Shoei J Cruise II Helmet Review

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An overdue update to Shoei’s 2013 J-Cruise, the J-Cruise II marries all that we loved from the original with seven years worth of tech innovation.

As with the original Cruise model, the missing chin bar puts this jet-style 3/4 helmet in a sort of functional “no-man’s land” — it has a full face feel without the added protection. It may even seem impractical to some riders, imperfect as both an open face and a full face helmet.

Once you start to break down the quality Shoei put into this helmet, you start to understand that it is not just for scooter riders. Sure, the jet helmet is not built for sports bikes, but daily urban riders can find exceptional value in its premium comfort and unique fashion.

Shoei J-Cruise II Helmet (X-Small) (Anthracite)

Ratings

Comfort:

92%
Comfort

Visibility:

88%
Visibility

Coolness:

75%
Coolness

Ventilation:

90%
Ventilation

Quietness:

85%
Quietness

Overall rating:

Specifications

Outer shell material : Polycarbonate/Fiberglass

Shell size : XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL 

Liner : HydraDry material

Weight : 3.79 pounds

Pinlock : No

Strap System : D-ring

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : Yes

SNELL : No

SHARP : Not tested


Shape and materials

The J-Cruise II fits most riders with its intermediate oval shape, slightly longer back to front and narrower down the sides. Available in four outer shell sizes (XS-SM, MD, LG, XL-2XL), the helmet fits well, but its deeper cavity may require a size up.

A carryover from the original J-Cruise, the Advanced Integrated Matrix (AIM) design of the shell features high-quality composites blended with organic and glass fibers, giving it strength and flexibility.

The shell design also helps with the reduced weight, which comes in at just over 3.8 lbs in a large. This is about ¼ lb heavier than the original model, a minor deviation that is offset by a balanced, stress-reducing shell.

A notable change in the newer model is the sportier, aerodynamic design, a natural result of design and compatibility enhancements. Extra vent intakes add function to a slick look while the rear spoiler reportedly reduces lift and drag. This spoiler, in truth, is also one of three key additions to a comm integration for Shoei’s proprietary Sena SRL2 Bluetooth system.

The J-Cruise II is available in five colors — black, matte black, white, matte blue metallic and anthracite metallic.

Things I liked

  • Lightweight yet durable AIM outer shell.
  • Superior removable and replaceable interior comfort features.
  • Enhanced air intakes.
  • Longer face shield and aerodynamic features deflect air and reduce noise.

Things I don’t like

  • Poor compatibility with some comm systems.
  • Impractical for some riders.

Overall comfort

The interior components are about as comfy as can be, all removable to wash and swap out to customize your fit. Cheek pads are well-designed and supportive, with easy-on/easy-off studs to detach and swap out if you need a better fit or an audio attachment. 

In general, the helmet can offer a snug yet unrestricting fit for just about any rider.

The center headlining is constructed of lightweight, antibacterial and moisture-wicking 3D MaxDry material in an open weave to promote airflow and added cooling. Meanwhile, the conforming cheek pads and neckroll use soft fleece for warmth and plush comfort. These are covered on the exterior with a sealed vinyl material, making it feel sturdier and keeping water from being absorbed into the helmet if you get caught in the rain.

The chin strap moves from a double-D ring fastener to a ratchet strap, which some find easier for removal, especially with gloves. This strap is outfitted with a removable, washable fleece cover that adds a nice layer of comfort.

Audio takes a new course with the J-Cruise II, with the overall design being built specifically for Sena’s SRL2 BT comm system, similar to the Neotec 2 and GT Air 2. The back spoiler can house the battery, while removable plastic cheek sections on the exterior can be swapped out to fit common pieces. This creates a seamless look, free of awkward, exposed audio components.

The Sena setup is definitely a premium, versatile system to match a premium helmet. However, you may already have a system you like and want to carry it over to the J-Cruise II. If that’s the case, you may have some trouble installing it on the new helmet.

