If you are looking for a new motorcycle helmet, you will definitely stumble upon Arai helmets.
Then you will stumble upon the price tag of Arai helmets.
And then you may start wondering if they are worth the extra cost.
If you are in the market for a new motorcycle helmet, let me get one thing straight; a high-quality helmet is always worth the extra cost. However, one has to wonder at what point do we end up paying just for the neat brand logo on our motorcycle helmets.
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What makes Arai motorcycle helmets so expensive?
The supreme build quality designed to exceed common safety standards, in-depth research and development, use of high-quality materials, company philosophy, and the fact that Arai helmets are handmade are the factors that make Arai helmets so expensive.
Several different factors determine the price of a motorcycle helmet, such as:
- Labor costs
- Research and development
- Build quality
- Helmet customization options
- Additional features
- Paint and finish
- Branding and marketing
Manufacturing process and design
Arai motorcycle helmets are still handmade up to this day by skilled specialists. This includes the shell, liner, paint job, decals, installation of breath guards, chin straps, vents, and visors which are all handmade by expert artisans. In fact, the only automated process is the laser cutting of the eyes ports and shell edge. The Arai shell molds are also made in-house, and all shells undergo two different and independent quality control checks.
Arai motorcycle helmets are designed and built to meet and exceed the DOT and Sneel safety standards. Arai actually states that the motorcycle helmet safety standards are their starting point when making helmets and not the end goal. In fact, some Arai helmets (The Arai GP-6 RC, GP-6 RCT, and GP-5 RC.) meet the FIA standards for F1, MotoGP, and other motorsports.
Arai helmets are designed to maximize their impact absorption but also minimize the amount of energy absorbed during impact by improving the helmet’s ability to slide over and glance off objects.
In terms of safety, things do get a little tricky because it can be very difficult to find any independent test results and data. Often people refer to SHARP’s testing results.
According to the SHARP’s testing, Arai helmets are among the safest helmets out there. Many of the Arai helmets receive between 3 to 5 stars on the SHARP safety tests. (With 1 star being the lowest and 5 stars being the highest.)
However, it should also be noted that they are testing motorcycle helmets intended for the UK market, and there can be regional differences in design when it comes to motorcycle helmets.
Build quality and materials used
Overall, Arai helmets are made with more than 20 different materials.
The shell of Arai helmets is made from Super Fiber which is 30% stronger than conventional fiberglass. Super Fiber is stronger, provides better tensile strength, and resists cracking, but it is also more expensive.
To bond everything together, a special resin, developed by Arai, is used.
The paint process alone involves more than 10 steps.
All that makes the whole process of producing one Arai helmet a little more complicated and expensive.
Customization and adjustment options
Arai helmets come in three shapes: round-oval, intermediate-oval, and long-oval. On top of that, cheek pads and temple pads have peelable layers to customize and adjust their fit. If necessary extra pads can also be purchased.
All that increases the costs of production.
Brand name, marketing, and market
Arai has a long history. Arai is a Japanese company that traces its history back to the 1900s, and it started manufacturing motorcycle helmets for the Japanese market in the 1950s.
Arai has definitely built a reputation for itself as a manufacturer of high-quality motorcycle helmets, so it is only natural to expect to pay extra for the name alone.
The market and import taxes also play a role in how expensive Arai helmets tend to be. In the past, some riders in the US used to buy Arai helmets from foreign vendors to save money. However, this practice has been discontinued due to a number of reasons, and now only officially imported helmets are purchased in the US.
How does the price of Arai helmets compare to other motorcycle helmets?
Generally, Arai motorcycle helmets cost between $520 to $1,000. Open face Arai helmets cost between $250 to $750. Dirt bike and touring Arai helmets cost between $600 to $850 on average. There are Arai helmets, like the Arai Corsair-X RC, that can sell for as much as $4,000.
Motorcycle helmets can cost between $35 to upwards of $1,800. And most motorcycle riders tend to spend between $200 to $450 on a motorcycle helmet. This means Arai helmets are definitely in the upper bracket in terms of helmet prices.
For a more detailed breakdown of prices, check my article on motorcycle helmet costs.
Expensive vs. cheaper motorcycle helmets
Expensive motorcycle helmets can have several different advantages like better comfort and fit, reduced weight, better airflow, better ventilation, better sound dampening, better build quality of moving parts, a selection of different shell sizes and shapes, and other additional features.
Generally, a more expensive helmet does not mean a safer helmet since all road-legal motorcycle helmets must meet and pass the same safety standards and thus be guaranteed that they are offering at least a minimum level of protection.
While motorcycle helmets that can fall into different price categories may perform arguably the same in terms of safety, other factors can contribute greatly to the overall comfort of the rider. The better fit and improved comfort can significantly impact the overall riding experience, especially on longer trips or for people that are riding more often.
A helmet that is not comfortable and does not have a good fit can be a safety hazard. The rider can experience headaches, get tired more quickly, or not enjoy wearing their helmet at all. All of these factors can lead to increased risk on the road as the helmet may end up diverting the rider’s attention on the road and traffic. On top of that, if the fit is not right, the helmet may fail to provide adequate protection in an accident.
Cheaper motorcycle helmets often come with the same outer shell size and change the sizing by changing the interior. This affects the overall weight of the helmet and its overall aesthetics, too. Cheaper helmets often may lack in other areas as well.
Some cheaper helmets also come with the same interior shape, which fits just one type of head shape.
Are Arai helmets worth the money?
Arai helmets are worth it because of their superior design, build quality, and comfort, which can be useful on longer trips. Riders whose budget does not allow buying an Arai helmet may find cheaper motorcycle helmets that have passed the necessary safety standards more than enough and also useful.
Compared to some cheaper helmets, an Arai helmet will generally be quieter, lighter, and have a better airflow, ventilation, better cooling, better fit, and provide better visibility. There can be a significant difference between the padding quality and feel as well as the visor quality and latching.
The more expensive a helmet is, the better features it has, the lighter it is, and the more comfortable it tends to be. (Basically, more creature comforts.)
Premium helmets also tend to remain in good condition and remain comfortable for longer than cheaper helmets which tend to wear out faster. More expensive helmets generally hold up better over time, and complaints from customers are also fairly rare. Visor and vent leaks or rubber breaking are also rare.
Arai helmets come in different shell shapes, styles, and sizes, so riders are almost bound to find an Arai helmet that fits them well. The majority of riders find Arai helmets very comfortable, even when riding long distances. The padding is also removable, which allows for easier washing and customization.
Overall, a more expensive helmet is generally worth it, depending on the rider’s budget. The general advice is always to buy the highest quality helmet with the best fit. A more expensive helmet does not necessarily mean a safer helmet. However, in practice, most riders do not go back to a cheaper helmet and believe spending more on a helmet is worth it.