Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Arai XD4 – Big Steve’s thoughts

Dan was able to punch out his review of the Arai XD4 dual sport helmet sooner than I did because my Hyper has been playing second fiddle to my Street Bob of late.
This doesn't mean I haven't been riding the hyper, I’ve chocked up 2000km on her with the XD4 on my shoulders in sun, shade, frost, rain, hail, brimstone & even snow. I can give it a proper review now. I'll be drawing comparisons against my two other helmets, my Shoei xr1000 that has done well over 60,000km and my Shoei Platinum R which was a recent addition and has done around 5000km. Firstly the negatives.....this is not the best helmet I've ever owned. I know Dan loves his but I find it's just now a Shoei but as Shoei don't make their DS helmet in man size XXL anymore, this is really my only option. It is noisy, it's heavy and it has far too many confusing vents, levers and switches. Those things aside though, I love wearing it! So here is my breakdown.



DESIGN

The external shape of shell combined with the peak look hella good and I find myself staring at the helmet whenever I'm sitting in sight of it. I've never done that with any other lids. Unfortunately the visor/peak design in terms of trying to swap visors is a total pain in the arse. Factor in using glasses for uv protection under a clear visor or you'll do your head in switching visors. The chin strap (dual loop side) is also very short, it still functions and snap locks ok but just seems odd that an XXL helmet would use such a short chin strap. Similarly the vents are a little confusing, there are optimum combinations for dry/warm weather and cold/wet weather but commuting over 80km in Victorian weather means I can see 4 seasons in one commute. Some vents are easily adjusted on the fly, others like the 2 side chin vents that link to the front mesh grills are difficult to feel under a gloved hand. I had these open recently in bad weather and ended up water logging my helmet in a hefty downpour. The peak doesn't catch as much wind as you would think, if anything I notice more side force beatings when riding at 100 on the freeway.

FIT

Yes I have a Shoei head, I know this well and truly but aside from the different shaped liner which bridges across the forehead more than the Shoeis inline stripes the XD4 fits my noggin well. I can slightly feel it, by this I mean that my shoei’s cannot be felt, you don't know you’re wearing them. Not so for the XD4 you know you’re wearing it but its ok.

VISIBILITY

The XD4 is the best in this regard, my first ride with it on left me blown away just how much more visibility I had over my previous full face - the XR1000. You can do head checks now with only the slightest twist of your neck and see well back into your peripheral.

BUILD QUALITY

Again the XD4 does well here, both my Shoei’s are matte black meaning every mark, finger print, bug splatter and scuff shows up, the semi gloss coating on the XD4 is far more durable not to mention easily cleaned and sticker friendly. The foam and liners are also very nice against your skin and do a good job of wicking away sweat. It also dries out quite quickly using my tried and tested method of placing the helmet over the exhaust fans on my gaming PC, a few hours with fans on high will have everything touch dry.

WEIGHT

I feel it's probably at the heavier end of the spectrum, I know on the windy days or other inclement weather i've arrived home and been glad to take the XD4 off, it's not heavy like a cheap fibreglass lid heavy, but again you know you’re wearing it.

PINLOCK

This is my first pin lock equipped visor and I have to say I was impressed with the anti-fogging characteristics of the pin lock insert. I've had zero fogging in the cold but it has fogged on me in heavy rain where I had most of the vents open and the helmet became quite

SUMMARY

The Arai XD4 is the perfect spare helmet for your motard or adv bike, I personally wouldn't ride with it as I think its many vent sand peak design make it noisy, almost as noisy as my open face Shoei.


But as I said its failings aside I love this lid!! I just wish I could have got it in white.  
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