My first adventure helmet was the Shoei Hornet DS (first generation) in mat black. The helmet was comfortable and could be worn all day long. One problem the helmet had was that the peak would vibrate at speed. Another problem is the very sharp shape of the helmet would cause it to catch the wind and want to rip your head off, if not pointed directly into the wind. The effect of this being that when your started to look left or right it would catch the wind and whip your head 90 degrees. The most severe problem is that it would fog up and stay fogged up as if it was a Cumulus cloud.
My buddy DeathMagnet suggest we try the Icon Variant. We went out and got them with me going “Battlescar” and him the “Hard Luck”. The Icon worked very well and had the ability to “just open a crack” that allowed it to stay fog free. The Icon helmet was comfortable for about 6 hours and then it started to rub my ears raw and it also had a slight vibration sound from the peak at speed.
I found myself looking for helmets again and I was looking at the latest generation Shoei Hornet or the Arai XD4 the deciding factor being that the Arai XD4 came in Flare Blue.
The Arai is the winner in all categories when it comes to adventure helmets! Before I put any miles on the helmet I first installed my Sena 20S and it was amazingly simple with the Arai everything from a slot in the material to insert the mount to speaker pockets. Its the fastest I have ever setup a Sena in a helmet and also the best fitting.
The specs look good but how does the Arai it do for a long tour? I “tested” the Arai on a trip over 2,250 miles with temperatures ranging from 45 to 98 degrees crossing Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri.
The Arai helmet is very comfortable it does not rub your ears off and the peak does not make a vibration noise at speed. The Arai helmet also does not FOG up if you can keep moving. Many manufactures use chemicals or sell a separate system to keep the visor from fogging and Arai uses physics; simply put when all the vents are in the “OFF” position a small amount of air is directed onto the visor to keep it from fogging up and it works surprisingly well. The Peak of the helmet is more prominent than that of the Icon Variant and can actually be used to keep the sun out of your eyes and reduce other “falling debris” off the visor. The Arai also has a built in chin curtain that actually allows you to take the helmet off and on because it slides out of the way.
The down side of the Arai is that with all the vents open it can be a little loud on the wind noise, however it has a lot of vents including brow vents and the vents work thus the noise.
Specifications of the helmets:
Shoei Hornet DS 4.1 lbs.
Shoei Hornet X2 3.92 lbs. ~$535
Icon Variant Battlescar 3.78 lbs. ~$400
Arai XD4 Flare Blue 3.66 lbs ~$539