Shoei’s versatile Adventure/dual-sports helmet: the Shoei Hornet X2
The Shoei Hornet X2 is successor to the well-regarded Shoei Hornet – Shoei’s top of the range dual-sports/adventure helmet, designed to work as a high quality full face helmet but with a nod towards off-roading. It’s a fiberglass-shelled helmet with many of the features you’d expect in a full face but with a detachable visor to keep the sun glare down.
Owners love the Shoei X2. It’s well built using good quality materials and is comfortable with a great shield. The visor’s been very well designed so it’s useful without making it too top heavy or prone to buffeting. But don’t just take our word for it – read on because our reviews are taken from what actual buyer/owners think of the X2.
If you’re after an Adventure helmet, the Shoei Hornet X2 may well be the one you’re looking for!
- Fiberglass Adventure full-face helmet
- Snell/DOT certified
- Not SHARP tested
- Emergency quick release system
- Double-D ring fastener
- 5 year warranty
- Expect to pay $530-$640
At the time of writing, they’re currently 6th in our top 10 safest helmet brands list and their three most recently tested fiberglass helmets (two full face and one flip-up) scored either four or five stars with SHARP – so we expect the Hornet X2 to score similarly well.
Of course, it’s been ECE approved too (in Europe the Hornet is sold as the ADV) so you should be pretty confident it’ll perform as you hope it will in an accident.
Other things that contribute to safety – it’s made in 4 shell sizes (only premium helmets are made in 4 shell sizes), has multi-density polystyrene (EPS) shock absorber inside and has a nice wide shield aperture with optically-correct shield. The fact that it’s made in four shells should mean the helmet is bang on for your fitment size, making it nice and compact and not too big for your body size which can make it look a bit weird.
All these features will arguably help improve safety too, either by making it perform better in an impact or helping avoid an accident in the first place.
I guess one slight safety concern is the visor. Many helmet manufacturers go to great lengths to make their helmets as round as possible – in fact it’s usually very prominently mentioned in all the bumf – especially from Aria. So, even though the visor on the Shoei is fitted with break-off screws to help it detach in an accident, it’s worth being aware that having anything jutting out may contribute to rotation of the helmet, which is something you very much don’t want in an accident!
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While helmet noise is very subjective, the overall opinion is that the Shoei Hornet X2 is above average to good in suppressing noise. That’s in comparison to all helmets, which would be pretty good in itself; in fact one or two experienced Adventure riders did comment that it’s the quietest Adventure helmet they’d ever used.
Shoei have gone to great lengths in the wind tunnel to reduce buffeting – especially since they’ve got a visor to deal with, which are notorious for whistling and grabbing the air to buffet your head around (see below). They’ve also fitted sound-deadening ear pads inside the helmet to keep things quiet where cut-outs for speakers might sit. All in all, it seems to have worked.
Broadly the ventilation’s really good in all but the most extreme high temperatures when things can get a bit sticky. But then that can be a problem with most helmets.
From the front, the X2 doesn’t seem to have too many vents compared with other adventure crash helmets. It has a single chin vent and a thin brow vent. Both are pretty analogue (open/closed) and both can be a bit fiddly to use at first. There’s also a vent on the top of the head underneath the visor and operated by a small front/back slider.
In all but the hottest weather, most owners generally say the ventilation is good/great and keeps a nice amount of air circulating onto the shield and around the head, exiting from the rear of the helmet towards the top and around the collar. In cold weather, they can be closed to mostly shut out the draft, especially if the included nose guard and chin curtain are fitted.
Of course, do that and you start to have a problem with your shield fogging up. Thankfully, the Hornet X2 has a Pinlock-ready shield and a Pinlock EVO insert supplied in the box. Which is doubly-great. Not only does it mean you’ll be riding around fog-free but also more often than not, when Europe get Pinlocks free in the box, the US doesn’t. This time it’s the other way round – yay!
The shield’s a goodie. It’s optically correct (Shoei’s CNS-2 system), has a nice positive ratchet and the base plate is designed to pull and seal the shield when it’s closed. All good there. It’s also nice and wide with owners reporting you can barely see the edges out of your peripheral vision which is just as it should be. It’s also designed to cut out 99% of UV light too. Lots of ticks for the shield!
It’s Pinlock EVO ready too (that’s Pinlock’s latest standard) and as mentioned above, comes with a Pinlock in the box ready to fit. We didn’t find a single owner who fitted a Pinlock say it didn’t do the job – so if you ride in cool climes, it’s gonna be well worth the price.
