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When it comes to protective gear for motorcyclists, there’s nothing more important than finding the right helmet.
If you’ve been eyeing the Shoei X-12, then you’re in luck. We're going to review the model, break down the pros and cons, see how it stacks up against other helmets, and answer the most commonly asked questions.
- This full-face helmet features a face shield lock to keep you secure during high impact and while riding at race track speed. However, it’s also a popular road bike helmet.
- This helmet is known for being worn by Marc Marquez, one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time.
Specs and Dimensions
- The Shoei X-14 has replaced the Shoei X-12
- Shell is made of composite fiberglass
- DOT certified like every other Shoei helmet
- Snell tested for helmet safety
- Received a 5 star SHARP 5 rating
- 3.3lbs / 1.5kg in weight
- Comes in sizes XS-XL
- Backed by a five-year warranty
The X-12 is one of Shoei’s premium racetrack helmets. It’s outstanding in terms of quality, safety, and overall appearance. The helmet comes in a variety of designs, graphics, and solid colors. You can save money when opting for a solid color rather than a flashy design, which is an appealing option to many riders. Whichever helmet style you prefer, you can likely find it in the Shoei X-12.
Shoei states that this helmet is so secure that only a laser would be able to cut through it. This strong claim should indicate just how strong the outer shell is. It’s designed to keep motorcycle racers protected from the high impact on the race track.
Although the point about the laser has never been tested, we’re confident that the five-star safety rating is enough to give riders peace of mind. So far, we haven’t heard of any other helmets on the market that are this durable.
Before making a purchase, you should consider that this model is designed more for oval head shapes. However, keep in mind that it does come in five shell sizes, so there is a chance you will find a suitable option regardless.
The amount of different sizing options is likely one of the main reasons this model is more expensive. If you have a rounder head shape, you can also replace the padding for a custom-tailored fit.
The helmet comes with a polystyrene EPS lining, which absorbs shock upon impact and speaks volumes for its safety. Plus, the inner lining comes with ear pockets, so you can install intercom speakers, a great feature because you can easily communicate with riders within a certain distance from you.
Here are some of the pros:
One of the Safest Helmets on the Market
This helmet is one of the safest that Shoei produces. All of their helmets are DOT certified, and this model is no different. It’s also been Snell and SHARP tested, unlike many other helmets on the market. What this means is that you’re highly-protected in the event of a crash. Some buyers report having accidents in this model, and they walked away perfectly fine, with the helmet still in-tact.
One of the greatest things about the X-12 is that you barely even notice you’re wearing a helmet. This model’s interior lining has been upgraded since the previous model, the X-11. When it comes to comfort, it pays off to spend more money on a quality helmet. The plush interior makes for a much more comfortable ride. Plus, Shoei claims the lining wicks away sweat twice as quickly as other models. With that in mind, it’s both removable and washable, so you can keep your helmet fresh.
The X-12 is praised for its ability to fit most head shapes and sizes, mostly because the shell comes in five sizes, which is even more than the previous model. The variety of sizes also generally means that the helmet will look more proportionate to your body size. Some users report that the helmet isn’t as well-suited for riders with extremely round heads; however, purchasing additional lining can easily solve that problem.
Effective Face Shield
When it comes to the X-12, the face shield is wider and taller than previous models for a better range of vision, which is important when on the road or track. The face shield fits tightly to the eye-port gasket, creating a leak-free seal. It’s equally as rainproof as the X-11, if not better. It also has a built-in rain ridge, similar to its predecessor, so you’ll stay dry and be able to see well in every weather condition.
Shoei also has an optional anti-fog visor you can install in the X-12, making it even more effective. With that said, it already does a great job at defogging. You can lock the visor in place or push it slightly outward to allow for better ventilation in these instances. Using the quick-release system, all you have to do is pull a tab, and the shield lifts away.
Here are some of the drawbacks:
Can Be Scratched Easily
One of the main cons with the Shoei X-12 is that its protective coating doesn’t seem to be as hard as other models. What this means is you have to be careful when cleaning it to avoid scratching the shell. If you’re not using a soft microfiber cloth and a mild helmet cleaner, then small spider web scratches may appear over time.
With that being said, this helmet doesn’t sacrifice for safety or quality. The shell is one of the safest that Shoei makes. It’s listed as a con simply for cosmetic reasons and that only applies if it’s not taken care of properly.
Another point worth mentioning is that the Shoei X12 isn’t exactly the quietest helmet. Many buyers report that it’s louder than its predecessor, the Shoei X-11. It doesn’t seem like noise reduction was the biggest consideration when Shoei designed this helmet.
However, this somewhat goes without saying for racing helmets. Most riders on the track have earplugs in at all times, and the same can be said for many street riders. While there is a chin curtain installed, it doesn’t do much to reduce the noise at high speeds, which this helmet is meant for.
What Types of Riding is the Shoei X-12 Best For?
Helmets are generally made for specific activities, though they may fit the requirements for various activities. Here are some of the best uses for the Shoei X-12.
Race Track Riding
The Shoei X-12 is best known for being a racing helmet. It’s designed for motorcycle racers to withstand high impact without suffering damage to their head. The helmet is also for forward-leaning riders. Doing so tends to reduce noise, improve aerodynamics, and allow them to reach maximum speeds. In addition to that, the face shield is wider and longer for better peripheral vision while on the track. Marc Marquez is one of the most famous motorcycle racers, and he is known for wearing this helmet.
