Any time Arai Helmets
release a new product, it is a major event in the motorcycle helmet industry. Maybe it's because the name has been ubiquitous in the industry for decades. Or maybe it's because Arai Helmets are favored by most professional racers. Or maybe it's the most obvious of all reasons: the handmade nature of the helmets, the extreme attention to every nuance and detail, and the perfection required and sincere pride taken in every helmet that Arai produces. Anyone who's worn an Arai can express these sentiments as all of these elements become crystal clear the second the helmet goes on your head and you hop on the bike. When Arai produces a new helmet, or a complete redesign of a current model, it isn't simply so they can make unnecessary changes and slap a new name on a helmet. They make functional changes that improve protective and performance elements of helmets. It is for all of these reasons that the Arai name is so well-respected in the international motorcycling community.
For Spring 2011, the Arai Vector-2 Helmet
and the Arai XC Helmet
are the big new additions to the lineup. The Arai Vector 2 Helmet takes the place of the wildly successful Vector model making significant improvements along the way, while the Arai XC Helmet represents one of the most protective open face helmets we've seen that maintains the traditional feel of open-face riding.
Starting with the Vector-2, let's go over the major upgrades. The Vector was considered the "less-is-more" helmet in the lineup, built for the rider who didn't need all of the excessive bells and whistles that exist for the extreme racer or hardcore tourer. The Vector-2 maintains that mentality, but makes significant improvements to better the overall comfort and performance of this lid. Let's start with the interior elements and comfort features. Borrowed from Arai's premier helmets, there is now a 5mm peel-off cheekpad layer which expands the range of fit and offers a customized comfort level. They've also developed 5mm peel-off temple pad layers. Some riders find that while a helmet may fit perfectly in other areas, the temples are a bit too snug for long-term comfort. Simply peel away these 5mm pads, and you've got another level of adjustability unseen in other brands. The entirety of the liner system, including cheekpads, is now completely removable, washable and replaceable-- keep the funk out.
Onto the performance feature upgrades, the Vector 2 Helmet now features the SAI shield, which is the same as those used in the RX-Q and Corsair V helmets, and offers an extreme level of peripheral view, 10mm more total side-to-side vision than previously. Arai has also upgraded the ventilation and stability of the Vector 2. The ACR-2 rear exhaust vent-wing combo improves stability and the wind-tunnel testing of the inlets improve ventilation and heat removal. This works in conjunction with the new Hyper-Ridge band, also borrowed from the RX-Q, that lowers the center of gravity to lighten the feel of the helmet, while providing an added level of stability. The side exhaust ports have been expanded to maintain the vacuum effect and suck air out, while also minimizing noise levels in the helmet. Finally, they've expanded the opening of the helmet for easier on/off more comparable to the Corsair V.
The brand new Arai XC Helmet series provides a greater level of facial coverage and protection without sacrificing the nature of an open face helmet. The XC stands for Extended Coverage and the shell of this helmet comes forward 3cm (1.2in) on each side of the cheek pad area. Also improved over previous open face models from Arai are the ventilation properties of this helmet. The front vents are a direct iteration of those used in the RX-Q while the rear exhaust vent has also been borrowed from the RX-Q design. They've also added side cowl exhaust vents that round out the upgraded ventilation of this helmet. Also brand new is the Arai XC-Ram helmet which has the large vent port channels native to the Corsair V. This improves the airflow and the overall stability of the helmet. The XC-Ram also features a fully removable and washable Dry-Cool moisture-wicking liner.
We can't wait to get our hands on these helmets to give them full test runs and reviews. This should be happening in the next couple of weeks so please stay tuned for more information. New Arai Helmets always means the entire motorcycle world will be buzzing. This trend should be no different with this brand new run of lids.
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