Schuberth C3 vs Shoei Neotec Helmet Comparison


I believe that a product “comparison” yields far more benefits to the reader than the traditional “single” product review. For that reason, I began working on this comparison to help answer the question, “Which helmet should I buy?”, or more specifically, “Which premium modular helmet works best for my needs?”. In this comparison I’ll look at two of the most feature packed modular helmets on the market.

Can two high-end modular helmets both really be the best? Here is what the manufacturers say:

Helmet #1

The Schuberth C3 was released in November of 2010 claiming to be the ”#1 Flip-Up Helmet in Europe now available in North America” (, “C3”). Schuberth proudly tells us that the C3 is the “lightest, quietest most aerodynamic flip-up helmet on the market. Never before has a flip-up helmet been smaller or more compact than Schuberth’s award winning C3.” (, “C3”).


Helmet #2

The Shoei Neotec helmet came to the market in February of 2012. Shoei claims that their “most recent entry into the modular helmet realm offers protection, comfort and versatility with a redesigned shape and improved features that place the Neotec above the rest” (, “Neotec”).

Shoei goes on to say “all ventilation mechanisms are shaped and positioned in such a way as to reduce any possible drag. The chin bar’s ‘Vortex Generators’ reduce turbulence, noise, and manage airflow around the helmet. A redesigned aerodynamic spoiler also helps to cut lift, reducing neck strain on long, cross country rides. All these features combine to create a premium helmet that excels in appearance, protection, comfort and performance”(, “Neotec”).

These are pretty strong statements so let’s see how these modular helmets compare to each other.


Modular helmet offers versatility for the rider to enjoy a semi-helmetless experience without actually removing the helmet. A modular helmet can offer an overall better helmet experience by making entry into the helmet easier. I also believe in the concept that modular helmets can actually be made to fit better as your large head doesn’t have to squeeze through a small hole.


Helmet weight can have a direct effect on neck strain and muscle fatigue especially on longer rides. As the long distance riding community knows, sore muscles can reduce the fun-factor of a great ride in a hurry.

Schuberth claims the C3 in the smaller shell size weighs approximately 3.6lbs or 1650 grams. In order to check the validity of this statement, I weighed a size large helmet (smaller shell size) at our location in house. According to our scales the helmet weighed 3.65lbs, or 1655 grams. I believe the small 0.5 variance can be contributed to the margin of error between the scales confirming Schuberth’s claim of a 3.6lbs overall weight.

Neotec comes in three shell sizes but they did not provide specifications for weight that I could find. For weight comparison purposes I used the same size large helmet and same scale. I found the Neotec to be slightly heavier weighing 4.05lbs, or 1837 grams.

By comparison, Schuberth’s lighter design by almost ½ lb. is noticeable. As a rider, this weight difference was not as apparent on my short ride to work, but I did feel slightly more neck fatigue on my longer weekend rides.


The Neotec shell was designed with a technology that Shoei calls Advanced Integrated Matrix (AIM). This process allows them to combine layers of strong fiberglass with organic fibers. A combination that they say gives the shell a rigid yet elastic composition while remaining light weight. As previously stated the Shoei Neotec is offered in three different shell sizes. The smallest shell is reserved for helmet sizes extra small through medium. The medium shell size is used on the size large helmet (head size: 59-60cm) and the largest shell is used on helmets that are size extra-large through double extra-large.

The shell of the Schuberth C3 was designed in a wind tunnel with the goal of making a strong, light, quiet and aerodynamic shell. The result is a helmet that generates very little noise and cuts through the air very effectively even at high speeds—I’ve been told ;). The material that Schuberth uses to make the shells is called S.T.R.O.N.G. Fiber. They use fiberglass, duroplast, and dyneema to form a glass fiber and special resin that is then vacuum pressed and reinforced with vinyl ester (GRP) with polyethylene fiber layers. The Schuberth C3 is offered in two shell sizes. The small shell size is used on the small through large helmet size. The large shell is used on the extra-large through triple extra-large helmets.

Comparing the two, I think the Neotec made a better attempt at catering to all head sizes by using 3 different shell sizes. One further consideration—the Neotec shell is visually larger and could makes some people with smaller frames look like they have their “head in the fish bowl”.


