J.D. Power: Arai ranked #1 for 11th straight year

Arai ranks highest in satisfying motorcycle helmet owners for an 11th consecutive year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study released today.

The study measures the overall satisfaction of motorcyclists with their new helmet in three key factors: ventilation, face shield, and design and styling; which consist of 11 attributes: quietness; ventilation/air flow; de-fogging; face shield ability to keep wind out; face shield ability to resist scratching; ease of replacing face shield; scratch resistance of shell; color/graphic design; weight; ease of fastening the strap; and fit and comfort.

With a score of 830 on a 1,000-point scale, Arai ranks highest and performs particularly well in the ventilation and design and styling factors. Shoei follows with a score of 815 and performs well in face shield. Icon ranks third overall with a score of 806.

"Arai continues to improve in the areas critical to customer satisfaction, which has further differentiated it from other manufacturers," said Tim Fox, research manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Arai’s focus on fit and comfort-the most important consideration when purchasing a motorcycle helmet-and its ability to cater to different types of riders have given the manufacturer a consistent edge in satisfying customers."

Overall satisfaction with motorcycle helmets has increased to an average of 766 in 2009-up 5 points from 2008-the highest level since the study’s inception in 1999.

The study finds that while the percentage of helmet owners who conducted research online before buying has remained relatively steady from 2008 at 36 percent, the proportion of helmet owners who purchased their helmet online has increased-up to 17 percent in 2009 from 14 percent in 2008. Additionally, those who purchased more expensive helmets ($200 or more) are more likely to both research and purchase their helmet online. More than one-half of these helmet owners researched online prior to their purchase, and 22 percent of them made their purchase online.

The 2009 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 4,600 purchasers of new 2008 model-year motorcycles who provided information about their most recent helmet purchase experience and helmet use. The study was fielded in September and October 2008.