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Shoei RF-1200 Review: Going Strong Into 2021


  • Light weight
  • Many colors, graphics and sizes to choose
  • Outstanding safety features
  • Quality materials in and out
  • Reasonably priced for a premium brand


  • Can seem noisy for some riders
  • Air flow is standard. Not premium
  • Style a bit muted for some

Overall Rating 4.5/5

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In the world of motorcycle helmets Shoei needs no introduction. The Shoei RF1200 has been a staple of their lineup since 2013. Let’s take a closer look at Shoei’s entry level premium offering in our Shoei RF 1200 review

If you are looking for a premium brand motorcycle helmet with a modest price point then the Shoei RF1200 may be for you. 

Despite its middle of the road price tag, you get quality construction with a high safety rating.

This model is perfect for the rider who wants to spend their money on a trusted brand without feeling the need to spend on exotic materials. 

Consider it a gateway into the premier motorcycle helmet market

It is a great all around helmet. Whether you are at the track or on a  GoldWing, the Shoei RF1200 will not look out of place. For touring or weekend rides to the coffee shop, The RF1200 does it all in muted style.

With the RF1200, Shoei sought to make a more aerodynamic, aggressive predecessor to the popular RF 1100. And judging by its looks, they accomplished this. The look is more compact compared to its popular predecessor. Overall the design is completely different. 

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Key Features

Outer Shell

The RF1200’s outer layers are a proprietary combination of fiberglass, resins and organic fibers. This gives the RF1200 a DOT rating in the USA and a SNELL M2010 as well. For those who don’t know, think of SNELL rating as DOT on steroids. The outer shell of any helmet is the first line of defence. Here, the RF 1200 is a standout in its price point for the added SNELL safety rating.

Inner Liner

Shoei’s 3D Max Dry System II is supposed to be twice as effective at wicking away moisture compared to your standard nylon material. This keeps the rider’s head in a more climate controlled state. It’s also more hygienic. I have no reason to doubt its effectiveness. This is mostly based on other riders’ experiences and the reputation of the Shoei brand. I personally did not get a chance to sweat very much in my few hours testing the helmet.

Life inside the RF1200 was very comfortable for me. The liner is soft to the touch. My head felt like it was in a plush environment as opposed to the stiff liners I experienced in lower end helmets. It is what I come to expect from Shoei helmets


Let’s get one thing out of the way. This is not the GT AIR in terms of its ventilation. That being said, airflow is completely adequate for this helmet. It utilizes four vents. One on the chin, one for the forehead/crown and two brow vents. Exhausting the air is handled by a large exhaust port under the rear spoiler. Pretty standard stuff and works as expected. Also of note is the multiple positions that each vent slider has to control the flow. All are easily operated with a gloved hand of course.

 If you live in a  hot climate and maximum air ventilation is essential to you, you may want to consider the GT AIR with its superior venting.

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One of the advantages of owning a helmet in the premium category is its supplied visors. They are usually of much better quality and the RF1200 is no different. It’s a solid visor. It doesn’t feel flimsy at all. Visors are something I’m very picky about. It’s my vision and I need them to be robust and last. The Shoei doesn’t disappoint.  Some lesser visors scratch easily just from regular cleaning. The RF1200 visor has a level of scratch resistance due to its superior material. It is made from 3D injected moulding which offers distortion free vision throughout the visor.

An anti fog pin lock is also included in the box. Also of note, in order to achieve their SNELL rating, the visor needs to meet impact standards as well. The RF1200 visor is one of the safest you can get 

Safety Features

The RF1200 utilizes an emergency quick release system. What this does is it allows EMS to remove the helmet from an injured rider by pulling on two red tabs at the bottom of the cheek pads. This removes the cheek pads, allowing for easy removal of the helmet without potentially causing more injury. 

The RF1200 also has a dual layer, multi density EPS liner. This aids in impact absorption by dissipating energy through the multi layers and throughout the liner.

Colors and Sizing

There are 22 different color and graphics options with the RF1200. It’s likely you will find a paint scheme that suits your bike and riding style. The paint quality is superb. There are matte options as well. Some owners forewarn of fingerprints easily being left on the finish though.

Sizing runs from small all the way to XXXL. I’m an intermediate oval head shape and find the RF1200’s overall dimensions fit my head really well.

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Overall Impressions 

 As I said earlier, sliding the RF1200 onto my head is a pleasurable experience. The liner is soft and plush while still maintaining a firm hold on my face and head. I felt no unwanted pressure  points over my time with it.

The venting does an adequate job of moving air in and through the liner. Not spectacular but good.

Vision through the visor is excellent. There is a complete lack of and distortion throughout my field of vision. 

Wind noise is a subjective experience. I felt the RF1200 was acceptable in the noise department. 

Other riders have complained about its noise level. Although this wasn’t a large number of complaints, it was noted in its consistency. There are quieter helmets on the market but the RF1200, at its price point, does a very good job of insulating wind noise in my experience.

The aerodynamics of the RF1200 was something I appreciated as well. I never felt the helmet was being pushed in any given direction. Despite turning my head or sitting more upright at higher speeds, the helmet maintained its composure in the wind.

Riding with the visor down in cooler temps, I did feel some wind intrusion. I wouldn’t say it’s the warmest helmet on the market but again, temperature is subjective as well. Of note, fogging was never an issue and I never utilized the pin lock mechanism.

This is a light helmet. Three pounds five ounces in a large. This is probably the thing I liked most about the RF1200. I never felt fatigued. It is probably also a big factor in its wind manners as well. 

Since this product has been on the market  for seven years, there are plenty of long term testimonials on how the helmet has stood the test of time. I will link to one here of a six year owner


For those looking for alternatives to compare I would suggest 


At a slightly higher price point the AGV K6 delivers a similar overall package in terms of materials and safety. It is slightly lighter and offers a bit more ventilation. The design is a bit more aggressive if that’s your thing.

Arai corsair X

A more premium option if the latest in safety and construction is more important. The Corsair X is SNELL 2015 rated. Its rounder shape enhances energy and impact dispersion. It’s designed to turn some impacts into “glancing offs” instead 

HJC Rpha 11

At a slightly lower price point the HJC Rpha 11 offers similar construction and safety features as the RF1200. As a bonus it includes both clear and dark smoke face shield lenses. Venting is very good. Not as many color and graphics options as the Shoei.


With the Shoei RF1200 you can’t go wrong. For a mid price point you are getting a very safe helmet for track or street riding. There are some tracks that mandate SNELL rated helmets and the Shoei fits the bill.

Your choice of solid paint colors or graphics is extensive. Be aware these selections will affect the final price. 

The longevity of the helmet speaks for itself. 

If wind noise is not something that has ever been an issue to you and crazy amounts of air venting isn’t a top priority,

Then the Shoei RF1200 could very well be the helmet for you.

Having been on the market for 7 years, expect an update soon. 

Until then, Shoei’s RF1200 is a solid competitor in the accessible, premium market

Thinking of locking your Shoei RF1200 up when away from the bike? check out our Best Motorcycle Helmet Lock round up!


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