Arai Helmets: One of the Best in the World
Arai Helmets – For almost a century, Arai Helmet Limited(Ltd.), is one of the leading motorcycle helmet manufacturers in Japan and across different countries. Bikers, athletes, kart and race car drivers have trusted the Arai brand.
How did Arai become one of the most successful motorcycle helmet manufacturers in the world? To find out how, let us first jump back through time and discover the humble beginnings of Arai Helmet Ltd.
History of Arai
Arai started in 1926 when its founder, Hirotake Arai started a headgear and textile business in Saitama, Japan. Hirotake Arai was a son of a hatmaker and an enthusiast motorcycle rider himself. During the second world war, Hirotake Arai created helmets for the Japanese soldiers.
An innate inventor and craftsman, Hirotake Arai tried and ventured into several businesses after World War II. Hirotake Arai found himself a business when he was contracted to provide hard hat helmets for the mining and construction workers.
He could have survived having that business but Hirotake Arai wanted something more. Sometime after, he started shifting into creating motorcycle helmets. The first shell canvas was made with resin. In the fifties, there were no helmet manufacturers existing in Japan. Since Japan was a close market, it’s not easy to obtain good helmets.
Arai had his first market opportunity when his friends at a local racetrack asked him to supply them with motorcycle helmets. However back then, Hirotake Arai’s intention was just to provide good helmets for his fellow rider’s protection.
Hirotake Arai created the first Japanese motorcycle helmet made from fiberglass, resin and Expanded Polyester Foam (EPS)?now considered as the gold standard in motorcycle helmet manufacturing. This was the birth of the motorcycle helmet industry in Japan.
Coincidentally, Roy Richter, the founder of Bell, an American motorcycle helmet manufacturing company came up with the same solution. The two have never known nor have heard of each other.
With just the intention of providing his friends protection gears when racing, the business flourished and was named Hirotake Arai (H.A.) helmets. H.A. helmets then established the ‘bag molding’ technique, where two-piece metal molds are used. This technique is still used until today.
His son, Michio Arai, a rider since he was seven years old and a semi-professional racer himself, followed his father’s footsteps and eventually took over the family’s business.
In 1963, Arai produced its first Snell certified helmet. The helmets started to be exported to the United States. The U.S. distributor then and now President of Arai Helmet USA, Roger Weston, suggested changing the name from H.A. to just Arai.
Today, Arai Helmet Ltd. has two factories situated in Saitama and Shinto, Japan. The company is led by Michio Arai and his son, Akihito. Even today, all of the helmets were handmade and crafted; except that the shells were automatically cut by lasers.
Despite its competitors, Arai is still one of the leading motorcycle helmet manufacturers. What makes Arai stand out from the rest?
Here are some reasons why Arai Helmets is still one of the top leading helmet manufacturers worldwide.
The Arai Difference
Ever Since Hirotake Arai started the business, it remained to be family owned until today. This kept the company’s values, vision into producing the top quality helmets for all its customers.
Ever since Hirotake Arai started creating helmets, the only thing he had in mind is not to make lucrative profits but to provide top of the line helmets to offer more protection and comfort to the riders. Ever since then, Arai only aims to provide the best quality helmets that will offer the best protection to the whole riding community.
From the first up to the last process, Arai’s helmets are handmade (except for shells that are cut by lasers). Starting from crafting the first molds for new designs, to creating the fiberglass shell, up to the assembly of interior pads and liners, all are done by hand by its skilled workers.
Passion and Quality
Michio Arai never settles for less and always looks for ways to provide excellent quality helmets. Some 40 years ago, Michio Arai knew that all of their helmets all had the same ability of protection.
Arai admitted the hard truth that at that time, Arai’s helmets were average. In 1976, Michio Arai aimed not just to be better but to be the number one helmet manufacturer in the world.
Michio Arai wants to achieve consistency in shell thickness during the production of helmets. With this, Michio Arai dedicated his whole time into researching and studying on how to produce helmets with consistent shell thickness.
After years of study, he found out that it is impossible to achieve absolute shell thickness. With this, he employed double quality checks on each helmet to find out the inconsistencies to be able to correct them efficiently. Even up to this day, they still employ this process.
Once they met the standards of the shell experts, Michio Arai turned his focus on the interior liners of the helmet. The goal is to manage the impact energy in the event of a crash; however, this is a difficult task.
Various materials were considered but they found out that EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) is still the best material to use in the interiors. EPS is proven to have the best performance in varying temperatures.
To further improve their helmets’ performance, Arai discovered the concept of using multi-density layers to improve the various impact energies in different parts of the helmet. This allows maximum energy management while keeping the lining thickness to a minimum.
If you will notice, almost all of Arai’s helmets look the same. It is because Arai is using the R75 standard as the foundation basis for all their shells. R75 is used by Japanese helmet brands for the construction of the helmet’s outer shell.
R75 as the name implies, denotes a constant curve shape of 75 degrees. They employ this shape because according to the Japanese brands, this design allows (most of the time) to minimize the energy produced by a shock.
