This updated version of Arai’s flagship helmet, the RX-7V Evo, is now certified to the more stringent ECE 22.06 safety standard. It’s Arai’s second lid to be tested to the new tougher requirements, after the introduction of the mid-range Quantic last year.
1. Arai RX-7V Evo
Tested by Emma Franklin for 2 months, 1000 miles
Quality 5/5, Value 4/5
This would lead you to think that the Quantic perhaps influenced the construction of the new RX-7V Evo in some way, but according to Arai that’s not the case. In fact, the RX-7V Evo has the exact same composite-fibre shell moulded into Arai’s traditional ‘R75’ rounded shape, with its reinforcing belt above the brow, as well as the same multi-density one-piece EPS lining as the previous RX-7V.
This is all down to the fact that Arai says their lids are built to be the safest they can possibly be and not just to meet the criteria of safety regulations, which is why they also subject their lids to additional in-house testing not required by the European standard.
And the similarities to the old lid don’t end there… Getting the new Evo and old RX-7V side by side reveals that almost everything, from the external vents to the chin curtain, visor system and rear spoiler, appears to be exactly the same too. Arai says the top vent allows 11% more airflow than before and features a bigger switch for ease of use. They also say that the two intake scoops are 19% larger. But, to be honest, the changes are barely distinguishable.
The only noticeable difference between the RX-7V and RX-7V Evo that I can see is the addition of two extra internal vents between the cheek pads and the outer shell, designed to duct moist air away from the visor.
For all the changes Arai has – and hasn’t – made to the RX-7V Evo, it’s a stunning helmet. Although historically pitched as their flagship racing helmet, the RX-7V Evo to me is now the ultimate road riding lid. The ventilation is supreme, better than any other helmet I’ve worn. It’s also remarkably quiet too, which surprised me given how heavily scooped it is on the exterior.
And as for the fit, well… Not only is the adjustable and washable anti-bac lining really plush, but it also cocoons my head in such a way that the lid itself is completely unnoticeable, even at high speeds. There’s no lifting or pushing back against the face, nor are there any pressure points at the forehead. There’s also space for an intercom.
The Evo has yet to be SHARP tested, but given that it’s got the same shell and EPS as the RX-7V, expect it to also achieve the maximum five stars. At £699.99 it’s an expensive lid, no doubt about it. But given its apparent similarity to the out-going RX-7V, you might be able to save yourself a few quid if and when retailers start discounting the older model.
Putting the Arai RX-7V to the ultimate test
The fundamental purpose of a helmet is to protect your head in a worst-case scenario and knowing that your lid has passed stringent safety tests does offer peace of mind. There's no substitute for a real-world endorsement though, so here's what MCN's legendary road tester Bruce Dunn had to say about his RX-7V after an on-track incident while racing.
It should be noted that Bruce's helmet isn't the Evo, however, it does share the same outer shell and inner EPS layer.
Tested by Bruce Dunn for three years and one highside.
Quality 5/5, Value 5/5
"This helmet has just passed the ultimate test, having protected my head from serious injury following an on-track highside. The impact, which crash data from my airbag suit resulted in an impact of 29G, saw me break vertebrae and sustain a mild concussion, however, I'm positive that the protection offered by the RX-7V prevented more serious injury. The helmet was quite badly damaged in the impact, implying to me that it's done its job in sacrificing its integrity in order to save my skull."
"Other than the protection, there are many other features of this top-of-the-range Arai that I like. First of all, it's perfect for sporty riding, both on and off the track, thanks to the full suite of functional vents, that allow a flow of air around the head to help keep cool. For me, I feel that this is definitely worth the sacrifice in extra comfort and noise insulation that a pure touring or road helmet gives."
"There is a generously wide field of vision, even when tucked in a racing crouch, and the lid itself remains extremely stable at all speeds. The only negative point that I can comment on is that, compared to similar spec helmets from AGV, the Arai feels comparatively heavy, although I must admit that the weight is not noticeable when the lid is being worn."
2. Shoei X-Spirit 3
3. AGV Corsa-R
4. LS2 Thunder Carbon
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