Tag Archives: Helmet Reviews

Arai Regent-X Helmet | Gear Review

Arai Regent-X helmet in Sensation Red Frost.
Arai Regent-X helmet in Sensation Red Frost.

Arai Helmets’ premium full-face and open-face motorcycle helmets stand out for a lot of reasons. Chief among them are impeccable hand craftsmanship and materials, comfort, a custom-like fit and an unwavering devotion to the company’s stringent definition of head protection, which generally exceeds U.S. Snell certification standards. These qualities have helped Arai build a large fan base among both regular on- and off-road riders as well as a heap of successful racers.

That base might also point out that — because of all of the above — Arai helmets tend to be pricy, and for some wearers the design of the shell, neck roll and cheek pads can make the helmets difficult to put on and take off. Once an Arai is on your head, it’s hard to imagine a cozier, more secure lid, but for some getting it over the largest part of their melon can be a struggle.

To address both issues Arai has created the new Regent-X full-face helmet, which offers all of the qualities for which Arais are known at a lower cost, and it has some simple changes that make the Regent-X lighter and easier (effortless, actually) to slide onto and off your noggin. For starters the Hyper-Ridge-reinforced bottom opening of its new Peripherally Belted–Complex Laminate Construction 1 (PB-CLC1) fiberglass shell is 5mm wider in the chin and cheek area, and the neck roll is thinner and shorter. Arai’s Facial Contour System (FCS) cheek pads, which move up and down as you don the helmet and wrap snugly around your jaw, carry over but now have recessed speaker pockets for more space and to ease communicator installation.

Arai Regent-X helmet in Sensation Red Frost.
Arai Regent-X helmet in Sensation Red Frost.

More cost-effective materials make the Regent-X’s new shell a little heavier than the PB-SNC2 shell in Arai’s flagship Corsair-X helmet, though Arai says it still provides the same level of protection. Interestingly, at 54.5 ounces in my size large, due to its minimal vent scoops and simpler neck roll the Regent-X ends up 2.5 ounces lighter overall than a Corsair-X. As usual the Regent’s brushed nylon interior is soft and silky comfortable, and optional sizes are available for the removable, washable head liner and cheek pads for a custom fit. Venting is noticeably effective and the front chinbar and dual brow and top vents are closable, though the rear exhaust vents on the Regent-X are always open. A few years ago Arai changed its toolless shield pivot design to make it easier to use and to enlarge the smooth area above it (along the Snell impact test line), so changing shields is a snap (as always, read the manual). I’m a big fan of Arai’s ProShade shield, too, which adds a flip-up sunshield to a regular clear shield to provide similar convenience to an interior drop-down sunshield without compromising the forehead area of the helmet.

If you’re a regular Arai wearer you’ll find the Regent-X so easy to slide on and off that it actually takes some getting used to, but once you do I promise it will become your go-to Arai, especially since it’s just as quiet, light and comfortable as other Arais. The Regent-X has an Intermediate Oval interior shape (Round Oval and Long Oval are available in other Arais), is Snell M2020 certified and will be available in early to mid-December in a variety of solid colors ($559.95) and graphics ($689.95).

For more information, see your dealer or visit araiamericas.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Shoei GT-Air II Helmet | Gear Review

Shoei GT-Air II
Shoei GT-Air II helmet in Redux TC-1 graphic.

For sport-touring riders who prefer a traditional full-face helmet to a modular or flip-up style, Shoei’s GT-Air has been a top choice since it was first released back in 2012. Since then, the popularity of built-in or integrated Bluetooth communication systems has increased, so for 2019 Shoei has updated the GT-Air II with an optional Sena SRL2 comm system, along with some other tweaks meant to make a great lid even better.

The SRL2 ($299) was designed specifically for the GT-Air II, which means installation is quick and almost foolproof. Insert the battery and controller into their separate compartments, snap the speakers into the pre-cut indentations and stick the microphone on the inside of the chin bar (or use the included boom mic). Ready to ride!

GT-Air II SRL Bluetooth
The SRL Bluetooth system, made by Sena, is quick and easy to install in the GT-Air II.

