A couple days before the North American premier of Shoei’s newest helmet at the International Motorcycle Show in Washington, DC, a “top-secret” pre-launch press event was held in the wilds of Southern California… literally.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park played host to the Hornet X2 dual-sport helmet intro.” We wanted to usher in 2015’s most exciting and progressive new product in style,” says Matthias Beier, marketing coordinator for Shoei Safety Helmet Corp. Mission accomplished! “The ADV/Adventure Touring market is really taking off and the OEMs are introducing more new motorcycles for this segment every day,” explains Beier.
“For undiscovered terrain and endless adventure, Shoei is proud to introduce the all-new Hornet X2.” In a nutshell, the X2 is everything Shoei’s Pioneering Hornet DS was, and more. More aerodynamic shell, new visor, bigger eyeport for increased visibility, thicker seals, more ventilation, revamped dual-layer EPS liner and even the upgraded Max-Dry System II interior are all changed from the original Hornet DS.
“The DS feature a host of innovations when it came out in 2008, but the design is a bit long in the tooth,” admits Matthias. The X2 is a true hybrid of on- and off-road helmets… with an obvious bias toward the street. He notes that as ADV bikes have gotten progressively bigger and faster, the mouthpiece, chin bar and especially the visor on the DS were not aerodynamic enough to contend with excess speeds. “Shoei has its own wind tunnel so we can test a design feature a 100 times a day if needed. In fact, the X2 was continually tested and running changes were made every step of the way.”
The V-460 visor is the biggest beneficiary of the wind tunnel testing. Unlike a motocross-style visor the “wedge” shape works in conjunction with strategically placed vent louvers to allow wind to pass through at higher speeds, which reduces lift and drag. An added benefit is that this visor “pushes” air into the upper intakes for optimal cooling… without sacrificing protection and shade of a traditional moto visor.
The ventilation system has two shutter-controlled upper air vents to improve air intake and head cooling, while four rear exhaust outlets take advantage of negative pressure suction, and three neck outlet vents work together to bring in cool-air intake and vent out hot-air.
Another “big” difference in for the X2 is the eyeport. Not only has the field of vision been increased, but those riders who prefer goggles for off-road situations don’t even need to remove the shield as it slides up under the visor. Shoei’s all-new CNS-2 shield protects against 99 percent of the sun’s UV rays and offers a distortion-free view thanks to Shoei’s 3D injection-molding process.
Less noticeable visually but vitally important in terms of safety is the shell and multi-density EPS liner. Combining fiberglass with organic fibers, the AIM+ shell is strong, yet lightweight, and comes in an industry-leading four shell sizes to ensure a custom fit for heads between the sizes of XS-XXL, according to Shoei.
Another nod to Shoei’s X-Twelve road racing helmet is the incorporation of the EQRS (Emergency Quick Release System) padding, which allows emergency medical personnel to easily remove the cheek pads from an injured rider’s helmet.
Inside and out, Matthias says the Hornet X2 really is a new helmet and a worthy successor to the DS. “Dealers who did well with the DS will do even better with the X2.” However Shoei would like to see more dealers utilize the tools that are available. “Like our free helmet impact inspection service… or the cheek pad replacement program to optimize the fit of every Shoei they sell.” A better fitting helmet means a happier customer and a hands-on tool to differentiate your dealership from mail-order competition… seems like a win-win to us.
“Performance, aerodynamics, ventilation, functionality and long-distance comfort… The Hornet X2 is the helmet for every road,” concludes Matthias. Bottom line: if your customers liked the original DS, they should love the X2!