Arai Corsair-X : Review – On the Street

Arai’s Corsair series of helmets has been at the top of the helmet food chain for as long as I can remember. Each iteration brings more advancements and a continued dedication to providing racers with a top-of-the-line experience. The Corsair-X is the latest in this long line… and it is very good.

To be honest, I’ve never had the chance to go riding with an Arai, that is until they provided me with one for a review. I’ve grown up mostly on the dirt, so Bell Helmets have always been a go-to for me. They fit my head, so why venture out? This is a question I think a lot of riders ask because once you’ve found a helmet that fits, it’s much easier to stick with it. Easier isn’t always better, and that’s where I’ve been missing out.

Arai’s have historically been known for catering to a round head shape, and my oval noggin kept me away. I always thought of this as a hard rule, sort of a square peg round hole situation, but much to my surprise the Corsair-X is incredibly customizable with a plethora of cheek pad sizes, making it very capable of conforming to the needs of one particular rider.

Once I got over the shock of the helmet actually fitting well, I was able to start my assessment. First off, the Isle of Man graphic is a limited edition and you do pay a hefty premium for it, but good grief is it beautiful. Adorning your head with a piece of art may not be everyone’s preference, but when you see this thing in person it’s hard not to be impressed.

That sense of quality extends to the inside, with plush materials making up the Eco-Pure liner. I assumed the liner material was going to get hot, but so far this has not been the case. Granted, I’ve been riding in relatively cool temperatures (mid 60s), but the amount of airflow this helmet is capable of is incredible. The sheer amount of inlets and venturis has the rider sitting in an adjustable wind tunnel of sorts, that help keep you cool when you slap this lid on.

With all that air flow, one would think this new cap would be a bit on the noisy side—especially considering its race pedigree. But one would be quite wrong, because this is one of the quieter helmets I’ve ever used. Cruising at 70MPH I normally have a bit of trouble speaking on the intercom due to wind noise, but not so with the Corsair-X. This is made possible by a couple of factors. The VAS shield mechanism, which ensures an extremely tight fitting shield; the removable neck roll, keeping errant wind from making its way into the helmet; the ingenious adjustable chin spoiler that allows you to direct wind away from ever getting to the neck roll; and finally the aerodynamics of the helmet as a whole.

The ability for the Corsair-X to be a great race helmet is obvious upon inspection. It’s relatively light at about 3.5 pounds, has all the safety measures you could want with a Snell rating and emergency removable cheek pads, and features an adjustable rear spoiler. Until I’m able to take this feller on the track though, I can only speak to its touring capabilities.

With cut-outs for speakers in the liner, a Pinlock included, and an overall lack of noise, the Corsair-X is incredibly well-suited for touring. Getting airflow in all positions, not just full-tuck, and having a distributed weight balance results in very little strain on the neck over the course of the day. Sure, it lacks touring-style shield positions (it’s either up, down and cracked, or completely locked in) but that’s pretty minor. All in all, I can see myself using the Corsair-X for commuting and multi-day excursions without any issues.

The main hurdle I can see getting in most people’s way is the price tag. With an MSRP starting at $859.95, and up to $1059.95 for graphics like the IOM TT, the cost is on the upper end. I will say that the time I’ve spent with the Corsair-X so far has made me an Arai believer. If this helmets performs anything like what I hope it will on the track, I think you will be hard pressed to find a helmet as capable of double duty as the Corsair-X.

I’ll be following up with a separate post covering my experience with the Corsair-X on the track once the season gets underway up here in the Pacific Northwest.

Photos Via: Essential Moto

Helmet provided by Arai.

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