Shoei NXR 2 review: Shoei’s latest, greatest all-rounder helmet.

Shoei-NXR2-featured

Review of the Shoei NXR2 sports touring motorcycle helmet.

First up, there was the XR1100 (great helmet). That was replaced in 2014 by the NXR (great helmet). So it’s no surprise that Shoei’s developed the helmet still further and now we’ve got the NXR 2.

It was launched here in the UK in Sept 2021, but because it’s been sold in the US as the RF-1400 since the beginning of the year, here’s our review of that helmet because they’re almost identical. Almost.

shoei rf-1400 helmet mural graphics side view
See – Shoei can do bonkers graphics too! This is the Mural graphic

It’s designed as an evolution of the old NXR, designed to be that bit better in a few key areas.

So now it’s got a slightly redesigned shell with better aerodynamics (to reduce lift and drag) and an improved visor system and baseplate.

They’ve fiddled around with the internals a little too, and the shell now uses Shoei’s AIM fibreglass-based composite fibre tech rather than the AIM+ that the outgoing helmet used (see more about that in the Safety section below).

Whatever the changes, Shoei hopes the NXR 2 will be their top dog sports-touring, all-rounder road helmet.

So, here’s all you need to know about the NXR 2…

Best places to buy a Shoei NXR 2?

Please click below to visit the Shoei NXR 2 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from either, 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 SportsBikeShop

Overall/Summary

The Shoei NXR 2 is the long awaited replacement to Shoei’s sales-topping NXR.

And, to cut to the chase, it’s a slight improvement on the old helmet – making the NXR 2 a great all-rounder helmet.

shoei rf-1400 matte black motorcycle helmet top view
Matte black Shoei NXR 2

It’s ECE 22.06 in the UK (DOT and Snell certified in the US as the RF-1400); so that’s protection taken care of. i.e. it should be good (like pretty well all Shoei’s).

The visor system’s well thought out too, works great and comes with a Pinlock in the box.

It’s particularly comfy for more neutral shaped, rounder heads which is great as there’s not that much choice out there for you guys. Plus it’s got great aero and controls noise very well.

All in all, the NXR 2 is very much the helmet Shoei promised to deliver. It’s a fantastic all rounder helmet that’s an evolution of the old NXR1. And while it’s not cheap, we’d say it’s well worth the money and don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you make the investment.

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

The only real way to know how protective any helmet’s gonna be is to look at lab tests.

Sure, if someone has a spill and they say they’re only here because of their helmet, that’s kinda worth a listen. But you still don’t know whether a £50 helmet would’ve done the same job. And besides, every accident’s different, right?

shoei rf-1400 scanner helmet side view
Scanner graphics

So, the only real way to get an idea of what level of protection a helmet’ll give is to look at the specs, know the brand’s safety record, then look at the test data.

But specs first. Shoei make the NXR 2 in four shell sizes which is a good number. More shells mean better fit and more optimized protection – read why here.

The shock absorbing liner is a dual layer multidensity job. Multidensity liners are better at absorbing a range of impact strengths and managing the shock.

There’s a traditional (and effective) double-d ring fastener to keep the helmet firmly on your head. And an EQRS liner inside to help paramedics more easily take it off if the worst happens.

Of course, it’s the helmet shell tech that’s one of the most important factors in protection, and Shoei’s is some of the best.

The NXR 2 uses Shoei’s AIM shell technology which is shared with helmets like the Neotec II and GT Air II. It’s not their most advanced shell technology – that’s their AIM+ which is used on the old NXR as well as helmets like the Shoei VFX-WR and their top racing lid, the X-Spirit III.

What’s a bit weird is that the equivalent helmet to the NXR2 helmet in the US – the RF1400 – actually uses their AIM+ shell, whereas the NXR2 doesn’t. That said, Shoei AIM helmets typically score around 4 stars when SHARP test them, so it’s still a quality piece of helmet tech.

Shoei AIM helmet technology
Layers used in Shoei AIM helmets.

One possible reason is that AIM-shelled Shoei’s tend to be a bit lighter than AIM+ helmets, so it’s just possible that Shoei Europe wanted to prioritise lighter weight? Just a thought – US helmets seem to be weighing around 1.7Kg whereas Shoei Europe are advertising the NXR2 as averaging around 1.4Kg, depending on your helmet size.

The NXR2 is also one of the new breed of ECE 22.06 certified helmets so it’ll pass all the latest European helmet safety tests before it goes on sale.

Despite the change in shell tech, if you’re looking for a helmet that covers all the bases for helmet protection, then the NXR 2 still pretty well does it all. And that includes having a wide visor and including a Pinlock antifog insert in the box – both to give better all round visibility and keep it clear whatever the conditions.

Great job – just a bit strange they seem to have dropped the spec of the shell for Europe, that’s all (I’ll try and find out why and report back here if I do).

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Helmet noise is a weird one.

Not only is it hugely subjective, depending on rider, motorcycle, screen, speed, conditions and a host of other variables that mean rarely do two people perceive things quite the same.

But in the quest for a really quiet motorcycle helmet, helmet makers are often scuppered because helmet testing bodies specifically state helmets can’t be too quiet because riders need to hear stuff like emergency vehicles and pillions screaming they need the rest room.

So, if you’re after a super quiet helmet a) in most countries, helmet manufacturer’s aren’t allowed to make/sell you one and b) you might still think it’s not that quiet because you ride everywhere at 110mph on a naked bike, and wonder what all the fuss was about.

shoei rf-1400 helmet solid yellow side view
Solid yellow NXR 2

Still, Shoei reckons they’ve done pretty well all they can with the NXR 2.

They say they’ve spent more hours in the wind tunnel than is healthy, streamlining the shell to remove unwanted noise. They’ve improved the visor seal to stop noise ingress and they’ve pushed in thicker cheek pads to bung up your earholes a bit.

They’ve even followed Schuberth and their C3 Pro and moulded little plastic nobbles (sorry, vortex generators) into the visor to break up the air flow and reduce noise.

So they have tried. Really they have.

And does it work?

Well, the old NXR handled noise very well and was one of the quietest helmets around. And owners broadly say the same about the NXR 2 – most owners reckon it’s a really quiet helmet on the road.

shoei rf-1400 dedicated 2 motorcycle helmet top view
Shoei NXR 2 in Dedicated 2 graphics

Which is not to say you won’t need to wear some effective ear protection if you ride for more than a few miles and at more than urban speeds – because you will.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

Ventilation’s important for rider comfort, right? And the good news is that again, Shoei’s evolved and slightly improved the old system.

The NXR 2 has the same layout of vents – three crown vents and twin chin bar vents.

But they’ve uprated the sliders covering them, fiddled around enlarging and adding an additional intake hole in the upper vents, and they’ve bored out that exhaust vent for better flow through.


A couple of useful links…

All our Shoei helmet reviews
Helmets that come in extreme sizes


You might prefer a helmet with top vents that are all operated with one slider rather than three of course (I know I do) but at least the vents are now nice and easy to find and easy to use in gloves.

shoei rf-1400 helmet arcane graphics rear view
Rear view of the Shoei NXR 2 Arcane

And they do let a good amount of air into the helmet where it circulates through channels in the EPS liner before venting out of the single large (closeable) exhaust at the back.

That works alongside Shoei’s good quality 3D Max Dry 2 liner to keep your head well vented and reasonably sweat-free.

According to owners, it’s a great all-weather system. Close it off in the winter to keep warm, but open it when it’s hot and you can really feel the ventilation work.

Visor

(more about visors)

The visor system’s been uprated for the NXR 2 with a new baseplate, seal and a new visor.

It’s a quick release visor like the old one (dead easy – open the visor, pull a tab and it pops off) but Shoei’s made it optically correct too to reduce any distortion, added on those vortex generator thingies for improved aero/noise control, and they’ve moved the opening tab and visor lock from the side to the centre.

shoei-rf-1400-helmet-vortex-generators-closeup
Close up of those vortex generators, designed to smooth the air and reduce noise

Good move that as it now means you can open your visor more easily with your right hand.

Shoei’s widened the visor aperture for better peripheral vision. Plus they’ve worked with Pinlock to produce the Pinlock Evo antifog insert which you’ll find in the box with your shiny new NXR2.

Essentially, the Evo is just the name given to Pinlocks that work with Shoei helmets. But it’s also a nice big insert, and they’ve moved the locating pins right back out of view, which is a good touch.

Like all polycarbonate visors, the one on the NXR 2 will give great UV protection. Shoei quotes 99% protection with this one so that’s about as good as it gets.

NXR2/RF1400 owners are overwhelmingly happy with the visor – saying it seals well and gives a nice wide view of the road. So all good here.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Internal fitment-wise, the Shoei NXR2 is more of a round or neutral fit helmet (rather than the regular medium oval most helmets come in). So if you have a longer oval head shape, beware – you may well get pressure points.

