The 2021 Ultimate Guide To The Shoei X-Series
“For when milliseconds count.”
For over fifty years, Shoei’s helmets have protected the heads of champions. From the SR-1 to the X-Fourteen, and all of the models between, one thing has remained the same: each helmet that leaves Shoei’s facility in Japan is specially crafted and handmade to the highest safety standards.
History of Shoei: From Construction Yard to Wind Tunnel
Founded by Eitaro Kamata in 1959, Shoei began as a company that manufactured safety helmets primarily used in the construction field. A year later, Shoei expanded its facilities in order to begin its primary goal: manufacturing motorcycle helmets.
In 1962, Kamata and his company produced the first motorcycle helmets to meet the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS). With this newly acquired certification, Shoei began development and production of motorcycle helmets featuring fiber reinforced plastic (FRP).
With newly developed helmets and a racing sponsorship program, Shoei introduced its very first motorcycle racing helmet in 1962: the SR-1.
The SR-1 paved the way for the extensive line of motorcycle racing helmets and helped to solidify Shoei as a premier helmet manufacturer in the motorcycle world. It was only four years later, in 1967, that Shoei started production of its first full-face helmet: the SR-Z.
Between the years of 1968 and 1978 Shoei began production of six new helmet models (the S-3, SA-1, S-10, S-12, S-20, and the GR-Z), and established factories in the United States and Europe to increase its market in the worldwide motorcycle helmet economy.
Since the development of its very first helmet, Shoei has helped to progress motorcycle racing helmet design and safety standards exponentially. With the introduction of the X-Fourteen helmet in 2016, the company is continually pushing the limits in the helmet industry.
Generation X: The Beginning of the Ultimate Racing Helmet
After 30 years of helmet creation and design, Shoei began its path down the road to the ultimate motorcycle racing helmet: the X-Series. In 1990 the company introduced the X-Eight; a helmet with a unique built-in mechanical face shield system. This feature completely eliminated the need for base-plate covers, making the helmet much quieter.
Three years later, Shoei released the first dual EPS liner ventilation system in the world with the introduction of the X-Eight Air, which laid the groundwork for one of the biggest helmet releases for the company: the X-Eleven.
With wind-tunnel development, an Advanced Integrated Matrix Plus (AIM+) shell, improved ventilation, extreme weight reduction and a comfortable interior, the X-Eleven was a major step forward for motorcycle racers and helmet manufacturers alike.
After the huge success of the X-Eleven, Shoei unveiled the X-Twelve in 2010. The launch included some brand new features, such as the improved base-plate system (Q.R.S.A.) for much easier shield installation and removal. The CW-1 Shield was also implemented to provide a taller and wider field of view, in addition to UVA and UVB protection from the sun.
But now, everything Shoei has done over the past six decades has come to fruition with the X-Fourteen. With all new aerodynamics, ventilation, adjustable lining, stabilization, and much more, the X-Fourteen was developed from the ground up. The helmet introduces an entirely new generation for Shoei, and brings to the table one of the best motorcycle racing helmets on the market.
Backed By A Professional Racing Team
The Shoei X-Series line of helmets have been used by professional racers since their inception. From MotoGP to the Superbike World Championship, the X-Series is used in a variety of different series and levels of road racing.
Marc MarquezAfter his first 125cc Championship in 2010, Marquez moved up to Moto2 and claimed the championship title in his second year in 2012. The title moved him up into the highest class, MotoGP, where he claimed back-to-back championships in his first two years for the Honda/Repsol team in 2013 and 2014.
Bradley SmithBeginning his career in the 125cc class in 2006, Smith progressed through the ranks and made his highest championship finish at second place in 2009. After a bump up into the Moto2 class, Smith found a foothold in MotoGP in 2013 and has been racing for the Monster Tech3 team ever since.
Eugene LavertyDuring his beginning in 125cc, Laverty was a runner-up in the 2004 British 125cc Championship. Following his success in 2006, he moved his way up into the 250cc class of the Grand Prix World Championship in 2007, and then to the World Supersport Championship from 2008-2010. In 2011 Laverty competed in the World Superbike Championship with Yamaha, which helped pave the way for his signing with Honda Aspar in MotoGP for the 2015 season.
Yukio KagayamaStarting his racing career in 1995, Kagayama has been on the track for the past decade. His resume includes time spent on teams in the Superbike World Championships, British Superbike Championships, and most recently the All Japan Road Race Championships.
