Tag Archives: Motorcycle Helmets

HJC i10 Helmet | Gear Review

HJC i10 helmet

I see a lot of HJC lids when I’m out and about with other riders, which is no surprise: they’re attractive, functional and easy on the wallet. Its CL-17 has been a bestseller and a workhorse of the lineup for years, and for 2019 HJC released a new model to replace it, the i10. Its advanced polycarbonate composite shell has a fresh, modern look, with crown, forehead and chinbar intake vents and always-open exhaust vents at the rear, and the Taze graphic we tested (shown above) also features subtle silver reflective striping on the front, top, back and sides. The liner is removable and washable and the Pinlock-ready visor snaps on and off easily. The i10 is also ready to accept the optional built-in SmartHJC 20B or 10B Bluetooth communication system, or it can be used with a separate system from a manufacturer like Cardo or Sena.

My i10 was comfortable right out of the box, with ample room for speakers. I would say fit is intermediate oval that leans just a hair toward round oval, but I didn’t experience any hotspots or pressure points. The chinbar and forehead vents are super easy to use with gloves on, but for some reason I struggled to locate and operate the top vents at times, usually when wearing thicker gloves. The visor is easy to use too, with a large tab front and center that eliminates the fumbling at traffic lights I’ve experienced with some other brands, but I wish it had a smaller initial “de-fogging” opening. I also miss the convenience of a built-in drop-down sun visor, but if that’s a deal-breaker for you, HJC’s i70 (reviewed in the October 2019 issue and here) is a nice step up for not too much more dough.

With a lower-priced lid like the i10, your primary concessions are in the comfort category; at 3 lbs., 9 oz. my size small i10 is nearly 5 oz. heavier than a similarly featured high-end competitor. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but after a full day of riding that third of a pound can become apparent. That said, the i10 is still a lot of helmet for the money, especially given it carries the newest Snell M2020 certification in addition to DOT. It’s available in sizes XS-3XL (3XL is DOT only) in five solid colors starting at $149.99, and in three graphics starting at $169.99.

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

Source: RiderMagazine.com

6D ATS-1R Helmet | Gear Review

6D ATS-1R helmet in Gloss Black
6D ATS-1R helmet in Gloss Black.

In 2016 we tested the ATS-1, the first full-face street helmet from 6D, a new company that had developed a patented system called Omni-Directional Suspension (read the review here). Inside the helmet are two nested EPS liners connected by an array of hourglass-shaped elastomer dampers. The dampers allow the EPS liners to move independently in six axes, so the outer shell moves independently of the head. Upon impact, the liners compress together and/or shift laterally relative to each other before they crush like EPS liners in other helmets, absorbing and dissipating kinetic energy and reducing the amount of force transferred to the head. Independent tests have shown that ODS significantly reduces linear and angular (rotational) acceleration compared to other helmets, reducing the likelihood of concussions, traumatic brain injuries or death. The innovation and wide-ranging applicability of ODS helped 6D win the Grand Prize in the NFL’s Head Health Challenge III competition.

6D’s new ATS-1R improves upon its predecessor in a number of ways. Advancements in ODS technology are said to provide “significant improvements in both linear and angular acceleration mitigation” while also reducing weight. My size-medium ATS-1R weighs 3 pounds, 5 ounces, which is 9 ounces lighter than the ATS-1. Designed with input from professional racers, the ATS-1R’s carbon fiber, intermediate-oval shell has an aerodynamic shape with a rear wing to reduce drag, buffeting and lift. With four intake vents, 15 transfer ports and five exhaust vents, the ODS Air-Gap ventilation system, which takes advantage of the space between the nested EPS liners, moves a significant amount of air. With all of the vents open the ATS-1R can be noisy, but it’s suitably quiet when wearing earplugs.

Omni-Directional Suspension
This cutaway graphic shows the 6D’s proprietary Omni-Directional Suspension system that reduces brain damage in rotational impacts.

Other changes to the ATS-1R include a larger shell opening, redesigned cheek pads (optional pads allow sizing to be customized), a redesigned chin curtain, a removable neck cuff and a new self-tensioning face shield base plate, which improves sealing. The anti-scratch, UV-blocking shield offers 10 positions as well as a lockdown lever and a Pinlock 120 anti-fog insert is included. Changing the shield is a no-brainer and requires no tools. The ultra-plush comfort liner is removable, washable and compatible with eyewear, and inside the helmet are integrated speaker pockets.

Comfort, fit and finish, ventilation and ease of use are first rate, and the price of the DOT- and ECE-certified ATS-1R is significantly lower than that of its predecessor. It’s available in sizes XS-XXL for $695 in Gloss Black or $745 in graphics, and comes with a deluxe helmet bag.

