Monday, November 30, 2009
Rider's Review: Arai Corsair V Helmet
I've been using the Arai Corsair V for several months now, so I'm ready to share my impressions.
I bought the Arai Corsair V from SportBikeTrackGear.Com for a little over $700. It's not an inexspensive helmet, by any means, but I've always believed in buying the best safety gear you can afford. I got the solid black model and promptly had it custom painted.
Innovations on this helmet include a slightly larger front opening. Five millemeters on each side doesn't sound like a whole lot, but I can tell you it makes a big difference when you do a head check before a lane change.
It also has cheekpads with high-viz orange pull tabs to allow paramedics to remove them to faciliate safe helmet removal in case of an injury accident. A great idea, but I do find the pull tabs tend to fall out despite my best efforts to tuck them in securely. Not a huge deal, as they're small.
Another new feature is the small, adjustable winglet at the back of the helmet. It's meant to reduce drag and keep the rider from tiring, but I have to confess, I don't notice much difference.
The helmet is light, and the shape is a little shorter front-to-back than on any of my other helmets. It's the only one I have where I can actually kiss the inside of the helmet. Putting it on can be a bit difficult, and I find once it's on, I have to reach in past the cheekpads to rescue my ears from being folded in there. Once that's taken care of, the helmet fits snugly, as it should.
Ventilation is very good, with two brow intakes on the face shield, one in front of the mouth, two more intakes at the top of the helmet, and four exit ports to the rear. The downside to all that airflow is a little more noise. The helmet does include a pull-down chin spoiler that's supposed to reduce the low-frequency noise from air rushing past the opening at the bottom of the helmet, but I still think ear plugs are needed for this helmet.
The helmet came with two shields, one clear and one tinted. The shields can be removed and replaced without tools, but I found the process to be a bit tedious, and wound up leaving the tinted shield on and only using the helmet for daylight rides. I imagine with practice and patience, interchanging the face shield might come more easily.
The Arai Corsair V is supposed to be a pro-level helmet, and may be designed for use at the high speeds pros reach on the track. The latest addition to the Arai family, the RX-Q, is similar to the Corsair V, but with wider vents and some slight changes to the contours that are supposed to make it more suitable for road (rather than track) use. It also has a larger bottom opening designed to make it easier to put on/off. My ears might appreciate that. The RX-Q is also a much less expensive helmet, starting at $300 less than the Corsair V.
Bottom line, it's a good helmet, but unless you really intend to use it on the track frequently, the Arai RX-Q would likely be a better buy.