Daijiro KatoAfter six years of racing in the All Japan Road Race Championship, Kato moved up the ranks to race in the highest class of MotoGP. However, in his very first GP class race at Suzuka, Kato was killed in a fatal accident after hitting the wall near the Casino Triangle chicane at close to 125 mph in 2003. In his memory, Shoei has released three different Daijiro replicas to honor the deceased racer.
The Shoei X Lineage: A Complete List of Variants
The helmets in the X-Series have been used by professional and amateur riders alike since its inception. Each model comes in a variety of different graphics, including race replicas of famous racing professionals. Note: a “replica” helmet is not just a decorative piece, but is made with the exact same safety features and graphics as the original.
Although considered by many to be just a stepping stone to make way for the X-Eleven, the X-Nine deserves recognition. Its upgraded ventilation system and shape helped make the X-Nine even more aerodynamic than the previous model.
Shoei set out to design a race helmet from the ground up, and the result was the X-Eleven. A complete overhaul of the X-Eight, the X-Eleven upgraded everything from the ventilation to a new shield locking system. Released in 2003, the X-Eleven was considered the “top racing full-face helmet of next generation.”
When the X-Twelve was introduced in 2010, it was the “flagship model” in Shoei’s helmet lineup. Used by professional racers such as MotoGP’s Marc Marquez and Bradley Smith, the X-Twelve was developed to perform at high speeds. The X-Twelve has both an innovative QRSA base plate and CW-1 shield technology, among many other advanced features.
Available in Anthracite Metallic, Black, Black Metallic, Matte Black, Silver Metallic, and White.
The X-Twelve Daijiro Kato Memorial Helmet commemorates the 10-year anniversary of MotoGP racer Daijiro Kato’s passing. There are three color schemes to choose from: yellow/silver/blue, red/yellow/blue, and blue/black/silver. Each helmet features metallic details and a futuristic tech-like pattern. The helmet has Kato’s number 74 on the back and a yellow star on the top.
Kato was the 2001 250cc world champion and two-time Suzuka 8 Hours winner. He passed away in 2003 after crashing at the MotoGP race at Suzuka Race Circuit in Japan.
The Trajectory X-Twelve was designed to look great going fast on the racetrack. This helmet is the same exact helmet that Danny Eslick wore when he won the 2014 Daytona 200 for Riders Discount Racing. It has a matte black finish and is available in three colors: blue, black, and red.
One of many Marquez helmets, the Motegi Marquez Replica is the helmet that racer Marc Marquez wore in the 2013 MotoGP Championship in Motegi. The helmet features a sun on the top, as well as Marquez’s signature ‘ant’ logo. The back of the helmet has Marquez’s number 93. Reflective silver and pearl blue paint add plenty of extra detail.
Spanish-born MotoGP racer Marc Marquez won the 2013 and 2014 MotoGP World Championships. Marquez currently holds the record for the youngest rider to win the premier class world title. Today he races for the Repsol Honda Team in MotoGP.
The Montmeló Marquez X-Twelve is a replica of the helmet that Marc Marquez wore at the 2013 MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix. This helmet features Marquez’s number 93 on the left side, and white/light blue stripes on the right side. Known as “The Thunder from Cervera,” the top of the helmet has a lightening bolt design with ‘RRRumble!’ in the middle. The entire helmet has a pearlescent shimmer finish.
The Marquez 2 Replica has a glossy red, white, black, and blue color scheme. The top features a metallic silver ant logo. On the back of this helmet is Marquez’s number 93 with a cartoon ant logo in the middle. The lower sides of the helmet have a blue gradient stripe.
True to Kagayama’s style, the Kagayama 4 Replica Helmet features a cyber-like design intertwined with skulls and a swirling pattern. White stripes run down the middle of the entire helmet. The Kagayama 3 is available in a black/silver/white and blue/silver/white color scheme.
Yukio Kagayama is a Japanese racer that has competed in the British Superbike Championship, Superbike World Championship, and the All Japan Road Race Championship. He launched his own team, "Team Kagayama," for a full season in the Japanese Superbike class of the All Japan Road Race Championship in 2011.
