Shoei J-Cruise: freedom of an open face helmet, comfort of a full face.

shoei-j-cruise-helmet-featured

Shoei J-Cruise: open face 3/4 helmet full review.

The Shoei J-Cruise is what’s known as a 3/4 size open face helmet. That’s an American term but it’s useful because the J-Cruise has more of a wraparound helmet shell and a larger visor than your typical open face helmet (or half helmet as they’re known in the US).

It’s Shoei’s attempt to make a helmet that appeals to those who want an open face helmet but also want a bit more performance – improved head protection and improved weather protection than the average open face.

So Shoei produced the J-Cruise. It’s mostly aimed at high mileage riders and people who use their bikes every day such as commuter riders. People who want all the bells and whistles you usually get from a full face helmet but like the freedom and great ventilation you get from an open face helmet.

It’s been around for a few years now, so the internet’s full of people telling it like it is to live with the J-Cruise. As always, to save you the time, we’ve hunted down all those opinions and reviews to bring you this full review of the Shoei J-Cruise helmet.

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Safety

 (more about helmet safety)

OK, the J-Cruise is an open face helmet, so you know it’s inherently not as safe as a full face helmet, right?

Shoei J-Cruise Corso orange open face motorbike helmet side view
The J-Cruise Corso design – this one in orange and white.

If you’re looking for the safest helmet, go for a well fitting, SHARP 5 Star rated full face, not an open face helmet. Nuff said.

But if you deffo want an open face helmet, then the J-Cruise seems to be about as good as it gets. Here’s why.

Because it’s a 3/4 helmet, you get pretty well all the coverage of a full face except the front bit of the chin bar.

Which, yes, is kinda important when you’re looking at crash protection. But the Shoei J-Cruise uses the same helmet tech as many of Shoei’s full face helmets – that’s an advanced composite fibre shell Shoei calls AIM or advanced integrated matrix – backed by their multi-density polystyrene shock absorbing liner.

That’s the same helmet tech as they use on the GT Air II and the Ex-Zero – and on the SHARP 5 star safety rated Shoei RYD. So they must be doing something right, right?

Plus Shoei makes the J-Cruise in four helmet shell sizes covering fitment sizes XS-XXL. Not only will that mean you get a very well optimised and compact helmet for your head/body size, but it helps optimise for fitment, comfort and that means for safety too. Good work Shoei.

Shoei J-Cruise Reborn red open face motorbike helmet side view
Shoei J-Cruise in Reborn graphics (so far, a US only colour scheme)

Of course the J-Cruise has been safety tested and given the same ECE 22.05 European safety stamp that all helmets on sale in Europe must have.

But above that, it’s not been (and won’t be) independently safety tested by SHARP or anyone else. That’s because it’s an open face helmet and if you’re serious about keeping your face/skull bones in tact and not spread down the A34, you’re gonna buy a full face, not an open face helmet. So they don’t test em.

But if you couple that ECE stamp with previous SHARP data for AIM shelled helmets which shows they score somewhere between 3 & 5 stars – then that’s the kind of safety range we’d expect from the shell of the J-Cruise, were it to be tested.

Of course, the best helmets have features that help you avoid testing its safety rating in the first place.

The J-Cruise has a Pinlock-ready, optically correct and very wide visor to give you great vision of hazards in the first place; and there’s a drop down sun visor to keep things visible even when the sun’s low and strong.

So, except for the fact that your face is exposed like all open face helmets (meaning overall we have to give it a one star rating for safety), we expect the Shoei J-Cruise to give decent levels of protection – as long as you hit the sides and back of the helmet only, and not the front!

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Interestingly, the vast majority of J-Cruise owners were happy with how lovely and quiet their J-Cruise helmets are!

Shoei J-Cruise Corso anthracite grey motorcycle helmet rear view
Rear view of the anthracite grey J-Cruise

OK, Shoei know a thing or two about making well-built, well padded and insulated motorbike helmets. But it’s open face for gawd’s sake, how can it be a really quiet helmet??

Well, I guess part of it is because lots of J-Cruise owners are regular users of open face helmets, and it’s just that the J-Cruise is quieter than most of those. So relatively, it feels quiet.

I guess if that’s the case and you come to a J-Cruise from a life wearing full face helmets, then you might not find it quite as mega quiet as open face riders do.

Also, most J-Cruise helmet wearers tend to ride faired bikes, so that’s going to protect you from the wind rush and buffeting you find on nakeds and sportsbikes – and hence make the J-Cruise feel quieter.

But it’s probably more than just a perception thing. Shoei used wind-tunnel testing to help make the J-Cruise as aerodynamic and noise-attenuating as possible. Plus there’s decent padding inside the helmet including thick (removable) ear pads that all contributes to making an impressively sound insulating helmet.