Otherwise, the basic construction of the GT-Air II is unchanged: the shell is made of Shoei’s proprietary Multi-Ply Matrix AIM, which consists of hand-laid interwoven layers of fiberglass, organic fibers and resin, backed by a new EPS liner that now incorporates varying foam densities within each piece for a compact, lightweight design that still protects your noggin.

The removable, washable and sizable Max-Dry interior feels like it may be just a bit more plush than the previous GT-Air, but fit seems about the same as before: a slightly longer oval shape than some of Shoei’s other helmets. Fit around the neck roll is a tad looser to facilitate pulling the GT-Air II on/off but is still snug enough to keep things quiet.

One major change is the switch to the new, patented micro-ratchet chinstrap, as seen on the Neotec II. Unlike other ratcheting chinstraps, Shoei’s closure mechanism is made of 100-percent stainless steel — no plastic — for the utmost in safety. I like the design, which lets the user preset the general fit with an adjustable strap, and fine-tune it with the ratchet. It seems more secure and also more comfortable, similar to a traditional D-ring strap.

Other features include a new drop-down sun shield that’s 5mm longer than before; that doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough to cover nearly the entire eyeport and is less intrusive when glancing down at the gauges. A redesigned upper vent shutter is still one of the easiest to use with gloves on, and has two intake positions, both of which flow noticeable amounts of fresh air; five exhaust vents, none of which can be closed, draw it out.

Shoei focused on making the GT-Air II as quiet as possible, with new, thicker face shield beading that seals tightly against wind and water and a compact, aerodynamic shell (my size small weighs in at 3 lbs., 9.8 oz. with SRL2  installed). With the vents closed, the GT-Air II is comfortably quiet, but once the vents are open the noise level goes up considerably. The CNS-1 face shield is the same as that used on the original GT-Air, and comes with a Pinlock EVO fog-resistant insert. The GT-Air II’s new baseplate, however, now allows the shield to be opened just slightly for venting and defogging.

Overall, the GT-Air II is a solid step up from the previous version, with enough updates and upgrades to justify the roughly $50 price increase. It’s available in sizes XS-2XL, spread over three shell sizes, for $599 (solids) or $699 (graphics). 

For more information, see your dealer or visit shoei-helmets.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

HJC i70 Full-Face Helmet | Gear Review

HJC i70 Full-Face Helmet
HJC i70 Full-Face Helmet, available in several solid colors and graphics.

The older I get, the more I appreciate simplicity, whether it’s sticking to a few simple ingredients in our meals, limiting investments to low-cost index funds or avoiding clothes that require dry cleaning (or even ironing, for that matter). Same goes for the gear I like to wear on the bike, which tends to get dropped, lost, forgotten, stolen, broken and/or dirty in short order. So the simpler the better, and if it’s inexpensive that helps, too.

At an MSRP of $199.99 to $219.99, HJC’s new i70 sport-touring helmet line is definitely inexpensive, and uses a tried-and-true full-face design formula to keep the helmet simple without forgoing any basics. The DOT-approved i70 starts with an injection-molded, advanced polycarbonate shell that HJC says is lighter and more compact than its iS-17 predecessor. Its removable, washable Super Cool comfort liner has a Glasses Groove to ease wearing your spectacles, and the EPS liner has molded-in pockets by the ears for comm system speakers. Very functional closeable vents in the top and chinbar are easy to use with gloves on, and flow plenty of air into a channel in the helmet liner and out the exhaust vent/spoiler or up onto the face shield. The Pinlock anti-fog-ready face shield comes in clear, smoke, dark smoke, amber or mirrored silver, blue or gold and can be changed without tools. Since the built-in, drop-down sun visor is already dark smoke, I found the clear anti-scratch face shield a good choice for touring and commuting, and it ratchets into one of six positions (including a barely-open vent position) and locks closed with a center locking system.

