Arai Defiant X VS Shoei Rf-1200

Arai Defiant X VS Shoei Rf-1200 – Which one to get?

Arai and Shoei are two top-of-the-rank Japanese brands well-known for their top-tier, premium-quality motorcycle helmets with some remarkable specifications and outstanding reputations. In an attempt to get a nice headgear, most of the professional racers put their trust in either of these two incredible manufacturers.

Arai defiant X and Shoei Rf-1200 are the two premium models we are going to compare in this blog post. Keep in mind that the comparison doesn’t mean that we will declare one better than the other. Instead, this blog post is about the weaknesses and strengths of both helmets so that you may determine which one will suit your requirements the most.

The Arai Defiant X is a complete package that is loaded with a lot more specs than meets the eye. In short, it is an engineering marvel. Let’s have a look at the Shoei RF-1200, about which the manufacturers claim that it is quieter, ventilated better, and fits better, and everything they said, they did well. This helmet is phenomenal, as it operates quieter, flows a ton of air, and comes with a great field of vision and the most comfortable fit. Now let’s start with Arai Defiant X VS Shoei RF-1200.

Image Product Feature Price
Arai Helmets
Arai Defiant X
Multi-density EPS liner, Mouth vent, VAS Max Vision Faceshield Check On Amazon
Shoei Helmets
Shoei Rf-1200
Pinlock Anti-Fog System, Dual-layer/multi-density EPS liner, Chin curtain Check On Amazon

For whom are the both helmets right?

The Arai Defiant X is the best helmet for naked bikes, but if you own a sports bike and you really want this helmet, it will work incredibly well there as well.

If you ride your motorbike on the racetrack, on the street, or on the pavement, the Shoei Rf-1200 is going to do an excellent job for you everywhere. This helmet has a ton of versatility; that’s why it is great for racing, street riding, and also for tracks.


Let’s do the benefit and feature breakdown and discuss the ventilation; that’s one of the main points of any helmet out there. The Arai Defiant X comes loaded with vents and offers a really cool and nice feel. There are switchable large intake vents on the top of the lid, which are multi-positional and work very well. To keep the rider cool, it features fully functional brow vents built in the shield, which provides fresh air into the temple area effectively.

Also, the aggressive styling point of this model is the intake vents on the chin, which serve two different purposes.  When these vents are closed by the two red switches inside the helmet in the chin area, they will help divert the air inside the helmet in order to demist the helmet’s shield. Moreover, when these vents are opened up by just sliding the red switches, they introduce air into the mouth are to keep you cool.

There are vents in the eye-port area which collect the fresh air, which is then exhausted through the venturi vents at the back of the helmet. To take the ventilation of this helmet to the next level, they have added this ductwork, which is great. There are some more switchable exhaust vents at the backside to create a venturi effect at high speeds. All of these vents suck out the moisture and heat to give you that extra comfort, and that is fantastic engineering that Arai has built into this helmet.

 Now we will have a look at the ventilation system of the Shoei RF-1200, which also offers great airflow, but when compared to the Arai Defiant X, it has significantly less to offer in this regard. The intake chin vents introduce an incredible amount of air into the helmet, plus it blows the air up onto the shield to give moisture, heat, and fog-free performance.

There is a large intake vent at the brow area just above the shield, along with the two vents with the sliders on the sides of the top vent, and at the back of the helmet, there are the switchable exhaust vents. It offers a ton of air and performs a great job, since with all this air flowing inside the helmet, it is quieter than before, which is super sweet.


arai defiant x motorcycle helmet

Both the helmets from Shoei and Arai are made while keeping the rider’s safety the topmost priority, but both brands come at safety from different angles. The Arai Defiant X is SNELL certified, and it has passed all the Snell tests and the ECE safety standards in Europe. While in the US, it meets and exceeds the DOT and SNELL safety requirements, which means you’ll get the most safest helmet.

Arai says no to the coverless shield system, as they feel that the addition of recesses in a shell of the helmet for a flush-mounted shield will compromise the quality of the overall design. This brand is not in favor of including an inner sun visor because they think this will compromise the safety. 

Shoei RF-1200 also meets DOT and SNELL safety standards,  but their philosophy of safety is quite different from Arai. Their primary focus is on the rider’s comfort, which is an aspect of safety for them. Their thought is that if the level of comfort is increased, the rider will be able to focus on his ride more. They add features like a drop-down visor, podless shield system, and modular design to their helmets.

SafetyShoei RF-1200Arai Defiant X
Visor LockYesYes
Snell CertifiedYesYes
Retention SystemDouble D-Ring SystemDouble D-Ring System

Shield system

Arai Defiant X comes with a VAS Max Vision face shield which offers fantastic visibility for all kinds of riding in all seasons. Also, there comes a pin lock insert with it, which gives a tremendous fog-free performance. This VAS shield is lower and smaller than the previous one, and it features the air intake vents to get improved sealing, which consequently minimizes water intrusion and road noise.

 A drop-down inner screen is what Arai doesn’t include in their helmets because they feel it compromises the safety, as it alters the whole engineering of a helmet. That’s why they have introduced the Pro shade system, which includes a clear face shield that is built to accept the outer drop-down smoke visor on a hinge-mounted system, and it accepts the pinlock insert as well. Yet it still features the shield vents, so you get everything in it. When you are going to fold the tinted visor down, it will not touch the clear shield, thus preventing any scratches.

