It’s Been Around For A While Now, But It Still Rates 4.7 Out Of 5 By Riders Who Actually Own The Helmet
The Shoei DS Hornet has been available for some time now, released in the USA in 2008. It was specifically designed for the adventure touring and dual sport market.
Since that time, Arai have released their latest dual sports helmet in the XD-4, and by comparison, the DS Hornet still looks good. I own several helmets; one of which is a Hornet DS. I’ve had it for a couple of years and it is still my favorite helmet for long distance general touring.
In 2010 I covered over 6,200 miles (10,000km) across southern Africa on a BMW 1200GS wearing the Hornet DS and found that it performed very well under a wide range of riding conditions.
The helmet is built to Shoei’s high standards. All of fittings on the helmet are sturdy and tight fitting; such as shield attachment points, shield seal, air vent seals and visor which is to be expected from any well engineered helmet.
One of the concerns I had prior to buying the helmet was the peak or visor. A significant proportion of the riding I do is on well formed roads; and speeds of around 60 to 70+ mph.
On top of that I usually have some sort of helmet-cam fitted so I was concerned with excessive wind buffeting at the higher speeds. I’m happy to report that not once did I find any excessive pull due to wind on the visor.
The interior liner is very easy to remove for cleaning or replacement, as it just snaps in place with a plastic press-stud arrangement. No hassles at all.
Also, being a person in the more senior stages of their life, it is nice to see there is a channel in the liner to accommodate spectacles. Nothing annoys me more than to have to spend five minutes trying to get my spectacles to sit on my face properly and not have them caught up in the liner. When this happens, profane language occurs.
- Helmet can be used in three configurations: with visor and shield, with just shield, or with just visor
- DOT and Snell 2005 Approved
- A wide, 3-dimensionally curved shield
- Visor includes a front air intake to channel air into top of helmet
- Shutter behind nose cover directs air flow to clear shield fogging
- Fully removable 3-D interior
- 5-layer cheekpads that are channeled for eyeglasses
- Breath guard and chin curtain included
There are numerous air vents in the helmet; and when riding around in the hot, humid conditions found in countries like Zambia I found the ventilation to suitable for the climate.
This helmet also has a shutter to direct air up onto the face shield. Africa is a country of extremes, and a few weeks later I was riding up past the Drakensberg ranges on the final leg back into Pretoria when the weather was freezing, wet and windy.
While I was moving, this airflow over the shield help keep fogging under control quite well.
It is possible to take the visor off, but it exposes a rather large hole right on top of the helmet that is used to duct air through an inlet vent that is part of the visor. Shoei provide a plug to close it off when the visor is removed.
So if you are going on an extended ride and wish to remove the visor while on route, take the plug! Quite frankly, I couldn’t be bothered with taking the visor off.
Fit and Comfort
This helmet fits well. I have never experienced and ‘hot spots’ despite when 500+ miles were the order of the day.
The chin strap is wide and comfortable, visibility is very good and it certainly is a lightweight helmet.
Here is a basic table so you can work out what size best fits.
|HELMET SIZE||HAT SIZE||CM||INCHES|
|XXS||6 3/8 – 6 ½||51 – 52||20 1/8 – 20 ½|
|XS||6 5/8 – 6 ¾||53 – 54||20 7/8 – 21 ¼|
|S||6 7/8 – 7||55 – 56||21 5/8 – 22|
|M||7 1/8 – 7 ¼||57 – 58||22 1/2 – 22 ⅞|
|L||7 3/8 – 7 ½||59 – 60||23 1/4 – 23 ⅝|
|XL||7 5/8 – 7 ¾||61 – 62||24 – 24 ⅜|
|XXL||7 7/8 – 8||63 – 64||24 3/4 – 25 1/8|
I make it a practice to wear ear plugs as it reduces noise related fatigue on longer ride days. Wind noise isn’t the only noise on the road, there is engine noise etc.
But for those shorter rides where I don’t bother, the aerodynamics of the helmet are good so wind noise is acceptable.
Shoei offer superior customer service. Shoei helmets purchased from an approved online retailer are covered under warranty for five years from purchase date or seven years from the date of manufacture, whichever comes first.
The warranty covers all manufacturing defects. Please note that damage caused by the consumer, as in dropping the helmet or taking a fall is not covered under warranty.
At the risk of being seen as unduly biased, I think they’re one Hell of a helmet for that long distance on-road/off-road tour.
The only drawback, if you can call it that, is the price. But after 26 riding days and 6,000+ miles in the saddle, the comfort and safety of the helmet to me is worth every cent. The price is the only thing stopping me from giving it 5/5, so I’ll give it 4.8 out of 5.
The Shoei Hornet DS offers both maximum comfort and head protection with an excellent fit and finish.
Here is a long testimonial from another riding colleague, which summarizes it pretty well.
“It’s everything I looked for. Great fit, Very nice face shield, seals great, has high quality feel and several detents for partially open, etc. Visor is a touch shorter than a full off road MX style helmet, which is good at road speeds. Up to 60 mph or so…buffeting is not bad. Faster, I would say be careful. Any visor is gonna start to pull your head around as the wind picks up…but yes…visor is worth having, really blocks the low sun morning/eve. Fogging is very minimal except when I rode a few times at 35 degrees out, even then, only when stopped.
For Dual Sport riders, this is a great helmet. I hated to pay 400 bucks for it but did and am very glad. The cheekpads are removable and for 40 bucks, you can get thinner/thicker ones for a PERFECT feel.
What pushed me over the edge to buy was the feel, specifically…large ear pockets inside this helmet=NO crushed ears. I hate that!
The only real quality competitor to this model is the Arai XD, which is also a very nice helmet, fit, etc. BUT…visor is longer and I bet grabs more air=more wind buffeting on the street. For buzzing around town either would be good though. I did try both the Shoei and Arai on, then settled on the Shoei because of price and the shorter visor. A bonus I did not expect but got with this, is MUCH more peripheral vision than any of my street helmets in the past!”
If the DS Hornet helmet is a little pricey for you the next best thing we can recommend for you is to check out the AFX FX-39 Dual Sport Helmet and specifically the dual sports category of helmets for some bargain helmets with prices starting from $109.95.
Interested In Some Closeout Sale Deals?
While you’re thinking about the Shoei Dual Sports DS Hornet Helmet, you just may pick up a great bargain by scanning the closeout deals and sales currently on offer from Motorcycle Superstore, Revzilla Online or Cycle Gear Direct.
Prices/conditions valid at time of publication.
BTW: If you found this Shoei Dual Sports DS Hornet Helmet review helpful, why not give us the thumbs up on your favorite social media spot.