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Shoei Ex-Zero helmet review

Visordown put the new Shoei Ex-Zero through its paces in Portugal

Shoei Ex-Zero Helmet Review

I’M NOT REALLY one of these riders constantly worry if my riding gear will look right with the bike I’m riding. For the most part protection and comfort is enough for me to decide on what to wear. Until the Triumph Scrambler 1200 launch that is, it quickly became apparent that my tawdry selection of touring helmets were never going to cut the mustard.

I went for the Ex-Zero (the colour scheme is called Equation TC-2) because firstly, it’s a retro-styled MX lid and that fits perfectly with the styling of Triumph’s chunky and purposeful off-roader. Secondly, I tried on the Bell Moto III (the next best thing to the Shoei) at the bike show and found it pinched my cheeks and chin, not in a comforting and secure way – it was a ‘shit this hurts’ kinda way. And finally, I like the interior shape of the other Shoei lids I’ve used so was hopeful the Ex-Zero would follow suit.

Price

The Ex-Zero comes in at £359.99 for base colours and the Equation TC-2 I have comes in at £413.99. Accessory tinted visors are available in clear, dark smoke and yellow for around £30 and the peak (as pictured) comes in at about £25.

Shell

The shell is an organic multi-composite made of fibreglass and polyester resin and there are three shell sizes: small covering XS to M, medium covering M and large covering XL and XXL. The sticker on the lid states a weight of 1,150g, which is damn light when compare that to my Shoei Hornet ADV which comes in at 1,610g and it’s not like I thought the Hornet was a heavy lid!

The graphics on the Ex-Zero are all perfectly applied and the colours really bright and vibrant. The coloured stripes that loop the rear of the lid fade, from dark to light and back to dark again, as they cross the lid and it all adds up to make a very eye-catching design. It’s fair to say that on the launch in Portugal, this was the lid that everyone wanted to have a look at.

Lining

The interior of the helmet is EPS (expanded polystyrene) and it makes use of multi-density internal padding, which is claimed to give ‘optimised protection through the use of materials of different absorption levels at different areas within the helmet’. The idea is that different areas of your head need different levels of protection and the interior of the lid mimics this.

The lining material is plush and comfortable against your skin and does a good job of wicking sweat away from your face. I also noticed that after two days off-road hard off-road riding, it smelt surprisingly fresh. The lid also dried out overnight and was totally comfortable to use on day two of the launch.

The lining is completely removable and washable for those times when it’s not so fresh. It’s worth remembering that Shoei advise handwashing the interior in a mild detergent and then leaving them out of direct sunlight to dry.

The lining also features Shoei’s E.Q.R.S (Emergency Quick Release System) that allows the emergency services to remove the cheek pads of the lid and remove it with ease.

Comfort

Thankfully the Ex-Zero has an almost identical interior shape to the Shoei Hornet ADV I’ve been using for a year or so. Getting the lid on it almost feels too tight but then once you are inside it’s a very nice place to rest your bonce. On the move it is a noisy lid, to be expected when you see the size of the front opening, needless to say – earplugs are a must!

One thing that did shock me about the helmet is how little it gets buffeted at speed, even with the peak installed, it’s supremely stable at motorway speeds and above. For a helmet that isn’t meant for hammering along at high speeds, it performs extremely well.

The big front opening does have a downside, when following other vehicles on and off-road, you do get peppered with small stones and grit, the drop-down visor provides a decent level of protection or some off-road goggles work well – sunglasses where less effective!

Fastening

The fastening is a double D-ring with a soft lined cover over the strap. It’s my preferred method of securing a crash helmet as it allows you to get the best fit, I also trust a D-ring more than these fancy plastic ratchet straps some lids use.

Verdict

While this may look like a one-trick pony type of helmet you can actually use it in a variety of situations, from scrambling, green lane rides, commuting or just mooching about looking cool. It’s never going to be your first choice for long winter rides or fast road riding but then again, there are enough products in the Shoei stable to enable you to do that.

The best thing about the Ex-Zero is that it manages to be comfortable, well equipped and cool looking all in one package. Most helmets are either only one or two of those things, the fact that this product ticks a multitude of boxes just makes it more useable and better value for money.

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