It’s been nine years since Shoei came out with a new/updated off-road helmet! Nine years!
Shoei’s new VFX-EVO is their latest DOT and Snell approved off-road helmet that pays tribute to its VFX-W predecessor while updating some styling and incorporating a rotational-impact-protection system that Shoei calls “Motion Energy Distribution System” (M.E.D.S.). Other helmet companies have implemented a similar system, known as “Multi-directional Impact Protection System” (MIPS), so it’s interesting to see helmet technology moving in this direction, though each helmet manufacturer has its own way of marketing it.
This is Shoei’s first helmet to feature this technology. The design uses a new two-piece EPS liner that reportedly doesn’t negatively affect overall weight, fit, or the impact absorption capability of the helmet. A fixed outer layer and an inner layer are anchored together by a center column that swings in the event of an impact, crushing surrounding perimeter columns to absorb energy. Shoei claims the system offers a 15 percent reduction in rotational forces to the brain. Plush materials are used in the lower areas of the cheek pads and, as with several full-face models, this helmet features E.Q.R.S (Emergency Quick Release System) pull tabs to easily and safely remove the helmet from the head of an injured rider.
When comparing the EVO helmet with the VFX-W you can feel the weight difference when putting the helmet on your head. The EVO feels slightly lighter and the shell of the EVO seems to have slightly more flex near the chin bar than the VFX-W. To me this a good thing as the older VFX-W shell is one of the hardest of all off-road shell types. A little flex is good in a helmet as you want it to absorb big impacts. If you push on your personal helmet, you can see it will have some flex. This is normal and that doesn’t necessarily mean the helmet is less protective. The inside liner and cheek pads have much more of a comfortable feel and the coarse feeling cheek pads of the VFX-W is now gone. The Shoei VFX-EVO has more of a pillow/plush feeling against my cheeks (almost Arai VX-Pro4 like). Although I don’t sweat a lot, the EVO’s liner wicks away sweat more than the VFX-W liner. When testing the EVO and VFX-W back to back you can tell there is much less moisture in the EVO compared to the VFX-W. The eye port is the same size as the VFX-W, but the ventilation of the helmet is much better with sixteen intake and exhaust ports throughout the helmet. The mouthpiece has increased airflow and is the first thing you’ll notice (that is improved) when riding with the EVO.
The overall shape is close to the VFX-W, but with added lines throughout the helmet. Shell-integrated goggle channel forms a perfect goggle retention system that will not leave you with that goon style “Ronnie Mac” goggle strap. When you put the EVO on you will notice it does hang down low at the rear of the helmet, which can leave some neckbrace wearing riders with less movement of the head. Even though I do not wear a neckbrace I know some of you may wear one so I tried a few on. I tried on an Alpinestars, Leatt and Atlas and noticed the EVO has less rotational movement with the neckbraces on than a Bell or an Arai. If you are not a neck brace type of rider than you will not notice any of this.
After wearing the Shoei VFX-EVO for some time, I have come to the conclusion that it’s one of the most comfortable helmets available on the market today. I can’t speak much for the safety features first hand as I haven’t tested that yet, but I am confident in Shoei’s new proprietary M.E.D.S. technology just like I am the MIPS or ODS technology. There are few helmets that I trust on my head and the Shoei VFX-EVO is one of those helmets. The Zinger TC-2 shown has an MSRP of $719.00, but an all white or black EVO is $539.00. The EVO is available now at your local dealer or you can check out the full line over at shoei-helmets.com.