Helmet maker Shoei is a company known and respected worldwide for its high-quality motorcycle helmets. However, with the factory’s exacting attention to detail, comfort, and safety comes a hefty price tag, no matter what region of the world you’re shopping in. Since most of us aren’t made of money, it’s only reasonable to ask if you can get a comparatively decent level of protection from a less expensive helmet.
That’s where Mark and Amos over at Singapore-based motorcycle YouTube channel TRI333PLE come in with another one of their To the Test segments. Sure, they could just tell you what it’s like to ride with each of these lids on—but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun as sawing helmets in half, would it?
Before shooting this video, the guys both took turns riding with each of these helmets on their heads. Later on in the video, they show us some footage of those rides, as well as telling us their comfort and usability impressions of both the Shoei Neotec II and KYT Convair modular helmets. KYT is a smaller, less expensive brand, but this helmet does still boast ECE 22.05 certification. Please note that not all helmet models are available in all markets, although both brands do sell in many markets around the world.
Since an important question with modular helmets is how well the chin bar will stay closed upon impact, the TRI333PLE guys decided to test it with a sledgehammer. Impressively, both helmets fared remarkably well, even after repeated blows from underneath to the chin bar of each lid. The KYT flip-up mechanism seemed to stick a little bit, but after some wiggling, was able to open and close (and more importantly, stay closed) just fine, even after impact. The Shoei didn’t even require an extra wiggle to continue working as it should.
Next, Mark and Amos tested each helmet’s abrasion resistance. The Shoei Neotec II features a fiberglass shell, while the KYT Convair’s shell is made of thermoplastic resin. After spending five quality seconds locked in a bench vise with a sander, both shells seemed to come out about the same. The implication, of course, is that if a rider was to fall such that their head scraped along the ground in either lid for five seconds, the lid would retain its integrity and protect your head.
For the last test, the guys sawed both of the lids in half to examine their insides, up close and personal. They noted that the Shoei was a little more difficult to saw through, probably due to its usage of fiberglass in the shell rather than thermoplastic resin. Still, both did eventually cut apart—and the Shoei’s foam is demonstrably thicker than the KYT’s. The Neotec II has 1.75 inches of foam inside, while the Convair has 1.5 inches of foam inside.
That finding could also partly explain Mark and Amos’ opinions about riding with both helmets. Both riders found the Shoei to be a little quieter on the road, offering a more muffled sound when they were out in traffic as compared to the KYT. Other differences they noticed included the general feel of operation, with the Shoei offering a slightly better and more comfortable sense of tactile feedback when operating the drop-down sun visor, for example.
All that said, both the Shoei Neotec II and KYT Convair held up pretty well to TRI333PLE’s torture tests. While the Neotec II costs around $800, if you’re in a European or Asian market where the KYT Convair is available, the price usually ranges somewhere under the $250 mark. Although some things do seem nicer about the Shoei and its build quality, the question of whether it’s $500 or $600 nicer than the KYT will probably be a real one in some riders’ minds.