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Arai Corsair-X Helmet Review

Greg DrevenstedtFebruary 01, 2016
Arai Corsair-X with the Freddie Spencer 30th Anniversary graphic ($969.95).

Arai Corsair-X with the Freddie Spencer 30th Anniversary graphic ($969.95).

When it came time to redesign its top-of-the-line helmet, Arai pulled out all the stops. With a history spanning three decades—starting with the original cLc RX-7 helmet in 1977—and covering 10 generations of evolving design, predecessors of the new Corsair-X have been worn by numerous world champions—guys like Spencer, Schwantz, Edwards and Hayden. It had to live up to Arai’s own very high standards.

As with all Arais, the Corsair-X starts with the shell. Arai’s philosophy is that a smooth, round shell is inherently strong. Its R75 shell shape, which uses a continuous curve radius of 75mm, is better at dispersing kinetic energy and more likely to glance off rather than catch on rough surfaces. Using the latest generation of materials, a proprietary blend of net strands, synthetic fibers and a new resin, the Corsair-X is the first helmet to feature Arai’s new Peripheral Belting & Structural Net Composite2 (PB SNC2) shell. Each shell is hand-formed and then inspected by two different experts for quality and consistent shell thickness.

The Corsair-X features the new Variable Axis System, which greatly simplifies shield changes.

The Corsair-X features the new Variable Axis System, which greatly simplifies shield changes.

The new Variable Axis System (VAS) shield system uses a moving pivot point, allowing for a lower shield mount position, a smaller, thinner pivot cover and a 2mm-shallower side pod recess. But the most tangible benefit of the VAS system is vastly easier shield replacement, all but eliminating the fear and trepidation many feel at the prospect of changing an Arai face shield. A larger latch derived from Arai’s F1 helmets makes it easier to lock and open the new VAS Max-V shield, which provides increased visibility and comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert.

Ventilation is a top priority for the Corsair-X, which flows 11-percent more air than the previous Corsair-V thanks to the IC Duct-5 system. New Type 12 diffusers on the crown are longer and direct 19-percent more air into the intake vents on each side, which have three-position openings with larger switches that are easier to operate with thick gloves on. There’s also a central crown vent, a large chinbar vent, brow vents on the shield and multiple exhaust vents. I did back-to-back testing with a Corsair-V on an unfaired motorcycle, and the Corsair-X definitely flows more air, but the trade-off is more wind noise. With all of the vents closed, wind noise is about the same with both lids.

The Corsair-X has a lower, smaller and shallower side pod, which contributes to greater shell strength.

The Corsair-X has a lower, smaller and shallower side pod, which contributes to greater shell strength.

Inside the helmet is a soft, single-piece, multi-density EPS liner to absorb impact energy, and between the EPS liner and your noggin is a fully removable, washable comfort interior that uses a new Eco-Pure anti-microbial material. The interior fit is customizable with replaceable temple and crown padding and Arai’s Facial Contour System cheek pads, with 5mm peel-away layers. Updates to the interior also include speaker recesses, a removable chin curtain, a replaceable chin vent and an emergency release strap tab. And those well endowed of chin or nose will appreciate the extra room in the mouth area.

The Corsair-X’s intermediate oval fits my head well, and the plush interior is all-day comfortable. Thanks to its compact, round shape, it cuts through the air cleanly whether I’m facing into the wind or head checking to the side. And at 3 pounds, 9 ounces for a size medium (about the same as the Corsair-V), the Corsair-X is lighter than many full-face helmets, which helps reduce fatigue.

Arai’s flagship helmet requires a significant financial commitment—$839.95-$849.95 for solids or $969.95 for graphics in sizes XS-XXL—but consider it money well spent to protect your most precious, nonrenewable resource.

For more information:
See your dealer or visit araiamericas.com

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