For more information, see your dealer or visit 6dhelmets.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

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

New Gear: Gmax AT-21S Adventure Helmet

Gmax AT-21S helmet.
Gmax AT-21S helmet.

If cold weather doesn’t stop you from hitting the road or trail, you might like the new AT-21S adventure helmet from Gmax. This ECE/DOT-approved lid fastens with a quick-release buckle that’s easy to use with gloves on and includes a clear dual-layer shield, drop-down sun shield, removable/washable liner, breath box and chin curtain to keep out the cold air. The AT-21S is available in sizes XS-2XL in solid colors starting at $174.95, and in graphics starting at $284.95.

See your dealer or visit gmaxhelmetsusa.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com

New Gear: Arai Regent-X Helmet

Arai-Regent-X
Arai-Regent-X helmet.

Arai’s all-new Regent-X helmet is designed to isolate you from distractions by providing as much comfort and protection as possible. It features a new articulating cheek pad system and redesigned chinbar that make the helmet easier to put on/remove, and a new shell that’s reinforced at the forehead without adding thickness or weight. The Snell M2020-certified Regent-X has an Intermediate Oval shape and will be available in December starting at $559.95.

See your dealer or visit araiamericas.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

Inside Arai Helmets

Arai Helmet Factory Tour
Michio Arai, son of company founder Hirotake, and Michio’s son Akihito (on bike), two of the three generations of Arais that have been making premium motorcycle and auto-racing helmets for nearly 70 years.

After spending a few years behind bars and a desk at Rider magazine, I like to think I have some important things figured out. “Nonplussed” doesn’t mean unimpressed. Lean and believe. Bread plate on the left, drink on the right. And wear ATGATT (All of The Gear All of The Time), especially an approved helmet, preferably full-face. What about Snell vs. DOT vs. ECE 22.05 helmet certification standards? Yes, there are significant differences among them, but those differences really only come into play if you can predict what type of accident you’re going to have. The important thing is to find an approved lid that is comfortable and fits well, has good optics and doesn’t contribute to fatigue with excess noise or weight. A helmet that you like. A helmet that you want to wear, and always do.

Arai Helmet Factory Tour
Arai Americas Managing Director Brian Weston holds a “preforma,” or bird’s nest layer of chopped Super Fiber ready for the mold.

Arai has been making helmets motorcycle riders and countless successful racers want to wear for a very long time, since its first fiberglass-shelled model sold in Japan in 1952. Company founder Hirotake Arai, the son of a hat maker, was an enthusiastic motorcycle rider who established a headgear and textile factory in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo, in the late 1930s, and after World War II made helmets for construction workers. When his buddies at the local racetrack asked him to make helmets for them, Arai created the first Japanese motorcycle helmets from fiberglass, resin and expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), effectively launching the Japanese motorcycle helmet industry. Despite focusing on head protection for fellow riders first and business concerns a distant second, the company flourished producing “HA” (Hirotake Arai) branded helmets, especially after establishing the “bag molding” technique with 2-piece metal molds that is still in use for most composite helmets today.

Arai Helmet Factory Tour
After the preforma or “bird’s nest” is inserted into the mold, one of Arai’s shell experts carefully places the reinforcing layers inside it, then a second preforma is put in to hold everything together, creating in effect a bird’s nest sandwich.

Soon after Hirotake’s son Michio (a rider since age 7) returned to Japan from college in the U.S. to help with the family business, Arai produced its first Snell-certified HA helmet in 1963. Exports began and the U.S. distributor who would eventually start and become President of Arai Helmet USA in 1977, Roger Weston, helped convince Hirotake to change the brand name from HA to simply “Arai” for obvious reasons.

Arai Helmet Factory Tour
An amazing number of preforma and reinforcing layers of fiberglass are used in each lid, some Super Fiber, some AR Mat and others Zylon or even carbon fiber.

Today Arai Helmet Ltd. has factories in Saitama and Shinto, Japan, and is still a privately owned family business, now in the capable hands of Michio “Mitch” Arai, 81, and his son Akihito. Production has ranged from a pre-recessionary high of more than 450,000 helmets annually to about 280,000 today, all by hand with the exception of six robotic lasers used to cut and trim the shells. Mitch and “Aki” Arai, along with Roger Weston’s son Brian — now Managing Director of Arai Americas — recently decided it was high time to pull back the veil on Arai’s skunk works in Japan with a press tour and ride that would showcase its new Regent-X full-face helmet (review coming soon) and two overriding aspects of Arai helmets: an unfailing attention to tradition, details and quality from its factory workers and helmet experts, many of whom have been with the company for decades; and Arai’s strong belief that in addition to absorbing impacts, a helmet’s shape must allow it to slide smoothly and deflect, or “glance off” impacts in order to prevent rotational energy from entering and affecting the wearer, hence the use of roughly the same smooth, egg-like shell shape since the 1970s.

