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ADV ProductsShoei Hornet X2 Dual Sport Helmet Review

Shoei Hornet X2 Dual Sport Helmet Review

Amidst fierce competition, Shoei revamps its popular dual sport helmet.

Published on 11.23.2015

Shoei completely revamped their popular Hornet Dual Sport helmet for 2015, in the first major redesign since the model was introduced in 2008. The new Hornet X2 features several updates that improve safety, versatility and comfort, along with a more streamlined look.

The Hornet X2 has undergone significant wind tunnel testing in an effort to improve aerodynamics and reduce wind noise, resulting in a new refined shape. Gone are the large chin vents, replaced with a single smaller vent and smoother chin design. A new wind-efficient peak, called the V-460, incorporates large louvers that let air flow freely for reduced buffeting and wind noise. The peak can now be removed in seconds with two finger screws rotated a quarter turn.

Shoei Hornet X2 Dual Sport Helmet Review
The new Shoei Hornet X2 looks sinister with a mirrored face shield and can be quickly swapped out for a clear face shield with quick release tabs.

A flatter face shield minimizes visual distortion and is also Pinlock-ready with insert included. The Pinlock system, along with an included breath guard, virtually eliminate fogging. The new shield also seals tightly around the entire perimeter of the eye port to keep wind noise down to a minimum. It’s also a breeze to remove with two quick release latches (no tools required), and both peak and face shield can be removed separately. The shield also comes with six detent positions allowing riders to customize airflow.

Shoei Hornet X2 Dual Sport Helmet latches
Face shield and peak attachment points are completely separated on the new X2. Quick-release latches and screws make swapping shields and removing the peak much more convenient.



A 3D Max-Dry Interior System II liner is fully removable, washable, and replaceable. The new interior is an improvement in plushness over the old Hornet Dual Sport and no pressure points were felt. Interior shape is intermediate oval, allowing it to fit a wide range of head shapes, and channels help keep pressure off the temples when wearing eyeglasses. A tight opening at the bottom of the helmet reduces wind noise but that tight fit also means the padding can tear at the ears during helmet removal.

Shoei Hornet X2 Dual Sport Helmet Interior
3D Max-Dry System II Interior uses a velvety soft material along the cheeks, chin strap and base of the head. A more breathable material is used along the top of the head and forehead. Cheek pads are available in multiple thicknesses for a custom fit.

Cheek pads of different thicknesses can be used to customize the fit of the X2 and Shoei offers a free cheek pad exchange program to ensure customers get a perfect fit. Installing thinner cheek pads can also help make getting the helmet on and off more comfortable on the ears.

New speaker niches make installing a Bluetooth headset much easier by providing an optimal location to mount them. However, the Hornet X2 did require some trimming of the plastic to get our Sena 20S speakers to mount flush. Speakers from the Scala Rider G9x fit without modification. Once installed, the speaker niches do a good job of taking pressure off the ears.

Shoei-Hornet-X2-Dual Sport Helmet Sena 20s Headset
Speaker niches required some trimming of the plastic to get the Sena 20S speakers to mount flush inside the helmet.

Venting is accomplished with closable vents in the brow, chin and directly on top of the helmet. Four exhaust vents in the back and three more at the base of the head keep cool air moving through the helmet. An included removable chin skirt helps keep cold air out when temperatures drop and also helps reduce wind noise.

Street Performance

On the highway, the Hornet X2’s peak cuts through the wind efficiently, causing minimal lift and buffeting. The X2 is also extremely quiet for a dual sport helmet, especially with the chin skirt is installed. Taking off the peak for longer rides is easy to do but with its wind-efficient design, it really isn’t necessary. Removing the peak also removes the top vent’s integrated closing mechanism, which means you’ll be riding with the vent always open.

Long days in the saddle are made much more comfortable thanks to the velvet-like 3D-Max interior. In addition, the venting system does a good job of keeping air circulating through the helmet on hotter days, although the brow vent can be tricky to open with gloves on.

Shoei Hornet X2 Dual Sport Helmet
The Shoei X2 is an incredibly comfortable helmet on the street and removing the peak on long highway rides is easy but isn’t really necessary.

Off-Road Performance

The old Shoei Hornet DS’ adjustable peak was really too small to be useful off-road and was also prone to squeaks. The newly redesigned X2’s peak is non-adjustable, which helps ensure it stays squeak free but does limit its versatility. Despite the lack of adjustablility, the new X2’s larger peak is much more effective at blocking sun and roost than its predecessor.

Shoei Hornet X2 Dual Sport Helmet Peak
The X2’s large peak works well when riding into the sunset but has no adjustability.

