Shoei’s GT-Air was a helmet that redefined the do-everything lid. From the tourer to the sport rider, the GT-Air appealed to pretty much all crowds of motorcyclists. So how does the GT-Air II stack up to its predecessor? After Shoei sent this review unit over six months ago, I am quite pleased to announce that the updates only improve on an already top tier helmet.
So what’s new for the GT-Air II? Besides some aesthetically pleasing shell design changes, the biggest items of note are the longer internal visor and the integration of the Sena bluetooth communicator. The new longer internal visor does a better job at keeping an errant blast of sunshine from making its way into your periphery, while the Sena integration is so seamless that you’ll never want to go back to bulky clamp-on communicators ever again.
The only problem with the Sena communicator is that it’s an add-on for $299. At the GT-Air II’s $599 price tag, it turns things into one pricey affair. The nice part is that you can hold off on picking up the communicator until your “moto-fund” has replenished itself a little, so at least you can spread out the hurt of a $900 helmet. That said, having the integration is far more convenient than I thought it would be.
Since the helmet is tailor-made for this particular Sena setup, you don’t have the usual mess of cords popping out or a helmet that won’t sit on a table flat because a clamp makes everything lopsided. These small improvements, backed by the normal quality and thoughtful design that go into both Shoei and Sena products, make this a match made in heaven and worth every penny.
But the GT-Air II is more than a “smart-helmet” band-wagoner. With its included Pinlock, emergency-release cheek pads, chin curtain and ratchet chin strap, the GT-Air II is one of the most complete helmets I’ve ever tested. The quality of the materials are not only top notch, but durable, too. Over the last six months of wear, I can attest that the GT-Air II still looks nearly new with no fraying or scratching anywhere. The Shoei has been my helmet of choice through spring, summer and fall riding, providing proper ventilation the whole time.
My only issues with the GT-Air II are its price, which I covered earlier, and I think it could be quieter. It performed reasonably well, such that I never had to crank the volume all the way up on the Sena, but I never felt like I wanted to ride without earplugs in. When testing a helmet I always try to ride 15-20 miles without earplugs to see how I’d fair, and my conclusion was that I’d much rather be wearing my ear protection.
That being said, the GT-Air II is worth the price. It’s another solid Shoei design that continues to improve in thoughtful ways while maintaining an extremely high level of quality that will leave everyone from tourers to canyon carvers happy with their purchase.