By David Soderholm
Brains are pretty important to proper body function. So I like to protect mine every time I ride. These days it’s easier to do than ever because it’s hard to choose a poor helmet. They aren’t ALL great, but most of them are at least decent. That’s true regardless of price. But some helmets are exceptional, and the price reflects it. One of those helmet brands that are truly exceptional is Arai.
In this case the exceptional Arai is the new for 2016 Corsair X — Isle of Man TT edition. It’s their top of the line flagship race bucket, in the highly exclusive TT paint scheme. It is the exact same helmet that is so prominently seen in Motogp, WSBK and MotoAmerica grids. It’s the real deal.
Opening the box and lifting the Corsair-X out is special. It exudes quality from the moment you start the process. A Max Vision PinLock anti-fog lens and a tinted shield are included. The high quality box is bomb proof. The helmet bag has perfect stitching. Opening the helmet bag and seeing the Corsair-X makes you shout Hallelujah! Paint is perfect, clear coat is thick, hardware is exceptional with perfect action, the plush interior is perfectly stitched, the TT color scheme fantastic. It’s hand-built by Japanese craftsman and has the family name on the side. Getting the idea?
Arai pioneered the helmet that fits perfectly by engineering 3 different helmet shapes and customizable interiors and cheek pads for that perfect fit. The X shape is termed as an Intermediate Oval. The majority of American Heads will fit into this shape. The hand laid Super and Synthetic fiber shell is built on the R75 curve that is a continuous curve radius of 75mm or bigger and gives the helmet increased glance off ability. It’s immensely strong, and won’t catch and grab in a crash. All exterior vents will break away in a crash, absorbing energy and promoting glancing blows.
Pulling the X on your head is a luxurious experience. The premium quality eco-pure liner (featuring adjustable padding) coddles your head in soft comfort. Nice firm even pressure all over your head. Looking through the face shield is immersive. The X has a truly expansive distortion free field of view – both top to bottom and side to side. From your eyes point of view, you’re just about helmetless. That shield has a brand new, foolproof nice working shield changing mechanism. No longer will you hope you aren’t breaking stuff below the side pods installing a shield. The tethered pods pop off and the rest is pretty simple.
That shield also has vents in it that work in conjunction with the redesigned venting on the helmet to flow a metric ton of air. With all vents open and moving down the road, you will shed cranial btu’s like crazy. It’s a clean quiet flow and positively shuts off when the vents are closed. Combine that with the included chin skirt and PinLock anti fog lens and you have a great winter helmet also.
As we said earlier – Arai is a Super Premium helmet brand, but they aren’t cheap. They retail from $509.95 for the Vector 2 to $849.95 for solid color Corsair X’s. Our exclusive limited TT version rings in at $1059.95. Before you have a heart attack remember a couple things. One — discounts are always found on the internet. Two — with the hand built quality and comfort of an Arai… it’s worth it.