Arai Profile - Carr Freedom Edition
Arai Profile – Carr Freedom Edition

I decided with spring just around the corner, and that time of year when Motorcyclists tend to start buying new gear, that I should probably get around to a Helmet Review.

Like many people, I have multiple helmets. Each one fits its own purpose, each one a different manufacture.

The range in cost of my helmets is anywhere from $150 paid, to $700 paid. So it becomes a surprise when people ask me, which one do I trust the most, and I respond with “All of them”.

The truth is, I’ve seen all of these helmets in action. One of them, I have seen personally one to many times in action, and I am thankful it did its job, as watching one of your best friends hit the pavement, head first at over 55 miles per hour, is one of those events you wish upon nobody.  The fact is, we wear helmets for this very reasoning, and without getting in to deep into the politics around whether or not we should be given the choice to wear them on our own free will, I myself would most likely always wear one while on a city street.  I have personally seen some strange situations happen at speeds less than 10 miles per hour, hell, I’ve been involved in those same situations.  And smacking your head hurts, regardless if you are seriously injured or not!

So with my little PSA out of the way (he he he), lets move on to the review!

Before I begin, this will not only be a review on the Helmet itself, but the manufacture.  That is why it is (Profile) in the title.

Manufacture: Arai
Manufacture URL: http://www.araiamericas.com/#/home
Product URL: http://www.araiamericas.com/default.aspx?pageid=57#/helmets/moto/profile
MSRP: $544.95
In The Wild:  $371.73 – $628.02

Quick Description:

  • Relaxed long-oval fit
  • Brow vent faceshield ventilation system
  • Arai Profile’s De-Mist lock faceshield tab
  • Free Flow System reduces wind turbulence
  • Meets or exceeds Snell and D.O.T standards

Please take a moment to click on the Product URL above to read an overview and detailed descriptions of each of the helmets features. This is just a quick rundown as there are tons of features with explanations. Helmets are complex pieces of safety gear, and because of that, the feature lists are rather complex.

My Arai Profile Carr Freedom Edition
My Arai Profile Carr Freedom Edition

The Review:

This review will mainly be about the Helmet, but I want to give my review of Arai as a company as well.

We will start with a review of the product though, as these are product reviews, and it will be much easier to see how I came to my conclusions with the review of Arai.

First off, I have had this helmet going on to its fourth year. I purchased it in April of 2007 at the time I purchased my Yamaha R6 that I just recently sold.

I had spent a bit of time trying on different helmets, and the Arai Profile was one that just seemed to fit well.  On top of that, they offered a wide variety of designs and colors, that it was easy to pick out a helmet that not only matched the rest of my gear, but my personality as well.

There are several factors a person should consider when picking out a helmet.

One, is the design. Is it made to fit your shape of head.

A lot of manufactures produce a design that is made to meet in the middle somewhere. That means it doesn’t fit perfectly, but it is close enough.  The object, is to make sure your head is completely cradled properly by the interior foam so that in the event of an impact, the pressure is evenly distributed among it while it absorbs the energy. This is the reasoning behind Arai’s multiple helmet designs to fit different types of head shapes.

Another feature one should pay attention to while picking out a helmet, is ventilation.  It gets hot in helmets, and the more ventilation you have either due to design or number of vents is going to help with removing that hot air from around your head, and replacing it with cooler air. A helmet with well designed vents, and variety in adjusting flow to suit your needs is very much as important as anything else.  Heat causes fatigue, fatigue causes reduced reaction, reduced reaction causes mistakes, mistakes cause accidents.  So it is always important we make sure our gear not only protects us from the an accident should be be involved, but helps us reduce the chance by helping keep our bodies as alert as possible.

Another feature I personally look for in a helmet, is that it is a full face helmet.

Arai Profile - Front
Arai Profile – Front

After examining several helmets over the years caused by street and race accidents, the chin area of the helmet usually takes on the most damage outside of the initial impact area.

I may not have the prettiest face, but I do like it the way it currently is, and would like to keep it as free from the tarmac as possible.

So lets take a look at the Profile a moment.

For venting, we have a a direct vent in the chin of the helmet. It offers 3 positions of adjustment at closed, halfway, and fully open.

Next up, we have the shield vents.  These vents are directly built into each of the face shields, and the air is then forced into ports located directly behind the vents. These ports then distribute the air down the front of the face shield to help reduce fogging, as well as move air up into the upper basket of the helmet to circulate cooling air.

On the top front on each side we then have 2 more ram air vents. These vents have an open/close rocker, that allows you to force more air into the helmet for air circulation.

