Motorcycle Helmets – Function and Design at the Same Time

by John Daniele

Motorcycle riders looking for a high-tech, high end helmet would do well to consider Shoei Helmets. Made and distributed by the Shoei Company, a Japanese firm, these helmets are both rugged and good-looking. Not only that, but newer models are usable in different settings. For instance, the Shoei Helmets line's recent addition, the new Hornet-DS, can be configured by each rider, making it usable for both on-road riding and off-road riding depending on the owner's needs and desires.

The Shoei helmets are distinguished objects of industrial design as these helmets not only serve the main function of shielding the rider's head but are also noticeably beautiful. The sleek design is the most notable feature of Shoei helmets. Adding to this is the adequate ventilation that the helmet has ingrained into its structure lessening rider fatigue. Once again the Hornet-DS helmet from Shoei is worth mentioning. We can't help thinking whether this helmet has been designed for its looks rather than function as its frontal projection from the cranium and termination in the nosepiece makes it an apt Star Wars prop. The beauty of this helmet adds to its inventive qualities and has been scientifically designed for: 1] safety of the head; 2] adequate air passage within the helmet structure to keep the face and head sufficiently fresh and dry.

Regarding the toughness of the helmet, the earlier models of the modern Shoei helmets were introduced for use in the construction industry in Japan; the first motorcycle specific helmet being made in 1960. This helmet met the Japanese industrial criteria for robustness. The later versions of the Shoei helmets gave primary importance to the durability and crash resistance while designing the helmets. A sizeable majority of the company's helmets met the standards of Snell Memorial Foundation's M2005 rating. The Snell Memorial Foundation's rating system has often been criticized for its strict rules regarding safety benchmarks. The models of the helmets that have received the Snell Memorial Foundation's M2005 rating can be fairly judged to be the most reliable motorcycle helmets in the world. One key point to be mentioned is that the GRV helmet from Shoei was the helmet in which latest technologies such as carbon technology and Kevlar were first introduced.

Various versions of the Shoei helmet have won numerous industrial design awards as well as safety awards. The Honda Motor Company linked the Shoei helmet to its motorcycle product line in 1965 and this helped to stimulate sales.

Surprisingly, this company, a company with a strong international presence-the Shoei helmet is very sought after in the United States-has a world-wide work force of only 500 people. Despite the popularity of the Shoei product in many regions of the world, and despite the fact that the Shoei helmet could be manufactured in places where costs would be much cheaper than in Japan, the company proudly proclaims that every Shoei helmet is produced in its state-of-art facility in Iwate, Japan. This small company produces a superior product that has delighted motorcycle enthusiasts throughout the world.

About the Author: