Honda TT Legends rider Michael Dunlop has broken with a long-standing family tradition by signing a new helmet deal with Shoei.
The three-times Isle of Man TT race winner followed in the footsteps of his dad Robert and uncle, Joey, by using Arai head protection throughout his career to date, but has confirmed his switch to the rival brand.
Dunlop will wear Shoei’s best-selling X-Spirit II this season, which bears an updated version of his traditional black and white design carried out by British firm Rage Designs.
The 23-year-old, who is bidding to end John McGuinness’s stranglehold on the Superbike class at the TT in June, said: “I’m really looking forward to this year’s racing. It’s a big opportunity for me and I want to grab it with both hands and see what I can make of it.
“I have a winning machine and tyre package and now with the confidence that comes from wearing Shoei, I can concentrate on the day job of winning races.”
Steve Clifford, sales director, Shoei UK, said the deal underlined the helmet manufacturer’s commitment to road racing.
“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to work with Michael and believe it’s something of a coup that he has chosen us,” he said.
“Working alongside our roster of already great championship riders Michael will be providing us with great feedback on our racing helmets performance.
“The Dunlop family is steeped in racing history and so too is Shoei. Reliability, performance and technology is a massive factor when it comes to the great road races such as North West 200 and TT and Shoei helmets have these factors as a core belief of their constantly evolving product development.”
Joey’s iconic yellow Arai helmet became synonymous with the Ulster road racer and is widely acknowledged as one of the most famous designs in the world.