In daily use behind a windscreen or straight into the wind, worn briefly without earplugs I found the HJC i70 to be about average for noise. The double D-ring fastening system has an extra-long strap with an end retainer, and at 3 pounds, 8 ounces in my size large, the helmet is a few ounces lighter than most fiberglass composite lids. Its comfort liner has a soft texture and firm, supportive foam that is comfortable and seems to wick away sweat, and both the cheek pads and headliner come in interchangeable sizes. The lever for the sun shield slides back-and-forth along the bottom edge of the helmet shell and was a bit sticky at first, but loosened up with use.

Overall the HJC i70 is a functional, comfortable full-face helmet with everything you need and nothing you don’t. I’m especially fond of the hi-viz Rias graphic shown, which looks cool and gets attention. The helmet comes in solid colors and several graphics in sizes XS-2XL (add $5 for 2XL) spread over two shell sizes. 

For more information, see your dealer or visit hjchelmets.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Arai Regent-X Full-Face Helmet | Gear Review

Arai Regent-X Helmet
Arai Regent-X in Sensation Yellow Frost

Arai Helmets’ premium full-face and open-face motorcycle helmets stand out for a lot of reasons. Chief among them are impeccable hand craftsmanship and materials, comfort, a custom-like fit and an unwavering devotion to the company’s stringent definition of head protection, which generally exceeds U.S. Snell certification standards. These qualities have helped Arai build a large fan base among both regular on- and off-road riders as well as a heap of successful racers.

That base might also point out that — because of all of the above — Arai helmets tend to be pricy, and for some wearers the design of the shell, neck roll and cheek pads can make the helmets difficult to put on and take off. Once an Arai is on your head, it’s hard to imagine a cozier, more secure lid, but for some getting it over the largest part of their melon can be a struggle.

Regent-X more room
The Regent-X is easier to put on/take off, thanks in part to a newly shaped shell with a 5mm wider opening in the cheek and chin areas.

To address both issues Arai has created the new Regent-X full-face helmet, which offers all of the qualities for which Arais are known at a lower cost, and it has some simple changes that make the Regent-X lighter and easier (effortless, actually) to slide onto and off your noggin. For starters the Hyper-Ridge-reinforced bottom opening of its new Peripherally Belted – Complex Laminate Construction 1 (PB-CLC1) fiberglass shell is 5mm wider in the chin and cheek area, and the neck roll is thinner and shorter back to front. Arai’s Facial Contour System (FCS) cheek pads, which move up and down as you don the helmet and wrap snugly around your jaw, carry over but now have recessed speaker pockets for more space and to ease communicator installation.

More cost-effective materials make the Regent-X’s new shell a little heavier than the PB-SNC2 shell in Arai’s flagship Corsair-X helmet, though Arai says it still provides the same level of protection. Interestingly, at 54.5 ounces in my size large, due to its minimal vent scoops and simpler neck roll the Regent-X ends up 2.5 ounces lighter overall than a Corsair-X. As usual the Regent’s brushed nylon interior is soft and silky comfortable, and optional sizes are available for the removable, washable head liner and cheek pads for a custom fit. Venting is noticeably effective and the front chinbar and dual brow and top vents are closable, though the rear exhaust vents on the Regent-X are always open.

Arai cheekpads
FCS cheekpads rotate slightly when donning/doffing the helmet to facilitate a more comfortable experience.

A few years ago Arai changed its toolless shield pivot design to make it easier to use and enlarged the smooth area above it (along the Snell impact test line), so changing shields is a snap (as always, read the manual). I’m a big fan of Arai’s ProShade shield, too, which adds a flip-up sunshield to a regular clear shield to provide similar convenience to an interior drop-down sunshield without compromising the forehead area of the helmet.

If you’re a regular Arai wearer you’ll find the Regent-X so easy to slide on and off that it actually takes some getting used to, but once you do I promise it will become your go-to Arai, especially since it’s just as quiet, light and comfortable as other Arais. 

Regent-X's newly shaped shell.
The upper edge of the Regent-X’s eye port is reinforced with Arai’s Peripheral Belt, which is custom woven in-house with proprietary super fibers to increase shell strength without adding thickness or weight.

