GT-Air and J-Cruise aim to follow in footsteps of hot-selling Neotec
Since being introduced in February 2012, Shoei’s Neotec sun shield helmet has been the hottest product out of distributor Helmet House’s California headquarters. Now the full-face GT-Air and open-face J-Cruise look to capitalize on that momentum and bring more sun shield options to dealerships.
The GT-Air and J-Cruise were unveiled in early January. They complete Shoei’s integrated sun shield line of helmets and are designed for cruiser to sport touring riders looking for a feature-rich premium lid.
“[The key demographic] is usually kind of a day-to-day commuter or a long-distance tourer. He really realizes the convenience of an integrated sun shield,” said Richard Kimes, director of marketing at Helmet House.
The sun shield meets ANSI standards for non-prescription eyewear. It’s highly shatterproof and optically correct.
“It’s really the equivalent of a high-grade, sunglass-type of lens,” Kimes said.
Shoei worked diligently to ensure the EPS liner inside the helmets and the outer shell weren’t compromised to make room for the sun shield.
“It’s one of those things where dealers look to Shoei to raise the bar, and a modular helmet with the sun shield integrated into it has been around for a couple of years, but Shoei took their time to get it right,” Kimes explained.
Other features include an EPS liner with multiple grades of polystyrene, a fully removable and washable 3-D Max-Dry interior and large ear pockets to accommodate a communication system. Both are compatible with Pinlock Shields, and the GT-Air comes with a redesigned Pinlock Anti-Fog Lens.
New to Shoei’s everyday consumer helmets is an Emergency Quick Release System in the GT-Air. Competitive racing helmets have featured the technology for a few years, but Shoei added it to this new helmet in response to consumer demand. The system, which is simpler than the racing version, helps emergency personnel to more easily remove the helmet in case of a crash.
“There are red tabs, and if you pull on them, they will remove the cheek pads in a linear fashion,” Kimes said. “We expect that technology to permeate more in the Shoei line.”
The aerodynamic design and quietness of the helmet can be credited to time spent in Shoei’s newest wind tunnel, the company’s second in its R&D department.
“It’s a full-size wind tunnel that allows test riders to evaluate helmets for noise and aerodynamic qualities on a variety of different motorcycles at different speeds,” Kimes said.
Despite the J-Cruise starting at $499.99 and the GT-Air starting at $549.99, Helmet House expects the new helmets to sell just as well as other sun shield helmets in the Shoei lineup.
“The Neotec has far exceeded our sales goals we created for it,” Kimes said. “If previous performance in the line is any indication, we think both these helmets will be strong sellers.”
The Neotec and other Shoei products, along with those from Tour Master, Cortech and HJC, were contributors to a positive 2012 for Helmet House.
“For Shoei and Helmet House, 2012 was really strong. We met our sales objectives for 2012 — and they were healthy ones — and Shoei led that charge in many ways,” Kimes said.
In 2013, Shoei plans to release even more helmets, and Helmet House is renewing its commitment to dealer support.
“Obviously there’s work to be done, but we expect to have continued success, and with a broader Shoei line with these new helmets, we’re giving dealers new options that will lead them to more success,” Kimes said.