Arai XC Open-Face Helmet.
The XC is yet another example of Arai’s decades-long tradition of improving on what works, redefining how open-face helmets can look – and protect. The most telling feature is the extended coverage in the lower jaw-cheek pad area – extending 1 3/16” forward compared to the previous model (and traditional open-face ¾ helmets). While the look may be reminiscent of an ancient Greek warrior’s helmet, the performance is as modern as it comes. The XC provides a measure of lower-jaw protection that’s been missing from previous open-face helmets, which leave that part of the face exposed.
- - Front TDF-2 intake vents and the DDL-4 exhaust vent are a direct take off from the RX-Q. Side Cowl exhausts complete the ventilation upgrade
- New cheek pad design is more similar to the full face helmet style with a full coverage EPS base and removable covers
- Vented neck roll takes advantage of existing airflow from around the rider’s neck to further enhance helmet ventilation by extracting more heat buildup from interior
- Thinner shield arms (pods) provide a more aerodynamic shape. LRS levers assist with shield removal
To find the Correct size helmet for a person's head:
- Measure the head circumference one-inch above the eyebrows and ears
- Using the circumference measured, use the size chart below to find the approximate size
- Once you have tried on the helmet it should fell snug equally around the head. The helmet should not feel too tight or too loose at any point around head.
***Please remember that all head shapes vary slightly and that this sizing chart is to be used as a starting guide, not an exact guide.
There are two main styles of ¾ or open face helmet styles that almost all of these helmets can be put into these days; retro, or vintage, and touring. There is also a new emerging category of hybrid open face helmets that we will cover in video just for the hybrids, but will hint at near the end of this video. Today we are going to look at 7 successful designs, 3 retro styles and four of the more sophisticated touring styles. All of the helmets we will check out today carry at least a DOT safety rating. Let’s start with a few retro models.
The first helmet I want to show you is the famed Bell Custom 500. This is a retro or vintage style helmet that incorporates modern safety design, materials, and technology. The Custom 500 is celebrating its sixtieth birthday and received a celebratory overhaul.
This new version has a whole new head shape combined with 5 individual EPS’s, one for each size helmet, which helps the helmet to look smaller on your head. I would love to show you how much better it fits, but this helmet has not yet been released as we’re filming this video, so this sample is a medium, which is obviously not happening on my head.
My friend Arfas, though, has a twenty two inch head circumference, and typically wears between a medium and a small. This medium fits well and sits nice and low on his head. This redesigned shape is also more accommodating to oval head shapes like mine, where the previous version was very round.
The custom 500 is available in seven colorways including this Matte Brown Metallic, and in sizes extra small to double extra-large. It features a retro looking quilted liner and snaps for adding a face shield. As far as quality goes, this is going to be the top of the line in the retro segment, and carries a five year warranty to back it up.
The next helmet we’re taking a look at today is the Speed and Strength SS600. This helmet doesn’t have quite the fit and finish that the Bell does, but is still nice looking for the money, and available in some sick looking graphics, like this Rooke Customs model. It has an ABS alloy shell as opposed to the fiberglass shell of the Bell. But, while ABS possesses less impact absorption than fiberglass, it’s more durable, and does a better job of handling daily riding abuse. The price is also about twenty five percent less in certain finishes.
The SS600 is available in sizes extra small to two x and, like most retro open face helmets, is designed for a round to intermediate oval head shape. I can wear it, but I need to go to a size larger than the fitment chart recommends for my head circumference. My head measures twenty three and half inches around, so I should fit in a large according to the chart, but I would be pretty uncomfortable in anything smaller than this XL.
Another feature not often found in the vintage segment is ventilation. The SS600 features intake and exhaust vent ports to keep you cool and dry in warmer weather.
Next, we have the value priced HCI-10. While this isn’t one of the premium helmets in this retro category, it is a good value for the budget conscious, and I like to try and offer a full specrum of price points, so you can get the most helmet for the dollars in your pocket. It also makes it easier for you to see the differences between a value-priced helmet and a premium helmet.
Like the other two retro helmets, this lid also has an intermediate oval shape. The fitment calls for an extra-large for my head measurement, which is correct front to back, but leaves a little too much room for side to side movement. Even with a rounder head, this helmet isn’t going to have as precise of a fit as a premium helmet. Time spent on research and development translates into higher helmet cost. Perfection isn’t the goal with a value priced helmet, affordability is.
A couple of other features you’ll have to do without are a wicking liner and ventilation. Also, my example here also is only equipped with three snaps, instead of five, which limits you a little bit on shield choice.
