Considered one of the marquee helmet brands out of Japan, Shoei are the people behind the GT-AIR 3 – the latest incarnation in a model range that’s a legitimate benchmark in sports touring helmets.
We’ve managed to get our hands on one, in shiny, or should that be not-so shiny, Matt Blue Metallic, complete with a SENA SRL-3 comms link setup – so you’re getting two product tests in one – talk about value.
We took the GT-AIR 3 everywhere we could to ensure it got a thorough workout in terms of testing, including on our Himalayan adventure, on a day at the track with California Superbike School and on an array of daily rides on a range of different motorbikes.
Before we get into all that though, we should tell you what’s changed since the GT-AIR 2. The most important update to the new model is its ECE22.06 certification, the latest standard for rider safety.
In a nutshell, that means the helmet has undergone a rigorous testing program which includes using random points of impact, with a mix of directional and rotational impacts. Unlike some of its rivals though, the GT-AIR 3 hasn’t got a load heavier as a result.
The sticker claims the GT-AIR 3 tips the scale at 1650 grams, which is far from the lightest helmet on the market. The aerodynamic genius of its design makes it feel lighter while riding, reducing fatigue over longer journeys.
A by-product of the improved aerodynamics has meant a change in the visor, which now offers a larger field of view, a centre locking mechanism, and new indents allowing a ‘slightly open’ setting to prevent fogging.
Our GT-AIR 3 came with a pinlock and breath guard, ensuring we’ve experienced no fogging or moisture, even when using the helmet in some chilly morning conditions in the Himalayas. The visor feels solid too, with no flapping or looseness.
Everything needs to be operated with a purposeful touch, which is reassuring, especially when on track or travelling at highway speeds. Ventilation is very good and we particularly like how easy it is to operate the helmet vents on the GT-AIR 3.
There’s a large chin vent which can be operated with one hand and the vent at top of the helmet is equally easily to use, allowing plenty of wind flow. The helmet itself feels sturdy too, with an out shell construction that features AIM five-layer composite to reduce shock.
It’s one of the quietest helmets we’ve ridden with, thanks in part to the aerodynamics, as well as the padding and material found inside, including between the base of the helmet and the rider’s neck.
Not only does this feature add to the comfort of the GT-AIR 3, but it also plays a major part in reducing noise. A multi-density EPS foam delivers the goods, no matter your trip length, and doubles down on the track, as it’s able to handle sweat, without becoming drenched.
Handily, the liner is completely removable and washable to ensure you can care for it properly. The internal sun visor is an added bonus, offering versatility against a tinted or dark visor thanks to the ability to pop it up or down depending on light conditions.
It’s easy to see through and offers plenty of room to wear glasses (as this rider does), with no hassle. The position of the visor within the helmet is also good. Our GT-AIR 3 also came with the optional SENA SRL-3 communications system.
Installation is simple, despite a little bit of fiddling, and everything has a place, including wiring. It all clips together well, but if we did have a gripe, it would be that the microphone cable could be a little shorter.
Being able to incorporate it seamlessly into the helmet itself is a definite plus and the system is fairly simple to operate, even in thick gloves. Sound quality is good for playing your tunes, although we haven’t had a chance to test the rider to rider comms function yet.
We’ve been impressed with the GT-AIR 3 thus far, and it is certainly one of, if not the, leader in the sports touring segment. That’s no mean feat considering competition from HJC, Arai and Ruroc.
Available in five solid colours and two graphics, the Shoei GT-AIR 3 is available in sizes from XS to 2XL. Priced from $1,249.95 it’s available from your nearest motorcycle retailer. You can also view the full range online.
Pros – premium helmet; looks good; excellent built quality; quiet and comfortable.
Cons – Expensive against its rivals; SENA SRL-3 comms kit can be fiddly to install.
Our test product was provided by Shoei Australia. Exhaust Notes Australia has not been paid to review this product.