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Comparative Shoei helmets: NXR vs GT-Air

Comparisons and rankings 16 November, 2014

We compare...

Two models, one objective: comfort and sportiness. It’s normal for us to be full of doubt when faced with these two Shoei. The NXR is the successor of the successful XR-1000 and XR-1100, whilst the GT-Air is a new model that incorporates the best of the touring concept present in the Neotec and it adds sports DNA. But, how do they differ exactly? Let’s take a closer look to see which adapts better to our use.


In this section, Shoei has the same concept: the outer shell of both models is made of the same material: AIM (Advanced Integrated Matrix), multi-composite, organic fibre of various layers that provides a strong resistance and rigidity, as well as a contained weight. The same is true for the inner shell, made of double density EPS in both helmets. Therefore, both models guarantee the same level of safety and commitment of the brand.

Although at first glance, the helmets seem very similar, each one has features that place it within different sections

The differences can be found in the shape and sizes:

The NXR presents a more compact design, with aerodynamics devised to adapt to our body and improve air flow. When we put it on, we can feel how it is firm around the cheeks and other features of the face, more characteristic of sports helmets. The total weight is around 1300 grams and there are four different shell sizes available.

The GT-Air presents a more oval shape, being a little bit longer, with the aerodynamics more focused on noise reduction inside the helmet rather than cutting off a few tenths of seconds. We see that the design has more space for the ventilation system and the integrated sun visor, which discuss later. This latter point is important: the GT-Air does not compromise safety by incorporating the sun visor, as the helmet’s structure has been designed bearing this in mind. Its rear spoiler, integrated into the shell, affords it a very sporty appearance for a touring helmet. Due to all this, the GT-Air is a little bit heavier that the NXR, just 100 grams more and is available in three different shell sizes.

In this view we can see the different shapes of the shells of each helmet


There are significant differences in this section: The NXR has a ventilation system similar to the more racing range of the brand, aiming for an optimum evacuation of sweat and the renewal of the air under conditions of the physical exercise performed for sports riding. Compared with the GT-Air, it has more air inlets, up to four (one on the chin guard and three on the front), as well as an inner grid on the forehead. There are six extractors on the rear. All are adjustable, the inlets having three positions (open, slightly open and closed) and the extractors (open or closed).

The GT-Air has a more touring focus in this section: the air inlets are grouped into two vents, one on the chin guard and the other on the front, with a single outlet in the rear. The system, devised to reduce turbulences that can generate excessive noise, has very comfortable, large “on/off” type closures, which can be adjusted on the go and even with winter gloves on, a factor which contributes to its convenience for daily use all year round.

Detail of the ventilation apertures of both helmets


Both models have a double density 3D central padding, completely removable and washable. The differences can be found in the details: the GT-Air has a very soft interior, for maximum comfort on long trips and which insulates us better under adverse weather conditions, whilst the NXR feels much sportier, with padding that adapts to our head in a more compact manner. We must point out that both helmets have a closed padding in the rear part, where the foams narrow to better “embrace” the neck, improving hold and comfort, as it avoids the entry of any air.

Detail of the padding layout of the two helmets

Both have a neoprene seal on the outer crown, to avoid water getting into the inner lining, but the GT-Air is positioned in the commissure of the shell whilst the NXR lets part of the padding “invade” the side of the helmet, such that it leaves us more freedom of movement if we want to glance sideways. Both have a chin curtain as accessory, as well as a breath guard, for correct insulation and also to minimise the visor fogging up on the coldest days.


The NXR has the new CWR-1 screen, a more rigid visor than that on the GT-Air (the CNS-1), and we can chose between clear or dark models against sunlight. Shoei has a wide range of colours for this visor model, which gives us more options for customising it and that can give the helmet an even more sporty air. Another detail that gives the NXR a more sports look is the finish that emulates the carbon fibre found in the visor mechanism.

The helmets’ visors are different: the CWR-1 of the NXR is very resistant, whilst the QSV-1 of the GT-Air affords an optimum insulation

As previously mentioned, the GT-Air incorporates an integrated solar visor, model QSV-1, which signifies a great advantage under variable light conditions. By moving the lever situated on the left hand side of the helmet, just below the screen mechanism, we can raise or lower this sun visor.

Both models have an anti-fog ‘Pin-lock’ system.

Fasteners and other details.

The NXR has a double ring fastener, the only type homologated for track use, which broadens the area of action of this already versatile NXR. The GT-Air trusts the micrometric fastener, but with a metallic buckle instead of the usual plastic one, conferring it greater safety.

Detail of the fasteners of both helmets

Both models have the brand’s novel EQRS (Emergency Quick Release System), to safely remove the helmet in the event of an accident. They can also be equipped with intercom systems, but do not come as standard.


The NXR is a sport touring helmet, which allows us to feel sportier, but with a high degree of versatility: we can go on the track, around town or weekend road trips. As the heir of the XR-1100, the NXR couldn’t have been designed any other way.

The GT-Air is a touring sport helmet, devised for riding more kilometres and which is more comfortable for every day use. If what you want is a touring helmet for comfort, but you don’t like the idea of a modular helmet or you are not going to use it as a jet, then this is your helmet. With the GT-Air, Shoei hopes to open a new segment, where touring is not at odds with sportiness.



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