Arai RX-Q: an RX-7 for the street

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Arai claims it’s taken everything it knows about making a super lightweight, super ventilated race helmet, everything it knows about making a comfortable, high quality road helmet and combined the best of both into the new Arai RX-Q. Headlining the new features are an extremely wide visor aperture, specially constructed cheekpads that now cradle your head from below in the aim of drastically improving comfort, ventilation that increases airflow while decreasing wind noise and a shell that’s both stronger and features a larger opening for easier ingress and egress.
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Drawing comparisons between the RX-Q and the Quantum 2 that Arai is
adamant the the new helmet doesn’t replace is inevitable. How can
something be lighter, offer more vision or better ventilation without
an example of what it’s lighter, more or better than? Cutting through
the silly marketing-speak, you actually get to a valid point; where the
Quantum 2 was built down to a still fairly substantial price, the RX-Q
is a completely new design that aims to be the premier road-focussed
helmet in the world, cost be damned. It costs $540 for plain colors,
identical to the Quantum 2 and considerably cheaper than the $770 Arai
Corsair V
.

So with the same price, what makes the RX-Q so much more special than
the Quantum 2? What makes it so much cheaper than the RX-7 if it’s so
high-spec?

Let’s begin by comparing it to the Quantum 2. Like that helmet, the
RX-Q’s shell is made from Arai’s second tier Super Complex Laminate
Construction, but over the Quantum 2, the RX-Q gains a more aerodynamic
and stable shape, has a 10mm wider visor aperture and now features
something Arai’s calling a “Hyper Ridge” that encircles the bottom of
the shell, allowing for a larger head hole while increasing strength,
improving aerodynamics and lowering the center of gravity (presumably
by combining the two traits of being heavy and close to the bottom).

The RX-Q is also said to ventilate more efficiently at lower speeds
(good for the road) while performing the typically counter proportionate
trick of reducing noise. That newfound airflow appears to be down to
the revised rear spoiler/air vent and the new side vents, but Arai also
claims its heavily reworked the way in which air flows through the
helmet’s interior. The company doesn’t quote any figures stating
exactly how much more air is flowed. The reduced noise is down to two
things, that revised airflow and the new cheekpads.

Other than to note in passing that Arai offers its in a variety of
sizes for a tailored fit, cheekpads aren’t something I believe I’ve
ever written about before. Arai says these new cheekpads are “very
labor intensive and costly to make” and are hand constructed from 12
separate pieces. They feature a “sculpted flange” underneath the jaw
that creates a better seal against noise entering from below. That
flange also cradles the head from underneath, providing a new facet for
comfort. They also feature an emergency cheekpad removal system that
enables emergency responders to more easily remove your helmet in the
event of you being unconscious, thereby reducing the chances of neck
injury.

Oops, we’ve gotten ahead of ourselves. File the cheekpads under “items
unique to the RX-Q, not shared with the Corsair V,” so now we can move
on to what it does share. The big deal here appears to be the new 10mm
wider visor aperture and the visor that’s designed to go with it. In
addition to increasing peripheral vision, that visor feature little
winglets on the outside of the upper edges designed to again reduce
noise and turbulence too.

The RX-Q also features an interior shape modeled after that of the very
spherical Corsair V, but elongated slightly to offer a good fit to a
wider range of people. Like the Corsair V, the RX-Q is also available
in five different shell sizes ranging from XXs to XXL.

Arai’s not quoting an official weight for the RX-Q, but we’d expect it
to come in around the same as the Quantum 2: 1624g for a size medium.
That’s fairly average for a helmet at this price level and radically
low weight isn’t something that Arai is known for. Like the Corsair V,
we expect the RX-Q to satisfy boy ECE R22-05 and SNELL M2010 standards.

