Japanese helmet manufacturer Arai is one of the oldest makers of essential safety equipment around, having begun producing lids commercially in the mid-1950s.
This came as a result of the founder, Hirotake Arai, a hat-maker and motorcycle rider himself, not being able to source what he felt was an essential piece of safety equipment in Japan.
Today, the company produces a range of helmets for various applications, ranging from the racetrack for MotoGP riders to the urban streets for commuters.
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Its products have evolved over the years thanks to innovations from the road and the track and have culminated in the latest model which meets the new ECE22.06 standard.
This is the first new standard for helmet certification for 20-odd years and in addition to the usual impact safety ratings, now includes assessment for rotational injuries, widely accepted as a major influence on brain injury.
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Arai has always worked hard to reduce this through its rounded, ‘glancing-off’ design with shells that are intended to do this rather than pick up rotational forces from off-centre impacts.
Something many riders will know is that no Arai helmet features an internal drop-down sun visor; the company feels that this affects the integrity of the helmet and so riders wanting some protection from bright sunlight will need sunglasses, a tinted visor or Arai’s external drop-down visor. It also doesn’t manufacture a flip-front design.
All Arai helmets are hand-made and come with a free annual service scheme as part of the purchase price.
The Debut is what Arai describes as its 'entry-level' helmet and sits squarely in the mid-price bracket. This colour scheme, the Blaze, is exclusive to the UK and its shell is constructed in Super fibre composite (SFC) with the trademark rounded shape.
It also features Arai’s ‘widescreen’ visor aperture for excellent peripheral vision and it comes with a Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog insert in the box. It also uses Arai’s Facial Contour System (FCS) for improved fit around the jawline and has replaceable cheekpads. There are numerous air vents, including a three-way chin vent, visor brow vents, top vents and rear-mounted exhaust vents.
SHARP rating: N/A
MCN Rated Best All-rounder
Tested by Ben Clarke for 2 months, 1500 miles - Quality 5/5 Value 4/5
"This Arai Quantic looks on the face of it like a pretty normal helmet. The design looks good but is nothing to write home about and there’s a new forehead vent combined with the Arai badge but other than that it looks quite unremarkable. Where things get interesting, though, is with the ECE marking on the back (said no one ever but bear with me). That’s because the Quantic was the first helmet to meet the new and updated ECE 22.06 safety regulation for helmets – although Shoei weren’t far behind with the NXR2.
"At 1600g (large shell size) it’s not the lightest helmet out there but this isn’t noticeable when you’re wearing it. The new ventilation system works really well and keeps you cool even when it’s roasting hot. I’ve used the Quantic on the road and track and it’s really quiet, even at very high speeds. At £599, it’s not cheap and it’s £60 more than Shoei’s NXR2."
The Chaser-X is Arai's sports-touring helmet and features many of Arai's trademarks, such as the rounded design of shell, formed in Special Fibre Laminate (SFL) and the Facial Contour System. It also has cut-outs inside for speakers to be mounted for an intercom and it uses a single, top-mounted vent derived from the RX-7V as opposed to the more familiar twin vents.
The large visor retains the brow vents and the chin vent is the usual three-position item and a Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog insert is included. It uses a visor lock derived from the brand’s Formula One helmets and is fastened with a familiar double D-ring strap.
SHARP Rating: 4/5
The RX-7V Evo is Arai's sportiest helmet and in addition to this version, is also available with a full race-style aerodynamic spoiler (the RX-7V Race FIM) that significantly increases the aerodynamic efficiency when worn with leathers featuring the rear hump.
However, this road-specification version uses the Variable Axis System (VAS) which lowers the visor mounting points for greater protection and space around the temples. It uses twin vent-channels on the top with more at the chin and the eyebrows and the exhaust vents are located at the rear and the side. This latest version is one of few helmets certified to the new ECE 22.06 regs, read our full review here.
SHARP Rating: 5/5
The Tour-X 4 is Arai's adventure and off-road helmet and combines elements specifically required for off-road use with the company's existing safety technologies. The Facial Contour System gives a better fit around the jawline while the cheekpads feature a removable section for a better fit here too.
The large visor can be removed and replaced with goggles and the peak is also easily removable, so the helmet can be used in three ways. The chin-bar has a closable vent, with the familiar brow vents and top openings present and there is also a pull-down chin spoiler.
SHARP Rating: N/A
Old-school or neo-retro bikes require retro-style gear and the Rapide is just that, a retro-inspired and styled helmet with thoroughly modern technology. This colourway celebrates the originator, Hirotake Arai with the 'HA' logo while other designs are available, including 1970s-style orange and browns.
The large visor uses the Variable Axis System and there is plenty of ventilation, from the brow vents and the mesh-covered chin vents with internal cover. There are no top vents to keep the look of the helmet clean and it also features replaceable cheek pads.
SHARP Rating: N/A
For riders who prefer the open-face design of helmets, then this classic-styled version is built with modern technology in a retro style. The shell is made from super-fibre laminate (SFL) and the EPS liner is shaped to offer additional room around the ears.
Different-sized ear cups are available to tailor the fit and to allow a speaker to be fitted while the interior is lined in leather for an authentic retro look and feel. It comes with a goggle strap on the rear and there is an optional peak or clip-on sun visor as well.
SHARP Rating: N/A
Tinted Type 1 Visor
This lightly tinted replacement visor is road legal, thanks to its light transmission and as a genuine Arai visor, is a direct replacement for the clear version that comes with the helmet. There are also other finishes available, as well as a dark tint though these are not considered road-legal and hence, are for the circuit only.
Pro Shade System
While Arai does not produce helmets with internal drop-down sun visors, this external version does not affect the helmet's integrity and can be added to instantly cut glare from the sun. It comes with a replacement visor and the shade system, which simply raises for clear vision or drops down to provide protection against sunlight. Not as elegant as an internal version perhaps but it beats fumbling around with sunglasses.
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