The Kagayama 4 Replica Helmet features an eye-catching cyber-like skull design. White and black (or blue) glossy stripes start at the top of the helmet and continue to the back, intermixed with metallic silver details. Clear vents blend into the design, rather than taking away from the graphic. The Kagayama 4 is available in a black/silver/white and blue/silver/white color scheme.
The Elias 2 TC-3 Replica has a swirling yellow, lime green, white and black pattern with metallic stars on both sides. On the back is Elias’ number 24 logo in yellow, with a star in the middle.
Toni Elías is a Spanish motorcycle racer that has performed in both Moto2 and MotoGP classes. In his 2010 Moto2 debut he ended the season as the World Champion. Elias competed in the Superbike World Championship in 2013 and 2014.
The B-Boz graphic features intricate designs all over the helmet. Near the chin vent on the front of the helmet are orange/yellow gradient wings with Ben Bostrom’s initials ‘BB’ in the center. On the sides of the helmet are orange and yellow stripes with small shapes like stars and 155. The sides also have orange roses towards the bottom and the quote “When you’re riding you’re living, everything else is just waiting” near the top. The very top of the helmet has a blue and red pinstriping, and the center back features ‘One Five Five’ surrounded by ornate patterns.
Ben Bostrom is a motorcycle racer that has ridden in a variety of championships from AMA Superbike to MotoGP. In 1998 Bostrom won the AMA Superbike championship on a Honda without winning a race. Bostrom has also raced in Supermoto, which combines off-road, flat track and road-racing.
The B-Boz 2 graphic has a sweeping red, white, and blue design featuring both glossy and metallic paint. The top and back of the helmet has intricate pinstriping. Large white stars mixed with small silver stars line the top right and left sides.
The Glory 2 graphic has a red, white, and blue color scheme mixed with some black, yellow, and silver accents. This graphic incorporates an American flag-like design with stars and stripes all over the helmet.
The Reverb graphic puts a twist on the traditional Union Jack. On the top is a stripe with the United Kingdom’s flag, which extends to the end of the rear spoiler. Red, white, blue, and checkered black stripes sweep from the left to right side of the helmet.
The Martyr graphic is mostly black with white, grey, and red details. Intricate pinstriping and shadowing are incorporated throughout the entire design. The back center of this helmet features a cross surrounded with two winged creatures. This same creature can be found on the top right and left sides of the helmet.
The Bautista X-Twelve has a similar design to MotoGP racer Álvaro Bautista’s helmet. The top and back of the helmet have elaborate, Baroque-like designs that incorporate fleur-de-lis shapes. Intricate shadowing and hard lines work together to create this unique helmet that comes in both a white/blue and white/red color scheme.
Álvaro Bautista is a Spanish-born MotoGP racer who currently rides for Aprilia Racing Team Gresin. Bautista entered the MotoGP class in 2010 on a Suzuki motorcycle, switched to riding a Honda in 2012.
The Laseca graphic features bold green and red lines across a glossy white helmet. Metallic silver stars are found on the front, top, sides, and back of the helmet.
X-Fourteen: The New & Improved Shoei Race Helmet
The Shoei X-Twelve has been considered one of the best premium race helmets in the world; until now. In October 2015 at the AIMExpo Shoei announced the newest edition X-Series helmet: the X-Fourteen.
Shoei designed the X-Fourteen first and foremost for their professional racers, making it faster, safer, and more comfortable. With racers like Marc Marquez and Bradley Smith wearing it, you know that it’s a high-quality helmet. Shoei believes that the X-Fourteen shaves lap times, so much that the helmet’s slogan is “The X-Fourteen—When milliseconds count.”
What's The Difference Between the X-Twelve & X-Fourteen?
The X-Fourteen has several brand new features that make it even better than the X-Twelve. The shell shape has been redesigned to improve the aerodynamics of the helmet, including a brand new, patent-pending Rear Stabilizer. The Rear Stabilizer works to “maximize high-speed stability while reducing negative forces on the rider.” You will experience 50% less buffeting, 10% less drag, and a 3% lift reduction with the new X-Fourteen.
A few changes have been made to the face shield and shield locking mechanism. First, the CWR-F Race Shield (equipped with Pinlock EVO fog-resistant system) has innovative new ribs on the edges to help eliminate bending. The X-Fourteen now has a double shield locking mechanism, designed to prevent unwanted shield openings while riding. The QR-E Base Plate System on this helmet not only makes changing shields easy, but also blocks out unwanted water and wind when closed.