So – apart from the usual footnotes about helmet noise being entirely personal and subjective – we’ll class the J-Cruise as a really quiet helmet (because that’s what most owners say).

Just don’t expect to go ton-up on your Z1000 and expect to agree!

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

Ventilation is another area where the Shoei J-Cruise excels. In fact we didn’t find a bad word said about it anywhere.

Shoei-J-Cruise-solid-white-airflow-diagram
Single top vent with three rear exhausts. Simple but effective.

Of course, it’s an open face helmet so you’d expect that massive space below the visor to let air in (though it doesn’t so much – read visor section below).

And, if you need to, you can always raise the visor and let the air flood in.

But lots of open face helmets still don’t vent so well around the scalp because they’re solid with no ventilation inlets.

The J-Cruise on the other hand is designed more like a full face helmet. OK, there’s no chin vent for obvious reasons but that top vent allows air into the helmet shell, to circulate round the head then escape via either of the two rear exhausts or via a vent at the collar.

The inlet vent and both exhausts can be shut off using the large sliders, but if you’re riding somewhere hot, you’ll welcome what Shoei engineers have done because – according to J-Cruise owners – ventilation is great.

grey Shoei J-Cruise Corso black open face motorbike helmet top view
Top vent panel – easy to slide and really effective

Open all vents fully up and the word from owners is that it lets in lots of air and keeps your head really cool. It’s good in rain too – though if it’s a prolonged downpour, you probably need to close things off.

But you’ll find ventilation excellent in the J-Cruise and, even in the height of summer, most riders report there’s enough air flow to keep your head cool.

Visor

(more about visors)

The visor on the Shoei J-Cruise is a bit of a work of art.

Not only does it look kinda cool (OK, eye of the beholder and all that!) but it’s functionally very clever too.

The basics: it’s a super large visor that give a really good view of the road ahead as well as excellent peripheral vision. That sheer size of the view is one of the main reasons owners like the J-Cruise because, compared to a full face, the sense of freedom is fantastic.

It doesn’t come with a Pinlock in the box (shame) but it is Pinlock Evo ready, so you can buy a Pinlock anti-fog insert for £30ish and that’ll keep the covered area of the visor fog free in all conditions. A highly recommended buy is a Pinlock.

The visor is quick release to help with cleaning, and it’s a friction based visor meaning it doesn’t work on a ratchet, rather it smoothly moves from fully open to fully closed.

Shoei J-Cruise solid wine red open face crash helmet side view
Shoei J-Cruise in wine red showing off that large Pinlock ready visor

And if you do fully close it, it can lock in place using a small peg bottom left of the helmet to locate into a hole in the visor.

That’s kind of an old school way of locking the visor in place but it works, it’s simple, and it’s easy to unlock by pushing the visor slightly to the left when opening it to disengage the lock.

A few people find that a bit fiddly, but most find it OK.

Notice that unusual lip at the bottom of the visor? That’s actually a clever piece of design that’s there to reduce turbulence, noise and air ingress behind the visor.

And apparently it works really well too because several owners say it almost feels like a full face when you drop the visor down – because it keeps a ton of air and noise out when you do.

And the visor seal’s great too because quite a few owners reported doing some serious miles in the rain and the visor kept it all out.

And finally on the visor, Shoei says it keeps 99% of UV rays out. That’s great – though remember that all polycarbonate visors keep at least 95%+ of UV out, depending on the exact type of polycarbonate.

A couple of links you might find useful…

– Click to see all our open face helmet reviews –
– Here you’ll find every sports touring helmet we’ve looked at –

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

Sun visors are a fantastic addition to any helmet.

Shoei J-Cruise plain brilliant yellow open face crash helmet side view
Sun visor fully lowered on this Brilliant Yellow J-Cruise

Not only does it give another 95%+ UV protection (in addition to the 99% given by the main visor) but they make riding in sun much more comfortable – and safer.

The sun visor on the Shoei J-Cruise is operated by the slider behind the left hand visor pivot (a great place to put it) and is entirely analogue.

That means, you slide it half way and the sun visor drops half way, with no detents.

If you want it back up, slide it back up (no spring loading or ‘retract’ button here).

Most owners love how it works, thought there’s the occasional person saying they found it tricky to find the slider and another wishing it came down a bit lower.

But they’re common issues with pretty much every sun visor so don’t let that put you off. Overall, owners of a J-Cruise love having their sun visor and find it works just great.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Fitment of the J-Cruise is suitable for medium oval headshapes – that’s most of us in the West (but click the link above if you want more information about that).

Shoei J-Cruise motorcycle helmet interior view
Micrometric fastener and Shoei’s Max Dry comfort lining

The comfort lining is fully removable and washable like pretty well all helmets from budget helmets upwards. But in the J-Cruise’s case it’s made from more premium materials.

