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Arai XD4 Explore Helmet Reviews

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  • Retail Price ~$729.95 Shop Now
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Allrpm

  • 4
  

I have been an Arai guy for over 20 years. This new lid reaffirms my love for the fit and finish of the brand. I got the Desert sand paint job and with its semi matt finish, I find it really cool! Great venting as mentioned, sure the cost was up there, in this case there is no argument that you are getting a premium product.

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Dragos Stefan

  • 4
  

Have this in Europe (under the name Tour X).

I wanted the Hi-Viz neon color which is not available off the shelf in Europe, but can be had by special order (pay in advance and wait 3 months :) )

 

I agree with the reviews above, it's an excellent, very comfortable and high quality helmet. It's also very nice on the street at high speed if you take the peak off.

 

I would add for the Cons a significant one, which is the lack of a chin curtain.

This makes the helmet noisier than it should be and also less comfortable on colder or windy days.

It does have a retractable "chin spoiler" which has no effect.

 

It's still my fav helmet :)

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Clink

  • 5
  

I have the same exact helmet and colors. I love this helmet, it's comfy well made and no complaints what so ever. I haven't ever had another full faced helmet for street so I can't tell if it's noisy or not compared to the rest of the field. I agree the price is a bit steep, but I was able to score a coupon for 30% off any purchase at the dealer so I used it wisely. I just installed a Sena Bluetooth system in it but haven't had a chance to use it since other than in my living room so that review will come soon.

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Bryan Bosch

  • 4
  

For a while, I had thought about picking up a dirt-and-street crossover helmet. However, most was my street riding was on lower speed back roads and city streets, my off-road helmet & goggles did a decent job, so I never pulled the trigger on one. Late last spring I switched from dual sport to adventure, so not only am I riding a lot more pavement, the speeds have also increased a fair bit. On longer rides, I quickly became tired of the amount of wind noise that comes from wearing an MX helmet and goggles, not to mention having taken a few good sized Florida flying insects to the schnozz and cheek at freeway speeds. A few of my good riding buddies rave about their Arai helmets, I liked the look & features of the updated Arai XD4 Explore helmet, so I decided to see what the fuss was all about.

Product Overview
The Arai XD4 Explore is a premium crossover helmet designed to meet the needs of riders who want the highest levels of protection, comfort, and features, all in a package that is flexible enough for use on the street, in the dirt, and everything in between. The Arai XD4 Explore offers three distinct configurations depending upon riding conditions. Out the box it's ready for dual sport and adventure duty (visor and face shield). Remove the visor and you're ready for a day on the tarmac. Remove the face shield, put on your goggles, and you're ready for the track or trail.

The Arai XD4 Explore has a fair number of notable, distinctive features, but I want to cover its more important safety aspects with a bit more detail. In order to keep this review to a digestible length, I'm going to refer you Arai's website for a more comprehensive feature list.

Safety
A sobering quote from the Arai website:
"As the kinetic energy of a moving object increases by the square of the speed, even a street rider, traveling at the legal limit, can carry up to 12 times the impact energy the world’s most stringent standard allow. No helmet, regardless of brand, can be expected to manage such energies directly."

Arai R75 Shape
In a crash, how often do you fall onto perfectly smooth terrain, landing in one spot, stopping there? Typically, there is some level of sliding and/or rolling as your body decelerates (scrubs off energy). Arai believes that a helmet shell that is rounder in shape is uniformly stronger, better resisting the penetration of sharp objects and deformation. They also believe that a rounder, smoother shell more easily slides over uneven surfaces, glancing off objects with less rotational force. I'm no engineer, but this approach makes sense to me. I've seen what happens in crash when a sliding rider or vehicle catches/snags on an object or terrain feature and how much more violent the crash becomes. The Arai shell is designed to be a continuous convex curve that has a minimum radius of 75mm, wherever and whenever possible. Compared to the small collection of helmets in my garage, the R75 concept shaping is noticeable. Their more angular designs do look cool, but the Arai R75 Shape does follow their "Protection above all else." mantra. Here's an Arai tutorial video on the R75 shape philosophy.

EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) Liner
Arai XD4 Explore EPS liners are one piece units, not created from multiple pieces that are fitted and glued together. This eliminates the risk of gaps in the liner as well as potential bonding issues between pieces. In addition, Arai liners are multi-density, utilizing specific densities in different areas of the helmet. This allows Arai to maximize liner impact energy management and to minimize the size & weight of the helmet, all without adversely affecting rider comfort. Arai street helmets can have up to four different densities in a single liner and their F1 auto racing helmets have five.

Cheekpads
The helmet features the Arai Emergency Cheekpad Removal System that is designed too allow emergency medical personnel to remove it from an injured rider's head more easily, with less force. This reduces the possibility of causing further injury to an unconscious rider or if a spinal injury is suspected.

Comfort
I found the Arai XD4 Explore to be an extremely comfortable helmet, but its standard, out-of-the-box config was a little tight in the cheek area. The helmet features a 5mm peel away cheekpad layer for micro-tuning without the need purchase an optional cheekpad size. This ended up being a quick & easy way to get just the right fit.

Arai is pretty sophisticated in helping riders get the right fit. They understand that a helmet that doesn't fit right doesn't allow its safety systems to perform their best and as a premium helmet brand, buyers have high expectations. Not only do they offer three different helmet shapes (the XD4 Explore is an Intermediate Oval), there are also multiple thicknesses of optional interior liners and cheekpad sets for most helmet sizes. Last but not least, the XD4 Explore features Arai's patented Facial Contour System (FCS) cheekpads. The pads are contoured in shape, use multiple layers of foam in varying densities, and is supported by a foam "spring" that applies gentle pressure to the cheek and jawbone for a secure fit, but seemingly moves out of the way when putting the helmet on. I found the XD4 Explore to slide on/off easily, but remains snug once on (what you want). Here's an Arai tutorial video on fitting a helmet that elaborates on why Arai believes that their helmets fit like no other.

Notable Observations

  • Generous eye port: When using the flip down face shield, the field of view from inside the helmet is huge and my peripheral vision is excellent. Great for exploring and for watching out for the cagers that are seemingly out to kill you. :eek:
  • Venting: I've been testing in the Florida heat & humidity and this lid vents extremely well and does not fog up. The vents that I appreciate the most are Arai's trademark brow vents. I can tell when I've left them closed, it's that noticeable. I also like that most of the vents can be positively opened, closed, or set somewhere in between with a lever or slider control. It's extremely easy to vary the helmet's venting characteristics by season or even during a day's ride and I was able to do this with thinner riding gloves on. The helmet also uses a Dry-Cool liner that is designed to improve heat and moisture transfer from your head into the helmet's venting system. This combo of venting systems and liner materials did a good job keeping me comfortable.
  • The visor is surprisingly useful, even at freeway speeds. It was redesigned this year for better aerodynamics & stability and I've yet to feel the need to remove it, even when riding freeway speeds (75-80 mph). My 2013 Triumph Tiger 800XC does have a windscreen, but it's fairly short, so only moderately effective. However, the visor can easily be removed with a flat blade screw driver, but I also found at that pocket change would do just as well as a makeshift tool. Arai event put a black strip under the visor so that it doesn't reflect back into the face shield. Someone is paying attention.
  • The fit/finish is superb.You know how you can pick something up and quickly tell if someone cared? I think Arai does. Everything just fits together tightly and accurately (like the rubber edging around the eye port and bottom edge) and the operating feel of things like the visor mechanism and vents is positive. I chose the XD4 Explore in white, but I was pleasantly surprised that the black graphics were not just black, but include subtle, mulit-color metal flake (blues, greens & orange) that only shows up in certain lighting, at certain angles. So, a little sex appeal from helmet that is business first.

Pros thumbsup.gif

  • High quality materials, fit, & finish.
  • All day comfort.
  • Excellent venting.
  • Flexible, 3-configuration design.
  • Leading safety features.

Cons thumbsdown.gif

  • A little hard on the wallet.

Bottom-line
Outside of the somewhat steep price ($729.95 MSRP), there is little to not like about the Arai XD4 Explore helmet. It oozes quality, it's comfortable for all day use, it's functionally easy to use, its features work well, and the Arai manta of "Protection above all else." seems to be evident. Arai is still a relatively small, family owned & operated business of three generations that includes riders that wear what they produce. To me, that says something. If you're in the market for a premium crossover helmet, I'd definitely add the Arai XD4 Explore helmet to your shortlist.

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