When you’re defying the laws of gravity aboard your dirt bike, it’s inevitable that science gets the upper-hand once in a while. So when it comes to choosing a helmet, you’re going to want all the protection and comfort you can get. And that’s what Shoei’s all-new VFX-W off-road helmet is all about.
The first thing you notice about the helmet is sleeker, more aggressive styling. A larger front opening provides a wider field of vision and allows for the use of today’s bigger goggles. A specially-designed recess around the back of the helmet complements the change and keeps the goggle strap in place. A longer visor has a greater range of adjustment (forward and back) and also includes an optional anti-glare adhesive strip that can be installed on the bottom of the visor. Plastic screws fasten the visor to the shell and are designed to shear in hard impacts.
A bit of old and new technology comprise the VFX-W’s outer shell. Similarly to its VFX-DT/MT predecessor, Shoei’s newest lid meets Snell M2005 standards and uses the Japanese company’s Advanced Intergraded Matrix plus Multi-Fiber (AIM+) shell. However, new forming technology allows for a more angular shape without comprising shell thickness. Using interwoven organic and synthetic fibers, Shoei’s AIM+ proprietary manufacturing technique gives the shell a tough yet light construction. Four unique shell sizes and five different liners provide a more personalized fit.
Special channels route cooling air through the helmet interior for unprecedented ventilation efficiency.
Inside, the VFX-W utilizes a two-piece, twin-layer, impact-absorbing Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) liner, which makes use of channels that work in unison with the fixed, always-open air intakes. Intake vents located on the mouthpiece, forehead, side, and visor-area flow air through the liner and out the exhaust vents located on the bottom rear of the helmet. All of the intake vents use a stainless-steel mesh that keeps dirt and debris from clogging the passages.
The mouthpiece also uses a strip of AIM+ material which helps prevent an object from penetrating it and the area around the chin is lined with EPS material. Further protection is provided by a wire mesh grate and removable foam filter that helps keep big chunks of dirt away from the rider’s mouth.
Interior pads are constructed from a 3-D Max-Dry fabric that absorbs sweat and allows for quicker evaporation. All of the pads (cheek, center, and chin strap covers) are removable for cleaning or to further customize the fit.
In the event of a serious crash, the helmet employs a unique Emergency Quick Release System, using mechanically operated tabs on each side. The system allows the removal of the cheek pads by medical personal and makes it possible to more safely remove an injured rider’s helmet without the chance of further trauma.
An innovative Emergency Quick Release System allows quick and easy removal of cheek pads to speed helmet removal by emergency medical personnel if necessary.
Although we didn’t weigh the VFX-W, it feels about the same as compared to the models it replaces. Slipping it on our head revealed it to be slightly looser fit as our outgoing VFX-DT lid. This is most likely because we were issued a medium when we typically use a tighter-fitting small. Nonetheless, the internal lining has a softer, more supple feel to it and just like the previous generation, Shoei’s helmet cradles our head comfortably with zero pressure points.
Perhaps the most notable difference over the helmet of old is the significantly improved cooling and ventilation. With the old helmet we’d be sweating profusely even while riding in cooler weather, yet after a 20-minute moto wearing the new lid we were barely breaking a sweat. Pair that with the VFX-W’s improved field of vision, better goggle retention, softer padding, and after a while you forget you’re even wearing a helmet.
Just like every other Shoei helmet we’ve tested, fit and finish is outstanding. Not only is the paint work on graphic models like the Scimitar TC-6 extremely impressive, the attention to detail on each and every part is on a level that other manufactures have yet to match. Shoei backs up its craftsmanship with a 5 year limited warranty from date of purchase or a 7 year warranty from date of manufacture, which ever comes first. If you’ve been searching for the finest off-road helmet around, Shoei’s VFX-W is it.
Pricing starts at $399.99