Shoei J-Cruise II review: the open face that thinks it’s a full face helmet.

Shoei-J-Cruise-II-featured

Shoei J-Cruise II review: expensive but quality open face helmet.

Shoei’s J-Cruise helmet has been around for a few years now and has built a reputation as being a high quality open face helmet, but kind of like an open face that thinks it’s a full face.

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Massive visor and triple top vents are just two of the useful features of the J-Cruise II

That’s because Shoei designed it to offer pretty well all the functionality of a full face helmet, just without the chin bar.

The original J-Cruise was very well received with hardly any areas of weakness reported. So now it’s on with that difficult follow up: to try and replace the J-Cruise with a helmet that’s even better than the original.

So, Shoei’s taken that first helmet and tried to make the J-Cruise II that bit better in what seems to be more or less every area. They say it’s slightly lighter, better venting, has improved aero, a better sealing main visor and a slightly deeper sun visor.

But then they all say something along those lines whenever a helmet’s launched.

So, here’s what the Shoei J-Cruise II is actually like – taken from the comments and opinions of riders around the web who actually own one.

Best places to buy a Shoei J-Cruise II?

Please click below to visit the Shoei J-Cruise 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).

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Overall/Summary

If you look at our overall star rating of the Shoei J-Cruise II at the bottom of the page, you’ll find it hasn’t scored amazingly high. That’s probably because one of the factors we rate helmets on is value for money – and by anyone’s measure, the J-Cruise II isn’t the best value around.

And because it’s an open face helmet, it’s going to drop points on the safety rating too.

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Side view of the Shoei J-Cruise II Aglero in black with fluo yellow highlights.

Having said that, with it’s AIM shell that usually scores well in SHARP safety tests and a good rating for noise attenuation (for an open face helmet at any rate) it’s still one of the highest scores we’ve given a helmet without a chin bar. Which is saying something.

That’s because, if money’s no object and you want an open face helmet, then the Shoei J-Cruise II is a cracking helmet. It’s superbly constructed. It uses Shoei’s tried and tested shell tech. And that double visor system’s excellent – although it really should come with a Pinlock antifog included at this price.

And owner after owner that we came across loves their J-Cruise II.

Overall then, if you’re looking for a high quality open face helmet that acts as if it were a full face in terms of comfort, aero and features, then you needn’t look any further than the Shoei J-Cruise. It’s really very good.

Safety

 (more about helmet safety)

As usual when looking at safety with an open face helmet, we’ve gotta start off by saying something along the lines of ‘it won’t be that protective… there’s no chin bar so if you come off, things could get messy.’

There, think that about covers it. It’s an open face so don’t expect it to stop your chin/face/nose taking a battering if you have an off.

If you really need the freedom of an open face helmet but want something that’ll protect you as well, then how about checking out one of these modular helmets rated as top for safety instead?

Nope? OK, open face it is then.

In that case, the J-Cruise looks to be about as protective as you’re gonna get from an open face helmet. Not only do the sides come down nice and low to give you some protection lower down around your chin, but Shoei’s AIM shell uses the same helmet tech that’s used in some of their full face helmets.

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Rear view: another Aglero but this time in white and black. Battery pocket for the integrated optional comms unit hides at the bottom rear.

It’s not their most technologically advanced shell construction – that’s their AIM+ shells. But it is a solid helmet shell material, evidenced by other AIM helmets scoring pretty well when SHARP tests them.

For example, the retro Shoei Glamster’s got an AIM shell and that scored 4 stars out of 5 when tested by SHARP. Same with the Ex Zero and Neotech II – both AIM shells and both 4 star rated.

So, given that every AIM shelled Shoei scored a  four star rating (apart from the original GT Air that scored three) we’d have to say that, were SHARP to test the shell of the J-Cruise II (which they won’t because it’s not got a chin bar) then I guess it probably would score 4 stars.

