Shoei RF-1400 helmet review – long oval heads rejoice

Shoei RF-1400 helmet
My new Shoei RF-1400 helmet, replacing my old Arai Signet-Q

I have what the motorcycle helmet industry refers to as a long oval head, meaning it’s notably longer front-to-back. As a result, it’s hard for me to find helmets that fit perfectly since most helmets are made for medium oval heads. Many times I have excitedly tried on a helmet I wanted to buy, only to discover it was too tight against my forehead. For the last 10 years I have been wearing Arai helmets, specifically the older Profile and Signet Q lines which are specifically designed for long oval heads.

You should replace your helmets every five years due to degradation of the expanded polystyrene foam liner, the part of the helmet that absorbs impact in a collision. My Arai Signet Q was overdue for a replacement, so I started looking for a new helmet earlier this year. By default I was looking to buy an Arai Signet X, the new and improved successor to the Signet Q. Unfortunately I didn’t like any of the available designs, nor was I excited about its $829 price tag. Enter the Shoei RF-1400.

Positioned just below the X-Fourteen racing helmet, the RF-1400 is Shoei’s newest helmet, replacing the outgoing RF-1200. It’s a lightweight full-face helmet design designed for sport riders. It’s impressively priced at $629 for models with graphics, a full $200 less than the Arai Signet X. The only problem for me was that its predecessor, the RF-1200, was not a good fit for my head. On a whim I decided to visit my local Cycle Gear store and try the RF-1400 on, and much to my surprise, it fit very well. It seems Shoei made a slight change to the RF-1400, giving it a little more room front-to-back.

Shoei RF-1400 helmet
Shoei made the new RF-1400 a little longer front-to-back than the outgoing RF-1200. It fits me!

Flush with excitement, I immediately started looking for a design that I liked. Unfortunately Shoei also seemed to have trouble manufacturing enough RF-1400 helmets to meet demand, but I finally got my hands on one. Sure enough, it fits my long oval head snugly, and it also provided a few improvements over my Arai Signet Q:

  • It’s noticeably more aerodynamic, especially when turning my head to check blind spots
  • The visor port is larger, so I have a pleasantly wider viewing angle
  • Shoei has a more straightforward visor attachment system (changing visors on an Arai can be challenging)

I’m looking forward to my next track day with the improved aerodynamics, especially since my Arai Signet Q was unquestionably the least effective track helmet I’ve used in terms of its ability to cut through the air at high speed. It looks like Shoei has a winning helmet in the RF-1400 for sport riders with long oval heads.

Update: I did indeed take it to a track day at Willow Springs International Raceway, and it performed beautifully even at speeds over 160 MPH. This helmet is a winner.

Shoei RF-1400 on motorcycle rider at track day
My Shoei RF-1400 performed superbly at Willow Springs International Raceway

Don’t just plug a punctured tire, replace it

Nailed it! My newish Dunlop Q3+ with a nail in it. Dammit.

After returning home from my last ride, I noticed a medium sized nail right in the tread of my newish Dunlop Q3+ rear tire. I have no idea how long it was there, only that it wasn’t flat and I made it home. I check tire pressures frequently, so I knew it was recent.

My first thought was “shit!”, followed by a half-witted thought that maybe I could just plug it instead of having to spend my hard-earned money on a new one. But once my logic kicked in and slapped that silly idea out of my head, I jumped on RevZilla and ordered a new tire.

Plugging the tire would be a definite necessity if I was far from home and just needed to get it back safely. It’s even possible to ride a long way on a plugged tire, but understand that once punctured, a tire’s integrity and speed rating are compromised to some degree. If you do plug a puncture, ride home at a safe speed and get it replaced as soon as possible.

That said, I recommend watching FortNine’s excellent video comparing the different types of plugs. And if you’re looking for a decent kit to carry, here’s what I recommend. If you absolutely can’t afford a new tire, a permanent plug is best, not the rope plug kit I just linked. A permanent plug requires the tire to be removed from the wheel so the patch can be applied from the inside.

This guy just rode thousands of miles across the Canadian Rockies on a Ninja 300

Just got back from raveling across the Canadian Rockies on my motorcycle, here’s an album. from travel

u/zetrhar¬†on Reddit just posted some photos on imgur of his trip across the Canadian Rockies aboard a Kawasaki Ninja 300. It’s arguably the best starter bike around, and makes an awesome distance bike as well. Check out his pics and definitely make sure the Ninja 300 is on your short list if you’re looking for a starter motorcycle.

Fresh Air, Bugs and Road Therapy

There’s something therapeutic about a good motorcycle ride; it’s hard to explain and really needs to be experienced to be understood. Being out and about in the mountains soaking up some nice curves, the sun, and some awesome pine-scented fresh air is really something special. So are the multitudes of bugs that splatter all over you during spring time rides, but hey, it’s a small price to pay. Just remember the goals are to have fun and get home safely, so take it easy out there, take your time and enjoy the ride.

When To Ride Angeles Crest Highway


Angeles National Forest Sign
At the edge of the Angeles National Forest on Angeles Forest Highway

Angeles Crest Highway has quite the reputation as a dangerous place for motorcyclists and deservedly so. Any canyon road in southern California can be a risky ride simply due to the nature of the roads themselves; they’re narrow, mountain-hugging, twisty, prone to falling debris and full of blind turns. Angeles Crest Highway adds its own unique risks thanks to its popularity; it’s a favorite weekend getaway road for motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists and hikers all looking to enjoy L.A.’s native forest. Put all of those people together on the same snaking asphalt and bad things are going to happen, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be safely enjoyed.

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