The Regent-X has an Intermediate Oval interior shape (Round Oval and Long Oval are available in other Arais), is Snell M2020 certified and will be available in early to mid-December in a variety of solid colors ($559.95) and graphics ($689.95). 

For more information, see your dealer or visit araiamericas.com.

Arai Regent-X Helmet
Arai Regent-X in Sensation Red Frost

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Schuberth C4 Pro Modular Helmet | Gear Review

Schuberth C4 Pro Modular Helmet.

At first glance, Schuberth’s new C4 Pro seems indistinguishable from its predecessor, the C4 (read the review here), but on closer inspection several tweaks are revealed that improve comfort and fitment and address a few grumbles from C4 owners.

The C4 Pro uses the same aerodynamic, wind tunnel-tested, proprietary Direct Fiber Processing shell as the C4 — an endless spool of fiberglass is robotically cut and blown into a mold, where resin is added and the whole lot is compressed into a high-strength shell. It also shares the C4’s large visor with Pinlock anti-fog insert pre-installed, integrated drop-down sun shield and SC1 communication system compatibility. Up top is a large vent, which now includes an inner screen to prevent bugs from getting sucked into the helmet. The chinbar opens easily and latches with a reassuring snap, but when doing so the spring-loaded vent just below the visor often pops open or closed unintentionally. Fit and finish overall is excellent, as expected from a premium brand like Schuberth.

Improvements over the C4 include a rework of the ultra-plush, removable/washable CoolMax inner liner, reducing pressure points (as we noted in our review), making the glasses groove more pronounced and lengthening the ratcheting chin strap padding so that it overlaps for more comfort. The C4 Pro, like the C4, is pre-wired with speakers and a microphone for the SC1 communication system, but the Pro gets new thinner speakers set into deeper cutouts and revised compartments for the battery and SC1 control unit that reduce wind noise and improve connectivity. The control unit itself still has small, aerodynamic buttons that can be difficult to use with gloves on. Lastly, the Pro’s neckroll was thickened, also reducing wind noise but making it a bit harder to pull on and off.

Overall the C4 Pro is a well-built helmet that prioritizes a quiet ride and, of course, safety. Fans of the C3 Pro will enjoy the changes and might be happier with fit compared to the C4; in fact, Schuberth claims the C4 Pro is the quietest, most comfortable helmet it’s ever built. Weighing in at 3 pounds, 15 ounces with the SC1 installed, my size small is both quiet and comfortable, so mission accomplished. The C4 Pro is available in five solid ($699) and nine graphic ($799) color options, in sizes XS-3XL spread over two shell sizes. 

For more information, see your dealer or visit schuberth.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Simpson Mod Bandit Modular Helmet | Gear Review

Simpson Mod Bandit Modular Helmet in white with gold mirrored shield
Simpson Mod Bandit Modular Helmet in white with gold mirrored shield.

There’s really no beating modular helmets for convenience (though seldom are they described as “cool”), but if you’re a fan of Simpson’s signature aggressive look you no longer have to sacrifice convenience in the name of coolness – thanks to the new Mod Bandit. Ironically, it was Simpson’s ad here in the magazine that first drew my attention to the Mod Bandit (that’s how those things are supposed to work, right?), and I immediately requested one for review. 

The Mod Bandit is available in sizes XS to 2XL with two shell types: composite ($479.95), which comes in white, gloss black or flat black, and carbon fiber with a gloss black polycarbonate chinbar ($679.95). While it appears very similar to the full-face Ghost Bandit, the Mod Bandit sizing runs large, so Simpson advised me to order an XS instead of my usual Small, and it was the right call. However, the XS crown liner was too thick for my head shape so I swapped it out for a thinner Medium; it snapped right in and fits much better.

Along with the removable/interchangeable/washable liner and cheek pads, fit and finish on the ECE- and DOT-certified Mod Bandit is impressive. The chinbar raises and lowers with one hand and locks solidly with metal hardware, and I love the spacious feeling of the large eye port. Two crown vents are easy to operate with gloves on but their small openings don’t flow much air; the six chinbar vents flow it directly onto the rider’s face but open and close via levers inside the chinbar that are tough to access with the chin curtain installed.

