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Shoei NXR2 – The Evolution Of Perfection

My good old faithful Shoei X-Sprit II helmet was getting old in the tooth, and therefore, a new helmet (and all the research that goes along with it) was on the horizon.

This was my first Shoei, before this, I had tried several other brands and had struggled with the fitting. Either they would push too much on my forehead or have a gap above my head which meant, if I pressed the helmet from above, the top of the eye-opening would cover my eyes. I tried all sorts of adjustment techniques, but just could never quite get it right. The other gripe I had was being an XL head size, most lids tended to look big—one particular helmet looked like I was off to the moon.

I’d bonded very well with my X-Sprit II, it fitted my pip straight out of the box and the shell even though XL didn’t look massive. Hence why it’s been my “good old faithful” for about 6 years now.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

A few years ago, when in the market for a more long-distance touring helmet, as a result of being so happy with my X-Sprit II that I opted for another Shoei, their GT-Air II. Again, it fitted me straight out of the box and I have been happy with it ever since, although I don’t use it often as a daily, it only really gets used on trips.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

So when looking for a replacement daily-urban-usage helmet, I didn’t have to look that far as I knew, another Shoei is what I wanted.

My colleague Dave Cilliers owns an original NXR which has been on my radar for quite a while. So, when looking at Shoei’s current range, their updated NXR2 was right at the top of my list of lids.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The original NXR has been the benchmark in road/sports helmets for many years and after watching a few ‘old vs new’ comparison videos, where they explained that the updated NXR2 keeps the DNA of the original loved-by-many NXR with ‘only’ some subtle focussed improvements. It didn’t take much to convince me that the updated NXR2 was the right helmet for me.

I am not a fan of graphic helmets, therefore, I bought an NXR2 in Matt Black with a Dark Smoked visor.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Ok, so I have owned this helmet now for about a month or so, let’s dive into some of its stand-out features…


The NXR2 has been developed and refined in Shoei’s state-of-the-art, in-house wind tunnel facility from the very beginning stages of life, it boasts impressive improvements in aerodynamic performance, including a 6% reduction in lift and a 4% reduction in drag (as compared to the NXR).

I am currently riding in and around JHB on a small sports-naked motorcycle as a means of navigating the hustle and bustle of city life. I am finding the aerodynamics of the NXR2 to be excellent and I am very impressed with its ability to cut through air – almost no buffeting (which on a naked is very important). There is also very little wind noise.

Image source: Shoei

Ventilation Performance:

One word to describe the ventilation performance on Shoei’s NXR2 would be impressive!

Utilizing Shoei’s in-house wind tunnel to help reveal the optimal balance between airflow and silence, Shoei designers relocated the centre/forehead vent, and also equipped it with an additional air intake hole, to help increase the volume of cooling air entering the helmet (six air intake vents up front).

I found the vent mechanisms to be extremely intuitive to operate. To open, you pull back and to close pull forward. They are nice and big so doing this whilst riding and wearing gloves is very straightforward.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Other helmets that I have owned in the past don’t come close to the ease of operating the vents on the NXR2, even with the X-Spirit II you would need to stop at the side of the road to perform the task, as the vents were tiny and would work in a left-to-right motion (whilst riding it’s easy to forget which way is open/closed).

Normally when I ride, I always slightly have my visor open for ventilation, as I don’t like the feeling of not being able to breathe, it makes me feel claustrophobic. This is the first helmet that I have owned where the ventilation is so good, that I feel comfortable closing the visor fully. It’s hands down the best-ventilated helmet that I have ever had. Diving deeper into the specs to find out why it’s so good, I discovered that the design uses a DUAL-LAYER MULTI-DENSITY EPS LINER. This allows the cooling air to travel unrestricted through tunnels created in the EPS giving the rider maximum airflow when riding with the visor closed—I am really impressed by this technology, very clever.

Image source: Shoei

Additionally, a new, enlarged exhaust outlet vent helps take better advantage of negative pressure suction at the rear of the helmet, yielding improved hot-air expulsion (four exhaust outlets).

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Shield System:

The all-new CWR-F2 shield system features improved visibility, functionality, and performance over its predecessor. The 2D “flat” outside surface combined with 3D technology inside offers an aggressive look with optimized visibility for a more natural view, Vortex Generators on the sides of the shield improve aerodynamics and reduce wind noise.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

The new and improved Pinlock system is 10% larger than on previous models, which gives great lateral vision.

There is an all-new conveniently located centre-locking mechanism, which I found tricky to operate with gloves on. You need to push in and pull up the visor, this is probably my only gripe on the NXR2. I understand the location aspect, however, the feel just isn’t good.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers


For me personally, the safety aspect is right at the top of my criteria list when considering a new helmet, as you can’t put a price on your head. Shoei’s NXR2 comes fully loaded with cutting-edge technology. It features a Shoei-exclusive Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ shell (proprietary technology integrates a multi-ply matrix specifically designed to meet both SNELL M2020 and DOT standards), Dual-Layer/Multi-Density EPS liner (provides enhanced impact absorption by utilizing varying densities of foam), and the Emergency Quick Release System (in case of an accident, the helmet can be gently removed from an injured rider’s head with minimal load placed on his/her neck).

Image source: Shoei


The quality and feel of a Shoei interior is top-notch, something that I have gotten accustomed to over the years.

The NXR2 is equipped with a fully removable, washable, adjustable, and replaceable 3D Max-Dry Interior System II that is capable of dissipating sweat 2x faster than traditional nylon interiors. Newly designed cheek pads feature more volume on the bottom for greater comfort and reduced wind noise, and the soft yet durable lower cheek pad fabric provides an extremely plush fit and feel.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

There are optional interior components available in different sizes for a customizable fit, which is nice, as I said earlier, I have struggled in the past to fine-tune the fit of a helmet. Saying that, the NXR2 fits me perfectly straight out of the box, however, it’s still reassuring knowing that Shoei has these components available if I ever needed them. For example, as the helmet gets worn in, a new or thicker cheek pad might be something I would opt for down the line.

There is also a cheek pad channel for eyeglasses, which works well for me – my glasses are easy to take on/off and I don’t have any pressure at all on the stems. Which isn’t always guaranteed as a function on modern-day helmets.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers


The Evolution of Perfection is a fitting tagline for the longest-standing, most decorated full-face helmet model in the Shoei lineup.

Having sampled several of Shoei’s helmets for different purposes, if I was to only own one, then hands down it would be the NXR2 as it is very versatile. Initially, I bought it as a day-to-day helmet for in and around town, but what I have come to realise, is that it would work great on the track (being sporty and having a D-Ring buckle) and would also work well for long-distance touring (being super light/comfortable with by far the best ventilation of any helmet I have ever owned).

The NXR2 is a great choice as an all-rounder helmet from Shoei.

Photo credit: Bjorn Moreira / ZA Bikers

Shoei NXR2

For more information on the product featured in this article, click on the link below…

Shoei NXR2

R9,950.00 - R12,450.00 (RRP)

Brand: Shoei

Simon Morton
Simon Morton
Online Editor at ZA Bikers.