When comparing the two helmets the Schuberth C3 and the Shoei Neotec both fit my round/slightly oval head just fine. The C3 helmet seems to fit snugly in all areas without any pressure points and the Neotec fits about the same. Years of fitting these helmets for customers has provided feedback that tells me the C3 fits well to most riders heads unless they have a more severe Oval shape in which case the Shoei Neotec seems to fit a bit more comfortably. Personal experience has also told me that the Schuberth C3 accommodates a wider range of head sizes and shapes but then again I have had more time to work with the C3 since it has been in the US market over a year longer than the Neotec.

Noise Level

Completing an accurate sound level test while riding is not possible due to noise level changes in the surrounding environment. Proper testing can only be completed inside a professional wind tunnel, especially when the measurement criterion relates to wind noise. (That is of course the main objective of the manufacturers when designing the form of the helmets and their components.)

Nevertheless, I wanted to do a performance comparison between these two helmets relating to noise level so I developed a static test of my own. Using an internal helmet microphone mounted in the same location inside the helmet as would be an intercom speaker, I tested the decibel (dB) level of both helmets. I sat on a motorcycle at contact idle with an extremely loud aftermarket exhaust. I chose this environment to be sure that the noise from the bike would be louder than the ambient noise level of the environment.

The Neotec dB level read 93.6 while in comparison the C3 read 93.0 dB. Now I can’t say that .6 dB means a lot at this level of testing, and of course as I mentioned earlier, this test has nothing to do with external wind noise. It did however make me look a bit closer at the design features of both helmets to help explain the difference in this test. Upon inspection, I found that the neck roll in both helmets has been designed to fit close to the riders jaw, cheeks, and neck. This not only keeps the airflow inside the helmet working correctly, but also acts as a sound barrier to the external environment. The difference is that the C3 has an adjustable chin curtain which allows a slightly more custom fit in the front area, which is likely blocking just a bit more sound in my test. But, we are “splitting hairs” here trying to produce anything more than just an educated guess for the sound difference. What I can say is that when you pull the chin bar closed into the full face helmet position, the Schuberth C3 gives you a more secure feeling of being ‘sealed’ into the helmet.


Aerodynamics is something that I could test only with a wind tunnel so I’m not going to attempt to convey any opinion here. What I can do is help you to understand the technology used on both the C3 and the Neotech.

I do believe that the aerodynamics of a helmet are often overlooked when choosing a new helmet but worth of the time for those of us who choose to ride in comfort. This is partly due to the complexity of the topic and the fact that it’s a tough benefit to describe in the short amount of time that we usually dedicate to spend while choosing a new helmet. I do value the 1000’s of research and development hours that these reputable manufacturers put into their designs. Most of all, I trust the claims and information they provide to us showing the value of their efforts because they are top-tier product producers for our industry. I see how an aerodynamic helmet can reduce the noise level and the drag which of course leads to a more enjoyable ride.

Engineers from both Shoei and Schuberth believe that creating a “vortex” (controlled spinning air flow) around the helmet is beneficial to creating a quiet, aerodynamic design. Both manufacturers have incorporated “vortex generators” which by theory seem to accomplish their goal. Without an actual wind tunnel test I can only offer to share the detailed claims of each of the helmet manufacturers. I feel compelled to add one note about my opinions because I think it's relevant here. I spent some time learning about aerodynamics while becoming a pilot. I was so infatuated with the way the airflow, speed and the principles that show how an plane fly that I pushed my flying hobby to grow into aerobatic flight. In a nutshell, its impressive to me that both Schuberth and Shoei used this level of aerodynamics in their helmets.

Engineers at Shoei incorporated a spoiler into the leading edge of the chin bar and a dual-ridge window bead which they claim work together to reduce noise from entering the bottom of the helmet and manage airflow.

Similarly, the C3 was developed in Schuberth’s in-house acoustic wind tunnel and incorporates “vortex generators” positioned at the top edge of the shield designed to improve air flow over the top seal of the shield and reduce drag across the main shell by creating vortices. These pyramid-shaped bumps create “vortices” or spinning flows of air that rotate opposite of each other and serve to increase the speed of the downstream airflow so that it follows the sharp curvature of the helmet. This helps create a directionally stable helmet and reduces the tendency for it to oscillate. With the air flow staying near the surface of the helmet these vortices also stop the “buffeting” that can cause additional wind noise.

