The 2014 Arai Signet-Q is a full-face sport helmet taking technologies and construction methods derived from the race track and applying them to a versatile, high-performance street helmet.
Arai has specialized in putting out top tier helmets for decades. Known for its excellence in safety, design and quality, the Japanese motorsports racing helmet manufacturer has a product line in 2014 that continues to impress. A stand-out model in the line this year is one of the company’s most popular helmets, the Signet-Q.
The Construction: It's what makes a great helmet.
The composite shell and internal EPS foam construction make for a stout core structure exceeding both the basic US FMVSS 218 safety standards (AKA the DOT standard) as well as the voluntary, privately-managed Snell tests. The shell design also focuses a significant amount of material around the lower edge of the helmet not only increasing rigidity but also lowering the center of mass.
The Signet-Q is definitely not the lightest in class when it comes to total unit weight, but it certainly feels that way when worn. This mass distribution and shell design allows the helmet to be extremely well-balanced and stable at speed. The exterior shell is also engineered with Arai’s “R75” helmet shape giving the surface a very smooth and round profile. In the event of a crash, the exterior venting ducts are designed to break away allowing the R75 surface to slide across the ground and deflect debris minimizing any features of the helmet protruding from the surface and getting hung up on obstacles.
However, this “rounder” helmet profile is not to be confused with the shape of rider head the helmet is catered towards. In fact, the Signet-Q has an elongated overall design allowing for riders with narrower head shapes to more comfortably fit into the helmet reducing pressure on the forehead.
A Perfect and Customized Fit: What's the use if the helmet doesn't fit?
The interior is comprised of removable, swappable and even modifiable cheek pads and headliner with washable liners for easy maintenance. To further the fit customization aside from just replacing cheek pad sizes, the internal foam in the headliner is made of 5mm-thick plies that can be individually peeled away to fine tune the fit to the rider’s unique head shape. The lower portion of cheek pads are also supported by a small spring system to secure the helmet along the lower jawline. All of this results in one of the best fitting lids on the market right out of the box or when carefully dialed in. Arai’s have always been one of the most comfortable helmets available and the Signet-Q definitely excels in this department.
What We Really Think?
Overall, the Arai Signet-Q is a solid package. The material and construction quality are top-notch, safety metrics are as high as ever, comfort levels are lavish and customizable, aesthetics are classic yet bold and features are plentiful while functional.
The shell shape, air duct design and interior padding all reduce wind buffeting to a constant, low drone minimizing the distraction of high-pitched bursts or whistling. The premium craftsmanship is apparent in the details without sacrificing functionality. The straps, vents, and visor mechanism all operate with ease and fluid motions.
The Signet-Q performs its job as intended; to protect the rider while offering features that minimize interaction and maximize focus on the road ahead, exactly what's needed in a helmet. A bonus, it looks pretty damn good too.
[Photos by Ryan Skut]