Shoe’s latest helmet builds upon previous releases, the J-O and Ex-Zero, to bolster their ‘neo-classic’ range. It’s another retro inspired design aimed at the Cafe Racer/Bobber scene. This time though, it’s a proper full face lid.
Before we get into the review, let’s quickly deal with the elephant in the room; it’s got a silly name.
We’ll try and get past this and see if it’s good enough to get away with its bizarre moniker.
Similarly priced to its Ex-Zero cousin, mono colours hit the £360 mark, but fancy designs such as the TC Resurrection model weigh in at a staggering £450. In my opinion, a big increase for what’s essentially some graphics.
Visibility, Safety and Construction
It’s got a large field of view, giving you great visibility and makes ‘lifesaver’ checks a breeze.
The Glamster also utilises Shoei’s EQRS system (emergency quick release system), allowing the emergency services to quickly remove the inner cheek pads and prevent further injury when removing the helmet.
Shoei has developed three shell sizes in the range, all made from Shoei’s AIM Multi-Composite fibre. This creates a very light, yet rigid and robust helmet that optimises impact protection.
The Glamster’s construction has given it a tiny shell size, creating a low profile lid. If helmets normally make your head look like a swollen melon, you will love the look of the Glamster.
The front vents (with metal inserts), and it’s large visor, gives the Glamster its classic retro look, but I also love it’s simplicity. It’s a great looking lid whilst remaining understated; a bit like that annoying popular kid at school who used to always look cool without trying.
The Glamster comes in a range of vintage style colour schemes in gloss and matt finishes. These include black, white, grey and an interesting Laguna Blue. Plus the aforementioned TP Resurrection models, which have checkered, multi-coloured racing style designs.
Fit and Comfort
It’s comfortable, as you would expect from a Shoei, however I did occasionally notice how close the chin guard was to my mouth. I don’t think this will bother most people, unless like me you have a chin that Bruce Forsyth would be proud of.
Weighing in at a mere 1.2kg the Glamster is lightweight for a full face helmet. This is most obvious when doing lifesavers (head checks) at speed, which are effortless due to weight and profile.
It’s also compatible with Sunglasses and a pair of standard Wayfarers slot comfortably into the side padding.
As with all Shoei helmets, it contains fully removable/washable internals, which offer high levels of comfort to expected Shoei standards.
The Glamster continues the retro with a classic double D ring system. It has a nice soft leather section on each retaining strap, and a popper to clip up the excess strap (or as I like to call it, the ‘anti face slapper’).
There are two ventilation points. The first is located via four slots on the front chin guard and are channeled through into the cheek pads. This does appear to reduce their effectiveness (which in some ways is handy as they can’t be closed).
The switchable temple vent is slightly more effective and channels air over the skull cap. But as air is fed to two very small exhaust ports located on the neck roll, airflow is fairly limited.
The visor has a slightly unusual locking clasp, which only took a few rides to get used to. Once the visor is fully closed it is efficiently locked into place, creating a solid seal.
You have to push the clasp to one side to release it, which works really well (even with gloves on). I really like the fact it allows you to slightly ‘crack’ the seal for demisting or venting.
Pinlock is provided in the box which works well; without it this lid would be problematic in colder months as it seems to steam up quickly. This is really noticeable around the bottom of the visor, and is attributable to the way the chin guard air is channeled out to the cheek pads.
Visor replacement is pretty straight forward, following the removal of two screws from the visor hinge (screwdriver needed). This mechanism uses good quality hardware, unlike some helmet manufacturers who like to make theirs from soft cheese.
At the time of writing this article, Shoei had just released its first compatible tinted visor. Something that hadn’t been available since its launch. Quite why Shoei delayed this release is a mystery, and based on forum chatter this must have impacted sales.
If there was one minor criticism of the visor, it would be how it feels when fully opening and closing the lid. The mechanism is fine, but the actual visor does bend and skew making it feel a tad weak and flimsy.
Initially I wasn’t overly impressed with noise levels and even with its sturdy visor seal, noise levels were disappointing.
However, once I utilised the provided chin curtain there was a significant improvement, giving it ‘above average’ noise levels. (If you are after a quiet helmet check out this roundup of the quietest motorcycle helmets.)
Although there doesn’t appear to be a specific speaker pocket in the Glamster, there is a clear void in the cheek pads which should allow you to add internal speakers. However, if they are ‘chunky monkeys’ they may not fit.
Check out our best motorcycle intercom picks.
Let’s face it, Shoei’s marketing team must have been trollied when they came up with the name. And I would love to have seen them trying to explain it to Japanese colleagues.
But even though it’s the source of much derision, and conjures up an image of a helmet covered in glitter and sequins on Strictly Come Dancing, people never forget the name (possibly the weirdest sentence I have ever written, if taken out of context).
As with all retro helmets, this style of lid won’t appeal to everyone. However, if you are looking for something that combines old school looks with modern features, then the Glamster delivers.
Shoei have done their homework with the Glamster (not on the name), as compared to previous modern/retro releases, it’s possibly one of the first to offer a quality, practical helmet that has a well sealed visor. All built into a lightweight, low profile shell.
It’s defining benefit is that, unlike some retro lids, the Glamster’s shape will certainly stop you looking like an astronaut from a bad 50’s B movie.