Shoei’s Sequel: GT-Air II
by Matt Kopec
Some may argue that sequels never live up to the original. In some cases, perhaps, but never? What about Rocky II, The Empire Strikes Back, Nirvana’s Nevermind, or Led Zeppelin II. These second efforts far outshine the original. So, what gives? How many examples will it take to silence these part-two naysayers? Well, Shoei’s throwing its helmet in the ring, trying to right this wrong by introducing a sequel of its own, the GT-Air II.
Like the aforementioned, this helmet wasn’t a ground-up build. Shoei used its well-received GT-Air model and improved upon it. Features on the GT-Air II are similar to its predecessor, like the internal flip-down sun shield, but make no mistake, this is a restyled and redefined lid that’s learned and evolved from its original effort.
The GT-Air II was developed with an intercom-ready design, something new to the GT line. Shoei partnered with Sena to develop a specific communication system for this helmet, the SRL2. This device clips seamlessly onto a built-in mounting bracket located on the lower side of the helmet. The helmet’s inner structure has pockets for the SRL2 speakers, microphone, and wires. And if you already have a communication system, don’t worry, the inner pockets worked with my Cardo Scala Rider Packtalk device.
The GT Air II is accommodating.Airflow is ample but quiet, using large, easy-to-operate intakes and vents positioned on the top, front, and back of the helmet. Plus one large air vent directed at the inside of the visor to help reduce fogging. I was impressed with how fog-resistant the GT-Air II was. Even without using the included Pinlock EVO system, this helmet needed little air flow to keep the visor clear.
The field of vison is fairly tall and wide, giving a great view of the outside world. The visor operates smoothly and Shoei’s all-new “first-position” shield opening works great. I used the “first-position” setting to help defog while it was raining and, surprisingly, there were no leaks. Rubber beading used to form an airtight seal when the shield is closed also functions as a drain, preventing water from entering the helmet when in that first position.
The fit is snug but comfortable. Very little side-to-side movement, and the micro ratchet chin strap keeps things tight. This is my first helmet with a ratchet strap; I’m not opposed to them, but I’ve always been a fan of the D-ring. That said, this strap has grown on me. It’s easy to use, stays locked in place, and you can operate it with gloves on. The interior is firm, but after a few uses it formed to my noggin, creating a comfortable fit. All the padding is removable, washable, or replaceable with optional padding available.
Shoei’s GT-AIR II is a well-built, high-quality DOT helmet available at a reasonable price. It’s great for the touring rider looking for an affordable multi-function lid. Is this sequel better than the original? Absolutely! But will it resonate with the “part two” haters? Only time will tell. “What is and what should never be.”