People's heads are different shapes and sizes and it is of the utmost importance to buy a helmet that fits properly. I would never buy a helmet because of the make or model, or because it is available in a specific colour scheme, although I am aware many people do.
In my opinion, one of the most important things when buying a helmet is to ensure it is the perfect size. Too big and you find that it will move around on your head, especially with the wind, which I find impairs vision and concentration. In addition to this if you have an accident there is the possibility the helmet will come off, which could lead to severe consequences. If the helmet is too small then it will 'dig' in somewhere, that is providing you can actually get it on, which will lead to aches and pains, which could also lead to a lack in concentration.
The X-Spirit is the top of the range Shoei helmet that is constructed out of fibreglass and carbon fibre. In fact, it contains the most carbon fibre of any helmet currently on the market, hence making it very strong and very rigid.
The Shoei website claims "Numerous hours in the wind tunnel and on racetracks around the world has made the X-Spirit an aerodynamically superior helmet with minimal lift and drag, plus incomparable fit and ventilation". I can confirm the X-Spirit is very streamlined and with its rear spoiler it really does reduce wind resistance and drag, although it does look strange. It wasn't until I tried this helmet I appreciated just how much resistance my old helmet created and the X-Spirit goes through the air like a hot knife through butter.
The medium sized X-Spirit weighs in at 1.33Kg, which makes it one of the lightest helmets on the market. It's lightweight increases the comfort as neck muscle fatigue is reduced during periods of extensive wear. Although it is lightweight the strength is not compromised due to the amount of carbon fibre.
One of the best things about the X-Spirit is the fully removable inners. The cheek pads, skull-cap and neck roll can all be removed to ensure the perfect fit. In my case I am the small side of medium, therefore, I bought a small helmet and had it fitted out with medium sized pads and the fit is spot on.
In addition, the removable inners can be cleaned (although they shouldn't be machine washed and tumble dried as this will ruin them) which stops your helmet from smelling, which is great because there is nothing worse than a smelly helmet. Helmets become smelly through general wear and tear, it is a fact of life, but the ability to remove the inners and replace them if necessary does allow you to keep your helmet fresh. The chinstraps can also be removed and cleaned as necessary.
The visor on the X-Spirit is a mist-retardant CX-1V pinlock that comes with a removable anti-fog insert as standard, therefore there is no need for other de-misting agents. Whilst this works very well you can see a faint outline of the insert, especially in sunlight or in the dark when dealing with oncoming car lights, which creates a distraction by providing something to look at whilst taking your focus off the road. Another feature of the visor is that it is fully lockable meaning it remains tightly shut, at the flick of a switch. Personally, I don't see this as much of a selling point as I like to be able to lift my visor during the claustrophobic moments I get when wearing a helmet for extended periods. If you are a racing then I can see the usefulness of the locking feature but for the road? Even the sales man said the locking feature was pointless since in all his 20 years of riding he has never known a Shoei visor to lift up once it was shut.
The X-Spirit is the most comfortable helmet I have ever worn, and I can only attribute this to the 3D cheek pads and skull cap, the lightweight outer shell, the increased ventilation and the streamlined design that reduces drag. In addition to being comfortable it is also very quiet and I no longer need to wear earplugs.
One disadvantage of the X-Spirit is the limited range of colours and designs. The colours available include white, black or silver, none of which are that exciting and the graphics on the patterned helmets also lack originality and flair. It is possible to get the helmet re-sprayed without damaging the outer shell, so you can colour code it to your bike or have a replica of your favorite racer, but it is expensive to have this done.
At £535 for a patterned, and £495 for a plain version, the X-Spirit is not cheap and there are many cheaper makes of helmet available but can you put a price on your head? I want to know that if I do have an accident I am going to have the best possible chance of coming out unscathed, and the X-Spirit gives me this confidence. After all, if it is good enough for the MotoGP racers, who consistently reach speeds of up to 200 mph, then it should be more than good enough for everyday road riding.
(This review has been posted on other sites under the name of Yackers1)
Overall, the X-Spirit is a great helmet and it is one I would highly recommend, providing it suits your head shape. I find mine very comfortable, very quiet and there are times when I almost forget I am wearing it. The removable inners ensures the best fit and also allows cleaning, hence preventing a smelly helmet. I appreciate it is expensive but then a helmet is probably the most important bit of safety kit you are going to buy so it is definitely worth spending a little extra.
Manufacturer: Shoei / Misc Motorcycles Accessories Type: Helmets