If all the above sounds like I’m trying really hard to be critical of
the RX-Q, it’s because I’m trying to impartially evaluate it. Arai’s actually one of the only companies
in the motorcycle industry that I’m an unreserved fan of. They build
all their helmets by hand in Japan and are a family-owned company,
meaning they’re free to pursue quality products over eeking out every
last cent of profit. I’ve covered hundreds of thousands of miles in
Arai helmets and even had a terrible crash in one and not once have I
ever found a single thing to fault with any of its products. I’ve
simply enjoyed the knowledge that I had the safest, most well made,
most comfy helmets in the world. I even like the much maligned visor
mechanism. So I’m probably not the person to objectively evaluate the
RX-Q based on initial information about it. As far as I’m concerned,
the RX-Q is an Arai and that means it’s going to be a great helmet.

Arai

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    Any idea what head shape this helmet is going to be? I’m guessing it’s round oval, like the Q2 was?

    If this is round-oval, I wonder if we can expect to see some of the new technical elements in the other shapes when they get a redesign. Especially the Profile, which is what I wear because it’s the only one that fits. :)

    • Sean Smith

      I never really could figure out exactly what Arai’s head shapes were all about, but what I do know is that my Profile is the nicest helmet I’ve ever owned. After buying an Arai, I fully share Wes’s opinion on the company. Totally awesome fanatical japanese helmet people.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’s like the Corsair, but a bit elongated, so a slightly stretched sphere. But you can only really know if a helmet fits you if you’ve tried it on.

  • http://Http://www.txsbr.com Ben

    I agree on the unreserved fan part. My Corsair is outstanding in every way and I’m looking forward to seeing this model in person.

  • General Apathy

    Why do you like the visor mechanism? That’s my only complaint about my RX-7.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I love the smooth movement created by the lack of detents and the ability to open/close the visor any amount I want. It also holds the visor in whatever position even at really high speeds. I’ve never had any problems removing or reattaching the visor, it’s super easy once you get the hang of it.

  • CafeRacer1200

    I have tgo agree about the visor Wes. This helmet looks like it will replace my three year old Corsair next year. If it truly is quieter, I’ll be on it like stink to Coldplay.

  • Whitariusmaximus

    Hey Arai and Shoei, when are you gonna get off your high horses and add the useful little flip down dark internal visor that Schuberth and Caberg have?

    Probably never because you probably can’t bear to pay the licensor for something you didn’t invent.

    It’s a shame because you make great helmets, and I have always been a shoei/arai die hard, but this is why I along with half of the UK are now running around in Caberg lids.

    Congratulations on your cheek pad innovations though. Really a major factor in helmet buying decisions.

    • Shinigami

      Hmmm… I just spent two weeks motorcycling through the UK, France and Spain on a sportbike. (Or “sportsbike” if you prefer, being in the UK.)

      I saw dozens of Arais (in fact, a majority of what I saw on sportbike riders in the UK), a fair number of Shoei, quite a few Sharks, many AGV’s, lots of Nolans, a few HJC’s (primarily on scooter riders), some Vemars, the odd KBC and precisely one Schuberth… and three Cabergs in Madrid, two of which were on scooter riders.

      Cabergs, by the way, seemingly are no longer distributed in the USA.

      Half the UK? Not the half I saw.

      • CafeRacer1200

        You know, I wondered about the part where half the UK needs a flip down visor. Have they suddenly invented their own proprietary sun?

  • Whitariusmaximus

    Figure of speech boys, you know what I mean. But then maybe in two weeks as a tourist you did manage to see the entire other half of the UK. Yep, also true that cabergs aren’t sold in the USA, which is why I keep getting asked to bring them over for people. To be fair, half of em are for people with Schuberths whose side covers have popped off ten
    times too many. I have got a garage full of shoeis in the UK and four of em in California but I reach
    for the Caberg now around town. Have any of you actually tried the little flip down visor thing? It’s really useful. There’s zero argument against having it really, especially since
    it’s only there if you need it.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, gotta love the usefullness of that little flip-down visor, especially in the UK where tinted visors are illegal. I’ve just never felt comfortable wearing something as cheaply made as the Caberg. While I’d like to see Arai and Shoei be a little more creative and daring with new features like that, I’m still pretty happy just to have a high quality, super safe, super comfy helmet and a spare visor tucked inside my power ranger leathers.