Simpson Mod Bandit Modular Helmet
The Mod Bandit comes with the standard clear main visor/tinted inner sun shield combo, but both can be swapped so you can maintain the signature aggressive Simpson look during the day.

The Mod Bandit comes with a clear, Pinlock-ready main visor and tinted inner drop-down shield, but I opted to swap the tinted inner shield for a clear one, and the clear main visor for a cool gold-mirrored one (both of which took only seconds and required no tools). This allows me to maintain that aggressive Simpson look for day rides, and if I’m caught out after dark I can raise the dark main visor and use the clear inner shield. 

My carbon fiber Mod Bandit is a relatively featherweight 3 pounds, 7 ounces, and while aerodynamic in a headwind it gets pushed around in a strong crosswind. It’s also a bit noisy, although I ride with earplugs so that’s not a deal-breaker for me. Overall this is a quality lid that proves it really is possible for a modular helmet to be cool. Makes me wonder why anyone would buy a standard full-face.

For more information, call (800) 654-7223 or visit simpsonraceproducts.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Gear: X-Lite X-903 Full-Face Helmet

X-Lite X-903 Full-Face Helmet.
X-Lite X-903 Full-Face Helmet.

The X-903 is X-Lite’s new top-of-the-line touring helmet, with a composite fiber (carbon, Kevlar and fiberglass) shell, innovative magnetic visor assembly mechanism, Pinlock fog-resistant face shield, removable, washable and adjustable inner liner and internal drop-down sun shield, plus it’s ready for the Ncom B901X Bluetooth communication system. The DOT-approved X-903 is available in sizes XS-2XL spread over three shell sizes in Black or White, for $499.95.

Call (866) 243-5638 or visit xlite-usa.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com

HJC RPHA 70 ST Helmet | Gear Review

HJC RPHA 70 ST
The RPHA 70 ST is HJC’s newest sport-touring lid.

HJC makes a lot of helmets–more than one million per year in four factories in South Korea and Vietnam, according to the company website. At the upper end of its product range is the RPHA lineup (Revolutionary Performance Helmet Advanced, pronounced “are-fah”), which includes two sport-touring helmets and two street/racing helmets. The RPHA 70 ST is the newer of the two sport-touring models, and there’s much to like about this sharp-looking lid. 

The shell is made from HJC’s P.I.M. Plus, which comprises several layers of aramid, fiberglass and carbon material. A large central vent up top is easy to adjust into one of its three positions with gloves on, and two rear exhaust vents are small but also fairly easy to use. The scratch-resistant, tool-free, Pinlock-ready shield has a central open/close latch that trades sleekness for functionality–fine for a sport-touring lid–but I wish it had a slightly larger initial “vent” opening.

The integrated drop-down sun shield is also easy to use via the slider at the bottom of the chinbar. I installed a Sena 10C Pro Bluetooth communicator/action camera on my RPHA 70 ST, and the speakers were a snap to position thanks to the helmet’s large recesses that came with soft “loop” fabric ready for the “hooks” on the backs of the Sena’s speakers.

I’m usually a size small, and my RPHA 70 ST’s fit around the cheeks is on the snug side, but I prefer it that way; multiple sizes of the removable/washable cheekpads and top liner are available to dial-in fit. The neckroll fit is tight as well, making for a fairly quiet ride, and I appreciate the large reflective sections at the back for nighttime visibility. A large breath deflector and a chin curtain are included.

At 3 pounds, 8 ounces, my small RPHA 70 ST is on par with competitive lids. It’s DOT- and ECE-approved and carries a 5-year warranty, and is available in sizes XS-2XL spread across three shell sizes. Pricing starts at $399.99 for solids and $440.99 for graphics. If you’re feeling super, an Iron Man or Black Panther graphic is available for $609.99.

For more information, see your dealer or visit hjchelmets.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Sena Momentum Helmet | Gear Review

Sena Momentum Helmet in glossy white.
Sena Momentum Helmet in glossy white.

