GT or “grand touring” helmets walk a line between the sports sensibilities of racing helmets and the comfort of open face ones. The Shoei GT-Air Journey is a prime example of this class of helmet. So let’s do a quick Shoei GT-Air Journey helmet review.
Shoei is of course one of the big names in motorcycle helmets. This Japanese manufacturer has been making motorcycle helmets since 1959 and were one of pioneers of carbon fibre helmets all the way back in the 70s.
The company has invented quite a few unique systems for helmets, including innovative ventilation systems and the use of materials such as Kevlar in addition to the aforementioned carbon fibre. Their products are award-winning and scores of MotoGP riders have sported Shoei helmets over the years. In other words, when evaluating a Shoei Helmet, expectations are a bit higher than usual.
Aesthetically you’d have to look twice to tell it apart from full-on racing buckets, but little details such as the plush padding and generous venting hint at the GT-Air’s touring credentials.
The glossy shell of the GT-Air is sleek, while at the same time interesting to look at. Something that isn’t easy to do.
If you like the technological look the GT-Air will certainly be appealing. This is a helmet you can both tour and ride in a sports position with without looking ridiculous in either case.
Comfort and Noise
Shoei have gone to a lot of effort to cut down on wind and road noise, two things that can really fatigue a rider on long trips. All that wind tunnel time seems to have paid off, since the GT-Air is one of the quietest helmets on the market.
The ventilation in this helmet is really something else and is yet another sign of the extensive wind tunnel work Shoei did during the design phase.
The placement of the upper air intakes takes into account that you’re sitting behind a windscreen and are large, letting the helmet fill up with fresh air.
Fogging is essentially a non-issue thanks to large lower defroster vents, a breath guard and ample exhaust venting at the rear of the helmet. There are also wind shields around the neck, so your head is really isolated from the elements.
The shell of the helmet is made from modern fibre materials, providing great strength without sacrificing weight considerations. Shoei refers to this as the AIM or Advanced Integrated Matrix design. Using a combination of high-end fiberglass and organic fibers which they claim can only be cut by a laser.
The interior is also made of a good quality polyurethane known as 3D Max-Dry, which deals pretty well with sweat. Shoei claims that this washable liner removes sweat at twice the rate of nylon, whether that’s accurate or not it’s certainly an improvement.
These pads are also contoured rather than flat, in order to fit more comfortably around the human face. How much better this is really depends on your face though. That being said, the GT-Air is comfortable, so clearly Shoei has done something right.
A great feature worth mentioning is the QSV-1 sun shield. This is an injection molded, inner screen that drops down at the press of a button. It’s a proper lens as well, meeting ANSI Z80.3-2010 standards for non-prescription lenses. Shoei designed a bit of a forehead bulge on the outer shell that let them incorporate the sun shield without without compromising the shape of the padding around the head, so comfort is unaffected.
Speaking of an extra bulge, the interior is shaped in such a way that the rider can wear eyeglasses, which can often be a pain for those of us not blessed with 20/20 vision.
We have to mention the design of the vents on this helmet. They’re made in such a way that even when wearing cold weather gloves you’ll have no trouble operating them. There’s nothing more bothersome than fiddling with vents clumsy vents mid-ride and Shoei have really shown their half-century of design experience here.
The point of a helmet is to protect us in the unfortunate event we should have an unscheduled departure from our bikes. The Air-GT complies with DOT 218 standards and has additional safety features to make sure that you come out the other side in one piece.
The EQRS or Emergency Quick Release System lets EMS staff easily remove the helmet in the event of a crash. Most importantly, removing the helmet this way puts a minimum amount of load on the head and neck of the rider, so that existing injuries aren’t aggravated. All in all, this is a purchase that provides quite some peace of mind.
The GT-Air Journey is not at the budget end of the helmet spectrum, but for the touring enthusiast or street bound sports bike rider this may very well be the last helmet you need. There’s very little to criticise about the GT-Air Journey, although if you are looking for a serious track-day sports helmet then it might be worth purchasing something specific to that goal. For the rest of us the rest of the time the GT-Air won’t disappoint.
- Very Light
- Great Ventilation
- Sun Shield is convenient
- Very Quiet
- Great safety standards and EQRS feature
- It may look like a sport helmet, but be careful about mistaking it for one.
Interested In Some Closeout Sale Deals?
While you’re thinking about the Shoei GT-Air Journey, 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.
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