The X-Fourteen’s ventilation system has received several upgrades. Now the cheek pads have a new cooling “tube” that allows fresh air to enter the helmet, cooling the rider’s cheek area. Allowing cool air to enter the helmet isn’t enough, though. The side air outlets of the helmet have been re-positioned to better allow hot, moist air to leave the helmet. Overall, the X-Fourteen has six air intakes and six exhaust outlets.
The X-Fourteen: It’s All In The Details
When racing at a professional level, every single detail is important. That’s why when Shoei designed the new X-Fourteen, they left no stone unturned. The aerodynamics of the helmet can be customized by switching out the standard rear flaps with narrower ones. Shoei takes the customization a step further by incorporating an innovative five-stage rotating dial that allows you to fine-tune the shield and base plate.
Shoei prides themselves in “active safety,” which means that they don’t stop at meeting D.O.T. and Snell guidelines, but go further by designing products that are both comfortable and protective. The 6-layer AIM+ shell construction and multi-layer EPS work together to redirect impact energy in the case of a crash. An Emergency Quick Release System (E.Q.R.S.) is built into the helmet to allow medical personnel to safely remove the cheek pads and helmet from an injured rider’s head.
The 3D Max-Dry Interior is customizable with optional sizes for each section of the center pad. Made of Max-Dry material, the inside “absorbs and dissipates sweat twice as fast as tradition nylon.” The interior is completely removable, washable, replaceable and adjustable.
X-Fourteen Available Colors & Graphics
Available in Black, Matte Black, and White.
Currently with three X-Twelve replica helmets, it was no surprise when Shoei announced that the brand new X-Fourteen would be available with a Marquez graphic. The Marc Marquez 4 Replica Helmet has a red and black color scheme, featuring Marquez’s signature ant logo on the top and his number 93 on both sides as well as the back. A red and black ‘maze’ patterned stripe wraps around the helmet.
The Bradley 3 Replica Helmet features a vibrant red, white, blue and black design that sweeps around the entire helmet, The top and back of the helmet resemble the British Flag, as a tribute to Bradley Smith’s home country.
Bradley Smith currently races for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in MotoGP. In 2015 Smith won the Suzuka 8 Hours with teammates Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Pol Espargaró.
The X-Fourteen Assail graphic features multiple sizes of stripes that wrap around the helmet to create an aggressive race look. It features a glossy finish with metallic details throughout the design. This graphic comes in three color schemes: red/white/blue, red/blue/yellow/orange, and red/black/white.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Shoei X-Fourteen
Is the Shoei X worth the premium price? Our answer is an absolute “Yes.” From the helmet’s safety features to its long-standing reputation for safety and performance, the Shoei X is worth every penny.
How does it compare to the Arai Corsair-X? Both brands make great helmets, and you really can't go wrong with either. Give us a call and we'll be happy to review the Corsair-X vs the Shoei X-Fourteen based on your needs!
How does it fit? The Shoei X-Fourteen is considered an ‘Intermediate Oval’ helmet. This means that the helmet is slightly longer front-to-back than it is side-to-side. Since the X-Fourteen is a race helmet, the cheek pads should be slightly snug. We recommend you measure your head and then reference the Shoei Size Chart to select a shell size.
|XS||6 5/8 - 6 3/4||53 - 54||20 7/8 - 21 1/4|
|S||6 7/8 - 7||55 - 56||21 5/8 - 22|
|M||7 1/8 - 7 1/4||57 - 58||22 1/2 - 22 7/8|
|L||7 3/8 - 7 1/2||59 - 60||23 1/4 - 23 5/8|
|XL||7 5/8 - 7 3/4||61 - 62||24 - 24 3/8|
|XXL||7 7/8 - 8||63 - 64||24 3/4 - 25 1/8|
The X-Fourteen’s cheek and center pads can be adjusted to eliminate pressure points. Visit Shoei’s website for a video on how to determine and check for proper helmet fit.
Is Riders Discount an Authorized Shoei e-commerce retailer? Yes!
Riders Discount is proud to sell the Shoei X-Twelve and X-Fourteen at the best prices anywhere. We have certified riders on staff who can easily guide you through the process of picking out your Shoei helmet. Our expert sales team is here for you by phone Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST at 1-866-931-6644 or by email anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.