Review and photos by Andre Barbosa
Unfortunately, even the best riders crash. It isn’t a matter of if, but when they’ll happen. I’ve personally acquired enough concussions over the years that making the search for a high quality helmet even more important to me. After spending quite a bit of time researching different models, I was led to the Shoei VFX-W. Shoei has a reputation for making top quality helmets, and having always been positioned in the higher end of the market, the VFX-W carries that reputation with it. Although this model has been around for a few years, it’s still considered one of the best-looking helmets out there. In fact, one could argue that many of Shoei’s competitors were inspired by the VFX-W when designing their own products.
Shoei VFX-W Feature Highlights:
- Emergency Quick Release System (EQRS): tabs that disengage the cheek pads for easy emergency removal.
- Dual-layer EPS liner, with different density materials in key impact areas.
- Includes nose mudguard, helmet bag, and anti-glare visor sticker.
- Comes with a five-year warranty from purchase date.
- Available in XS-XXL.
- MSRP $463.99 (Solid colors), $613.99 (graphic models), and $654.99 (signature models).
The build quality is extremely high, with an incredible amount of attention to detail. Once I had the VFX-W in my hands, I could tell right away that Shoei didn’t cut any corners with this helmet. In addition, the Salute design is very attractive, up close and even from a distance. When sliding the VFX-W on my head, it instantly felt like a quality product, with sizing that felt spot-on for a medium model. Of course, everyone’s opinion on helmet-fit differs, depending on his or her head. But for myself, the cheek pads and the center padding fit perfectly around my head. On top of that, the build quality of the interior lining matched my opinion of the high standards set by the initial look of the helmet. Internally, the helmet has the EQRS pads, which allow the cheek pads to be removed while the helmet is still on your head. Once they are removed by medical personnel, it allows for an easier removal of the helmet, to prevent further damage in case of a head or spinal cord injury.
On the Track
While rolling out on to the track, the incredible fit and comfort was a nice reminder that I was in a high quality helmet and ready to put in laps. Once under way though, something did catch my attention…the ventilation and weight. It’s not that the VFX-W feels hot inside, but it felt like there was a lack of airflow compared to some other current helmets. Similar could be said for the weight, once again, not that the helmet is by any means heavy, but isn’t as light as some of the current high-end helmets in this price range. Notable was the lack of helmet movement while riding; the helmet stayed perfectly in place on my head. I would attribute that to the shape of the cheek pads, which have a snug fit around your jaw and cheeks, holding your head farther back into the helmet and keeping it secure.
The VFX-W’s quality continues to shine through in the long haul, especially after some repeated soil samples. I never experienced any double-vision or lacked the ability to remember where I parked. Internally, I had the same result, even after repeated washes the liner and pads have kept their shape, and haven’t degraded, or gone soft. That gives me the same confidence I had when sliding it on when new. From a visual standpoint it has held up exceptionally well, the clear coat has been very durable, and has done a good job of resisting minor scratches and roost chips.
The Last Word
The Shoei VFX-W has been around for about six years now and still looks as modern as ever. In that time some helmets may have passed up the VFX-W in regards to weight and ventilation, but it still holds its own with its superb fit, comfort, and safety features. Over the years that the VFX-W has been around, Shoei has added an abundance of graphic designs that are very impressive, especially for a high-end helmet. Meaning that even if you’ve had one before, there are plenty of different and refreshed designs to catch you eye, including this red, white, and blue number, since a little patriotism is always nice.
VitalMX rating: 4 stars
About the Test Rider
Andre Barbosa is a part-time photographer / videographer, part-time film student, and full-time motocross enthusiast. He started as a mechanical engineer, because of his love for all things motorcycle-related, but switched to the banking industry after getting his MBA. He currently lives in Irvine, CA, and can be found riding the local SoCal tracks a couple of times a week. Although he regularly raced Districts 6 and 34 when he lived in NYC, currently his friends call him a professional practice rider.