Test Arai Tour-X5

A special brand

There is an aura of mystery and legend around Arai helmets, undoubtedly due to the business concept of its founders. Arai is a family company, not a multinational that owes itself to its shareholders. Its orientation is not to sell more helmets than the competition, but to be the highest quality manufacturer and that is more a matter of philosophy than numbers.

However, there is the paradox that precisely the numbers prove him right. Almost every motorcycling fan knows that Arai helmets exist; In fact, they are objects of desire and it is surprising that they are not even 1% of helmet sales worldwide.

The reason is that the production of Arai helmets is completely handmade. Much of the manufacturing process is by hand; The few machines involved in the process are manufactured by Arai itself, not by a capital goods manufacturer.

Add that the new European standard for homologation of helmets (ECE 22.06) has not meant any change in the production process, since Arai is the only brand that already complied with the standard, even before it was written. Thus, we are faced with a brand that operates above the standards of what is well done.

Test Arai Tour-X5

Several factories for each helmet

Several of the brand’s factories are involved in the manufacturing of an Arai helmet. All Arai helmets are made of a special fiber that the brand itself makes, called Super-fiber, from fiber strands that are also braided in its facilities. To form the shell, up to 20 layers of Super-fiber are interspersed with composite, to be introduced into a mold that will form the shell.

There is another carbon fiber model, whose production involves a very different technique, also carried out entirely by Arai, but it is a secret that the brand will never reveal.

Once the 20 layers pass through the oven, it is checked to see if there are any defects in the shell. If there is, it is not repaired, but the entire hull is discarded. This occurs at any time during the production process, so that an Arai helmet for sale has no defects of any kind.

In fact, the professional pilots who equip Arai do so with production helmets, identical to those you can buy at any distributor. After passing this quality control, they are sent to the Amanima factory, where a second review is carried out, which includes the signature and data of the operator who carried it out.

Test Arai Tour-X5

The painting process is carried out in the Minimidai factory, where each helmet is outlined through 7 processes. In the first steps the feel of the helmet is still rough, like orange peel, to finish with a smooth and silky polish, which requires the minimum amount of resin possible. There is a very fine line in the balance of the amount of resin to be applied, because an excess adds weight to the shell and becomes brittle, while with little resin, the touch would remain porous, as at the beginning of the process.

If the final appearance of the helmet is not a solid color, the decals are applied using templates. It is one of the most difficult processes and requires the most expertise. The decals are applied with water and are very delicate. The operators of this department require a lot of time to train in this aspect.

The assembly process is carried out at the Katayanagi factory, where holes are also drilled in the shell to make the straps firm; The aerodynamic attachments are fixed with double-sided tape, they do not require drilling the shell. The reason is that they act like a fuse, they will not catch on anything in the event of a fall, before they give way.

Test Arai Tour-X5

When an accident occurs, the best form of protection is to dissipate the energy in the event of an accident. The best way to do this is by sliding the helmet against any other surface and at this point the shape of the shell is essential: in the case of Arai helmets, a spherical and organic shape is sought, like an egg, so that the helmet can slide.

If there is an impact in the accident, the way to dissipate and minimize the energy of the crash on our head is through polystyrene of 5 different densities, which must be those that deform progressively and thus avoid internal damage due to deceleration. sudden on impact. Arai is very jealous of its production processes and it is a secret how it manufactures its different densities of polystyrene.

Finally and before the last inspection, the production date is laser engraved on the straps, which of course, at Arai always incorporate a double D ring closure.

Test Arai Tour-X5

The new Arai Tour-X5

To go back to the first Arai adventure helmet, we have to go back to 1994, the year in which the Arai DS emerged, the seed of the first Arai Tour -X4) much more than their predecessors did with respect to the model they replaced.

It must be clarified that the helmet has evolved in parallel with the current maxitrail, which in turn has replaced the large GT and developed performance worthy of a sports car from a decade ago. Until now, the sail effect of the visors at high speeds has been very common among adventure helmets. In other cases it has been vibrations in the visor or directly involuntary movements of the head.

Many users removed the visors from their helmets, or resorted directly to full-face road helmets, forced to do without the comfort that a visor provides with the sun facing them. With the new Arai Tour-X5, that’s over. The tunnel between the helmet and the visor is larger and on board a maxitrail, you can now ride at high speeds without parasitic movements.

Test Arai Tour-X5

The shape of the shell has changed; now it is more rounded (egg shape), just like the screen. Now it does not present any type of visual distortion, which there could have been before (in the Tour-X4, the screen was more pointed) in the lower part of it and which could be a little annoying when looking at the instrumentation.

The shell material is, of course, Super-fiber. Arai maintains that it is 3 times stronger than traditional fiber, but it is also 6 times more expensive to manufacture. It is the price of excellence.

Test Arai Tour-X5

The interior includes 5-density EPS Polystyrene, softer on the front, to better absorb energy. The ventilation system has been improved. The air inlets that were at the top of the screen, which looked like eyebrows, have been lost and are now integrated into the Arai logo, in relief and allowing for easier handling.

The chin air intake mechanism has also been improved. But, so that a screen does not fog up, it is even more important that hot air leaves than cold air enters, hence the new redesign of the rear air vents that allow three positions: open, closed or intermediate.

As was the case when the prevailing homologation standard in Europe was ECE 22.05, the resistance tests to which Arai exposes all its helmets are more demanding than those proposed by the most demanding homologation that can be found in the world.

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