If you are struggling to choose between a Shoei or Kabuto helmet, the good news is that this is probably one of the better problems you could be dealing with. Both of these helmet manufacturers boast high quality and have exceedingly good reputations surrounding their products. In all honesty, no matter which company you decide to go with, you’re going to end up extremely happy with your purchase.
On a practical level, both Shoei and Kabuto adhere to DOT, SNELL, and homologation. This means that both companies willingly hold themselves to the highest standards possible for motorcycle helmets, ensuring that you end up with a quality product on both ends. Ultimately, the difference between the two is going to be decided by your preference (and your pocketbook, as later described) as opposed to anything related to quality.
Of the two companies, Shoei is the older one. It was founded back in 1959, and as a result the helmet craftsmanship that this company produces has evolved along with the sport of motorcycling itself. Additionally, they are very stringent about their testing regime.
Shoei Is one of the companies that has invested in its own wind tunnel machine. All of their products are put through extensive wind tunnel testing as a result, making their helmets extremely aerodynamic and comfortable when worn at high speeds. In addition to the testing that is done in the wind tunnel, Shoei also test their products out on the track. They even test them on multiple different kinds of motorcycles, in order to get a feel for how they perform for riders with different preferences.
Kabuto was founded in 1982. Actually, the word “Kabuto” refers to the kind of helmet that Samurai traditionally wore. This is not surprising, given that, like Shoei, Kabuto is a Japanese company.
Kabuto also has its own wind tunnel for testing its products, like Shoei. in fact, one of the major focuses of Kabuto design is related to the movement of wind around the helmet. They call this the “Top Aero-Ventilation System,” and it is designed to bring an appropriate amount of cool air into the helmet while using negative pressure to expel humid air that is trapped inside the helmet. The idea behind this is to create a much more ventilated and comfortable riding experience for the helmet owner.
Ultimately, the best way to get a feel for the differences between these two companies is to compare some of their products. For the purposes of comparison here, we have selected to share our Kabuto helmet reviews on Kabuto’s Aeroblade 3 Rovente Helmet 2014 and our Shoei helmet reviews on Shoei’s RF-1200 Recounter Helmet.
The Aeroblade 3 Rovente Helmet 2014
The Aeroblade 3 Rovente Helmet 2014 has many incredible features, including the PINLOCK anti-fog lens insert. As motorcycle enthusiasts like us are aware, one of the worst things that can happen to a motorcycle rider is for the helmet to fog up, making it difficult to see. The PINLOCK anti-fog lens helps prevent this from occurring. Most riders report that this helmet never fogs up. On a long ride, this is invaluable.
The Kabuto patented Wake Stabilizer system helps immensely with airflow. Kabuto has a lot of experience working with wind, given their possession of a wind tunnel. The Wake Stabilizer system helps immensely with keeping you comfortable and cool while you are on your bike.
Another real boon is the removable and washable interior padding. Not to get too graphic, but when wearing a full-face helmet for a long period of time, sweating is inevitable. Removable padding makes the ride a lot more comfortable and hygienic.
Finally, Kabuto has outdone itself with the styling involved with this particular helmet. The gray and black goes with virtually any rider. Plus, one of the advantages that Kabuto holds over Shoei is that their helmets are typically more affordable. It can be difficult to find a Shoei helmet that is under the $500 mark. Meanwhile, you can find Kabuto helmets on sale for half that price.
Shoei RF-1200 Recounter Helmet
To compare against Kabuto’s offering above, we have chosen Shoei’s RF-1200 Recounter Helmet as a foil. Both of these helmets are relatively similar in shape and stature, and even a little bit in styling.
One of the major pluses is to this helmet is all of the focus that was put on making it as aerodynamic as possible. This helmet is lighter than the Kabuto helmet, which would make it more comfortable for longer rides. Additionally, the Recounter Helmet comes in a wider variety of sizes as compared to the Kabuto helmet. This means that if you have a very large head or very small head, either way you are covered.
The padding in this helmet is also easily removable for cleaning, like the Kabuto helmet. However, Shoei also includes several different sizes of cheek padding so that you can enjoy a more custom fit. The ventilation system on this helmet is also top-notch, given that Shoei has access to a wind tunnel just like Kabuto does.
Again, Shoei is a more expensive brand than Kabuto. You usually don’t find Shoei helmets on sale for any less than $500. This is actually one of the cheaper offerings that Shoei has at $589.99: many of Shoei’s offerings are well over $800.
Which is the Right Choice for Me?
Again, a lot comes down to personal preference when it comes to considering the virtues of Kabuto vs. Shoei helmets. Many simply prefer the fit of one compared to the other. If you have the opportunity, it is advisable to try on any helmet that you are interested in prior to buying it.
Probably one of the bigger considerations here is going to be your budget. As mentioned earlier, Kabuto helmets are little bit more affordable compared to Shoei helmets. However, Shoei tends to offer greater functionality in their helmets. In some of the more expensive Shoei helmets, they even have the option to add a communication system that was specifically designed for the helmet. Whether you decide to go with Kabuto helmets or Shoei helmets, either way you’re making a great choice.