My conclusion—Shoei and Schuberth invested 1000’s of hours inside a wind tunnel in order to develop superbly aerodynamic helmets and both seem to perform above the competition in a real world atmosphere. I can’t say that one or the other sounds quieter but once you have worn either one it’s hard to put on a sub-quality helmet.


The chin bar, sun visor and face shield are the three major moving parts on these modular helmets, luxuries which many standard helmets don’t offer. Because both features must operate smoothly and stand the test of time they deserve some attention before making your purchase decision.

The basic chin bar design and movement is very similar on both the C3 and the Neotec. Both chin bars have a in detent to help lock the unit in place at full-open position but the C3 is a bit easier to operate with a smoother feel. When closing the chin bar the C3 feels more solid with a definite "locked" position, although it takes a bit more effort than the Neotec making the Neotec easier to close. Both have metal chin bar latching systems which clasp around metal pins mounted on the main shell, so by design are superior to some other modular helmets on the market. I must note that the C3 latch area is more pleasing to the eye and seems to be more protected from possible damage than the Neotec.

The sun visors operate by using a sliding control lever located on the left side of both helmets. The Neotec is not as smooth as the C3, requiring quite a bit more pressure to move the lever. The smoother operation of the C3’s sun visor may be due to the fact that it incorporates a dual-wire internal system that pulls equally on both sides of the visor. I think it is also important to note the location of the slider as Schuberth has it mounted on the lower edge of the main shell while Shoei has it placed a bit higher (See Image below). During testing I found that the placement of the lever on the C3 to be a bit easier to access while riding. Now granted, the C3 is only positioned about 4” lower than the Neotec, but I’ll tell you that the less I have to reach while riding means the more time I can keep my hands on the bars and my attention on the road.

The face shield on the Neotec has a lifting tab on the left side incorporating 7 detents for varying positions. The operation of this shield from position to position is definitely more stiff than I would like. The C3 in contrast is much smoother, with 6 positions, including a unique “city” position which leaves the shield open just enough to increase ventilation at slow speeds. There is a small tab that the visor must be snapped over to completely close.

In conclusion I feel that over the overall operation of the C3 is a bit better than the Neotec in most areas.


In general most of the venting in "standard" helmets comes from the upward pressure of air around the bottom of the helmet, but due to the "above standard" snugly-fitted design of the neck and chin curtains on these premier modular helmets, both the Neotec and C3, this effect has been greatly diminished allowing the venting to work as designed.

The Neotec ventilation system is simple and effective with a vent in front of the chin bar that vents up toward the face shield, and a ram-air vent on the top of the helmet that has three adjustable positions. A dual layer EPS liner disperses air evenly for efficient cooling and impact resistance. Hot air is exhausted out of an upper exhaust vent which takes advantage of the “venturi effect” creating negative-pressure suction to draw the air from the helmet.

On my rides with the Neotec I found the 2-position lower vent to be a great source of fresh air at slow speeds, and the three-position top vent created noticeable flow changes at higher speeds. I was able to control the feel a bit as well with the 2-postion control on the rear exhaust, something the C3 doesn’t offer.

The C3 design incorporates a lower vent, referred to as the “chin vent” with 2-positions as well and a bit smoother operation than the Neotec. The C3 lower vent was a bit easier to find while riding than the Neotec due to bottom edge protruding forward just enough to be the first thing my glove came in contact with. This was a very intelligent design in my opinion. Additional ventilation can be achieved by placing the face shield in the first open position from fully closed which is referred to as the “city position” for riding around in the city at speeds under 30 mph ( “C3”). The top vent on the C3 has 3 positions and is designed to flow maximum of 2 gallons of air per second at 60mph position. Schuberth’s design does not include a rear exhaust vent, so the air brought in via the main vent on top is channeled through the EPS liner and around the head. Schuberth has also added an extra feature that you won’ hear much about until you chat with riders in in colder climates. That is the fold-down flap on the comfort liner that can be used to block the internal vent holes to stop any cold air from leaking through.

