August 01, 2013
A New Benchmark In Helmet Ventilation
Thomas Berry: The GT-Air is the newest addition to Shoei’s full-face helmet selection. The features that make the GT-Air unique in the Shoei lineup are the integrated slide-down sun shield, and the helmet’s specific design to move a lot of ventilation air through the interior.
Like most Shoei helmets, the GT-Air uses an “Advanced Integrated Matrix” shell composed of fiberglass with organic fibers. The design is supposed to create strength while maintaining light weight. The liner is completely removable for cleaning and fit can be customized with cheek pad options (purchased separately). The cheeks are also equipped with emergency quick-release straps to allow the helmet’s removal with minimal head and neck stress in the event of a wreck.
The helmet does the “air” in its name justice by moving a lot of air through the interior. I’ve worn and owned a lot of well-designed helmets that did a fair job of ventilation, but the GT-Air set a new benchmark for me. There are three adjustable vents, and each one does a good job on its own. Each click has a distinct affect on air flow. With all vents working together, the flow is very noticeable. Riding in cool temps, I had to close the vents after my head got cold. In hot temps, the GT-Air may not be an air conditioner for your head, but it’s the closest I’ve worn to date.
A sliding lever on the left side raises and lowers the integrated slide-down sun shield. It has infinite adjustability in its range, but I kept it either all the way up or down. Overall, the sun shield is a convenient feature, and not having to carry an extra lens when night comes is beneficial. Occasionally, I experienced reflected glare between the face shield and sun shield, a reason I normally use tinted face shields rather than wearing sunglasses inside my helmets.
The Pinlock Anti-Fog System works as advertised. With the lens in place, I could never fog the shield, even in freezing conditions, making the accessory breath guard almost unnecessary. The face shield is distortion free and seals perfectly around the ample eye port. The six ratchet positions are crisp and positive, and the flush mount mechanism is an evolution of Shoei’s original quick release design. The face shield and the inner slide-down sun shield are both impact rated and protective against UV rays.
The comfort of the helmet is pleasant. The pads are all pre-contoured and conformed snugly to my head shape. The GT-Air’s wind spoilers and contours are molded into the shell to reduce noise and turbulence. I had little to no buffeting. For a helmet that moves so much air through it, the GT-Air is quiet and the included detachable chin curtain helped close off even more wind noise. That said, I still found myself more comfortable wearing foam earplugs at sustained highway speeds. Your height and windscreen may have differing effects.
If you are looking for a do-it-all street helmet, the GT-Air would make an excellent choice. Its features are well designed for a wide range of climates and duties. Shoei offers sizes XS-XXL and a dozen color and design options.