Move on to the top center is a large air blade vent pointing backwards. This has 3 adjustments like the front chin piece, allowing you to control the flow of air exiting the helmet. These vent design uses 1 adjustment to control the mechanism that covers the holes on either side of the helmet.

Finally, at the back of the helmet on both sides along the bottom are 2  non adjustable vents. These are used to help exhaust air, so that you do not build up perspiration in the helmet.

Like with all Arai helmets, all of the outer shell vents are covered with a plastic that is adhered to the outside of the helmet via a sticky gum like substance. The vents are what Arai calls “Frangible”, allowing on impact for them to shatter away easily absorbing some of the impact energy, but also to not create dense spots of material.  By directly adhering to the shell of the helmet, and allowing it to break away freely on impact, it reduces the fatigue on the helmet shell, better helping distribute the impact energy across the whole of the helmet, instead of a single centralized area.

With all of the venting adjustment in this helmet, it is no surprise then for me to say that the helmet performs extremely well in the hot summers months, as well as it does in the cool winter months.  This is for the most part, my primary helmet I wear day to day.  It provides ample adjustments in the venting, and the built in adjustable chin skirt allows you to block off cooler area coming up from the bottom of the helmet.

Lots of vents though, comes at a price.  Like with any helmet that has a massive amount of vents, when they are all open, the helmet gets a bit loud. This isn’t really a problem by design, it’s just the way things work. But, do to the placement of the vents, and the material and padding inside the helmet, this is one of the more quieter helmets that I have worn that offers so much venting ability.

WMRRA Race - 5/9/09 - Wearing my Arai while waiting for my new Race Helmet to Arrive
WMRRA Race – 5/9/09 – Wearing my Arai while waiting for my new Race Helmet to Arrive

The design of the helmet as far as aerodynamics is concerned, is suitable for day to day riding, or racing.  As I stated, this is my primary helmet, and it has been used on the road, and at times I have used it on the track, and although it is not my primary track helmet, it performs well in both situations.

Also, like most modern helmets, the liner and cheek pads are removable for washing. This is nice, considering our heads rest in them day in and day out, it is usually nice to have a fresh clean smell once in awhile!

Outside of all the positives of this helmet, I do have a negative, and that comes in the face shield.

Of all of the helmets I own, the Arai has the most expensive face shields. On top of that, they are also the most prone to fogging up. But outside of this one negative mark, the helmet is fantastic.

But although the helmet is fantastic, what about the company? (Like how I did that?)

Arai can be summed up, as one of the greatest companies I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. And I really do mean a pleasure.

As you can imagine of my description above about how they mount the vent pieces, they will eventually come off if you spend a lot of time riding.  Rain, dust, heat and cold, will all eventually start to deteriorate the sticky gum like adhesive they use, and with that you will loose a vent.

So how is dealing with Arai?

They warranty their helmets for 5 years from manufacture defect.  I can honestly say, when they say they stand behind their products, they do.

I have dealt with many companies in my past. All in different industries, and of any company I have ever had to deal with, Arai’s customer service is the absolute best I have come across.

For starters, they have an intuitive help desk ticket system on their website. You create an account, enter your information, model number, serial number, etc, and bam, you are done, with your registration.

Here’s a peak at mine.

HELMETS REGISTERED
Profile   xxxxxxxx Limited Warranty Expires:   4/1/2012
Color/Graphics: Carr Feedom Silver
Size: Large
Snell Number: xxxxxxxx
Purchased Date: 4/1/2007
Manufactured Date: 5/30/2006
Dealer/Company where purchased: Renton Motorcycles – Renton Washington

This is exactly how it looks like on the Arai site (minus the xxxxxxxx where my serial number is).
You can then create requests under your product.

Typical response I have had is within 24 hours. Once the response takes place, communication goes quickly.

Describe the problem, give them your address, and bam, things are taken care of. Parts are on the way.

Arai Helmets really is a top notch company
Arai Helmets really is a top notch company

I’ve lost 3 vents, broke one vent, and broke the shield mechanism cover. All have been shipped to me free of charge, no questions asked outside the standard “what were you doing when this happened”.

This last time, with the cover, they did not just send me the cover, but redesigned mechanisms to replace both sides of the helmet.

So what about turn around? If I make a request on Monday, I usually have the part by Thursday.

The first time I made a request, I let them know at the time it was my only helmet, and they had it to me the next day.

So when it comes down to it, I have to say, in a world where you hear “You get what you pay for”, Arai is a shining example. As one of the most expensive helmet makers in the world, their product, and their company is reflected in the price.

Top notch product quality, fit, and features from a top notch company.

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