Arai XD5 - We were at the USA launch

Arai XD5 - We were at the USA launch

Good things take time, and well-done things require attention and care to every detail. In the end, the results will justify the meticulous process no matter how much time has passed or how many requests you have received from your customers to finally launch that long-awaited new version. Yes, the longer you take to present it, the fewer sales you make, and yes, numbers matter, but for those who do things well, the numbers that matter are not necessarily those related to sales figures, but those that embody the philosophy that defines the essence of the brand.

It took Arai 12 years to introduce the XD5 version of their acclaimed multipurpose helmet. The owner of this establishment (EnMoto) received an invitation from Arai Americas to be part of the group attending the launch of the 3-in-1 helmet that took place in Temecula, California, USA just a few days ago. There, he had the opportunity to not only see the helmet and use it riding several kilometers on a Honda Transalp 750 through various types of roads in the area, but also to doing so enjoying the company of Mr. Brian Weston, Managing Director of Arai Americas, and Akihito Arai, grandson of the founder and the man destined to lead the house in the future of the prestigious family brand. According to what LGM (CEO of EnMoto) shared when commissioning this article, the long wait was absolutely worth it.

Why is Arai... Arai?

Hirotake Arai, the son of a hat maker and a motorcycle enthusiast, after World War II, focused on making helmets for the construction sector. As an enthusiast himself and at the request of some motorcycle enthusiast friends and frequent visitors to the local track, he decided to create the first motorcycle helmet in Japan, and made it from fiberglass, resin, and expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) specifically for motorcycle riding. From that moment on, Hirotake was very clear about his purpose in developing that helmet: to protect himself as a rider and protect his fellow riders. Michio Arai, Hirotake’s son, set out for Arai Helmet to not only protect his fellow riders, but make the best helmet in the world for protection. In 1963, Arai Helmet delivered the first Snell-certified helmets for the North American market. Michio Arai remains committed to that priority for protection in Arai helmets and as owner and CEO keeps Arai Helmet on this path. The XD-5 is no exception. More recently, third-generation Akihito Arai has taken on responsibilities across the globe at Arai Helmet, joining the XD-5 press launch and maintaining above all the premises of his grandfather when he created that first model in the 1950s

This is evident in the manufacturing process of each helmet produced by the company based in Saitama, Japan. Hirotake conceived the manufacturing of the shells through a careful and elaborate process of mixing fibers and resin by hand and fusing them in a two-piece metal mold under pressure applied with special bags for that task. The technique developed decades ago has proven to be so reliable and effective that not only does Arai still use it today, but it has been adopted by many other helmet manufacturers. Over time and with the arrival of new technologies, the helmet manufacturing process has undergone several improvements in terms of materials and techniques for applying the fiber structure, resulting in lighter, more durable, aerodynamic, and stronger shells without sacrificing the round smooth shape of the Japanese house that refrains from making changes to include internal lenses or adapt to shapes, designs, or styles dictated by fashion or trends that may be more eye-catching and thus generate more sales. For Arai, there is no better helmet shape than the circular one because it offers a smooth surface that allows the helmet to slide, avoiding getting caught on a possible obstacle due to an edge or angular shape.

Today, Arai has two manufacturing plants located in Saitama and Gunma, where, except for just six robots for laser cutting of the shells, every single step of the helmet manufacturing process is carried out by people, many of whom have decades of experience within the company. This certainly slows down the helmet production process while increasing the value of the final product. However, as Michio said in an interview, "Doing what we believe in fills us with pride. We are not good businessmen, but we are determined to offer protection to the heads of our fellow motorcyclists."

The XD5

LGM says: "This helmet is amazing... the comfort is absolute, the ventilation is fantastic, you can adjust the density of the cheek pads thanks to some mini layers that you can remove or add to make it fit snugly to the contour of your face, it's very easy to switch the helmet from one mode to another with just your hand, and the visibility is excellent, definitely worth the money it costs."

For some of our followers, these words may be enough to consider as sufficient testimony of the virtues of the XD5, but let's delve a little deeper to get a better idea of the features of this new Japanese model, which they say is the most innovative of recent times within the brand.

The shell (which is available in four sizes as usual for the brand) maintains the oval shape but in this model they have managed to give it a more rounded curvature to ensure that the helmet disperses the energy of a potential impact better. At the front, just above the user's eyebrows, the fiber weave incorporates a band of organic fiber that works like metal hoops on barrels, contributing to the rigidity of the structure while helping to maintain a lightweight design. At the bottom, the sides have increased the distance between them by 10 mm to facilitate the positioning and removal of the helmet.

The Variable Axis System (VAS) mount for the visor also contributes to the rigidity of the shell structure, and like the air intakes, this system detaches in case of an impact to ensure that the visor does not snag on any obstacle. This not only contributes to the safety of the helmet but also makes it more practical as it allows for easy installation and removal of the visor and changing the helmet configuration without the need for any tools, switching from Adventure mode (with the visor and shield) to Off-Road (removing the visor) or Street (without visor) configurations, seamlessly. With this VAS system, the visor mounting position is lowered, allowing for about 10 mm more of smooth surface around the temple area, providing more smooth shell for better glancing off performance.

Ventilation is an aspect that has been heavily worked on, as LGM mentioned. The XD-5 has three air intakes and five exhausts. At the front, the chin vent has been completely redesigned to increase the flow of fresh air, which can be directed to provide more ventilation on the face or help dissipate condensation inside the visor thanks to a new internal chin shutter. If the front grill is open and the internal shutter is also open, the air will flow directly to the user, but when the internal shutter is closed, the air will rise towards the visor to help clear any fogging.

The visor has also increased in size, ensuring an increase in visual capacity, and incorporates a Pinlock system to prevent fogging issues. Additionally, the helmet includes a spoiler at the bottom to deflect the wind flow, preventing turbulence at the bottom and helping to extract the hot air and moisture exhaled by the wearer.

Highlighting the visor is the new 3D logo which includes another larger and more effective air intake than the XD4 (without compromising the shell structure), and also features three positions to adjust the airflow to the head.

Moving on to the exterior of the XD5, the new shell, despite offering a more rounded shape than its predecessor, also offers flatter side areas to facilitate the installation of communication systems, ensuring a better fit between the intercom and the helmet surface to prevent possible slipping or detachment of the device.

Turning to the interior of the XD5, we find a padding system with a treatment that offers a level of acidity similar to that of a person's skin. The entire interior is treated with an antibacterial treatment that is resistant to odors and stains. On the sides, the aforementioned cheek pads system allows for adjusting the thickness of these pieces to the contour of the face, ensuring maximum fit without sacrificing user comfort, thanks to the removable 5 mm foams on each side.

Returning to the option of installing a communication system, whether you choose any of the equipment we have available from Cardo, Sena, or Midland, you can install the speakers without compromising comfort, thanks to the ample spaces provided for this purpose without the need to remove the internal pads. Additionally, the XD5 includes a pocket in the rear padding to store any excess cables and connectors, as well as specific channels to guide the cables from side to side, preventing tangling or disconnection during helmet use.

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