Shoei VFX-EVO Review

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A long awaited update to the iconic motocross VFX-W, the Shoei VFX-EVO offers both updated styling and improved safety technology. Shoei is well known for both its aggressive style and top tier quality, and the VFX-EVO takes both to the next level with improved impact distribution, reduced weight and superior airflow. 

Dubbed the “Motion Energy Distribution System” (MEDS), the VFX-EVO is the first Shoei helmet to feature a dual layer rotational impact reduction system. Other manufacturers currently offer similar features, but Shoei claims their MEDS liners offer a 15 percent reduction in rotational forces exerted to the brain on impact. 

Not only does the VFX-EVO offer superior safety, but it has the styling and available finishes that have made Shoei a fist choice for riders and motocross enthusiasts the world over when they want a helmet that has both aggressive street looks and exceptional performance. Here’s a full workup and review of the Shoei VFX-EVO and our take on this cunningly designed and well-built motocross helmet.

Shoei VFX-EVO Helmet-Matte Black-L

Ratings

Comfort:

80%
Comfort

Visibility:

100%
Visibility

Ventilation:

90%
Ventilation

Quietness:

70%
Quietness

Specifications

Outer shell material : Composite fiber for motocross

Shell size : 4 sizes (XS-XXL)

Liner : Multi-density EPS shock absorbing liner

Weight : 3.6 pounds

Pinlock : No (polycarbonate peak retention screws designed for impact shearing)

Strap System : Double D-ring fastener

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : Yes

SNELL : M2015

SHARP : Not tested


Shape and materials

Let’s start with the shell and work our way inward. The VFX-EVO uses a compressed fiber composite that provides just the right balance of strength and flexibility. If the outer layer is too rigid, it shatters on impact. Too flexible, and the shell offers insufficient protection. This helmet falls right in the “Goldilocks Zone” for this balancing act, and if you press on the outside you will feel it has just enough flex without feeling mushy. 

The internal layers are high quality, impact absorbing EPS anchored together with the outer shell by impact columns. Liner pads are made of an antimicrobial breathable mesh, and the rock solid chinbar maintains that perfect balance between rigidity and flexibility like the outer shell. Depending on the outer shell finish, fingerprinting and scratching are generally not a concern any more than most motor-sports helmets.


Overall comfort

The most significant upgrade from the VFX-W is in the overall comfort of the helmet. Not only does it come in more available sizes to accommodate more head shapes, but the internal cheek pad liners have a pillow soft feel. A common complaint with the old VFX-W helmets was that the cheek pads could be hard on the skin, especially if you had your helmet on for extended time periods. 

More importantly, the washable, removable mesh liners breath beautifully, and owners of both the VFX-W and VFX-EVO have stated the new edition offers excellent moisture wicking when riding in hot weather. Back to back testing of both helmets confirms the overall comfort of the VFX-EVO is significantly improved over its predecessor. 

Most riders also indicated they could feel an immediate positive difference as soon as they slipped the VFX-EVO on, especially when matched to the newer Shoei head shape and size profiles. It is worth noting that some riders who use a neck brace experienced some limitation in their range of rotational head movement wearing this helmet, but not every rider wears a brace while riding. All in all, this is a comfortable helmet that should make long hours on the trail or track significantly more enjoyable.

Things I liked

  • Aggressive Shoei style
  • MEDS safety system
  • Pressed fiber composite outer shell for excellent flexibility and rigidity
  • Dual layer EPS
  • Pillow-soft, removable and washable cheek pads
  • Integrated goggle channel
  • Breakaway visor
  • Upgraded ventilation system

Things I don’t like

  • Custom finishing at the factory can be costly
  • Riders who wear neck braces may experience limited rotational mobility due to the shape of the helmet
  • No SHARP safety rating

Visibility

Shoei didn’t change much about the eyeport (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), and it has an integrated goggle channel for eye protection that won’t leave the ends hanging out or bunched up at the front of the visor. Motocross helmets are built for maximum visibility, so it should come as no surprise that this helmet is a standout performer. 


Quietness

This helmet doesn’t really dampen sound well, but with its open face eyeport and the lack of a face shield it isn’t meant to. You’ll still want a quality set of earplugs when riding to protect your hearing from engine noise.


Ventilation

You will not find a cooler or better ventilated motocross helmet than the Shoei VFX-EVO. There are sixteen intake and exhaust vents arranged strategically along the outside of the helmet to keep cool air flowing even when you’re riding in the summer heat. The open face alone should provide more than adequate ventilation, but the addition of the air channels makes a big difference at speed.


Safety

The primary objective for upgrading the VFX-W to the VFX-EVO was improving the safety for motocross riders. This helmet has a DOT rating, ECE rating and a Snell test rating. You can trust that this helmet will perform as advertised in a wreck, and the addition of the MEDS system is critical to this improved safety.

How does the MEDS system work? The EPS liner is composed of three parts: an outer layer anchored to the shell, support columns and an inner EPS layer. The outer layer closest to the shell is a rigid panel anchored to the inner layer by a swinging center column and several perimeter columns. 

In the event of an impact, the outer layer is designed to absorb energy and transfer it to the center column and other support columns, crushing them to redistribute the impact across the surface of the inner layer. Distributed impact is significantly better for the wearer since direct point impacts are more likely to cause significant trauma to the skull and brain. 

Finally, the VFX-EVO features and emergency quick-release system so medical personnel can easily remove a rider’s helmet without jeopardizing spinal cord or neck injuries. The quick pull tabs are clearly marked and accessible from the bottom of the helmet on either side. All an EMT needs to do is five them a quick yank and the chin strap falls free.. In short, this helmet is going to give you a better chance of surviving a crash without a permanent injury. That’s all you can really ask of a safe motocross helmet.

Conclusion

Motocross riders love the changes Shoei has brought to their VFX line of open face helmets, and other motorsport enthusiasts have come to prefer them for ATV/UTV driving over rough terrain where the potential for a rollover or crash are a real possibility. 

The comfort upgrades are a welcome addition for VFX-W veterans who disliked the chafing texture of the older cheek pads, and the upgraded ventilation system makes a huge difference when riding in hot weather for extended time periods. Better still, the comfort cheek pads are all removable and washable, allowing you to keep the helmet clean and fresh for each new ride. 

Finally, this helmet looks just like a Shoei should: aggressive, unique and eye-catching. They are also easy to customize after purchase for individual racing teams and organizations, and most custom shops prefer working with Shoei helmets since they lend themselves well to painting and refinishing despite the multiple air cents and surface irregularities.

Bottom line, if you are in the market for a new motocross helmet or something to keep your brain safe while you ride your ATV, the Shoei VFX-EVO is an excellent value that will provide you with years of safe riding in comfort and style.

Where to buy this helmet :