Adding in another system may require adjustments on where you place the unit on the side, though a sticky mount will likely solve the problem in any case. Thankfully, there are no worries on the speaker placement for the SRL2 or any other aftermarket set. Cutouts hidden behind soft interior padding allow for speakers and wires to be tucked out of sight.

Visibility

The visor improves what was already fairly solid visibility from the first series. 

A slightly longer shield provides additional wind protection, which is further enhanced by the smart edge design. Its weightier bottom edge offers not only better durability but also helps reduce buffeting at speed. This pairs with an improved airtight seal design to prevent moisture and wind from entering where it does not belong.

With many visors, face shield lifting from wind gusts at higher speeds is a potential concern. Shoei did a great job with the detente stops in the J-Cruise II, giving it three secure positions that are both tight-to-lock and easy-to-adjust.

The three positions are full up, full down or the new “slightly up” state. The latter position, also called first position, is especially helpful for defogging the visor and ventilating. The tight hold allows you to cruise at low speeds perfectly fine in the unlocked first position without worrying about rattling or a flapping shield. 

In terms of switching visor positions, a simple positive push release makes it easy to toggle between fully closed and first position.

Swapping out shields is easy with Shoei’s Quick Release Self Adjusting mechanism. Levers on either side release the visor, allowing you to quickly change into different clear and tinted options.

It is worth noting that Shoei does not include Pinlocks with the CJ-2 face shield that comes with the J-Cruise II. If you are upgrading from the original model, the same insert will work. But with the antifogging functions in the new locking positions, you may not even need this addition. If you ride in colder climates, however, the insert is nice for demisting with a locked down shield.

Finally, the J-Cruise II still features the drop-down sun visor, albeit with a few design changes. With 5mm added to the length, slight adjustment to the nose cut-out and smaller cavity, the J-Cruise II is a bump in comfort, function and noise-reduction. The visor can also easily be swapped out so you can choose between smoke and yellow options.

Quietness

For a ¾ helmet, the J-Cruise II is an impressively quiet option. Much of this is due to the face shield design and the comfortable fit of the interior padding.

The one major limitation on noise-reduction is the open chin that lets air inside. Fortunately, the wide curve of the longer face shield helps divert airflow, while the new upper seal further keeps air out.

Of course, with an open or slightly open shield, you are going to let in more air and subsequently more noise. Interestingly, the noise is fairly tolerable in that slightly open position, especially since you will likely be using that for urban riding when you need to keep it fog-free.

Ventilation

There are some new ventilation additions and enhancements that may seem redundant on an open face helmet. But with the J-Cruise II shield boasting such a quality outer seal both top and bottom, you will be thankful for the added airflow on hot days.

Three top intake vents pair with a rear passive vent to provide strong air flow when it gets hot and stuffy. 

The two side vents are one of two ventilation upgrades from the original J-Cruise, adding 30 percent to the helmet’s intake, according to the manufacturer. The rear exhaust also enjoyed a 20 percent increase in airflow to keep up.

With three different open positions — open, half-open, closed — the intake vents provide versatility for controlling the climate on hot or cold days. Being able to independently adjust each vent also helps manage noise levels.

The second enhancement, the four slightly deeper EPS channels, is a little more subtle but an improvement nonetheless. Paired with the extra top intakes, the airflow on the interior goes a long way toward keeping cool with a closed face shield.

Safety

For all its design adjustments, a chinless open face just does not seem as fully protective as a full face helmet. That being said, from a relative standpoint, those design features that contributed to comfort and noise reduction also help the rider stay safer than most ¾ models.

The J-Cruise II is DOT and ECE certified, but it has not undergone the Snell or Sharp ratings. From where we stand though, Shoei always prioritized safety. For an open face design, this gets about as close to full face protection as you can get.

Conclusion

The J-Cruise II is a pricier model, and its position between a full face and open face design may be off-putting if you have your preference. But if you value comfort, temperature control and Shoei’s reputation for quality, this is a great choice for everyday riding.

Where to buy this helmet :