There are obviously numerous other retro ¾ helmet choices to consider as well, this is a rapidly growing market. If you have any questions about this helmet style, give our customer service a call at 1-877-GO-Helmet.
The next group of helmets we’re going to look at have a more modern styling, with modern features that are beneficial to a more touring oriented rider. I’m going to show you four of my favorites, including two of the most premium choices available.
First, we have the Shoei J Cruise. This is an ultra-premium choice from Shoei that really is one of the most feature packed open faced helmets available today. This helmet is designed to offer the wearer all of the best in each feature category. No cut corners with the J Cruise. The fit of this helmet is exactly what you would expect from Shoei. It’s precise. You feel the firm grip of the helmet on your head but there’s no hotspots. The size chart calls for a large for my head and this is definitely the right size. It’s pretty snug for now, but remember, you lose about a third of a size to break in. It’s available in a ton of colors, and the finishes on Shoei products are excellent.
One of the issues commonly had with open face helmets is buffeting and wind noise. Riders on all different styles of bikes like open face helmets, so the challenge for the helmet manufacturer, is creating a helmet that is going to ride smooth and quiet regardless of the motorcycles windshield setup, or lack thereof. The J Cruise was designed in a wind tunnel, and features like the ventilation, this new Integrated Air Dam design on the optically correct shield, the spring loaded baseplates, and the twin blade eye port gasket, work together to provide a surprisingly quiet ride.
You’re also getting premium features like an AIM shell with four shell sizes, a multi-piece EPS liner, and a retractable internal sunshade, not to mention the work of art that is the 3D Max Dry liner. The padding is actually contoured and constructed out of different thicknesses and densities of padding to provide the perfect fit.
Next we have another top of the line selection from the touring segment of open face helmets, the famed Arai XC. If you closed your eyes and had someone put this helmet on your head for you, you would swear it was a full face. That is because of this unique shell design where the jaw area actually extends over an inch farther than previous Arai open face models. The fit is a little bit rounder with the Arai than the Shoei. I don’t have quite as much room for my forehead with this model then I had with the Shoei. I have a long oval head form, though, so this helmet will fit great on most folks with more intermediate oval heads, Of course it’s an Arai, so you’re getting a hand laid fiberglass shell and a plush three dimensional liner construction.
There are two areas where the Shoei and the Arai do a give and take. The Arai gets a Snell safety rating, the Shoei does not. This definitely isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I know many riders get a lot of piece of mind from the Snell rating, so one point Arai. The area where the Shoei shines over the Arai is the shield system. There really is no comparison. There is so much feature tech put into this Shoei they’re going to be hard to catch. Every aspect of the Shoei’s shield system is smooth, and refined. The Arai’s just isn’t. The shield is difficult to remove, and the locking mechanism requires the wearer to tug firmly on fairly delicate baseplate components. One point Shoei. Choosing between these two helmets would be definitely be a tough job for any rider, I’m glad I don’t have to do it.
The last two helmets I want to compare are the HJC FG-Jet and the Gmax GM67S. Some might say that this is an unfair comparison because of the fairly dramatic difference in price points but I look at it this way, whatever the less expensive helmet gives up in quality, it makes up for in price. They both get a point. The fit between the two is very similar, and accurate per the size chart, although some customers did complain that they had to return their Gmax for a bigger size, so if you are in between sizes, definitely pick the next one up.
The FG-Jet has many truly top of the line features, but at price that is about a third of the Arai. It has a Kevlar and fiberglass composite weave shell that was designed in a wind tunnel, so the aerodynamics is quite good. The ventilation also benefits from wind tunnel testing. Both of these helmets have well designed drop down visor systems, but I have to give this feature win to the HJC. This sunshade system works great. The shape of the visor and how far down it goes are crucial. If you are stuck looking at the bottom of a sunshade shade, you will definitely get a headache. The three position shield on the FG works excellent. The buttons are easy to use, and they’ve added a cushioned release to ease the noise. The face shield system on the FG-Jet is also quite nice. A simple push of this lever and the shield pops right off, and reinstalling is just as easy.
The Gm67S has its strong points as well. Where this helmet really shines is versatility. This helmet can be set up with three different configurations. You can wear the helmet with a peak visor installed, a face shield, or you can purchase a supplementary chin bar setup that actually gives this helmet some full face style debris protection. You also have the option of adding a rear light kit that can tap into your bike’s brake light circuit, giving the helmet true brake light functionality. The Gmax also has excellent ventilation, and the finish on these helmets is automotive quality.