Shoei RYD Helmet I’m a dyed-in-the-wool retro helmet guy. Call me a hipster or a
slave to fashion, but I really like simple, stylish helmets in classic styles, and I think
they suit the bikes we feature here more than modern lids do.
Here’s the problem though: retro helmets are great for cruising around on scramblers
or cafe racers. But on faster bikes, or over longer distances, they pretty much suck.
They’re noisy, not very aerodynamic, and often don’t vent well. So when I got an
invite to tour Eastern Europe on a bagger, I knew none of the old-school helmets in my
humble collection were going to cut it. Luckily Shoei Helmets UK came to the rescue,
hooking me up with the new Shoei RYD (sold in the US as the RF-SR, with a breath guard).
Let’s get this out the way immediately: I love this helmet, and I’m not ashamed to admit
that that’s fifty percent down to its looks. Shoei kept the RYD’s aesthetic subtle and
understated, with a lack of excessive contours, and proportions that are vaguely reminiscent
of old racing helmets. So it cuts a neutral silhouette that complements my Kawasaki W650 as
much as the Ducati Monster 797 I was hooning around on the other day.
The RYD comes in at £350, and is only available in solid colors. I opted for the matt blue
metallic finish paired with a tinted visor, and was floored by how good it looks in the light
of day. The combination of metallic paint and a matt finish is every bit as stunning as it
sounds, and the overall build quality is stellar. (But be warned—that matt finish is a real
pain to keep clean.)
The other half of my love for the RYD is all about how good it feels. My pip measures 62cm,
which puts me at an XL for most manufacturers, including Shoei. Straight out of the box the
XL RYD fit snug and comfortable, with no hotspots and no need to break it in. The interior
might not feature the sort of quilted leather touches that you’ll find on high-end retro
helmets, but it has marshmallow-like levels of plushness.
It’s also removable and washable, and the cheek pads have a quick release system to help
medical personnel get your helmet off safely in an emergency. I don’t use a Bluetooth
comms system myself, but it looks like there’d be enough space to fit one, and I can get
my sunglasses on without much fuss.
The outer shell uses Shoei’s ‘Advance Integrated Matrix Plus’ design, which is basically
just a mix of fiberglass and organic fibers, but makes for a pretty svelte helmet at a hair
under 3 lbs. There’s also a multi-density EPS liner, and it’s probably worth noting that
Shoei use four shell sizes across the size range, which is reassuring for riders with
Keeping the helmet in place is a standard issue double D-ring system,
padded for comfort and kitted with a press-stud for stowing the end of the strap.
Plush and light are two major boxes to tick, but the RYD also scores high in other
areas. It’s pretty quiet, even on naked bikes, with little to no buffeting at speed. It’s
well ventilated too, with three front vents (one at the chin and two up top) that are
all easy to operate with gloves, and two ‘spoiler’ exit vents at the back.
Noise levels are obviously a touch elevated with the vents open, but not unbearably
so, and there’s a little chin curtain too to help keep things peaceful.
The visor is another standout feature: It’s the same CWR-1 shield used on Shoei’s
RF1200 and NXR helmets. The eye port is nice and wide, there’s zero optical
distortion, and the anti-fogging Pinlock system is highly effective, even when
stuck at traffic lights.
The visor goes up and down in incremental clicks, and clips closed via a neat carbon
fiber notch on the left. It also forms a pretty tight seal: there’s a clever spring-loaded
hinge system that ‘hugs’ it against the helmet. Swapping shields is insanely easy, and
as a bonus, the base plate that the shield attaches to on each side is carbon fiber.