A wide eye port provides plenty of room for goggles of various sizes to fit snugly and a ridge along the back of the helmet helps keep goggles straps firmly in place. A tight sealed edge around the perimeter of the face shield works well for keeping dust out, but the new X2 has lost the ability of the old Hornet DS to close smoothly over a goggle strap.

Riding technical terrain at slower speeds is comfortable, thanks to the excellent venting on the X2. Although, the front mouth vent doesn’t flow as much air as the old Hornet and doesn’t include a dust screen. The 3D-Max interior effectively wicks away sweat during rigorous rides and tends to stay odor free longer than the old Hornet. Weight may be a concern though if usage is primarily off-road. At 3.9 pounds (medium size) the X2 is on the heavy side, which can become a factor on long days riding technical trails.


The Hornet X2 meets the DOT-218 safety standards and US models get Snell 2015 approval as well. The new Hornet also comes with an Emergency Quick Release System (ERQS) which allow emergency personnel to safely and quickly remove the helmet following a crash.

Who Is It For

Off-road Adventure Riders will appreciate the effective peak and goggle fit but the X2 may be a little heavy for someone who rides primarily off-road. The new X2 really shines on the street and is one of the quietest dual sport helmets we’ve tested. New aerodynamics and a plusher interior, make this a great choice for riders that value comfort and quiet highway rides first in a dual sport helmet.

Shoei Hornet X2 Dual Sport Helmet
The new Shoei Hornet X2’s greatest strengths are its comfort and quietness.

Our Verdict

After nine months of testing, the Shoei has impressed us with its high level of comfort and performance. On the street, it’s quieter, more comfortable and integrates better with Bluetooth intercom systems than its predecessor. It also has a usable peak for off-road riding and still works well with goggles. An increase in weight of 0.4 pounds over the old Hornet is a concern for off-road riders, but the X2’s wind-tunnel optimized design makes the additional weight less noticeable during street use. Shoei’s top-notch fit and finish and a steep price tag haven’t changed, but significant improvements should help it maintain its position as one of the most popular dual sport helmet options for years to come.

What We Liked

  • Larger effective peak.
  • Excellent ventilation.
  • Very quiet for a Dual Sport helmet.
  • Ultra-plush interior.
What Could Be Improved

  • Heavier than the old Hornet Dual Sport.
  • Can’t close the face shield over a goggle strap.
  • Top vent isn’t closable when peak is removed.


Weight: 3.9 lbs (size M)
Sizes: XS-XXL
Warranty: 5 years
Price: Solids ($535), Graphics ($644)

Shopping Options

MotoSport (Solid) MotoSport (Graphics)
CycleGear (Solid) CycleGear (Graphics)
Revzilla (Solid) Revzilla (Graphics)

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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November 23, 2015 6:41 pm

Good Review, Owned one and agree with most of your review, especially that its a good/better on-road helmet than off-road. Buffeting is minimal especially compare to the Arai XD-4, and it is quiet.

A couple things I found different as someone that rides 50/50 on-road/off-road;

Fit – I have a Shoei head. Have worn Shoei for years and currently have an X-11 and X-12. The shape of the X2 is different than the normal Shoei shape`. It puts pressure on the sides of the top of my head. It seems to be a more narrow, long-oval shape. I thought it just needed breaking in, it never did break in.

Ventilation – For off-road riding where you are working the bike and at low speeds, it gets warm and had me wishing for better/more air flow. Its okay at highway speeds though

I wound up with the Arai XD-4. Better for someone that does more off-road. Its lighter, breathes (airflow) better, doesn’t require a pin lock shield to keep it from fogging over and it fits well.

I’d suggest to others that have used other Shoei helmets like myself try before you buy!

Rob Dabney
Rob Dabney
November 23, 2015 7:16 pm

Hi Anthony.

On the street X2 is hard to beat and you are right, it doesn’t vent quite as well on slower technical terrain as some of the more dirt-oriented dual sport helmets. I never experienced the pressure on the sides of the head, but as you say, it’s always a good idea to try before you buy. The XD-4 is another great helmet but it’s due for an update as well. Hopefully, we’ll see an XD-5 soon.

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Michael Marx
Michael Marx
October 4, 2017 6:59 pm

Ok, simple stupid stuff. My buddy and I riding 1200GS and Africa Twin out for a trail ride. We both have Hornet X2(both only a couple months old); we both lost the top vent piece from a simple branch hit. I was first told that Shoei would replace the pieces. I waited over a month, only to find out that they were not going to. Helmut House is the authorized distributor and totally failed us. I have had an Arai for the past 5 years and never had an issue in some pretty gnarly riding conditions. This top piece has to be replaced as a whole visor replacement. Is it an ADV helmut or not? I will never buy one again.

July 6, 2018 9:37 pm

Shoei helmets have always been my favorite. Sturdy and sporty design with good air flow. I have 5 helmets.


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