I just came back from the NEC and unexpectedly increased my helmet collection by one. Anyway, just wanted to compare it to my other lids and also give impartial advice from my experience of using them. I’ve also included a how-to for servicing your arai side pods and base plates.
Reviews and First Impressions
Servicing an Arai
:arrow: Arai RX-GP - 09 Nicky Hayden
Very comfortable race replica helmet with fully removable moisture wicking liner, emergency removable quick release cheek pads, extra wide visor port. Ample ventilation and comparatively low wind noise by race lid standards. Stable at motorway speeds and excellent anti fog. Chin curtain as standard
Improvements over the Corsair
:arrow: Bigger vent buttons
:arrow: larger central vent
:arrow: reinforcing ridge around the lower rim area making the lid more rigid
:arrow: better peripheral vision
:arrow: slightly reduced wind noise.
:arrow: £589 RRP - bought for £470 with race visor included
:arrow: Bought - Nov '10 - Worn for 1 day
**:arrow: Arai RX-7 Corsair 06 Nakano Shuriken
In its day, the same comments could be said for this helmet that was already said for the RX-GP Arai’s former top of the line lid. Moisture wicking, fully removable lining. Peripheral vision is restricted by modern standards ala RX-GP and XR1100 but still a capable and comfortable lid. The side pods needed replacement every year because of lack of maintenance! Otherwise a good top of the range helmet superseded and refined in the guise of the RX-GP. Ridiculous wind noise without ear plugs!
:arrow: £499 RRP - Bought for £379 at Hein Gercike when they were doing stock clearances. Also got a bonus trolley bag
:arrow:Bought - Sept '07 - Worn for 3 years/30k miles
:arrow: Shoei XR-1100 Plain white - until i got drunk one night and sharpied it!
Very good road lid. Comfortable but the fit is a bit tighter than the Arais. Volumous interior with fully removable comfort liner -nowhere near as abrasive as the moisture wicking arai interiors. Adequate smart ventilation but visor/chin vents are either on or off. There is no intermediate setting unlike the arai. Makes your head look as if you’re in a goldfish bowl and relatively heavy compared to the XR100. About the same weight as the corsair but has a larger shell. Sleek lines and integral shell spoiler make it aerodynamic but instances of buffeting can occur in crosswinds. Never an issue with the Arai. On the whole a good road lid
:arrow: £299 RRP - £240 - from a mate working in Metropolis motorcycles
:arrow: Bought - Jan '10 - Worn for 1 year/10000 miles
**:arrow: Shoei XR-1000 TC3 **
My first “premium brand” helmet. Impressed as to how light it was but wasn’t happy with the fit after I shaved my afro off. Cheekpads were adjustable but the liner was not fully removable so it suffered in terms of fit. Fine across the face but left a noticeable gap in the skullcap/crown area. Good venting but wind noise is as bad as the RX-7 Corsair - Booming noise. Buffeting was a bit of an issue for me. Now used as a pillion helmet.
:arrow: £330 RRP - bought online from J&S for £199
:arrow: Bought - May’06 - Worn for 3 years/10000 miles
The arai and the shoei were used interchangably but in terms of fit and comfort, I have always found the Arais as being the ones to use over long journeys. The shells feel a lot more comfortable and whilst heavier than the shoeis, they distribute the weight better so you don’t notice it on your head as much.
The XR1100 and RX-GP have impeccable anti-fog and outstanding peripheral vision. Both have superseded the XR1000 and Corsair and the refinements are definitely noticeable. A drunken incident caused me to take a marker pen to the shoei so I’d need to finish my work before I’d wear it in public again. Both are well finished and well made. Paint finish is excellent on the Arais with deep lacquers. My shoeis are starting to scratch a little suggesting the coating is nowhere near as thick.
The argument between Shoei Vs Arai has raged on for quite some time, but both are very good top of the range brands that fit my head, arai better than shoei but only just. If you’re in the hunt for a mid price helmet, then I’d put my hands up for the XR1100 without a shadow of a doubt. The Quantum is worth a shout but it’s at least £100 more… which is RX-GP stock clearance sale territory. I certainly wouldn’t pay full price for any helmet so if you DO need a lid