Many modern motorcycle helmet manufacturers turn to wind tunnels to help develop road and race helmet shells. Shoei uses such a facility to refine its X-Fourteen/X-Spirit 3 helmet worn by six-time MotoGP champ Marc Marquez. While brands typically leverage wind tunnel testing data to improve aerodynamics and reduce lift at high speeds, not all helmets are meant for racetrack conditions.
In addition to a streamlined form, most riders also prize all-day comfort and comprehensive weather protection. Among Shoei’s range, the RF-1400/NXR 2, GT- Air II, and Neotec II provide the best balance of performance, protection, and comfort. You may not need to test these models at 200 km/h like the X-Fourteen, but riders that opt for the road-oriented lids certainly encounter a wider array of conditions.
For that reason, Shoei recently installed a low-temp, rainfall-generating wind tunnel at its Ibaraki factory just outside Tokyo. The new wind tunnel can reproduce temperatures as low as -5 degrees C (23 degrees F), allowing engineers to understand the helmet’s resistance to cold weather. Along with the freezer-like conditions, the facility also contains a large fan that mimics wind gusts up to 45 mph. The wind tunnel also adds moisture to the equation thanks to a rain machine.
By testing its helmets in various degrees of rain, wind, and temperature, Shoei can fine-tune its touring lids to handle all that the road throws at riders. From sealing to ventilation, from fogging to aerodynamics, the new wind tunnel allows the brand to prepare its helmets for the unpredictable nature of the open road.
While Shoei recently updated the popular RF-1400 in December, 2020, it introduced the Neotec II in 2018, and the GT-Air II in 2019. Both platforms have plenty of life in them yet, but we’re sure that Shoei will use its new wind tunnel to inform on the Neotec and GT Air’s next iterations.