Arai Rebel: a helmet for nakeds

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Update: Arai’s going to call this thing “Defiant” in the States.

This evening, Arai will be unveiling a new helmet to journalists here in LA. Because Arai doesn’t consider HFL’s staff to be real journalists, you can read about the helmet first here. Designed to work with the unimpeded airflow of naked bikes, the Arai Rebel adopts larger intake vents and a new chin piece complete with a lift-canceling spoiler.

“There is a strong tendency within the motorcycle community towards simpler, more affordable bikes, without sacrificing anything towards styling or performance,” explains the company’s press material. “This has created a whole new segment of often naked bikes with an unmistakable ‘street fighter’ touch to them. The brand new Arai ‘Rebel’ helmet is the perfect companion for this new bike segment. Based on the much praised fit and comfort of the Quantum, the Rebel adds an aggressively styled chin piece to this new concept.”

“The chin piece of the Rebel is designed to guide the wind around the neck and to improve the aerodynamic properties of the helmet. The integrated chin bar spoiler and the shape of the chin bar improve the wind cheating properties of this helmet. These have also been adapted to the different angle of the head and helmet in relation to the wind and the weight balance of the helmet.”

The Rebel is differentiated by that very large new chin vent and chunky top vents, but it’s the prominent chin spoiler that’s going to make the biggest difference.

That chin piece is also said to make that area of the helmet roomier for the rider’s face while a new type of cheek pad should help hold the helmet securely to the head. Dubbed “Facial Contour System,” the pads include a “spring action” that should retain ease of taking the helmet off or putting it on, even while the area of the pads now extends to wrap under the jaw. Customizable “peel off” additional pads will allow riders to tailor the fit of the cheek pads in a similar arrangement the Nexx XR1R. By wrapping under the jaw, the cheek pads should also help keep air from entering under the chin, further optimizing the Rebel for the upright riding position of naked bikes.

Targeting the helmet at urban street riders, the larger vents are designed to better flow air at lower speeds than other, more sport-oriented Arai helmets. At lower speeds, a greater volume of air is required to provide the same cooling effect. That will be particularly apparent through the much-larger chin vent, which should also aid that other bane of the urban commuter: visor fogging.

Elsewhere, the Rebel appears similar to the Arai RX-Q. Same rear spoiler/vents, same exhaust ports behind the ears, same “hyper ridge” band around the bottom of the shell, same exhaust vent built into the rear neck roll. It’s likely the Rebel will adopt the same “intermediate oval” head shape too.

Also like the RX-Q, expect the Rebel to add 100g or so of additional weight for the American market, where it’ll adopt the heavier, harder Snell M2010 standard over the softer, lighter ECE 22.05 used elswhere. That RX-Q carries a $590 MSRP for solid colors, we expect Rebel pricing to be similar.

  • Stuart Ferreyra Gambirazio

    It’s ugly.

    • austin_2ride

      Looks like it will function “beautifully!”

    • the antagonist


    • Damo Von Maciel

      Still looks good in flat black…but most helmet do.

  • austin_2ride

    Great to see a new Arai in the lineup. I’ll be looking at this one very closely in Indy at the dealer Expo next weekend. I’m sure this will end up topping my list for a new helmet.

  • Chris Higgs

    Not sure how much benefit this will have bar a bit more cooling air thru the bigger vents at low speed…I drive a Super Duke (+ R1) and at anything over about 85 the wind blast makes you wish for Tysons (lack of) neck…(lucky the ace handling, wheelie-tastic nature + general hoon-ability make up for these trivial girly shortcomings!)


    Whenever I scroll past, all I see is “Ariel Rebel Naked”.

    Sorry. Nice helmet. I guess I’ll start making worthwhile comments again now that that’s out of my system.

    • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

      I’m really glad someone else made this comment so I didn’t have to.

    • Damo Von Maciel

      I am glad I am not the only one…

  • Gabriel Torres

    Is it just me or does this look a lot like Freddie Spencer’s old helmet from the early 80′s? Maybe they’ll sale a version with his paint job on it!

    • Kr tong

      With the chin vents I was thinking of old simpsons.