There’s nothing like a long, leisurely scenic motorcycle ride. Blue skies, warm air, engine rumbling between your knees and smooth, serpentine pavement unfolding before you. What can make a great ride even better is a good soundtrack, tailored to your mood. Perhaps classic rock for a touch of fist-pumping nostalgia, or ’70s soul to lift your spirits.

Whatever tunes you choose, they’ll sound better with in-helmet speakers. Installing a Bluetooth helmet headset isn’t particularly hard, but it can be fiddly. And then you usually end up with a small box clipped to the outside of your helmet, which can be unsightly and vulnerable (I’ve seen more than one unsecured communicator fall off a helmet at speed and bounce into oblivion).

Sena, the Korean maker of Bluetooth communicators and action cameras, now offers “smart” helmets with communicators integrated right in. Speakers are pre-installed and the control buttons are built into the side of the helmet, giving it a clean, cohesive look.

Sena’s Momentum helmet has the same features as its 20S communicator, which offers intercom connections with up to seven other riders and includes Advanced Noise Control technology (reduces background noise during intercom conversations), built-in FM radio, voice commands, hands-free phone calls, audio multitasking and more. (You can read our review of the 20S here; for a full list of features, see Sena’s website.)

Pairing devices to the Momentum is straightforward, audio quality is good and connecting to the Momentum with Sena’s smartphone app makes it easy to adjust settings, set speed dial and FM station favorites and create intercom groups.

The Momentum has a composite fiberglass shell with crown and chin intake vents and a rear exhaust vent, a multi-density EPS liner, a scratch- and UV-resistant quick-release face shield that’s Pinlock ready (insert sold separately) and a removable, washable comfort interior.

At 3 pounds, 11 ounces for a size medium, weight is average, and the helmet is acceptably quiet and reasonably comfortable, on par with other mid-priced helmets. The neck roll is tight, which helps keep wind noise down but creates challenges when donning and doffing the lid.

All Sena Momentum helmets are available in glossy white or matte black in sizes XS-XXL. The Momentum retails for $449. The Momentum Lite helmet, which can connect with up to three riders, retails for $399. And the Momentum INC helmet, which adds Intelligent Noise Control noise-cancelling technology, retails for $549.

The Momentum Pro, which adds Sena’s QHD camera integrated into the top of the INC-equipped helmet, should be available soon. We’d love to see more colors/graphics and a modular helmet option. 

For more information, see your dealer or visit sena.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Gear: Arai RAM-X Open-Face Helmet

Arai RAM-X open face helmet
Arai RAM-X in Aluminum Silver. Image courtesy Arai.

The RAM-X is a new premium open-face touring helmet from Arai, which means no corners were cut and protection is number one. Under the composite shell is a one-piece, multi-density EPS liner that is designed to best absorb and distribute the force of an impact. Arai’s testing has shown that the smaller the impact area, the firmer the liner needs to be in order to absorb that impact. Therefore it used firm foam around the smallest impact areas of the forehead and the base of the head, the softest foam at the large crown area and medium density in between.

Inside is a removable/washable/sizeable liner and the RAM-X features the same free-flowing ventilation as the top-of-the-line Corsair-X race helmet. With all three top vents open, plus the two forehead vents, the RAM-X flows tons of air, thanks partly to the seven exhaust vents. The included Pinlock-ready face shield gives excellent coverage, with improved, easier-to-use shutter forehead vents, and the Pro Shade sun visor system is a clever alternative to an integrated drop-down sun shield. Put the Pro Shade in its fully upright position and it functions like the peak of an ADV helmet, partly closed it’s perfect for late afternoon sun and fully closed it covers almost as much of the clear shield as a regular full-face helmet visor. The RAM-X is available in several colors in sizes XS-2XL spread over three shell sizes, starting at $679.95.

See your dealer or visit araiamericas.com.

Arai RAM-X open face helmet
We got a chance to test out the new RAM-X on a day ride with the Arai team. Photo by Simon Cudby.

Source: RiderMagazine.com