When it comes to riding bikes, many riders want a bit of versatility. Sure, it helps to ride something to work as part of your commute during the week, but weekends are for off-roading. Those who were born to ride love the thrill of going wherever the road (or trail) takes them.
That being said, one of the problems with riding both ways is that you often have to buy two separate helmets. Or, you did, until the Shoei Hornet X2 came out.
As a dual-sport helmet, the X2 is the upgraded version of the DS. What sets this model apart is, well, practically everything. Visibility is better, the overall shape and comfort are improved, and you get higher quality safety features. The only area where the Hornet X2 doesn’t shine is the weight, but it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.
So, if you’re eager to see how well a dual-sport helmet can fit into your lifestyle, check out what the X2 has in store.
Outer shell material : Advanced Integrated Matrix Plus Multi Fiber
Shell size : SM Shell: XS-SM helmets
MD Shell: MD helmets
LG Shell: LG helmets
XL Shell: XL-2XL helmets
Liner : 3D Max-Dry Interior System II
Weight : 4 lbs., 2-1/8 oz
Pinlock : Ready
Strap System : D-ring chin strap
DOT : Yes
ECE : Yes
SNELL : Yes
SHARP : Not tested
Shape and materials
If you’re familiar with Shoei helmets, then you’re aware that the brand has something of a proprietary form. The “Shoei Fit” is almost neutral, although it does run a bit narrow. If you’ve already used one of the company’s helmets before, though, you’ll be good to go with the Hornet X2.
Further adding to the list of benefits and upgrades comparing the X2 to the DS is the fact that this model comes in four sizes (instead of two). This way, riders of all shapes and head circumferences can find the right fit.
As we mentioned, the weight of the Hornet X2 is one of its only flaws. At over four pounds for the XL size, you’ll definitely feel it while riding. However, Shoei has managed to distribute the weight evenly so that you won’t experience neck strain once you arrive at your destination.
The exterior material is rugged and durable. Shoei uses its Advanced Integrated Matrix (AIM) shell, with added layers of fiberglass to help absorb impact. As we’ll discuss later on, this helmet is much safer than the DS, and that’s part of the reason why it’s heavier.
Because this is a dual-sport model, it comes with a visor. Fortunately, that piece is easily removable if you don’t want it on the road. Best of all, you don’t have to mess with the face shield to get the visor off - each piece is separate.
When it comes to internal comfort, Shoei continues their streak of putting your face in good hands (or materials). The company has a unique type of foam called the 3D Max Interior System II. Not only does the foam caress your skin and make the helmet feel snug, but it’s also excellent at wicking away moisture. Considering that you will likely be taking the Hornet X2 off-road, staying dry is a huge plus.
Better yet, you can add customization to your helmet to make it even more comfortable. The earpads are removable (in case you want to listen to tunes), and you can buy various sizes to help make the fit more cozy on your face. Also, as is standard with Shoei helmets, each piece is removable and washable for extra convenience.
One issue that we discovered with the Hornet X2 (although it’s really systemic with Shoei in general) is that it tapers toward the bottom. Thus, if you don’t have the right size, it can be a little painful to get it on and off. However, once the helmet is in place, it will be nice and snug the whole time.
In some cases, you may have to get a size up to get your head in the Hornet X2, which can make it feel a little loose. In those situations, you might need some extra padding on the bottom to not only make it more comfortable but to reduce road noise as well.
Things I liked
Things I don’t like
As we’ve said from the beginning, the Hornet X2 is practically better than the DS in every way. One of the most significant upgrades is the face shield. Shoei has flattened it somewhat, allowing the rider to see more in his peripheral vision. The other benefit of this shield shape is that it doesn’t distort your field of view. Many dual-sport options are more curved in the middle, which can be challenging to get used to on the streets.
Another highlight of the shield is that you can remove it without having to take the visor off. Yes, this process is a little tricky at first, but it beats the traditional way of doing things with these kinds of helmets.
When it comes to keeping out the elements, the Hornet X2 also excels. First, the shield is spring-loaded, so it stays tight in position, keeping dust and air out. Second, the tinting prevents up to 99 percent of UV rays, so road glare isn’t an issue. Finally, it’s Pinlock ready, so you can upgrade to the best anti-fog system if you want the full package.
Thankfully, Shoei knows how to keep a helmet quiet when you’re screaming down the highway. The Hornet X2 is better than most other dual-sport models, making it a stellar option for anyone who wants more peace and quiet while riding. Also, if you do take advantage of the removable ear pads, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the lack of road noise.
A big reason why this helmet is quieter than others is the design of the visor. Usually, you can get some buffeting as air moves around it, but this model is built to reduce that problem almost entirely.
Another reason why the Hornet X2 isn’t noisy is the padding on the inside. Because you get plush comfort, there is less space for air to travel, leading to better sound insulation. Also, Shoei’s patented tapered helmet design ensures that air doesn’t come up from the bottom either.
As with other helmets, the Hornet X2 has two primary ventilation ports. However, unlike other dual-sport models, this version is superior at providing airflow to your face and head.
The chin vent is technically smaller than the DS, but it works more efficiently. A significant reason for its performance is that the chin bar isn’t as far away from your face, so the air reaches you quicker. The vent has an on/off tab, which is easy to use when wearing gloves. In fact, both vents are ideal for gloved hands.
The upper vent is a bit different than other Shoei models, but it works like a dream. The brow vents are the same as the DS, but now there is a tube that collects air from the visor and distributes it throughout the interior. Best of all, the airflow can move through without running into the liner, making it as efficient as possible.
The Hornet X2 also comes with a chin curtain if you want it. The piece is effortless to install and remove as necessary.
One of the best ways to determine the safety of a helmet is to pay attention to its ratings. Fortunately, the Hornet X2 is both DOT and ECE certified, meaning that it passes all of the standard tests for both the US and Europe. Also, considering that European regulations are typically more stringent than America’s, you can feel a bit more confident wearing the X2.
Additionally, this helmet is SNELL rated (but not SHARP). As you probably know, SNELL puts each helmet through rigorous trials to ensure that it can withstand a wide array of situations and problems. The ranking system is mostly used for racing helmets, which is why it’s so intense. The X2 handled them all and came out the other side without any issues or problems.
Finally, the fact that this model comes in four sizes should indicate the quality of its safety certifications. Typically, only premium helmets have more than two sizes, so that’s a testament to Shoei’s craftsmanship by itself.
If you’ve been looking for a dual-sport helmet, you can’t do much better than the Hornet X2. When compared to its predecessor, the competition isn’t anywhere close. However, even if you compare this helmet to other models from various manufacturers, it’s still within the upper echelon.
Overall, as long as you can find the right size and shape for your head, and you’re okay with the added weight, you will appreciate everything about the Hornet X2.
Where to buy this helmet :