Whenever someone asks me how much they should be spending on a helmet, I response, “How much is your head worth?” Price doesn’t always dictate quality, so it is important to do your homework to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, but if you’re looking to skimp anywhere – it shouldn’t be on head protection.
Shoei’s top of the range X-Fourteen is the successor to the venerable X-Twelve, receiving a number of updates to aero and venting. Its Snell M2020D and DOT certified. Shoei produces different variations of the X-Fourteen to meet various racing/regional standards, so check with the sanctioning bodies where you plan on riding or competing. The AIM+ shell is comprised of a six-layer composite, including fiberglass and organic fibres.
The entire lining can easily be removed for cleaning and can also be replaced with optional thicknesses (sold separately) for a custom fitment. Cheek and centre pads can be adjusted up to four degrees, allowing for an increased field of vision for more aggressive riding positions.
Offered in XS to 2XL in 15 different colours, I opted for gloss Black in Large with a smoked shield. Four shell and five liner sizes offer improved sizing options. It fit slightly snugger than a large helmet normally does at first, but the high-quality dual-layer multi-density EPS liner slowly molded to my head after several rides. The padding in the crown and cheek pads kept the helmet firmly in place whether riding on the road or reaching speeds upwards of 220 km/h on the racetrack during lapping days. I also didn’t experience it “lifting” at such velocities as I have with other helmets.
The aerodynamic design was the result of wind tunnel testing and feedback from professional riders. The standard rear flaps can be replaced with optional, narrower flaps, depending on rider preference. Its unquestionably a track-focused helmet, but its appearance also isn’t so aggressive that it looked out of place while riding cruisers like the Harley-Davidson Sportster S on the street. Whether on the street or track, it was surprisingly quiet.
A removable breath guard, chin curtain, and removable lower air spoiler all arrive in the bag. The visor opening and locking mechanisms work effectively and keep it securely in place but also make it easy to swap from daytime to night riding or vice versa without the use of tools.
The bottom line is this – I don’t mind spending more, as long as it’s worth it. The X-Fourteen is aerodynamic, quiet and light, but also rigid and durable, making it feel worthy of its $1,049 MSRP.