Shoei calls their comfort system Max-Dry, which essentially means it’s a moisture wicking material. But it is made from particularly comfortable materials.

The only fly in the ointment with the J-Cruise is that many owners say they felt it was very tight when they bought it. A few even returned it for a size larger… but not so hasty.

It seems most owners who thought it was tight and who carried on wearing it found their helmets broke in really quickly and became a great fit very quickly.

Others discovered that it was mainly the cheek pads that were too big (or maybe their cheeks had mysteriously grown in size over the years 🙂 ) so replacing the cheek pads with narrower pads (or trimming them down a bit) resulted in a much more comfortable helmet.

And if you’re a glasses wearer, a few owners said the J-Cruise is great for glasses and it’s really easy to put your glasses on – though you will need to put the helmet on first – and remove your glasses before taking it off.

Looks & Graphics

J-Cruise graphics – like lots of other Shoei helmets graphics – are pretty conservative. OK there’s lots of solid colours available – including a couple of hi-viz – but aside from that there’s only the Corso graphics (which are mostly solids but with a stripe) to spice things up a bit.

Shoei J-Cruise Corso black open face motorbike helmet rear view
From the rear: the J-Cruise corso with twin rear exhaust vents.

In some countries (including the US) you can get the Reborn flame helmet too – in either red or grey.

I think we’ve just about displayed all the designs you’ll find up and down the page. So if you’re interested in buying one – or checking out the latest prices – I’d love you to click through to our recommended retailers below. Cheers.

Best place to buy this Shoei crash helmet?


Please click below to visit the Shoei 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 Shoei from SportsbikeshopBuy from Ghostbikes UK

Click above to drop onto their Shoei helmets pages or *quick view retailer T&Cs here.

Shoei J-Cruise Helmet Video

Here’s Shoei’s own 2m promo video featuring lots of swooping around on cruisers to a generic, royalty-free Coldplay style guitar track. Kinda shows you the main features tho.

Other stuff – fasteners, audio, weight, glasses, aero, buffeting, build quality, warranty

In Europe, the J-Cruise comes with a micrometric fastener (double-D ring in the US).

If you’re looking to fit a bluetooth system, the Shoei is definitely designed to accommodate one. There’s a couple of sizeable speaker cutouts inside the helmet and of course, a stack of room for a boom mic.

It’s a relatively weighty helmet, even compared to a full face helmet which average around 1.5Kgs (3.3lbs)- and it’s certainly heavier than most open face helmets at around 1.6Kg (3.5lbs). Having said that, most riders don’t have a problem with a helmet at that weight and a few even said it feels pretty light weight.

Aero performance is generally said to be great. Shoei went to great lengths to wind tunnel test the J-Cruise and that slight sculpting to the helmet shell as well as the aero lip on the bottom of the visor seems to have done the job. In fact a few owners said there’s really no buffeting – but then I guess that also depends on their type of bike and the speed they tend to ride.

Build quality is one area picked out by many owners as being excellent. It’s something Shoei’s known for though, so no surprise there.

Finally, all Shoei helmets come with a five year warranty – or seven years from date of manufacture – which is about as good as it gets.

Overall/Summary

The J-Cruise is a really impressive helmet. It’s got that excellent Shoei build quality backed by their 5 year guarantee. Owners find it amazingly comfortable, well ventilated and has lots of bells and whistles that make it a great helmet to live with – including excellent aero and visor system (with drop down sun visor) in particular.

Yep, open face helmets give less protection than full face helmets. But if you accept that and want a high performance open face helmet with a visor system that gives you fantastic weather protection, then you really ought to give the Shoei J-Cruise a go.

Best place to buy this Shoei crash helmet?


Please click below to visit the Shoei 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 Ghostbikes UK

 

Good Alternatives to the Shoei J-Cruise?

The Shoei J-Cruise is a difficult act to beat. But here’s a few alternatives – including modular helmets that offer the best of both worlds – that you might want to to check out too.

The Nolan N44 is a real alternative that’s even more flexible than the Shoei J-Cruise. You can have it in 3/4 config just like the Shoei but you can add the chin bar to give some face protection too. And it’s quite a bit cheaper than the Shoei.

Or how about the Shark Evo One 2 – that’s a modular helmet, but it’s one you can push the chin bar right round to the back of the helmet to give you a proper open faced helmet feeling. It’s SHARP 4 star safety rated and comes with a Pinlock in the box too.

The good ole Roof Boxer V8 does that ‘bar round the back’ trick too – and looks mega cool while it’s doing it. It’s SHARP 4 star safety rated too.

More Helmet Options?

For more helmet buying options, click through to our Open Face Helmet Reviews, our Modular Helmets Top 10 and our Safest Helmets. Or jump onto our homepage to find lots of other ways to find a new helmet - just scroll down.

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