Arai XD4 Helmet TestFew who owned Arai’s XD3 adventure helmet could find fault in its performance. However, the engineers at Arai have not been complacent. The Arai XD4 accesses the latest technological developments in pure street helmets and off-road helmets and applies them to the adventure market.
To be sure, slipping the XD4 on your head is a pleasure, as long as your head gets along with the intermediate oval interior shell shape. Within that shape, the XD4 allows you to fine-tune the fit with side/temple crown and cheek pads that contain 5mm peel-away layers if you prefer more room in those areas. For safety, the cheek pads are designed to be removed by a health care professional in the case of a crash.Those pads are part of the fully removable and washable Dry-Cool interior. The ability to easily wash out sweat and dust so you can start with a fresh helmet each ride is a big plus. On a 375-mile ride, about half off-pavement, the Arai XD4 did what I want a helmet to do—never intrude on the ride. With a traditional fiberglass shell, the XD4 weighs in at 3 pounds, 9 ounces, yet hides its weight well with excellent balance.Arai has always been top-shelf when it comes to airflow, and the XD4 continues that enviable reputation. The side cowl vents are larger, and the chin vent now has an additional opening. Even it in the highest summer temperatures, the scalp-cooling airflow is there, as it is on more moderate days.At bit more air is also directed to the temples by the brow-vent faceshield. While it is not especially noticeable in temperate temperatures, every additional bit of flow can help on the hottest rides. When it’s cold, the top intake and exhaust vents can be closed, along with the faceshield and chin vents.Taking the bike up to 85 on a windy day confirmed Arai’s claim of “better aerodynamic stability at higher street speeds” for the shell, peak, and vent design. At slower speeds off-road with dust-raising riders ahead of you, the visor can be flipped up and goggles used for eye protection.As a final bonus, the Arai XD4 comes with designer graphics, so adventure riders can look as good as their dirt- and street-exclusive counterparts. The XD3 seemed unbeatable, until the arrival of the impressive Arai XD4.