Of course, it’s not just the shell that’s at work here. It’s also that shock absorbing liner underneath. And in the case of the J-Cruise II, it’s multi denisity liner as found on most of their range nowadays. So that should do the job nicely.

It’s also great to see that it’s manufactured in four different shell sizes. That’s just what you want to see with a premium priced helmet like the J-Cruise 2 and means the helmet you buy should be well optimised for fit, size and safety.

So that means there’s one shell size each covering fitment sizes XS-S, M, L and XL-XXL.

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This one’s the Adagio graphic J-Cruise II

Other than the helmet shell, you get optically correct visor and sun visor, there to reduce distortion and the sun visor to prevent dazzling on sunny days.

And the main visor’s Pinlock-ready (Pinlock not included unfortunately) so fitting a Pinlock should pretty well prevent visor fogging (see visor section below).

The J-Cruise II also uses a metal micrometric fastener; which are particularly easy to use – just always ensure the strap adjustor’s tightened up from time to time so your helmet doesn’t have the chance to come loose.

All in all then, the J-Cruise II does a good job of making a protective helmet; just not anywhere near as protective as a full face or the safest modulars.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

OK, so the J-Cruise II is an open face that thinks it’s a full face. But open face helmets are always noisy helmets right, what with all that large area to let wind rattle around and noise creep in?

Thing is, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the J-Cruise II.

It’s fair to say that Shoei has made quite a bit of effort with the aero of the J-Cruise II, wind tunnel sculpting it to reduce drag and hence noise. They’ve also pushed some ear pads inside and made the visor fit tighter, slightly re-shaping it to divert the air. All of which should reduce noise when you’re riding.

I also suspect many J-Cruise owners’ expectations are pretty low in terms of noise suppression. I mean, you buy an open face helmet so you’re expecting it to be a bit windy and noisy, right?

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Another Adagio graphic in black/white.

But having said that, noise perception is always going to be just that… perception. It’s what you think that matters. And in the case of the J-Cruise II the vast majority of owners we found say they’re more than happy with the noise levels on the move, and that it’s super quiet for an open face helmet.

Of course, you need to ensure you get the fitment right in the first place. With the J-Cruise II that means you need to have a medium oval shaped head – and if you’re between sizes, make sure you buy the size up as we’ve heard from owners who found their helmets to be too tight when they were on the cusp.

But provided you get the size that fits and you’ve the right shaped head, then it seems like the J-Cruise II is one of the quietest open face helmets out there.

In comparison to the quietest helmets overall (including full face helmets), it probably ranks around average. But that’s very quiet for an open face and a great performance by Shoei’s engineers.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

Ventilation is one of the key areas Shoei has worked on with the J-Cruise II.

You’d have thought that because it’s an open face helmet, you’d get pretty much all the ventilation you need without really trying.

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Three top vents venting through to a single rear exhaust. Word is that it’s effective.

Couple that with the fact that the old J-Cruise helmet was highly rated for ventilation anyhow, even with just that single vent up top.

But Shoei hasn’t rested on their laurels. They’ve reworked the helmet shell to make it more compact and with better aero properties and have stuck 3 big vents on the top just to make sure a ton of air gets through.

Shoei reckons everything’s somewhere around 20-30% improved from the old helmet in terms of ventilation. Which is nice.

What’s not quite so great apparently, is that the corresponding rear air vent is actually just a couple of small holes, thereby apparently restricting the air flow a little overall, according to one owner.

Still, most owners agree that the head venting on the J-Cruise II is great and lets plenty of air in and over your head just when you want it.

And if things get colder, those three vents are all 3-way adjustable with a half-open and closed position too, all operated with big glove-friendly sliders.

Visor

(more about visors)

The main visor on the J-Cruise 2 is massive, giving you a great view of the road ahead, your clocks and pretty well all around you, even when the visor’s down.

