There are probably two things Shoei Neotec 2 owners would like to see from its successor: a bigger sun visor and a smaller gap when the main visor is pushed open a step.
Having worn the new Shoei Neotec 3 flipfront helmet for 300 miles in the last week, I’ve found both of those issues have been addressed effectively.
Shoei have used the QSV-2 sun visor that’s found in their GT-Air 2 (and forthcoming GT-Air 3), and it is deep enough to cover the usable area of the eyeport.
Confirming I had the sun visor down required sliding the lever and looking for movement, not glancing downward to see the glaringly obvious gap between light and dark.
And a new mechanism for the outer visor allows a 5mm gap between the bottom lip of the visor and the seal on which it secures. This is much better than the Neotec 2, which gave a 35mm gap when opened to the first step.
Again, I found this to be enough to draw in some air while riding without impinging on my vision, or allowing a draught that would make my eyes water.
Those are the standout improvements, but there’s also been quite a lot of attention on the Neotec 3’s aerodynamic performance in Shoei’s R&D lab.
It’s hard to say the Neo 2 had a noise problem - 116 customer reviewers said it was quiet and eight said it wasn’t. Still, Shoei obviously want that positive:negative ratio to be even higher.
The shape around the ear has been simplified and made smoother to cause less disruption as the lid cuts through the air.
A new official intercom, the Sena SRL 3, is smaller and sleeker so there’s less to mess up the airflow around the rim.
The restraining strap is also very slightly narrower and the micrometric buckle that fastens it is smaller, again to minimise noise as air flows over it.
The cheekpads have been made longer to create a better seal to the rider’s neck, giving less space for air to get inside and make the ride noisier.
The new visor is also designed to seal better around the eyeport, blocking out more air - and, just as importantly, creating a better rain barrier.
I say new visor. It’s very similar to the one on the Neotec 2, but with a reinforced rib across the top to improve that seal, and a new locking mechanism.
The latter now lives in the centre of the visor and giving it a firm push down on the final step of travel locks it in place.
A release button underneath is a simple way of freeing the lock to let the visor lift. I found this easy to use in my time with the Neotec 3, but I have previous experience with multiple helmets that use a similar set-up. It may take time to feel as comfortable with it as I am.
The chinbar opening mechanism releases with the same red button on the front surface as the Neo 2, but there are now two stages at the top of its travel.
The first stage sits the chinbar lightly in the raised position, so you can put the lid on and take it off. The second is more secure and allows the helmet to be worn in the open position while riding.
There’s no switch to lock the chinbar up. The resistance with the chinbar at the second stage is enough for the helmet to meet dual-homologation rules within the ECE 22.06 safety standard.
Photography: Joe Dick & SHOEI
Ventilation is just as good as it was on the old Neotec 2 - the top vent dragged through a refreshingly large volume of air on the Suzuki V-Strom 1050 I rode for this review, even with the bike’s screen on its tallest setting.
The chin vent is a lot more aesthetically pleasing to me than the sci-fi effort on the Neotec 2, and still very effective. I had to stand on the pegs of the V-Strom to test the benefit, though, as the screen creates a bubble that stops air flowing to the chin.
I feel Shoei have done a very good job with the Neotec 3. They’ve retained the strengths of the Neotec 2 but addressed the criticisms, and taken the direction a stage further still.
The traditional Shoei build quality and luxurious liner are in place, the ventilation is first-class, the sun visor and main visor are significantly improved and I found the ride quiet on the V-Strom 1050. Noise will always depend on so many factors that it’s impossible to promise it’ll be the same for you, though.
If I have one very minor criticism then the Pinlock insert isn’t as wide as those found in some rival premium flipfront helmets. This doesn’t impede peripheral vision as such, but it would be even better with a wider Pinlock in place.
The other area that may bother some, especially those looking to migrate from a Neotec 2, is the new SRL 3 intercom integration.
Older SRL units won’t attach to the Neotec 3, meaning an extra £300 or more per helmet for those who want the updated comms system.
And, like most modern helmets with intercom integration, the provision for an official set-up makes it hard to put on an off-the-shelf intercom of your choice.
Those bits aside, the Neotec 3 is a very good helmet. As good as I’d expected from a top-line brand like Shoei, and a worthy successor to a very popular helmet.
If you want more detail on the new Neotec 3, our video review is a comprehensive review of what’s new, and what it’s like on the road…