Arai Helmet Factory Tour
EPS pellets of four or more different densities are used to create the EPS liner that crushes to absorb impacts.

So far no one has found a better material for a motorcycle helmet’s protective liner than EPS, and like most premium helmet companies, Arai forms its liners from EPS pellets of different densities — lighter for the thicker areas like the crown and forehead, heavier for thinner spots. Where technology and cost collide with tradition and safety is in the helmet shell, the designs for which vary greatly among manufacturers. Although the days of polycarbonate, injection-molded shells not holding up to more rigorous standards are long past, Arai believes that composite shells made of laminated fiberglass layers and resin can be stronger, lighter and safer, since the shell absorbs some of the impact by crushing or delaminating and better resists penetration (both a polycarbonate and composite helmet must be replaced after a serious impact, since the EPS liner will have been compressed).

Arai Helmet Factory Tour
The only robots in Arai’s four factories are the laser cutters used to trim the newly formed shells, one at its R&D center in Saitama and five more at the molding facility in Shinto.

Rather than throwing out a shell design and starting over each time, Arai’s current Peripheral Belt-Structural Net Composite 2, or PB-SNC2 (used in high-end models) and PB-Complex Laminate Construction, or PBcLc, shell designs have evolved from numerous CLC designs since the first in 1977. Both start with Super Fiber, fine strands that have 30-percent more tensile strength than ordinary fiberglass. These are chopped, sprayed with resin and blown onto a perforated, rotating vacuum dome, creating a strong “bird’s nest” of sorts that is heated to retain its shape. This bird’s nest is placed into a two-piece mold, and then up to 18 reinforcing pieces such as Arai’s peripheral belt of Zylon (also used in bulletproof vests) around the top of the eyeport and the Structural Net Composite, or SNC, that helps hold the layers together, are carefully placed inside the bird’s nest. Another bird’s nest is placed on top, sandwiching the whole thing together before the resin is poured in and the hot mold is closed up with a thick airbag inside to squeeze the layers together. After 13 minutes what began as a complicated sandwich of Super Fiber, fiberglass mat and Zylon layers that can take years to learn how to assemble has formed into a light, thin but ultra-strong integral shell.

Arai Helmet Factory Tour
Each and every shell produced 200 kilometers away in Shinto or nearby in Saitama must pass final inspection at this facility in Amanuma, where shells are checked for thickness, weight and visible irregularities.

After the virgin shells are trimmed around the bottom and their vents and eye ports cut by the laser, what follows is flurry of handwork and quality control by dozens of skilled workers, and with the exception of some paintwork and plastic part production it’s all done in-house. From sanding, priming, painting, water-decal application, strap riveting, and inserting the EPS liner to gluing in the eyebrow vents and comfort liners and numerous QC inspections, each worker doesn’t just do his or her job — each inspects and insures the quality level of each lid and genuinely cares about the result. What struck me most about Arai was not the modernity of the factories or quantity of helmets being produced, but rather that it doesn’t modify the design or what it feels is the safety level of its helmets in order to lower cost or make production more efficient or more automated. Just as it did in the 1950s, Arai genuinely cares about protecting fellow riders first and business concerns second. As Michio Arai said before we left, “Doing what we believes in gives us pride. We are not good businessmen, but we are determined to provide protection for the heads of fellow riders.”

Keep scrolling for more photos….

Arai Helmet Factory Tour
Michio Arai, 81, talks about Arai Helmet’s history in Saitama. The iconic photo in the background is of his father and company founder Hirotake standing on the saddle of his Harley in the late 1930s.
Arai Helmet Factory Tour
Punching out reinforcing layers en masse at the Shinto factory.
Arai Helmet Factory Tour
A machine weaves strands of Super Fiber for reinforcing layers like the peripheral belt that goes around the eyeport.
Arai Helmet Factory Tour
This is how a shell looks right after it’s removed from the mold. Now it’s off to the laser cutter. Note the staples used to hold some of the fiberglass layers together are all located in the eyeport, which gets cut out.
Arai Helmet Factory Tour
Since resin is relatively heavy, as little as possible is used to form a shell, leaving a rough finish that requires an incredible amount of handwork to get it ready for primer and paint.
Arai Helmet Factory Tour
Graphics that aren’t painted are typically water decals painstakingly applied before the helmet is clear coated. Interestingly decal application is all done by women, who Arai has found have much more patience than men for the intricate work.
Arai Helmet Factory Tour
We were treated to an exceptional preview of the new Arai Regent-X Helmet’s performance with a lengthy ride from Saitama to the famously twisty roads of Gunma Prefecture near the Shinto factory. Many thanks to Honda Motorcycle Japan for providing the bikes.

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