I have seen this question appear several times on here, so I thought I would create a thread comparing two of the more popular helmets, in case someone is interested in one over the other. Having each, I thought I was in a good opportunity to do a comparison, so here is my take.
Both the RF1200 and the Corsair X really deserve to be in the premium helmet market. They are the flagships of their brands (considering quality and price), and deservingly so. The Shoei offers a fourth layer of protection over other models (such as the GT-Air) that is a huge plus, but does not come at the expense of weight.
While I like my Arai, removing the faceshield is sort of a pain in the butt. You have to pop off the plates, lift it to a certain spot, release the tabs, hold your tongue just right, move the shield to another spot, pray to the helmet gods, sacrifice your town's dumbest virgin, and hope all lines up right when it comes time to put it back together. The Shoei is simple.... lift it, depress the tabs, and pop it off... (snap it in and lower it, to install).
Fitment on the RF1200 is great, though I cannot complain in regards to my Arai, either.
Yes, both have removable/washable liners and cheek pads.
The Shoei, unlike the Corsair X, has provisions on the shell for speakers, which is a plus if you want to outfit the helmet with a communicator. It can be done on the Arai, but the Shoei is much easier. Plus, the bottom trim is removable, making installation cleaner, whereas it is not on the Arai.
Ventilation is more abundant on the Arai, as it has three intake vents, an adjustable exhaust vent, chin vent, two lower exhaust vents, a lower exhaust vent in the bottom trim piece, and a pair of brow vents. The Shoei only has three intake vents up top, a unitized exhaust vent (also adjustable), and a chin vent. That said, both flow and breathe about the same, with the Shoei seemingly having even more airflow than the Arai.
The RF1200 also has a cutaway for the shoulders, though I never have noticed a need, nor a benefit from it.
Both helmets have similar padding, however, the high density foam in the Shoei is definitely thicker, possibly adding a little energy displacement upon impact.
Both are DOT FMVSS No. 218 certified.
Both are SNELL certified.
Both come with Pinlock, however, the Pinlock is better placed on the Arai. The way the pins are located places them right at the edge of the face opening in the shell. On the Shoei, the pins are more forward, and were slightly distracting at first, as I have caught them in my peripheral.
Replacement faceshields for the RF1200 come in at around $60.00, staring out (clear), and will fit the RF1200 as well as the X-14.
Replacement faceshields are less expensive with the Arai, at $50.00+ (clear), and will fit Arai Corsair-X DT-X Signet-X Quantum-X (as well as possibly future models). The lower comparative cost of the Arai faceshield is reflected in it's optional colors as well (tint, colored, mirrored, etc.)
Both come with a breath guard at the nose, which are removable.
Both come with a chin guard, which are removable.
The Arai has a secondary, non removable, pull down chin guard, though I have honestly never used mine. It just really seems redundant, and entirely unnecessary, to me.
Both come outfitted with a d-ring strap with snap.
Both come with removable cheek pads, though the Shoei has an added red pull strap and warning labels for emergency medical personnel.
The padding on the RF1200 is a little more plush, though no complaints about the Arai, either.
Opening the face shield on the Shoei is simple. There is a tab molded into the faceshield that you simply lift up. The Arai is a bit more cumbersome, especially with gloves on, where you have to lift up a lever, then pull the shield outward slightly, while lifting.
The Shoei faceshield offers a nice ratcheting system, which is firm and crisp. The Arai has a basic friction system that only has three affirmed positions.... down, fully up, and slightly lower than fully up. Matter of taste, as neither have failed to retain the faceshield in the desired positions, but I do prefer the ratcheting system of the Shoei.
Fitment: Measure your head accordingly, as per EACH manufacturer's recommendations, and go by their charts (do not assume that you are a large in Arai, because the Shoei chart said so, and vice versa). Unlike leathers and apparel like Alpinestars (which tend to fit on the small side), these helmet manufacturers are pretty spot on with their sizing, so go by their charts, and order the correct size.
The faceshield on the Shoei is MUCH more rigid, making the Arai feel VERY flimsy, by comparison! (Flame on, Arai guys. 😁 ).
Weight wise, they are close, with the Shoei edging out the Arai, at 62.24oz., vs. 64.76oz, respectively. Note that these are not true weights, as both are outfitted with Senna SMH-10R communications systems, these measurements are designed to only reflect the weight differences between the two, marginal as they may be.
Both come in at about the same price point with each other.
Both helmets do have limited brow area visibility though (when in an aggressive race tuck), although this is only an issue if you are in an aggressive tuck with your body hugging the tank. Regular everyday riding, this is not an issue, even on a superbike.
Lastly, the NVH.
While both are extremely quiet, I do notice a whistle with the Arai, but only when I look to the side (either side). When looking dead ahead, both are equally quiet, and both suppress the outside sound about the same (both faceshield up, as well as down.)
Neither one have any noticable buffering, and while the Arai does have a multi-positionable air spoiler on the rear, I have never seen a need to use it.
Conclusion: Both helmets are great products, and one could not go wrong choosing either. I do like the RF1200 fourth matrix layer, and would probably choose it again, if I could only choose one.... but let's not deny the fact that Arai helmets are synonymous with safety, and are already some of the safest helmets on the planet. By design, for example, they have a lower roll around the perimeter, that is designed to bounce the impact energy back into the shell, instead of your head. 👍
Either way, you cannot go wrong. Remember, the best safety device is not what is on your helmet, but what is in it. 😉
Heads up, and ride safe!