Arai has added the latest system in their new models for removing and reinstalling the face shield, and the Arai Defiant X also features it. On both sides of the helmet, there are the side pods that can be popped off by taking the shield all the way in the up position, then pulling backwards a little trigger in that area. Now, to remove the shield, just simply turn the face shield a bit, and it will jump off the helmet easily.

The reinstallation is also pretty easy, just line up the open space in the shield ratchet system with the brass insert on the helmet, and rotate the shield till you hear an audible click, then close the side pods again. The built-in tether system to the side pods is a really nice thing. So, in case you have not installed the side pods properly, it prevents them from flying off during the ride.

The Shoei RF-1200 also comes with an inner pinlock fog-free lens, and the shield is designed to accept that. The shield design of this helmet is all-new, with a lock built in it to keep it in place. This helmet comes with the most up-to-date mechanism, all-new baseplate system, and double gasket.

Pulling off the shield is just a piece of cake since all you have to do is just pull on the trigger, and the shield comes right off the helmet. To reinstall it, bring the shield in an upward position, and get it close to where it needs to be, and then simply push in, and it is done. Moreover, some ridges are molded into the shield to enhance its strength and to improve the optical clarity by reducing any kind of distortion at high speed in the wind.


Unparalleled protection is delivered by Arai’s PB-cLc shell and multi-density, one-piece EPS  liner. It comes in five different shell sizes, including the XS, S, XL, and XXL shell sizes, and the M and L share one shell. The shell is handmade by genuine craftsmen in Japan, which is great.

The RF-1200 has a lightweight, compact, aerodynamic design, with a multi-density/dual-layer EPS liner. In this helmet, we get fiberglass, organic fibers, and a well-engineered strong shell, which comes in four different sizes with four different EPS. A small shell and EPS will cover sizes extra small and small, the medium shell and EPS covers only medium, the large covers only large, and then the extra-large shell and EPS will cover sizes extra large and 2XL.

You’ll notice that they’ve given the medium and large their own proprietary shell and EPS. That is on purpose because those are the two most common sizes sold in helmets period, and they wanted the medium and a large to offer the smallest possible outer profile and render the best possible fit.

Interior fit and shape

The Defiant X is built for the most common head shape in the US, i.e., an intermediate oval. Remember, you should always take a good measurement of your head before getting any helmet. If you don’t have any cloth tape, use an unstretchable string slightly above your eyebrows to get your head circumference, then translate that to a size chart by using steel tape. The size chart given on Amazon works really well.

Also, having a good understanding of your head shape is also crucial. An intermediate oval shape is a bit longer front to back than it is side to side, and you can see that in a mirror.

One of the cool features of the Defiant X is the peel-away layers built into the cheek and the top pads. So if the helmet feels tight in the temple area or the cheek area, you will be able to remove the liner and pull some of the layers of the foam that are glued on strategically in segments. In this way, you can personalize and tune the fit to your own personal preference.

The Shoei’s interior is exceptionally comfortable as well, with the completely detachable, washable, tunable, and replaceable inner material. You also get a chin curtain with this helmet, which is great as when it is installed, it helps to quiet and calm the wind inside the helmet. Moreover, the high-end, moisture-wicking fabric gives an exceptionally comfortable feel. This helmet offers a good comfortable fit to an intermediate oval head shape, and it is true to size as well.

They’ve also included with this helmet the emergency release cheek pad system. All you have to do is, put your finger through the loops on the cheek pads and pull; they will come right out. Shoei is a tremendous engineering company, and when it comes to the very fine details in a premium helmet and the level of quality put into the design and the assembly, nobody beats shoei, and that’s a fight that Shoei really wins. Long story short, the interior of this helmet is customizable from top pad to cheek pads.

Other features

When we talk about the glasses compatibility, the Defiant X performs a great job like all the other models by Arai. You can wear the glasses easily, and they sit perfectly on the nose. Pulling out the glasses is also relatively easy and effortless with this helmet. 

The Defiant X weighs 3.55 pounds in a medium size, which is just suitable for a Snell Certified premium helmet. While the RF-1200 weighs 3.45 pounds in a medium size, which means it is slightly lightweight than the Defiant.

A plus point in the RF-1200 is the best system engineered in it for the installation of speaker systems and communicators. If you want to put a communicator system and access the speaker pockets, they are molded inside the helmet.

FeaturesShoei RF-1200Arai Defiant X
Speaker PocketsYesYes
Sun Visor (internal)NoNo
Chin CurtainYesYes
Emergency KitYesNo
Washable Cheek pads YesYes
Breath DeflectorYesYes
Glass GrovesYesYes
Inflatable Check padNoNo
Removable Cheek PadYesYes

Final thoughts

As we have mentioned earlier that this comparison is not to declare a clear winner between these two helmets. It’s all about the different perspectives on the best approach to provide handmade, premium headgear to motorcycle riders.

You can completely trust both Arai and Shoei helmets for your safety in different settings. The selection of any one of these helmets totally depends on which helmet will work best for your preferred riding style, your particular head shape, and also your comfort tolerance.

Your center of attention should be those specifications of the helmet that are most significant to you, and for that purpose, chew over the information given above to reach a final decision about which helmet will serve you well.