It’s an optically correct visor too, which is useful with the visor being so large. And it’s quick change too, so you can pull it off quickly simply by opening the visor then pushing a lever either side and pulling it free.

Just like the old J-Cruise helmet, it uses a super low tech peg and hole lock to keep the visor closed. Even though it’s a system that’s as old as the hills (and probably older!), it seems like it works just fine because we didn’t find anyone complaining about it online. Job done.


A couple of useful links…

All our Shoei helmets reviews
Open face helmet reviews


Surprisingly for an open face helmet, lots of owners reckoned they can have a problem with fogging. I guess that’s what happens when you make such a large and well sealed visor on a helmet – even if it’s an open face.

That shouldn’t be a particular problem on the J-Cruise II as Shoei has made the visor Pinlock ready. Bizarrely, they haven’t included a Pinlock insert free in the box (like they do on this £100 MT Rapide for example!) which is taking the piss a little on such an expensive lid.

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Large visor’s very well designed and offers a great view of the road a head.

Still, at least there is the option for a Pinlock available I guess.

Making a Pinlock Evo available for the J-Cruise II is arguably tacit admittance that it is prone to some fogging. So too is the addition of a cracked-open city riding position for the visor – usually there to let more air in and help with defogging.

Then again, stick any piece of cold polycarbonate in front of your face on a cold or humid day and it’s probably going to fog up, so it’s good to know Shoei’s taken steps to address it.

What also good to know is that Shoei says their polycarb visor cuts out 99% of UV rays. Polycarbonate’s known for cutting out at least 95% anyway, but it’s always good to see an exact figure, especially if you’re planning on riding somewhere sunny.

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

The same figure’s quoted for the sun visor too – another 99% protection against UV. And Shoei’s apparently got that European Certified, sticking a DIN EN1836 certification on the sun visor. Hurrah.

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Solid matt blue Shoei J-Cruise with new deeper sun visor fully dropped.

In the US that equivalent is the ANSI Z80.3-2010 standard which means it should give about as much protection as a pair of shades – and includes a test to ensure it won’t burst into flames. Which is always good to know!

Shoei have made the sun visor a bit longer than the old J-Cruise too. That’s often welcome as there’s always a few folks saying their sun visor doesn’t drop down low enough (just like we found with the J-Cruise I).

And while the placing of the sun visor’s slider is slightly unusual (necessitated by the location of the panel for the integrated bluetooth controller) the action’s nice and smooth and, once you get used to where to find it, it works well.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The J-Cruise 2 is available in sizes XS-XXL and comes in four shell sizes.

It uses Shoei’s 3D Max-Dry liner. The 3D refers to the 3D laser cut foam that goes inside, and Max-Dry is Shoei’s regular interior designed to absorb and wick sweat away twice as fast as nylon does (which doesn’t seem much of a bold claim since nylon’s basically plastic!).

Still, Max Dry liners are highly regarded and Shoei does make a nice and comfortable liner.

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Matt deep grey J-Cruise II

Like other premium helmet makers, you can also buy different thicknesses of cheekpads to help tailor the fit if you find it’s not quite right or loosens off over time.

And if you wear glasses, there’s also a glasses groove in there so the arms of your glasses won’t press into your head.

Overall, owners reckon that the J-Cruise II is a very comfortable helmet. In fact we didn’t find a single owner saying otherwise.

Obviously, you have to get the sizing right in the first place (check out our fitting guide) and the word is if you find you’re between sizes with the J-Cruise II, you’re best opting for a size up as a size down will be too tight.

Other than that, the quality and overall feel of the comfort liner is spot on.

Looks & Graphics

Shoei’s graphics always tend to be a bit on the conservative and muted side.

shoei-J-Cruise-II-helmet-rear-viewHaving said that, there are a couple of graphic options out there at the time of writing: the Aglero and the Adagio that you’ll find up and down the pages and both available in a few different colours.

If you’re looking for a plain J-Cruise II, then you’ve a matt black, grey or blue to choose from or a gloss black or white.

