We’ve all seen the commercials where the Most Interesting Man in the World says, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” Likewise, Arai doesn’t often release a new helmet, but when it does, it gets it right. More than 70 years of experience went into the development of the new Arai Contour-X.
As we’ve written about in previous reviews and in our “The Why Behind Arai Helmets” feature, Arai maintains a steadfast commitment to building helmet shells with a smooth, strong, round shape. As repeated experience among MotoGP, World Superbike, and other racers has shown, Arai helmets are designed to “glance off” objects, allowing them to maintain sheer integrity, resist deformation, and spread impact energy over the widest possible area. Every exterior feature of an Arai helmet is designed to break away so that the helmet itself will not catch on anything during an impact or slide.
The Contour-X offers excellent protection, comfort, ventilation, and aerodynamics. It features a new Peripherally Belted Complex Laminate Construction (PB-cLc2) shell that’s thinner and lighter thanks to a new fiber material and resin, yet it is just as strong as other Arai shells. The medium-size Contour-X tested here, even with the optional Pro Shade visor and Pinlock anti-fog insert installed, weighs just 3 lb, 9 oz – the same weight as the top-of-the-line Corsair-X.
Related: Arai Corsair-X Helmet | Gear Review
Like the Regent-X, the Contour-X’s shell flares out 5mm around the opening to make the helmet easier to slide on and off. The bottom of the shell also features Arai’s Hyper Ridge, which improves strength and shock absorption and was reshaped for flatter sides to facilitate easy mounting of a comms system.
Related: Arai Regent-X Helmet | Gear Review
Arai helmets have always been a pleasure to wear, and the Contour-X goes even further with a new odor-resistant, brushed-nylon interior that’s removable and washable and features adjustable Facial Contour System (FCS-2) cheek pads that can be released to ease removal during an emergency. Inside, there are speaker pockets and a new neck-roll wire pocket for a comms system. Through short rides, long rides, and repeated donning and doffing, the Contour-X required no break-in and was comfortable at all times.
Ventilation is fantastic. The new system includes a total of seven intakes, all of which can be closed as needed: a 3D Arai logo vent in the forehead, two F1-derived tear-drop intakes on the crown, two brow vents in the faceshield, and a chin vent. There are also six exhausts: one in the spoiler, two on the sides near the back, and three in the neckroll area. Arai says the Contour-X offers better ventilation than the Corsair-X at street speeds, and I concur.
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The round shape of Arai helmets helps them slip through the air smoothly, and the new XGR exhaust/spoiler pulls hot air out of the helmet while also enhancing stability and reducing buffeting at speed. I wore the Contour-X on a variety of bikes with and without windscreens, and it remained steady and comfortable.
The Arai Contour-X is a fantastic lid in every respect. It’s available in sizes XS-2XL, and pricing starts at $739.95 for five different solid colors (Blue Frost, Black Frost, Diamond Black, Diamond White, and Light Grey) and $889.95 for two graphic options (Snake Red and Face Fluorescent Yellow).