helmet fit spot on (it’s not just me saying that, every reputable helmet authority agrees it should be your number one priority).

So always follow a helmet fitting guide, order the correct size and then wear it around the house for a while until you’re sure the fit’s right before committing to buy. And if it’s wrong, do swap it. It’s a pain in the arse having to return a helmet, but buying a helmet’s a longer term investment for most of us, so it’s worth the aggro.

Leave the tags on until you’re sure you’re keeping it and buy from a retailer who’ll accept returns/replacements without question (like all our recommended stores).

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

The old GT Air was well regarded for noise attenuation and when Shoei launched the GT Air II they said they’d improved it even more.

Shoei GT Air II 2 Cross bar red black crash helmet rear view
Rear view of the GT Air 2 Cross. Rear spoiler and locating slot for battery pack of the communicator visible at the back of the collar

But they also say they’ve improved ventilation over the old helmet and that can mean – simply – that there’s more pathways for noise to get into the helmet.

However, they’ve also made the new helmet more aerodynamic and have incorporated ‘noise cancelling ear pads’ into the GT Air II.

The great news is that the vast majority of GT Air 2 owners reckon that it’s somewhere around quiet to very quiet. Sure, one or two owners do reckon it’s noisy – though from what I can gather it’s mostly with early helmets where the visor seal didn’t seat too well or where a fairing channeled air aggressively at the helmet.

Still, it’s worth mentioning that noise perception can be very subjective, so one person’s quiet helmet might sound like riding with your head in a kettle drum to another!

And no matter how quiet a helmet feels, it’s always advisable to push in some decent ear plugs every time you ride to protect your hearing. However, given the overall positive feedback, we’ve marked GT Air II as a quiet helmet.


(more about helmet ventilation)

Ventilation on the GT Air II is pretty straight forward. There’s a single chin vent operated by a large glove-friendly slider. And there’s a large crown vent, ditto.

Shoei GT Air II 2 light silver helmet top down view
You can see all the vents on this solid silver GT Air – twin exhausts, single top and single chin vent

According to owners, they’re both nice and easy to use and easy to locate – even in thick gloves –  and Shoei reckons they’ve enlarged both vents slightly to ‘dramatically increase’ venting compared to the last helmet – which was highly rated for ventilation anyway.

All the air exits the helmet by a couple of always-open exhaust vents to the rear.

And if the helmet shell venting isn’t enough, Shoei’s introduced a ‘cracked open’ visor position which helps with venting and demisting around the visor and with keeping you cool in mega hot weather.

That cracked visor position is particularly useful in helping riders in glasses keep them demisted while riding slowly too.

Overall, the ventilation on the GT Air II is excellent, with plenty of owners saying that it flows heaps of air through the helmet to keep your head cool with enough controllable venting in the chin bar to keep your face cool and help the Pinlock keep the visor mist free.


(more about visors)

The visor on the GT Air II has been designed to be nice and wide to aid peripheral vision and it has their CNS-1 spring-loaded baseplate to pull it back tightly to the weather seal and keep air and wind out when it’s closed.

Both of these features are well liked by GT Air 2 owners who reckon there’s a wide field of view and decent seal from the face shield.

It’s also a quick release visor and, as mentioned, features a new, smaller ‘cracked open’ position to let you open your visor for venting and demisting but still protecting you from air and rain.

A couple of owners reckon the quick release system on the old visor was a bit easier to use than the revised system on the new helmet, which can be a bit fiddlier. But the cracked open visor position is definitely an improvement over the older helmet.

Shoei GT Air II 2 gloss black touring helmet side view
Moody plain black GT Air with Pinlock slot visible and sun visor down

However, you shouldn’t really need to use it that much if you fit the supplied Pinlock anti-fog insert onto your visor as they’re pretty much essential fitment these days if you do any riding when it’s cold/rainy or humid.

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

Shoei has improved the sun visor slightly by making it around 5mm deeper, so it covers more vision and reduces the size of the line of sunlight at the bottom that some riders find distracting.

The sun visor is operated by a slider just below the left hand visor pivot. That’s where we reckon is just about the most convenient placement. It’s an ‘analogue’ slider too so you can drop it fully down or position it anywhere in between. Again, that’s good and the operation of the sun visor is said to be nice and smooth.

Shoei has also included a pair of small switches inside the helmet. These allow you to lock the sun visor in place to make it easier to remove it for cleaning. Nice and thoughtful touch that.

All in all, the sun visor’s said to work well and be an improvement on the old helmet.

A couple of links you might find useful...

Click to view our top 10 flip-up and modular helmets
Here's our top 10 safest helmets as tested by SHARP

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The GT Air II uses Shoei’s Max Dry internals. That’s a moisture wicking material designed to pull sweat away from your head along with being very comfortable to the touch.

Shoei GT Air II 2 deviation motorbike helmet side view
This one’s the Deviation graphics

The Old GT Air was highly thought of as being a really comfortable helmet and, whereas the older helmet sized a tiny bit on the small size, the GT Air II sizes about right.

A few owners commented that it can be snug when you first get it, though it does break in quite quickly to give a decent and firm fit – which is what you should be looking for.

If it doesn’t quite fit right, Shoei does make their helmet internals fully customisable so you can buy new cheek pads to tighten or loosen things slightly if you’re just looking to tweak the fitment rather than going a full size up or down.

As you’d expect, the lining’s also fully removable and washable and there’s some generous glasses grooves in there so you can ride with your double glazing intact and not pushing into your head.

There’s also some good sized speaker pockets inside the helmet. The GT Air 2 is designed to integrate with Sena SRL2 bluetooth kit (see below for more details) but the speaker pockets are big enough to work with many speakers that aren’t too deep.

