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As opposed to “passive safety” that is ensured by compliance with Snell and DOT safety standards, “active safety” defines the further improvements made by SHOEI to ensure that maximum comfort is achieved, allowing the rider to devote all of his or her focus to riding. Advanced helmet features such as our anatomically-shaped comfort liner for optimum helmet fitment, lowest possible weight to reduce stress on the neck muscles, and effective ventilation system for temperature regulation and reduction in wind noises all serve to further improve the safety of the rider. Further development and continued improvement in the areas of safety and comfort technology are SHOEI’s primary goals.
THE INTERACTION BETWEEN COMFORT AND PROPER FIT
The material and shape of SHOEI’s interior systems are critical factors for the overall wearing comfort and proper fit of the helmet. The wearing comfort covers the effect of the material properties on the skin of the rider. The fit defines how well the helmet sits on the head and stays in place, which is especially noticeable at high speeds. In the past, these two criteria often worked against one another. Very thick, soft padding provided good wearing comfort, but it did not hold well at high speeds, leading to helmet buffeting and instability. SHOEI’s multi-layer, multi-density liner components are utilized to find the perfect balance between comfort and helmet stabilization. Variable thickness cheek pads are available for custom fitting most helmet models.
OPTIMIZATION OF LINER COVER MATERIALS
The development of new high-performance fabrics allows for greater sweat absorption and dissipation, yielding a proprietary sweat absorbing material that greatly improves rider comfort. These materials (first researched and developed in motocross and road racing where the amount of physical exertion and hence the production of sweat is extremely high) are now production features in the majority of SHOEI’s helmet models.
LIGHTWEIGHT, HIGH-STRENGTH SHELLS
IMPROVED SAFETY THROUGH LIGHTER HELMETS
Three factors are crucial for the weight of the helmet as perceived by the rider. The actual weight that is felt by wearing the helmet, the felt weight, and the dynamic weight, which is produced by the wind resistance and inertia. The actual weight has a direct influence on the acceleration forces and directly stresses the neck muscles in the event of an accident.
The heaviest part of a helmet is the shell, which is of special importance when making a light overall helmet. Since the shell is also the part of the helmet that is the most stressed in the event of an impact, the requirements concerning the manufacturing of a lightweight helmet shell are correspondingly high. Through our extensive experience in the processing of fiber compound materials, SHOEI has succeeded in developing the extremely resistant, lightweight and elastic AIM and AIM+ helmet shells.
SHOEI’S ADVANCED INTEGRATED MATRIX (AIM & AIM+)
AIM and AIM+ Shells Are Made Up of Three Main Features:
1. Fiber-Reinforced Matrix: An outer shell that is made primarily of fiberglass (FRP) is given its shape by a heat-setting plastic resin. The SHOEI helmet shell owes its ideal function to the integration of organic fibers, as well as a three-dimensional shaping process in a layered structure. The result is an outer shell with high strength, but very low weight as compared to shells that are produced in a conventional way.
2. The Compound Structure: The AIM and AIM+ shells consist of various layers of reinforcing organic fibers and glass fibers. Compared to an outer shell that is made only of glass fibers, the AIM and AIM+ outer shells are both lighter and more elastic, yet have the same strength and are more resistant to penetration due to the additional use of special fibers.
3. The Synthetic Resin: A specially modified, unsaturated polyester resin (a so-called heat-setting plastic) is used for the AIM and AIM+ outer shells. This resin acquires the desired strength and elasticity during the heat hardening process. This synthetic resin is also extremely resistant to corrosion. With these constituent parts, we produce outer shells that convincingly produce ideal dampening of impacts, good elasticity, lightweight, and enormously high strength and resistance to penetration.
THE ADVANTAGE OF THE AIM AND AIM+ OUTER SHELLS
In addition to their significant weight advantages, the AIM and AIM+ outer shells from SHOEI offer the best possible impact protection, as well. Through the interaction of the strength and the elasticity of the various materials, the AIM and AIM+ shells have been designed in such a way that the effect of an impact is absorbed and distributed over the largest possible area so that it may be more easily absorbed by the EPS liner. Thus, the shell and the EPS liner may show damage from deformation after an impact, but the head of the rider is given the maximum amount of protection as a result. Heavy, hard helmet shells do not have this ability and direct the energy from an impact without any reduction into the inside of the helmet. In many cases, the shell may be undamaged, but head injuries are much more likely.
The stress applied to the neck muscles when riding a motorcycle comes not only from the weight of the helmet itself, but also from wind resistance. For that reason, improving the aerodynamics of a helmet is an extremely important factor in preventing the onset of fatigue. SHOEI’s expert product development team regularly perform tests in our state-of-the-art wind tunnel throughout the entire development process of each and every helmet model to improve shell design and optimize aerodynamic properties.
Back in the early 1980s, SHOEI developed a ventilation system that passed air through holes in the helmet shell without sacrificing high-speed stability. The idea that good ventilation is crucial for the safety of a helmet caused a fundamental change in the design of motorcycle helmets. With the importance of safety concepts and the spirit of innovation always front of mind at SHOEI, we invested in a state-of-the-art wind tunnel at our Ibaraki factory to continually carry out intensive studies in the development of effective, high-performance ventilation systems. In the process, SHOEI has developed a dual-layer EPS liner that allows cooling air to travel unrestricted through tunnels created between layers, further enhancing the optimum exchange of warm, humid air with incoming cold, fresh air. Utilizing SHOEI’s in-house wind tunnel to progress ventilation performance, SHOEI is constantly improving the optimal balance between airflow and silence.
Noise imposes unnecessary stress on the rider and can disturb his or her concentration. There are two ways to reduce noise in the helmet. Wind noise can be reduced by optimizing the aerodynamics. Additionally, the acoustic damping properties of the helmet can be optimized through careful design of the helmet shell and the interior padding. The decisive factor for a comfortable and quiet helmet is the balanced utilization of these two approaches. Utilizing a thicker helmet shell, eliminating ventilation, or using padding that is too tight may reduce the amount of noise experienced, but this is achieved at the expense of safety and comfort. This is not an option for SHOEI. Optimizing shell aerodynamics and liner components allow SHOEI to prevent unwanted road and wind noises without blocking the road's “informative sounds”.
THE SHOEI SHIELD SYSTEM
SHOEI shields protects the rider against wind, dirt, insects and 99% of the sun's damaging UV rays. Additionally, SHOEI's 3D injection-molding process ensures a distortion-free view throughout the entire field of vision. Furthermore, the coating on SHOEI shields resists scratches and allows water to bead off the surface more easily. Coupled with SHOEI's innovative quick release, self-adjusting base plate systems found on most full-face models, shield changes are made quicker and easier than ever before. Once a shield is installed, the strengthened spring-loaded base plates pull the shield back against the window beading to ensure a wind and waterproof seal with each and every closure. The smooth surface of a SHOEI shield base plate system eliminates the irritating shield cover that some of our competitors utilize, which helps prevent unnecessary wind noise.