Which is not to say all’s lost if you do. Because there are replacement cheek pads and head pads in a variety of thicknesses available – though they’ll cost a few dollars extra.

shoei RF-1400 helmet comfort liner
Max Dry 2 liner is fully removable/washable with alternative skull cap and cheekpads that can be bought and swapped out to adjust the fit

Inside the NXR, you’ll find Shoei’s Max Dry II liner. That’s a comfortable liner that’s moisture wicking, washable and antimicrobial.

It features removable ear pads, so you can pluck those out if you’re fitting speakers from a comms unit.

It’s also an EQRS liner which is always good to see. If you’re not familiar, that stands for emergency quick release – essentially you can pull out the cheek pads from below by tugging on the two red tabs at the bottom of the helmet and is there so emergency services can more easily take off your helmet.

Read more about EQRS here – or find other EQRS equipped helmets here.

As long as you don’t have a longer narrower head shape, you should find the Shoei NXR2 a super comfortable helmet.

Looks & Graphics

There’s a wide range of graphics and colours available for the NXR 2.

shoei rf-1400 helmet basalt grey side view
Basalt grey NXR 2

Solids come in white, black (incl matte), brilliant yellow, basalt grey and matte metallic blue.

If you want graphics, there’s the Prologue, Faust, Mural, Nocturne, Dedicated, Scanner and Arcane to choose from – some in multiple colourways.

We’ve put as many as we can up and down the page, but to see more (along with latest prices and deals) just click on the links to our recommended store below where you’ll drop straight onto their Shoei NXR 2 pages.

Best places to buy a Shoei NXR 2 helmet?

Please click below to visit the Shoei NXR 2 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from either, 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 SportsBikeShop

Shoei NXR2 Video

Here’s a useful 8m video of a dude on a Triumph (Scrambler 1200?) riding round in a solid white RF-1400 (the US version of the NXR2).

Other stuff – audio, glasses, aero, buffeting, chin curtain, warranty

If you’re looking to mount a bluetooth headset onto your helmet, the NXR 2 should be OK. It is more contoured than most helmets so that’s probably going to stop you sticky mounting. And there’s quite a large shaped bottom edge that does make it a bit more difficult using a clamp mount.

Having said that, the guy in the video above has successfully mounted his Sena 20S. And Shoei has announced they’ll offer a universal bluetooth mount so that should be solved if/when they do.

shoei rf-1400 nocturne helmet side view
Nocturne graphics is available in 3 colourways

And inside, there’s a nice amount of space for both speakers and a mic.

There’s also space for glasses because there’s a glasses groove in the lining.

As mentioned, the NXR 2 has been extensively wind tunnel tested. And the good news is that owners say the aero is very good. Shoei quotes figures of 6% lift reduction and 4% less drag. But they’re figures over the old helmet so don’t really help most of us. What does help is that we’ve heard from several owners who say it does have genuinely good aero characteristics and the new shape cuts through the air well.

The Shoei NXR 2 comes with a removable chin curtain and breath guard.

And finally, all Shoei helmets come with a full 5 year warranty (or 7 from date of manufacture). That’s awesome.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Shoei NXR 2?

OK, assuming you don’t want a sportsbike helmet or an open face, here’s a few suggestions for similar – and excellent – all rounder full face lids you should check out.

Fluo yellow QV-Pro
Shark-Spartan-carbon-skin-EDWS-motorcycle-helmet-side-view
Shark Spartan carbon

First up is Arai’s QV-Pro. That’s another premium sports touring helmet that’s SHARP 5 star rated. It’s better for longer oval shaped heads though and an excellent all rounder.

The Shark Spartan is a SHARP 4 star street helmet that comes in either fibreglass or carbon versions. They’re both lightweight though and cost quite a bit less than the Shoei.

HJC C70 valon pink crash helmet side view
HJC C70 Valon

HJC’s C70 might be a much cheaper polycarbonate helmet but it’s SHARP 5 star rated and comes with a 5 year warranty. A good no-frills all rounder.

arai profile v bend motorcycle helmet hi viz side view
Profile V

Finally, another Arai. If you struggle to get your helmet on, Arai’s SHARP 4 star rated Profile V is a composite fibre helmet that comes with a Pinlock in the box and has been specially designed for easy on, easy off.

Other full face helmets?

We've got lots of other ways you can find your ideal full face helmet. You can check out our Top 10 full-face crash helmets list to see our best rated helmets or head over to our Smartish Filters pages and zoom in on helmets with your 'must have' features. You can browse through all our full face crash helmet reviews as well as our safest motorcycle helmets page where you'll only find helmets that are SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there. Finally, check out our helmet gallery to find a lid that takes your fancy.

Best places to buy a Shoei NXR 2?

Please click below to visit the Shoei NXR 2 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from either, 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 SportsBikeShop

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