Shoei GT Air II 2 Cross bar neo yellow motorbike helmet side view
Another Shoei GT Air II in Cross graphics, this time with hi viz yellow highlights

Looks & Graphics

Shoei’s are usually known for their pretty reserved colour schemes. And, as expected, you can buy your GT Air II in a range of plan/solid colours – this time including blacks, whites, a couple of silvers, a metallic blue and a mega bright brilliant yellow version (see further down).

But they’ve also released a couple of very in your face designs too in the form of the Conjure and Deviation graphics.

If those are a bit too mad for you, you can return to more familiar Shoei territory with the Affair (available in red, yellow or white versions) and the reserved Crossbar graphics.

Feel free to get better views of these helmets on the Shoei helmets pages of our recommended retailers. You’ll find their links below. They’re recommended because they offer excellent service and cracking value so if you buy from them you should be well looked after. And if you need to return it, they’ll sort you out without fuss too (again, provided you don’t remove the tags).

Best places to buy a Shoei GT Air II helmet?

Please click below to visit the Shoei GT Air II helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShopBuy from GetGeared

Shoei GT Air II Video

Here you go: an 11m video taking you around the GT Air 2. This one’s the Conjure TC-9 graphics and we start a bit into the video just so you don’t have to endure all their ramblings before they get to the meat of the vid 🙂

Other stuff – audio, glasses, build quality, aero, warranty

OK audio. Shoei has partnered with Sena to integrate their Sena SRL-2 bluetooth into the shell of the GT Air 2.

Shoei GT Air II 2 brilliant yellow touring helmet side view
You can see the cutaway for the comms unit on the bottom rim of this Hi Viz Brilliant yellow GT Air 2

That means you can remove a side panel on either side of the helmet and slot the controller unit inside so it’s nice and flush with the helmet shell. There’s also another panel at the back of the helmet to take a battery pack, and there’s a couple of speaker pockets that’re just the right size for the Sena, plus an indent on the back of the chin guard for the mic.

Which is all very good if you’re wanting to buy a new communicator (at about £250) but potentially a bit of a pain if you have a different set that you’d like to use. Those pull-away panels look like they might be right where you’d want to stick or grip on your existing kit too.

Just something to bear in mind…

Having said that, if you don’t yet have a bluetooth headset and/or you like the idea of having a headset that’s properly integrated, then several owners commented how good the integration and SRL-2 headset is.

If you wear glasses, there are glasses grooves inside the GT Air 2 and that city riding visor position is handy to keep them fog free. The sun visor can also be very handy too, saving you the need to wear prescription sunglasses.

Build quality is widely rated as very high on the GT Air 2; with quality parts, construction and finish being highly praised as well as a big factor in people investing their money into a more expensive Shoei helmet.

The shell’s well designed too, with several owners commenting that the aerodynamics are particularly good, with little buffeting and good stability reported.

All Shoei helmets come with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty covering build and defects.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides & Top 10s

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various Motorcycle Helmet Buying Guides - or have a look at our Top 10 best helmet lists where we've got the top 10 best rated helmets overall along with Top 10 Best Budget/Top 10 Safest/Top 10 Best Full Face/Top 10 Best Modular/Flip-up/ Top 10 Best Sportsbike/Track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Shoei GT Air 2?

At the time of writing, the old GT Air is still on the market, so there are good deals to be had there. But if you’re looking after a great performing sports touring helmet that has been proven to give great protection, you should also check out these lids…
Shoei RYD

First up, there’s Shoei’s own RYD helmet. That scored 5 stars for safety (plus it’s Snell certified in the US too) and it’s got EQRS, Pinlock antifog in the box, has great ventilation and it’s comfy. All that and it’s a chunk cheaper than the GT Air 2!

Frost black Arai QV-Pro

You can find an Arai QV Pro for around the same money as the GT Air 2 – and for that you get a SHARP 5 star rated fibreglass street helmet with Arai’s Pro Shield and a Pinlock included. Note, this helmet’s more suited to folks with longer heads than the Shoei.


At the more budget end of the market is HJCs FG-ST. That’s a SHARP 5 star rated fibreglass helmet too plus it comes with a sun visor and Pinlock included.

X-Lite X-702 GT

Finally, a bit more left-field is X-Lite’s X-702GT. Again, 5 star safety rated as well as being highly rated for comfort, venting and noise – it’s around half the price of the Shoei too.

Best places to buy a Shoei GT Air II?

Please click below to visit the Shoei GT Air II helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShopBuy from GetGeared

More Sports Touring Helmets?

We've looked at heaps of helmets that are more suitable for touring and naked bikes. You'll find them on our Sports Touring helmets pages. Or, if you're looking for the safest tested helmets on the market, you might want to take a look at our safest motorcycle helmets pages where you'll only find helmets that are SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection around.

Star Ratings

MCN Rating: Quality 5/5, Value 4/5

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review-of-the-new-gt-air-ii-2-touring-helmet-from-shoeiThe Shoei GT Air 2 is a great quality, high performance sports touring helmet that owners (almost!) universally praise. Great ventilation, low noise, excellent build quality along with a well developed visor system all combine with excellent comfort and aero to make a helmet that performs for pretty well every type of motorcycle except a full on sportsbike. If you're looking for a premium quality all-rounder full face helmet, the Shoei GT Air II should be high up on your watch list because it's a great helmet.


  1. Guys your website is incredible. The amount of detail you go into is outstanding, I don’t always agree with some of your ranking of helmets in terms of which is the best but so informative. The post about how to measure you head for a helmet was spot on. Thanks


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