Arai vs Shoei

Shoei or Arai? To Be Or Not To Be?

It’s a question we get very often: which helmet is better, Shoei or Arai. We prefer to answer the question “how long is a piece of string?” which is an easier question to answer (the answer is 37.5 by the way). The Shoei vs Arai question cannot be answered easily, and it can never be answered 100%.
If you do a quick Google search for “Shoei or Arai”, you’ll be surprised to see how many motorcycle discussion forums have dealt with that one question. So the first thing you go to ask yourself is why ask?

Both Shoei and Arai are famous and well establish helmet brands, both are Japanese, both offer great helmets at very reasonable prices and both offer great colors. So why ask that one question. Or maybe because they are that similar that people keep asking the question. If you compare Shoei or Arai with let’s say Schuberth, it’s far easier to answer. Schuberth is German, high quality and very expensive. So already you have differences between the brands, so the choice can be explained away.

Back to the “S” versus “A” debate. When you think about it, it boils down to one very important issue and 6 other issues (some important, some not), and there is no clear winner!
1.Shape: The shape is vital since your life will depend on a proper fit. Both helmet manufacturers have a specific head style and you’ll need to try them on to see which one fits the best, which helmet is snug and doesn’t move? In other words, you either have an Arai or a Shoei style head.
And that is one of the reasons many bikers are fiercely loyal to whatever brand fits them the best.
2.Safety: The UK Sharp Helmet testing site (UK government owned) does very thorough testing of helmets. Shoei has a light advantage of Arai in safety tests. Looking at the list, more Shoei helmets have 4 and even 5 stars over Arai. Look yourself: click here for Arai, click here for Shoei results.
This is already a good starting point, but unfortunately, not all helmet models in Sharp are available in the USA.
3.Types: If you’re in the market for modular, you’ve only got one choice: Shoei.

But for the rest, both have integral, off-road and women helmets.
4.Colors: Both brands have many different colors to suit your personal taste, though the advantage would go to Arai with a bigger range of colors. Ranging from simple to very colorful:

5.Price: This is the third most important issue (next to safety). Shoei seem to have an advantage since they are slightly less expensive than Arai, but looks can be deceiving; you need to compare each model with its true homolog for parts and functions. In other words, if one has a sunscreen and the other doesn’t, you can’t compare price.
6.Noise: This is the second most import issue when buying a helmet. How is the noise level inside the helmet? But a lot of that will depend on you and your head shape, so not only the helmet itself; if you head fits perfectly inside the helmet, there’s less noise. If there’s space in between your head (particularly your ears) and the helmet itself, you’ll get more noise.
So it’s very difficult to tell you which one is better. You need to try it.
7.Features: Again, not so clear since most features are available on each brand, but you’ll need to check what you want; vents, sunscreens, different visors, breath guard, chin curtain, etc.
These are seven criteria in which you can judge yourself which brand is better for you. Go to the UK Sharp site and compare the types of helmets you are interested in. That will be a good first step.
And who knows, maybe the winner between the Arai versus Shoei battle will be Bell Helmets … or … Nolan …. or …. Etc. You get the idea. There is no clear-cut winner in this debate. It’s a personal issue; which helmet is more comfortable for you, which one screams “you”, which one is less noisy and which one fits your wallet the best. But please, don’t make money your first issue.

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