If you do take the Hornet X2 off road and like to wear goggles, then you’ll be pleased to hear not only will the Shoei take goggles, but you don’t need to remove the shield either. Fully-open the shield, shove on your goggles making sure the strap sits nicely in the groove around the rear of the helmet, and you’re good to go.
One final note on the shield is that if you want to change/remove the main shield, it doesn’t need removal of the visor first, like it’s precedessor (and many other Adventure helmets) did. It’s actually a quick job to remove the visor itself – by turning the two screws a quarter of a turn then pressing down on the top of the helmet to pull it away. But when cleaning your shield is a drag, any time saved is welcome. That’s a good bit of design Shoei.
The visor’s easily removable (see above) and while it’s not adjustable, a couple of owners who mentioned it said it’s angled just about right so they’d probably not change it even if they could.
It’s well designed too. Visors can catch the wind and cause lots of head shaking at speed. But the Shoei engineers have carefully crafted the design, meaning if you’re on the motorway at speed, you’ll hardly notice the visor’s there. Most owners say at around 80, there’s really little difference between the Hornet X2 and a regular full face. Turn your head and you can feel a bit of tugging but generally – and considering you’ve a great wack-off visor sticking out of your lid – it’s amazingly well designed.
And if you spend a lot of time riding into the sun, then the visor’s a really welcome addition. Plus if you find you don’t use it much, you can pull it off and use the helmet as a full face. The only niggle there seems to be that it leaves a small hole in the top of the helmet and it doesn’t come with a bung to fill the space which may mean a bit of rain can get in. When you pay £5-600 for a helmet, it probably feels a bit wrong stuffing gum into the hole to make it watertight!
Comfort & Sizing
The Shoei Hornet X2 is essentially a high-quality full face helmet with a visor attached. And like pretty well all other Shoeis (and as long as you get the fitment right in the first place) it’s a nice comfortable place to put your head.
The interior is removable and washable and has what Shoei call its 3D Max dry liner which is essentially an antimicrobial and moisture-wicking fabric which Shoei claim pulls sweat away from the head twice as quickly as traditional nylon interiors. Owners seem happy with it. A few have a little grumble that the Hornet X2 is tight to pull on in the first place, but once on, it’s a nice fit and good for hours in the saddle.
One nice touch – and one that’ll hopefully never actually be useful to any owner (!) is that it has EQRS or emergency quick release cheek pads; there to help the emergency services more easily remove the cheek pads/helmet after an accident. It also helps when you’re wanting to remove the pads to clean them too of course – or change them if you’re trying to get your fitting just right because Shoei offer replacement cheek pads so you can tailor the fit more precisely to your head.
A couple of other things worth noting: The Shoei X2 comes with a nose guard and chin curtain in the box and the join between the cheek guard and top lining creates an internal glasses groove to help you slide your glasses in more easily and stop them digging into the side of your head when riding.
Colors and designs for the X2 are limited – probably because the helmet’s a statement in itself and doesn’t need fancy graphics to show it off? There’s solid white and silver, and matt/gloss black. At the time of writing, there’s also the Seeker TC range which you can see around this page – in 3 color variants.
Here’s a look around the helmet from the Revzilla dude (does he ever actually take a breath?!) – plus Shoei’s promo vid.
Other stuff – fastener, weight, communicator
The Hornet X2 comes with a double-d fastener. It weighs in at about 3.75lbs/1.7Kg which is pretty weighty (the average full face for comparison is just under 3.3lbs/1.5Kg) – though few of the owners actually complained that it felt too heavy which is, I guess, what actually counts.
Onto communication systems. The X2 has cut out pockets for speakers and most owners who fitted communicators that we found didn’t have much of a problem fitting theirs. One owner who fitted a Sena SMH10 said the speaker pockets were a little small and he struggled to route the wires. However owners fitting both a Scala G4 and a Sena 20S said it was a piece of cake and the speaker pockets were just right.
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Crash Helmet Buying GuidesFor (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.
Alternatives to the Shoei Hornet X2
You might want to check out the X-Lite X-551 that’s a bit cheaper than the Hornet X2 and includes a drop down sun visor too. Or why not take a look at the Arai Tour X3 (or its successor the X4) that’s another premium helmet and, because it’s now obsolete, can be found at knock-down prices.