I’m not much of an expert on helmets. I know they need to be replaced every 3-5 years and that when you throw them away you should cut the straps off them. I know if you drop one you can directly effect its structural integrity and you should probably replace it. I’m also aware that the way a helmet fits is what’s most important to me.
In the past year and a half I’ve gone from wearing a helmet 5% of the time to wearing one 99% of the time. This change came about for two reasons, first, the purchase of a different motorcycle that I drive a bit more aggressively than it’s predecessor and second, my wife was hit by someone who never saw her till he made contact, and her gear saved her life. I’m pretty much ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) now. I do have my rare rebel moments where I want the wind in my face and bugs in my teeth. I guess every once in awhile I just want to be cool.
When I got my new bike I went helmet shopping. I have an old SHOEI that I really like but I’m sure it’s way past it’s expiration date. What I was looking for was a modular helmet with a quick-release strap. I found a Nolan that was perfect. It fit great, it was white and it cost around $300 on sale. I forgot to mention my $300 rule. The most I’ve ever paid for a helmet is $335. I’ve had cheaper helmets and they all sucked. They didn’t fit right, they were loud, they were heavy and some of them gave me terrible headaches. My $335 SHOEI did none of these things, hence the $300 rule.
This summer I acquired a couple of Arai helmets and I was blown away. By both the cost and how absolutely amazing they are. Their tag line is “Made For Riders, By Riders”. Their basic principal, “Protection Above All Else”. You can go to the internet for all the technical helmet info. What I can tell you is this. I have a giant head and an XL Arai helmet fits me like a glove. They are really light-weight and have more vents, and are quieter than any other helmet I’ve ever worn. When I put them on I don’t have to tuck my ears in and when I’m going down the road and it’s 90 degrees out, the sweat isn’t running down my face.
Currently Arai doesn’t make a modular helmet and they don’t have quick-release straps. They don’t believe they can meet their safety standards. They really do take safety seriously. What I do is wear my Nolan around town and use the Arai when I’m doing any kind of distance riding.
The Arai XD4 I got is sold as a dual sport helmet. It has a visor as well as a drop-down face shield. When you push the shield up it slides under the visor. I love this. I’m not a hard-core motocrosser but I do like to go trail riding and with this helmet I don’t have to screw around with goggles.
I will definitely buy another Arai helmet next time the need arises. They aren’t cheap but hey, what’s your head worth?