Shoei's entry into the rapidly growing dual-sport/adventure-tour market, the Hornet DS helmet actually made its debut back in '07 - but our road test of the Ducati Multistrada 1200S gave us an opportunity to try it out in its element. Using Shoei's AIM+ lightweight shell that meets DOT and Snell M2005 standards, the Hornet DS utilizes a semi-dual version of the EPS liner ventilation system found in its street helmets, with the usual additional features such as fully removable/replaceable 3D Max-Dry liner, cheek pad channels for eyeglasses, and numerous vents and intakes for the ventilation system (there are two upper intakes, an intake incorporated into the visor, and a chin intake/shield defogger, plus two Cross Vortex rear exhaust vents and a neck outlet vent). Like all Shoei helmets, the Hornet DS comes with a five-year warranty.
One aspect of the Hornet DS that differs from regular street or dirt helmets is that it can be configured three ways: with the visor and faceshield, with the visor only (allowing the usage of goggles), and with the faceshield only. The faceshield flips up like a standard unit with or without the visor.
Our size medium Hornet DS weighed in at 3.48 pounds, which puts it on the lighter end of the weight scale as far as helmets go. Making the Shoei even more comfortable to wear are its aerodynamics; a dual-sport helmet has to deal with higher speeds than a conventional dirt helmet, even with a visor, yet the Hornet DS was fine well past 80 mph. There was no buffeting or lift/downforce caused by the visor even at elevated speeds, and the included chin "curtain" helped prevent excessive wind turbulence in the facial area. Only when turning your head fully sideways to look over your shoulder could any buffeting be felt, but that was only at speeds above 70 mph, and even then it was minor.
Overall fit and comfort was up to Shoei's usual standard of excellence, with a snug yet comfy fit around cheeks that kept the helmet stable without being overly tight. Ventilation was very good, although it seemed to work best when the helmet was tilted at certain angle. Despite the visor, overall peripheral vision was excellent, and the faceshield offered very little distortion even with its large surface area and slightly irregular curvature. The faceshield's pivot action was smooth and easy to use, and the accessory light smoke shield we used enabled us to block out sufficient glare during the day while still being able to see at night.
We were very impressed with the Hornet DS's performance while riding the Multistrada in a variety of scenarios.
Retail: $485.99 - $512.99
Sizes: XXS - XXL
Colors: 5 solid colors, 3 graphic versions