  • gabe

    Editorializers, reviewers, and definitely crashers, yes. Journalists? No way.

    • George Roberts

      I review, i only sometimes editorialize, but i don’t crash (either events or bikes). I consider myself a decent journalist, too. Sorry you don’t feel the same.

  • Lucas Worthing

    If Arai thinks the future of helmets looks like this, they won’t be the successful company they’re used to being. I’ve owned three Corsairs. It’s sad really… they could bring so much to the industry with all of their past success. A digression of past helmet designs over a decade is only going to put them out of the market. And since they dissed HFL, they can suck it too!

    That said, I’m still excited about the Rossi AGV carbon…

    • Clint Keener

      That AGV is HOT in person!

    • Damien Gaudet

      That AGV he’s rocking is great looking. Bradl, Iannone, and some other guys are also wearing it.

  • Kr tong

    I didnt realize snell M2010 made things heavier. I wonder which is safer.

    • Gonfern

      That is the topic of much heated debate. From my understanding of it, the ECE helmets tend to absorb more energy because they are softer. ECE measures mostly for energy transferred to head. Snell helmets tend to be stiffer and thicker shells because snell hits the helmet sharply twice in the same exact spot. I believe that scenario is far less likely that one blunt impact. I prefer the ECE rating (logic: if i will hit you in the head with a baseball bat, would you like a pillow or a wood board against your head to dampen the blow) But that varies based on who you ask. I am surely no expert.

      • Kr Tong

        Interesting. I remember reading some of this on HFL previously. Having crashed in an xs rf1000 and being knocked unconscious for 30+ mins, I’ve always been skeptical of safety ratings, but I didn’t realize manufacturers actually produce different materials for different countries.. I’m fairly sure snell uses the same weight of dummy head in their xs as they do in their xxl… Not sure if that’s still true and ifs its still a contributing factor to the larger shell sizes.

        • Gonfern

          not sure about the shell sizes, I think it has more to do with the shell being thicker to be rigid enogh to meet snell. Their testing procedure sounds ridiculous to me. They worry too much about penetration resistance and not enough about absorbing the impact. The shell on snell helmets are less likely to dent or crumple (they are designed not to) but crumpling to a safe extent helps to absorb energy.

          • TP

            I’m loling at the downvote troll that is serial downvoting every negative comment about the Arai in this thread. Butthurt Arai Press Representative?

      • Randy Singer

        Have a look at this article reprinted from Motorcyclist magazine:

        This article created quite a kerfuffle. Shoei and Arai pulled their advertising from Motorcyclist and put a lot of pressure on the magazine. Snell had all sorts of nasty things to say about the engineers who did the study for Motorcyclist, that didn’t ring true. Motorcyclist eventually caved and fired journalists from their staff and never spoke of this again.

        Snell has since changed their standard a bit, but they still lean towards requiring manufacturers to make their helmets on the hard side.

        England has come up with their own government helmet testing and rating service called SHARP

        Unfortunately you can’t use SHARP to gain any meaningful information about helmets sold in the U.S. because even helmets with the same model number sold in the U.K. are often made differently for the U.S.

        Going with a helmet that meets ECE seems to be the best idea. Snell certification may not only be irrelevant, worse, it may indicate that a helmet has been built to meet an out-of-touch standard that causes it to be less safe than necessary.

        • Mike

          Hi I want an Arai XC ram or I would really like the ARAI SZ-RAM4 HAYDEN STAR I cant get it in England but its M2010 Snell rated. Is this not legal in England?

          The Sharp site is useless, I did contact Arai and they told me that DOT approved helmets are legal but I havent been able to verify that.

          Does anyone think the new CTF or CT-Z in USA looks strange with the peak, why dont they offer the helmet without one.

      • Chris Davis

        A lot of it has to do with the increased impact levels (300g as I recall) Snell requires a helmet to pass. In order to achieve this the EPS needs to be stiffer. That harder foam translates to more energy transmitted to the head in less severe impacts. The argument against Snell standards is that most accidents that could cause head trauma don’t approach those forces and anyone who does sustain such a massive blow to the head will also have bodily injuries so severe there is little chance of survival. A body can only withstand so much total trauma, whether focused on one part or spread throughout. Though I believe well-meaning, Snell just kept pushing up the impact requirements every five years resulting in unintended consequences.