Overall, I find myself using the “city position” on the C3 quite often so I like that feature. I also feel like the C3 forces the air down and around my head a bit more instead of simply in the front and out the rear exhaust vent as the Neotec does, especially when the Neotec rear vent is open. This additional air flow or internal pressure is made possible by the design of the neck and chin curtains as mentioned earlier. One thing I didn’t mention about the top air vent is that it has a tendency to collect bugs so periodic cleaning is necessary. Schuberth makes this easy with the built-in tool (see image above), but after searching the owner’s manual as well as Shoei’s website, I can’t find instructions on how to remove the cover from the Neotec top air vent for cleaning access.


Shoei uses the larger optically clear CNS-1 face shield for a taller line of sight than was offered with their earlier Multitec helmet design. It is equipped with a dual ridge window bead for secure closure and has pins for easy installation of the Pinlock® Anti-Fog System.

On the C3, Schuberth increased peripheral vision by 10% over the previous C2 model. The face shield is designed for exceptional peripheral viewing and optical clarity. The C3 face shield also incorporates aerodynamic dual-sided open/close tabs and patented "Turbulators" that minimize wind noise. This face shield also comes with built in pins to install the Pinlock® fog-free visor that is included.

A Pinlock® fog resistant lens is included with both helmet and personally I’m surprised more people are not talking about this amazing product. If you haven’t heard of Pinlock® it is worth checking out. The way it works is a lens fits over pins on the inside of the face shield and is held in place by tension. The lens is then sealed against the shield around the edges. This essentially creates a fog reducing double shield by making an airtight chamber in between the face shield and lens. The Pinlock® system that Schuberth uses takes this to the next level by offering 100% UV protection.

Both the Neotec and the C3 have extremely great lens clarity and use much of the same technology here and therefore I could not say one had better clarity than the other. I did however find a quantifiable difference in the peripheral vision between the two helmets. It seemed while riding and testing that I could see a bit better with the Schuberth. Once again using the size Large in each helmet I marked the position that each helmet met the side of my head in the temple area directly parallel with my eye line. The Neotec was 7mm more forward that the C3, therefore reducing the visible area slightly. Although Shoei touts a wider field of vision (maybe than its previous models?). I would rate the C3 to be the better choice if peripheral vision is a concern.


The Neotec modular helmet uses AIM (Advanced Integrated Matrix) which is Shoeis’ own shell structure, lightweight but rigid and elastic, combing layers of strong fiberglass with organic fibers. They say AIM provides a comparative degree of rigidity, but is both lighter and more elastic and provides superior safety performance with DOT certification. To provide comfort and perspiration absorption Shoei used a variety of fabrics in the liner. Foam layers of varying hardness provide and even fit and protect the rider’s head. Plus, the cheek pads in the Neotec have been designed to reduce exterior noise and to fit better with eye glasses.

Engineers at Schuberth designed the very first modular helmet. This means they have been working on this concept longer than anyone else and it shows in the C3. The outer shell is constructed using a “bag molding” process with enables them to get uniform thickness and keep the material use to a minimum increasing strength and keeping the weight low. The combination of 6-bar pressure, special resin and new fiberglass construction allows an exceptionally high degree of rigidity. Only 2 main woven pieces are used and the result is a special glassfiber-reinforced duroplast woven-mesh called S.T.R.O.N.G fibre.

S. S-RIM (Structural-Reaction-Injection Molding)
T. Thin-Wall
R. Reinforced/RTM
O. Optimized
N. Non-Woven
G. Glassfibre-Composite (GRP)

The Schuberth C3 is DOT and ECE certified and the Shoei Neotec is DOT certified only.

The liner on the inside of the helmet is COOLMAX® which is a removable, washable, and replaceable liner. The head pad is antibacterial and perspiration absorbing material. The crown lining is attached with clamp fittings and Velcro strips. Under the lining there is complex multi segment foam padding for impact resistance.

In this review I am unable to render an opinion as to which helmet might be considered “better constructed” or more protective in a crash situation since the true test is either done in a testing facility. What I can add on this topic is that along with the standard 5 year warranty, Schuberth offers a “mobility program” which a free program that offers the rider the opportunity to replace a crashed helmet with a new one of the same model for 1/3 of the current retail price within one year of the crash. I don’t see that Shoei offers anything similar at this time but they do have a 5 year warranty.


