First winter ride for 2013 & the Shoei NeoTec

Yesterday Marty and I headed off at 9.30am for our first ride for the winter of 2013. It was sunny but cold 7-8C when we left and unfortunately hovered around 7C (44F) for most of the ride. I debated whether to don the textile gear, but the sunshine and a forecast of 16C fooled me and I went in leathers. Even with merino wool under layers and pullover I was just a tad cool all day.

However, the big news for me was that this was my first outing in my new Shoei NeoTec modular helmet. See the (not so great pic) below.

Just a bit of back story on the helmet purchase – I was a bit interested in buying a new Bell RS1 full face helmet (being the proud owner of a Bell ‘Star’ in 1975) and had researched them, along with both the Shoei TZX (Qwest) and the NeoTec. When I had a good look at the Bell in the store recently, I found, to my surprise, the Bell helmets here in Australia are actually made in China, which was disappointing as I know that they have a fantastic factory and R & D facility in the USA. I wanted a ‘Made in the USA’ lid, just to bookend with my 1975 Bell Star. Irrational? Maybe, but as the marketing people know, every purchase has an emotional component to it as much as we, the purchaser, might like to think otherwise. ┬áSo with the Bell off the list, the next consideration was the excellent Shoei TZX (Qwest) which Marty has. However, I couldn’t get any discount on an already overly expensive price. After a bit of procrastination I asked about a best price on a NeoTec. I love the convenience of my current flip front helmet, but the Shoei modular helmets really come at a premium price. I was ready to leave that store without a helmet, as I had already secured a good discount price over the phone at another dealership, who were a bit out of the way though. Long story short, I got a reasonable discount and consequently bought it at the Elizabeth St (Melbourne) dealership where I purchased my ZX14 a couple of years ago. As an aside, read all about footpath parking motorcycles in Melbourne HERE.

Readers in the USA & UK will be astounded at what we pay for helmets in Australia, which is in large part manipulated by having to meet an Australian (and New Zealand) standard (AS/NZS1698) in order to be legal for street use. So much for the global economy, free trade agreements and US and European safety standards! In fact, the US online retailers won’t even sell us Shoei visors anymore, as they are ‘prevented’ from doing so by Shoei they claim. The visor also has to meet the Australian/NZ 1698 standard.

Interestingly, the best info I could get on the NeoTec features was from a ‘non official’ Shoei site HERE

Rather than describe its features I will link to a great video review from Web Bike World and then give some of my own initial impressions, and ongoing reviews, in future posts. However, my first comment is that the build quality and finish is excellent.

Whilst I’m embedding videos, here is a really interesting look into the Shoei helmet manufacturing process.

I will do a comparison of the NeoTec Vs MultiTec features in the near future. As I don’t have any advertising on this site and buy my kit with my own money, my reviews are not compromised by incentives, only by my own human biases! So my initial impressions from the first 200 miles in the NeoTec? The sun visor worked brilliantly being able to raise and lower it riding through the bush from completely shaded areas back into the sunshine was excellent. The aerodynamics were impressive and it felt light and stable – I didn’t end up with any neck pain. Interestingly, the first thing that Marty commented on was that the helmet looked a lot let bulbous on my head than the MultiTec. Certainly the shell is far more stylish than the old model.

Any negatives so far? Well with my height in relation to the fairing screen on the ZX14, I actually found this helmet to be a fraction more noisy than the MultiTec it’s replacing – despite all the advertising to the contrary. As I wear earplugs under the helmet that really doesn’t matter much to me.

At low speed in these cold conditions the visor fogged badly. I will definitely have to purchase the Pinlock insert.

EDIT 21st June

I went into my local bike shop and was about to pay $49.95 for the Pinlock insert, when the young sales guys informed me that I was meant to get one included for free when I purchased the Neotec. It was bought from another branch of the same company, so he made a call and then handed me over the Pinlock free of charge. His initiative was very much appreciated!

The other negative experienced was mainly a function of the helmet being brand new. I found the cheek pads were way too firm and forced me into a ‘trout pout’ which became uncomfortable during the second half of the ride. However, I expect that to diminish as I ‘run it in’

Aside from the helmet focus of this post, allow me just one little rant. As Marty and I were walking back towards where we had parked our bikes in Apollo Bay we found overseas tourists hoisting a child up on to my motorcycle to take photos. I yelled out at them from a distance and they removed the child from my bike. What a bloody cheek! And there was no apology. Marty’s bike had kid’s fingerprints over the tank. They were damn fortunate, as I know some motorcycle owners who would resolve such a situation with their fists!

11 thoughts on “First winter ride for 2013 & the Shoei NeoTec

  1. Hi Jules,
    Great post mate and another flip front is something I periodically mull over. With respect to Shoei not supplying to Australia, that’s something which happens in NZ with a lot of products, both motorcycling and non-motorcycling. More to do with mark-up through authorised dealers rather than meeting safety rules. The NZ postal service now has a warehouse in the US and I get stuff sent to them and then onto NZ which neatly sidesteps the difficulties which you mention. In addition to bike gear, I recently bought Levi jeans, a solar charger and Circulon cookware for nearly half the price it is in NZ, including delivery costs!

    BTW, I bought a clear Pinlock insert a few months ago for my Shoei from the UK Channel Islands for the equivalent 18 quid via eBay. Sharp price and great service.

  2. Yeah! Punching kids! I reckon I could have a win there!

    Oh, yeah. Nice helmet too. I was looking at the matt black convertible Shoei recently but would have to sell a kidney to afford one.

    • Hadn’t thought of punching the kids ….I might win that one also! Actually I was worried about scratches on the tank or worse still, both bikes toppling over. I can always find a way to rationalise new gear. Mrs T is a very patient woman at times.

  3. Hi Jules
    Looks like a pretty sweet helmet. I really like the sun visor, I could really use something like that. I can’t see myself buying one of those types of helmets though, the flip up thing just looks kinda weird to me. I’m still too young for one yet.

    • Steve, what do you mean that you are too young for a flip front! I know where you are coming from though, but trust me it has some great advantages. Don’t take my helmet off at the servo and have never once been asked to do so. Also great when using an SLR camera but most of all I just like not feeling so claustrophobic when I pull up – especially when it’s hot.

  4. Mate is that a special colour or what? The Shoei website sure doesn’t advertise any interesting colour schemes for the neotec.

  5. Mate thanks for doing the leg work for me. Ive been using flip faces for years I purchased a Zeus as my first one with a drop down sun visor. These were the first in the country with this feature.
    But noise has always been a problem for me so to read what you thought about the wind noise has almost convinced. Almost. Im also looking at the BMW System 6 but am still trying to find a evaluation on one.

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