by Kate A February 11, 2016
After what seemed like an eternity of anticipation, we finally got to check out Shoei’s new X-Fourteen helmet (although c’mon Shoei, we all know it’s really the X-Thirteen). There’s been a buzz that Shoei has implemented some new, groundbreaking technology into the X-14 design and the buzz proved to be true.
Aside from the trademark Shoei quality, the X-Fourteen doesn’t have much in common with the X-Twelve. It’s been in development for the past 3 years and Shoei has hired top industry engineers to perfect X-14’s design. The helmet shell has been completely re-designed. Some of the notable differences include a “layered” top surface, rear spoilers and rear stabilizer which all improve aerodynamics and reduces turbulence at speed. Shoei is also using four different shell sizes, XS-S, M, L, XL-XXL, to ensure the perfect fit. With design input not only from top-level engineers but also from Moto GP riders like Marc Marquez, the X-Fourteen will inevitably become one of the best track / race helmets.
We are used to Shoei’s X-series being a great track helmet but lacking comfort and practicality for day-to-day street use. However the X-Fourteen may quite possibly become the new best of the best street use helmets. First of all Shoei has developed a new ventilation system. Not only are there plenty of typical air vents, but in addition Shoei also added a vent that leads directly to perforation in the cheek pads. Anyone who’s worn a helmet on a hot day knows that a properly fitted helmet doesn’t allow for much airflow in the cheek pad area due to how snugly they sit against your skin. But with this newly developed cooling system, you will experience direct airflow to your cheeks. This will be a huge advantage to those living in hot weather environments.
Another reason the X-12 helmet always seemed better suited for track use was the position in which it sat on your head. At the track, the riders sit in a much more aggressive tucked position than one would be in on a regular basis. Therefore a regular, non-track oriented helmet often seems to sit a bit low on the brow, slightly obstructing the rider’s view when he/she is tucked against the tank. Track helmets are designed to sit a bit higher on the rider’s head allowing for a full field of vision at the track but not ideal for the street. Well, leave it to Shoei to come up with the perfect solution – an adjustable crown liner and cheek pads. Basically the liner and cheek pads may be snapped in to two different positions changing the angle of how the helmet sits on your head. So whether you’re using the helmet to commute to work or tearing it up at the track, you now have a helmet that’s interchangeable between riding styles and giving you maximum visibility.
And last but not least, and this may be my favorite new feature, is the fully customizable crown liner. The crown liner on the X-Fourteen consists of four separate pieces: center pad, two side pads and a back pad. Shoei will now offer each of these pieces in different thicknesses allowing those with pressure spots or “empty spots” on the head to customize the fit by getting appropriately fitting pieces. In other words, if you try on the X-14 and feel pressure on the back of your head, you can now replace the back piece of the crown liner with a thinner one relieving the painful pressure. So simple yet so genius!
Two other things worth mentioning – the RF-1200 Photochromic Transition shield will fit right onto the X-14. However, if you are planning to use shield tear-offs, you’ll have to stick with the X-14 specific shield as the Transition shield doesn’t offer tear-off pins. Also, despite all the changes and improvements, Shoei has not increased the price of the X-Fourteen and it will be priced the same as the X-12, starting at $681.99.
We are super excited about adding this helmet to our carefully curated inventory and although I’m perfectly happy with my RF-1200, I may be in need of an upgrade. I would definitely go for a solid color and paint the currently silver stabilizers / spoilers to match the color of the helmet. Not sure why Shoei decided to make these silver instead of color matching the helmet, not a fan of that look.
For more information or to pre-order one of these bad boys to ensure you’re one of the first few to get your hands on one once they become available at the end of February, check out our site.
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