The Schuberth C3 incorporates a safety feature that is worth pointing out. Its called the Anti-Roll Off System (A.R.O.S.) and helps prevent the helmet from pivoting off of the riders head and minimizes the consequences of the helmet hitting the chest cavity. A.R.O.S consists of two straps that run along the inside of the neck roll. These are anchored in the rear of the helmet and the other end is attached to the chin strap. They are virtually undetectable in every day conditions but seem to be very effective in the simple testing that I performed. The concept of A.R.O.S. is to help keep the front chin strap from sliding off the chin which could allow the helmet to either rotate off the head backwards or so far forward that the helmet contacts the chest. To this day I haven't seen another helmet incorporate such intuitive design.

One other safety feature on the C3 are the reflective panels that Schuberth places all around the helmet to provide to improve level of safety for night riding. There are two long triangular shaped panels on the top edge of the eye port, two on the rear edge of the neck roll and the Schuberth Logo on the back of the helmet is also reflective.

The Shoei Neotec has a reflective logo on the rear of the helmet.

Both of these helmets are built by reputable companies with safety in mind. My theory has always been to protect my head the best way I know how. That being said, the Neotec and C3 both have the DOT 218 rating for use in the United States but only the Schuberth C3 has passed the safety standards tests for the ECE 22.05 rating. I feel that the C3 outweighs the Neotec in the safety category for the reasons shown.


Maintenance is similar for both helmets. The outside should be cleaned with soapy water and a lint free brush. Inside the helmet, the Pinlock anti-fog visor should be cleaned with a micro-fiber cloth. With the Schuberth C3, it is important to pay special attention to keeping reflective areas clean as well.

The inner liner is removable and washable on both helmets. I had less trouble reinserting the Neotec liner. On the other hand, I had a much easier time replacing the face shield on the Schuberth.

The chin strap is one of the major differences between these helmets. The Neotec has the traditional double D-ring system that has been used on motorcycle helmets for years and offers a good amount of adjustability.

In contrast, the Schuberth C3 utilizes a micro-lock ratchet which allows the rider to put the helmet on and take it off without removing gloves.

The ratchet lock feels more secure to me than the double d-rings that I’ve always used. The mechanism is certainly a bit quicker once you get used to it and is easier to use overall.

The C3 offers the SRC sold separately that is designed specifically for the Schuberth C3 helmet. The SRC system allows intercom conferencing between up to 3 riders and has Bluetooth® capabilities. The system is installed by removing the neck roll which is held in by two snaps and mounting the speakers with velcro. It incorporates a boom-style microphone for easy adjustment. It took me 10 minutes to mount the SRC.

The Shoei Neotec does not offer a communication system however aftermarket communication devices are available that mount easily to the Neotec.

I believe that the value of a “product review” is directly related to the amount of time the rider/reviewer spends evaluating the product. When writing a traditional review, it is my opinion that most riders/reviewers spend a couple hours or possibly a few days checking the features of a product before they render their opinions. In a perfect world a review would talk about how a product performs over its entire life-span. You deserve the best reviews possible and although I’m not perfect I intend to provide the best information possible for you.

My comments now represent my views of these helmets while they are both in new condition, this review will not end when I’m done writing. I will continue to use and evaluate these helmets and this comparison will be updated as new information becomes available.

Company representatives from the manufacturers often have a built in biased toward their products. As a retailer carrying all of the major brands we do not have that hang up. The conclusions that I have expressed here are my own and they also reflect feedback from hundreds of riders and customers who share their tories with me at motorcycle events. We also have a large customer base who put thousands of miles on their helmets every month and are kind enough to call me when they have praise, problems or suggestions for the product we sell. By reading and listening to what my customers have to say we are able to determine the true quality of a product in the real world and I believe that is the correct way to render an opinion.

When judging the true quality of the Schuberth C3 and the Shoei Neotec I believe most riders begin with an expectation of high quality that is suggested by the price. Both helmets meet those expectations and I further believe they are two of the best choices you could make when looking for a modular helmet. I’m comfortable saying that I prefer the Schuberth over the Shoei. I personally know customers who disagree with me and I think at the end of the day the right helmet is going to be determined by head shape, riding style and preference. It will be interesting to see how these helmets hold up as the miles add up in this comparison.

This review was being written by the President of JC Motors a lifelong rider across almost every riding style and a retailer of both the Schuberth and Shoei product lines.