It is believed that an angle of 75 degrees is the ideal angle to use in a helmet to have a better glide on surfaces, thus avoiding obstacles.
Certification as the Baseline; Not the Goal
All of us have heard about DOT or Snell Standards when looking for helmets. DOT is a certification for a helmet to be street-legal in the United States. Snell’s certification, on the other hand, is considered as an industry benchmark for helmet safety. A Snell certified helmet is considered to be a high-quality headgear.
With Arai, they only use these standards as their baseline. They don’t settle even when their helmets pass the tests. Their ultimate goal is to make their helmets work in the real world. So, they continue to refine their processes to produce the best helmets.
Since then, Arai has proved that it can provide outstanding helmets with the best protection and comfort. Thus, it earned its reputation of being the better helmet. Then Arai made its way to the Moto-GP scene as their helmets were worn by famous riders and champions all around the world.
Freddie Spencer, a three-time world champion, was one of the earliest and most important ambassadors of the Arai brand in the Grand Prix Racing.
At the end of the day, Arai’s goal is not just to produce outstanding helmets to make them number one. Their ultimate goal is to provide outstanding helmets that will give the best protection and comfort to all the riders that will wear their helmets.
These are definitely the reasons why Arai is undoubtedly one of the best.
Arai’s Helmet Selection
Arai offers different types of helmets for different riders out there. They produce full-face street helmets, street open face helmets, dual sport, off-road, full-face and open face helmets.
Check our bestsellers!
Motorcycle Helmets Store
The Motorcycle Helmets Store offers several Arai helmets along with other Japan brand helmets.
Our store aims to provide the whole riding community with top-of-the-line helmets from Arai, Shoei and OGK Kabuto.
The motorcycle helmets in our selection are from brands that are known all for excellence, design, built and quality, enhanced safety and comfort. Every helmet that our store provides is ensured to have passed Snell and JIS standards.
Below are some of the Arai helmets that we have in our selection:
Arai Astral-X is a touring-style helmet designed for any generation of riders. It is equipped to reduce long term tooling wear-outs.
It is made with a smooth, round but durable shell made with special materials for better impact absorption. It is lightweight when worn and it is employed with a cap body that lessens fatigue during lengthy rides.
Arai CLC Technology
This helmet has its own CLC or Complex Laminate Construction. It is composed of material to make the helmet strong, lightweight while supporting a naturally organic shell shape.
Saj Face Shield
Astral-X employs the slim and sleek face shield slide-pods that is also present in the RX-7 Corsair Model.
This comes with a Breath Guard design that helps fresh air from entering the shield’s surface while directing hot air away from the shield’s inner surface.
Vents are also installed to optimize the air flow.
Arai Classic-Mod is an open face helmet that comes with a classy and stylish finish. It has a unique design that makes it different from other Arai helmets.
This helmet went through the Penetration Resistance Test, same as the SNELL standard. It is certified to have a high-safety performance so riders are guaranteed that its safe and efficient to use. Arai used synthetic leather for this model to give a more classic feel to the helmet.
Eco-pure is the material used for its interiors which has antibacterial, deodorizing and antifouling functions, keeping it fresh at all times.
This liner helps prevent the growth of bacteria in the helmet’s interior. Eco-pure liner also deodorizes, absorbs and neutralizes ammonia and odor.
Moreover, the Eco-Pure lining can effectively change the sweat components, therefore, riders need not worry about irritants when using this helmet.
V-cross4 is built for speed and durability but guaranteed to be safe and comfortable for riders.
The eye port is created to leave adequate space for goggles or glasses. The gap prevents the eyeglasses from hitting the visor and increases the ventilation in the helmet.
This dirt bike helmet comes with an exhaust duct and a diffuser for easier maintenance. An air duct is built at the top rear part of the helmet.
V-cross4 visors are 14mm long and 5mm wide, thus, it’s capable of deflecting any form of debris during high-speed rides. The chin bar is unique in its round shape with an exterior vent cap easily detachable in event of an accident.
V-cross 4’s body has a proprietary super fiber belt made of PB-clc or Peripherally-belted complex laminate construction based on Arai’s F-1 technology.
Vector X- Tough is one of the helmets that took over the market in its category because of its durability, good fit and comfort.
Inner Side Ducts
This helmet is rigged with inner side ducts that guide air to the right and left temple of the head. The side ducts boost the cooling effect on the upper ear portion of the helmet as the entire inner portion cools down evenly.
Reduced NE Nozzle Size
Vector X – Tough gas a reduced NE Nozzle that helps in efficient exhaust of hot air. Regardless of its small size, it is capable of discharging hot air through the helmet’s ear area by using negative pressure while driving.
There you go! I hope you enjoyed knowing a little more about Arai, the company’s humble beginnings, and how they managed to be one of the leading helmet manufacturers in the world.
If ever you want to look for other Arai helmets aside from the ones above, just go and visit the Motorcycle Helmets Shop and look for any Arai helmet of your choice.