Even though this helmet is designed with racing in mind, the Shoei X-12 is also excellent for road bikers. In the event of a crash, you can rest assured that your head will stay protected while wearing this extremely hard helmet. Its leak-proof seal does a great job at keeping out rain and wind while on the road. Whether you’re commuting to work or out for a ride, this helmet can be a great option. With that said, the ventilation isn’t the best for long touring trips if that’s important to you.
What Do I Need To Know Before Buying the Shoei X-12?
- The most important point to consider before purchasing this helmet is how you’ll be using it. If you’re a motorcycle racer or road biker, this model is an excellent choice because it is so durable. The five-star rating is a testament to how safe and highly protected you’ll be while wearing this helmet.
- If you’re planning on doing long biking trips that require plenty of ventilation, then you might want to check out some other options. While the helmet does come with plenty of air vents, it doesn’t seem to do as good a job as the X-11.
- Many riders would consider this an expensive helmet, however, it is one of Shoei’s premium models. When it comes to the X-12, you get what you pay for - a long-lasting, high-quality full-face helmet. It’s well worth the price for something that you will have for years to come.
- Lastly, be sure to clean your X-12 helmet properly to avoid small cosmetic scratches from developing over time. The shell’s clear coat doesn’t seem to be as scratch-resistant as other models. We will get into how to properly clean this helmet below in a moment.
Where is the Shoei X 12 Made?
The Shoei X-12 is made in Japan. Each helmet is handmade in Japanese factories, with over 50 employees crafting every single product.
How Does the Shoei X-12 Compare?
Many helmet brands are in competition to produce the best products, so how does the X-12 measure up against others?
Shoei X-12 vs Arai Corsair V
The Shoei X-12 and Arai Corsair V are both top-of-the-line helmets made by Japanese brands. They both come with visors that are excellent for repelling rain and keeping the sun out of the eyes. Both helmets are not particularly quiet or lightweight.
The Corsair V is 4lbs, while the X-12 weighs 3.3lbs. One of the main differences is that the Corsair V is much better in terms of airflow and ventilation. The Shoei has a more affordable price tag as well, without sacrificing quality.
Shoei X-12 vs RF-1200
Both the Shoei X-12 and RF-1200 are premium helmets designed for the race track. Both helmets are DOT certified and Snell tested.The main difference is that the RF-1200 provides better ventilation when riding. It has also been rated a four out of five in terms of safety, whereas the X-12 is rated a perfect five stars. The X-12 also has a SHARP 5 rating, whereas the RF-1200 does not.
Shoei X-12 vs X-14
The Shoei X-12 and X-14 are both high-quality racing helmets, but aside from that, there aren’t many commonalities. The shell has been redesigned with a layered coating, spoiler, and stabilizers that have greatly improved the aerodynamics since the X-12. They have also added better ventilation, including cheek pad vents for better airflow. The X-14 is the new and improved version of the X-12 and is great for street biking, even in hot conditions.
How to Clean a Shoei Helmet
Cleaning the Shoei X-12 is slightly different than with other models. It needs to be cleaned very gently to avoid spider web-like scratches from accumulating on the shell.
1. Clean the outside with a soft microfiber cloth or sponge and a gentle, non-abrasive cleaning agent. Baby shampoo is an excellent choice because it won’t cause any damage to the shell’s glossy coating.
2. You can also wash the inner lining of the helmet using the same baby shampoo. Place the helmet in a bowl of warm water and pour in a bit of baby shampoo directly into the lining of the helmet. You can also do this in a shower.
3. Create some suds with the baby shampoo to clean the lining.
4. Next, you’ll need to rinse the entire helmet thoroughly. Make sure all of the soap is washed out of the lining, squeezing out the excess water.
5. Pat out the rest of the water using a towel. Let the helmet sit in the same bowl or sink to dry. Do not place it in front of a heater or sitting directly in the sun. It should be left indoors to dry naturally at room temperature. Be sure to refer to the video below for a full overview of what was just described.
If you don’t mind a higher price point, the Shoei X-12 is an excellent choice for riders looking for maximum protection while racing or road biking. This premium helmet is known for its sheer durability and strength even during high-impact. Even though there are newer models, the quality of this helmet shouldn't be overlooked.
People Also Ask
When considering the Shoei X-12, it’s important to determine if this is the right helmet for you. To finish off the review, let’s have a look at some of the most common questions that people ask in regards to this model.
How Long Do Shoei Helmets Last?
Shoei helmets are guaranteed to last five years from the date of purchase or seven years from the manufacture date. They are completely covered under warranty during that period, so you don’t have to worry about any faulty parts during that time frame.
How Often Should You Replace Your Motorcycle Helmet?
Of course, if you’re involved in an accident, your helmet should be replaced immediately. If not, then you should replace your motorcycle helmet every five years. Some experts even recommend purchasing a new one every three years if you frequently use it.
Does Dropping a Helmet Ruin It?
If you’ve dropped your helmet from a short distance, it’s likely fine. However, if you’ve dropped it from a high point, then small hairline cracks could develop. It’s still fine to use, but once that happens, the helmet won’t be as strong as before it was dropped.