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Any BMW rider will tell you that a flip-up helmet combines the protection of a full-face with the convenience of a jet-style 'lid' - but, because the shell is essentially in two separate pieces, they are expensive to make and there are compromises.
Notably, flip-ups are not as strong as full-face helmets and they tend to be noisy.
But the demand is there, and premium helmet company Shoei has been making flip-up helmets since 1993. Now, it says, it has perfected a new flip-up that covers all the bases.
The shell and movable face cover are made of a mixture of glass and organic fibres, with a double layer of expanded polystyrene around the skull area so for improved protection and so that ventilation channels can be simply moulded in.
The shape was developed in a wind tunnel to minimise shell size, reduce buffeting, improve stability when the rider turns their head to the side and, most importantly, to use the airflow to push the shield against the shell at high speed, reducing the gasps between the components and keeping out wind and rain.
It includes a neat chin spoiler (Shoei calls it a vortex generator) that helps control the air-flow around the shell and reduces wind noise, while preventing the whole helmet from being pressed back against the wearer's mouth
Shoei says there will always be at least 8mm between lips and lining.
the lining is completely removeable; components such as brow and cheek pads can be mixed and matched to create a perfect fit for each individual head - including making allowance for riders who wear glasses - and then popped out as necessary for washing.
The face cover and visor pivot on the same axis, reducing bulk and the number of components, making the helmet both lighter and stronger, according to the maker. The face cover pivots on a flat-headed steel screw, while the visor pivots in a track around the axis of the screw - and both are eccentric so that the face cover and visor press harder on the shell as they close, to improve the sealing.
The face cover's lock release is also much larger than on previous Shoei flip-up helmets to make it easier to operate with winter gloves on - and, because we all occasionally forget and open the face cover with the visor already open, an interlock automatically closes the visor as the face cover pivots.
BUILT-IN SUN VISOR
Shoei's 'pinlock' sheet system helps keep the visor fog-free, as does a removable breath shield, while a removable chin curtain reduces noise. Double beading around the lower edge of the visor helps keep the rain out - always a problem with flip-ups.
This is also the first Shoei with a built-in sun visor, that slides out of a slot between the two layers of expanded polystyrene when required. It's not a new idea; Schubert helmets (as worn by Michael Schumacher) have had them for some years, but Shoei has succeeded in adding a ratchet mechanism to prevent the visor moving unexpectedly when jolted by an unexpected bump in the road.
According to Shoei, the sunshield filters out 99 percent of UV light, and also has anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings - but it can be removed and replaced it is does get damaged. Its lower edge is polished to prevent scratching if it touches the riders face.
Recommended retail pricing for the Shoei Neotec starts from R7195.