Schuberth C3

Shoei Neotec








$699 - $749

$647 - $662


S.T.R.O.N.G. Fiber (fiberglass/Duroplast/Dyneema) Glass fiber and special resin vacuum pressed
Reinforced vinyl ester (GRP) with polyethylene fibre reinforced layers

A.I.M. (Advanced Integration Metrics) Strong fiberglass with organic fibers

Sun Visor

Dual cable push pull, adjustable to any position
UV Protective
Anti-fog coating
Quickly adjust to different light situations

QSV-1 built-in sunshield
UV Protective
Control w/sliding button

Communication System Compatibility

Recessed ear pockets to accommodate speakers, ready snap-in-place Cardo-based Schuberth Rider Communication System

Recessed ear pockets to accommodate speakers

Chin bar Mechanism

360-degree latching system
Polycarbonate (Lexan®)

360-degree pivot locking system

Chin bar Release Mechanism

Aerodynamic single-button center release
Extremely robust chin guard locking system
Chin locks in place on both sides w/Bowden cable

Enlarged single-button release
Easy-open lock release button

Wind/Noise Reduction

Rated at 84 dB at 60 mph
Removable wind cuff
Acoustic Collar
Neck Roll
Flocked EPS minimizes interior wind noise
Acoustically optimized in Schuberth's wind tunnel
Face shield seals out air when snapped closed
Turbulators on Face Shield
Vortex Generators on chin and top vents

Dual ridge bead at chin bar and shield closure
Removable wind cuff
Cheek pads designed to reduce noise

Face Shield Features

Exceptional peripheral opening
City Position allows extra airflow
Easy tool-less face shield removal
Dual-sided aerodynamic open/close tabs
Optimized optical clarity
Patented turbulators minimize noise
Condensation free technology

Wider viewing pane pinlock

Easy change face shield
Removable breath guard

Pinlock ready

Pinlock fog-free system
Built-in pins
Pinlock visor included

Pinlock fog-free system
Built-in pins
Pinlock visor included

Retention System

Micro-Lock ratcheting
Anti-Roll-Off System
Chin strap comfort flaps

Chin Strap Covers Available Separately

Eyeglass Compatible



Interior Lining

Fully Removable
Coolmax – Removable washable liner
Complex multi segment foam padding
Head pad is antibacterial perspiration absorbing material
Crown lining is attached with Velcro strips and secured with clamp fittings

Fully Removable
Removable top pad
Variety of fabrics
Perspiration absorption and comfort
Foam Layers varying hardness

Shell Sizes




1650 grams

1837 grams

Size range

2XS - 3XL
Available in women's fit option

XS - 2XL

Safety Standards

DOT 218
ECE 22.05 (Includes chin protection rating)

DOT 218


Multi-density single piece EPS
EPS in chin bar

Dual layered EPS
EPS in chin bar


Developed in Schuberth's in-house acoustic wind tunnel

In shell rear spoiler
Generates practically no upward lift
Excellent directional stability
Wind deflector in the chin area

Wind tunnel tested
In shell spoiler


Chin Vent
3-Position top vent
Interior vent hole cover flap
Channels in EPS guide air around head
Removable top vent cover for cleaning
Flows 2 gallons per second at 60mph

Chin Vent
3-Position hot air exhaust top vent
Channels in EPS
2 intake vents
Ventilation holes in comfort liner
Exhausts out the back


360-degree visibility
Reflective padding on back on neck laterally
Below face shield base plate on each side


Safety Feature

Anti-Roll-Off-System (A.R.O.S.)
Prevents helmet from pivoting off head from behind
Minimizes consequences of helmet hitting chest cavity



5 Years

5 years

Service Plan

3 Years


Mobility Program/Insurance

3 Years


Fastener System

Standard delivery w/micro-lock ratchet lock

Standard D-Rings

Quick tips:
Close the chin strap of the Schuberth C3 to avoid scratching things you set it on. Make sure the chin bar locks audibly engage on both sides. Never ride with chin bar open. Avoid putting gloves in helmet to prevent the Pinlock® system from getting scratched.

Posted By

Clint Lawrence

Clint Lawrence, Founder of JC Motors, is an avid motorcycle enthusiast, industry consultant and ambassador of recreation.

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