    • Wes Siler

      There’s no debate. Every World Championship racer chooses to race in an ECE helmet for a reason. Even American riders, riding in American brands. Ben Spies’ HJC? ECE. Hayden’s Arai? ECE. They could and would choose Snell if it was superior. It’s not. Also for consideration: if Snell was better, would Arai sell helmets in its own domestic market that were inferior? Japanese Arais aren’t Snell for a reason too.

      • Gonfern

        Like I said, I am no expert. But this was my conclusion from what I have read a well. My current Arai was ordered from europe for this reason. Glad to know my feeling were correct.

      • Kr Tong

        Good to know. I’m importing my helmets from now on.

        • orthorim

          Just beware that Arai in particular makes different interior shapes for different markets. I bought a Profile in SE Asia only to discover the head shape is perfectly round (!!). I thought I was safe as I had earlier tried a long oval Profile in the USA… an expensive mistake.

      • orthorim

        Why do they do it then? After all, SNELL is not a requirement to make a helmet street legal in the US….

        • Chris Davis

          Snell still has positive market recognition and Arai is a very conservative company.

        • austin_2ride

          Snell motorcycle helmet standards are voluntary, manufacturers build to Snell standards because they want to and they build to DOT, ECE 22-05 or other standards because they have to.

      • austin_2ride

        “American brands”?

      • HyperLemon

        Well, all Arai full face helmets in Japan (RX7, Quantum J, Astro-IQ, Rapide IR), as well as some open face and off road helmets, are Snell 2010 certified these days.

  • Corey Cook

    What helmet shape is it? The traditional Arai “round shape” or the long oval?

    • George Roberts

      Sounds like it’s going to be based off the RX-Q. Might be a bit too short front-to-back if you are a traditional Arai Signet fit.

  • Gonfern

    What perfect timing. My beloved Profile is going on 5 years. My only hatred of it is that on my Street Triple, the wind hits my chest and goes right under the chin bar to my eyes. No a big deal most of the time but when temps drop below 50 or so it can cause my eyes to tear (not to mention the occasional bee that has found its way there too) Fugly? F*YES! I could have done without that face vent. Hey Arai, i dont know if you are aware, but naked bikes flow air pretty well already. either way, its on my next helmet list already.

    • motoguru.

      I was thinking the same thing… Wouldn’t big vents be more beneficial on a fully faired bike when you’re stuck sweating behind a big ol’ windscreen?

    • HammerheadFistpunch

      Try a neck-cozy / neckwarmer.

  • Clint Keener

    Am I a douche because I’m lusting after the new Ruby Castel? All the new helmets look so boring.

    Lazer makes an interesting shaped full face, but I haven’t heard anything of the quality.

    • sean macdonald

      no. that new ruby is rad looking. you’d never want to wear it though.

  • mid40s

    That is one seriously unattractive helmet.

  • Guest

    Might be the helmet to lure me back to give Arai a try again.

  • Philip Heung

    Might be the helmet to lure me back to give Arai a try again. My issue is that while they are very comfortable out of the box, the padding doesn’t last very long. And what’s with those visor side plates? They have got to be the biggest PITA when you’re in a rush to switch visors.

    Come to think of it, I think I should stick with AGV…

  • JB

    I think Jamie’s solution of taking the peak off an xd4 is a better idea. It looks a lot better, has the huge chin vent and that enormous aperture must be really appreciated for city riding. It probably sacrifices some of the aerodynamic quality over this helmet, but the trade off seems worth it.

  • Sohl

    Next from Arai: the FUTURE of bicycle helmets!

  • karlInSanDiego

    Who do you have to call to get the Arai sticker even more GIANT and contrasting on the front, and maybe say Arai Motorcycle Helmet for Naked Motorcycle Riders, because Arai Helmets wasn’t overstating the cause enough already? I ride a standard half the time, and I’m always looking for a quieter helmet. Wind noise kills your hearing, even with very good plugs. I notice their release doesn’t mention controlling wind noise, so Rebel, you have failed us before you even got in your X-Wing.