If you’re interested in buying one, please drop on to the J-Cruise II pages at our recommended retailers using the links below, where you’ll also find any discounts and new graphics that might be around. Cheers.

Best places to buy a Shoei J-Cruise II helmet?

Please click below to visit the Shoei J-Cruise 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

J-Cruise II video

Their videos are usually a bit on the starchy side, but there’s some decent information in this video from Champion Helmets in the Netherlands (8m 30s).

Other stuff – bluetooth, weight, glasses, aero & buffeting, build quality, warranty

If you’re looking to fit a bluetooth headset to your J-Cruise II, it’s designed to work with the SCL 1 or 2 set that’s been developed by Sena and Shoei to integrate with their helmets.

That means there’s a place to stick the controller on the left hand side (there’s a small panel on the bottom edge to remove) and the battery pack slots into a panel at the bottom rear. There’s also plenty of space for speakers and a boom microphone.

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Closer view of those 3 top vents, each with 3 way, glove friendly sliders

Shoei managed to reduce the weight of the J-Cruise II over the old helmet by around 100g. It’s not a lot, but it means the J-Cruise II weighs around 1.4kg, down from the 1.5kg of the old helmet. It’s far from being the lightest open face helmet out there but it’s OK – and a few owners reckon the weight adds to its sense of quality too.

If you’re a glasses wearer, then the Shoei J-Cruise II is great for glasses. There’re glasses grooves inside and a several owners said there’s plenty of space to drop down the sun visor and main visor without interfering with your glasses. And because they’re both optically correct, there isn’t much noticeable distortion even though you’re effectively peering through three panes of plastic.

Shoei reckoned they’ve done a good deal of work on the aero of the helmet to reduce lift, drag and buffeting. That might be measurable in the wind tunnel but I’m not sure owners find much difference. Having said that, we didn’t come across any complaints either so it looks like the aero works just fine.

The build quality’s rated as excellent too. Lots of owners say just how fantastic quality the helmet is – the finish, the internals – you name it, they like it. Which is one of the reasons you go for a premium helmet like a Shoei: they take the time to get things right.

And it means they can happily offer a 5 year warranty on the manufacture of all their helmets.

Best places to buy a Shoei J-Cruise II?

Please click below to visit the Shoei J-Cruise 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

Crash Helmet Buying Guides & Top 10s

For 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 helmet lists where we've got the Top 10 rated helmets overall along with Top 10 Budget/Top 10 Safest/Top 10 Full Face/Top 10 Modular/Flip-up/Top 10 Sportsbike/Track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Shoei J-Cruise II?

You can check out all our open face helmet reviews here. But if you want an interesting selection that we think you should consider, take a look at these open face lids.

Nolan-n40-5-GT-N-com-solid-white-motorcycle-helmet-side-view
The N40-5 GT with removable chin protector

First up, and in a similar vein to the J-Cruise II – and even more practical – is the Nolan N40-5 GT. It’s a supremely versatile modular helmet that can be converted into a jet by fully removing the chin bar. The best of both worlds!

sena savage helmet with short peak
Sena Savage

Or what about the Sena Savage? It’s a fibreglass open face helmet that comes with a bluetooth communicator pre-installed. OK it’s a reasonably basic bluetooth, but most owners find it’s fine. And it’s a decent wodge cheaper than the J-Cruise II. Mind you, you’d have to make do with a snap on visor.

shoei jo helmet hawker side view
Shoei JO Hawker

The fibreglass Shoei Jo has one built in tho. It also uses the same AIM shell as the J-Cruise II though the Jo’s much lighter and cheaper. It’s more back to basics too.

Bell Broozer

Finally, what about the Bell Broozer. It really looks the part and it has a fully removable but protective chin bar for when you want to get a lick on. It comes with both a clear and dark visor, weighs about the same as the J-Cruise II but comes in around half the price.

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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