Arai Corsair-X Review: Flagship Motorcycle Helmet
With roots dating back to the 1977 cLc RX-7, the new Arai Corsair-X (pronounced “ex”, not “ten”) is the latest evolution of what many consider to be the finest motorcycle helmet of them all. Rather than an all-new design, the Corsair-X is an incremental improvement over the previous Corsair-V, however several features are very noteworthy.
Arai’s research concludes that impact absorption improvements cannot be made without making the helmet substantially larger and heavier, which would result in diminishing returns in the real world.
Arai’s advances in safety are now focused on the outside of the helmet shell and improving the ability to glance off objects during impact. In other words, the smoother and less cluttered the exterior, the less impact energy and twisting effects are transmitted through to the wearer’s head.
I’m happy to report that Arai as a company is supremely passionate about safety; no detail is too small to consider improving. “The faster you go the more energy you carry,” said a spokesman, “therefore, impacts in real-world accidents can carry energy levels that are well above established standards, and this suggests why Glancing Off technology is so important.”
Glancing Off allows for better impact absorption capacity of the helmet, and clearly, the more energy you can avoid sending directly into it, the more absorption capacity the helmet has in reserve. So, the much-touted R75 Rounder Arai hand-formed shell shape of the Corsair-X deflects as much energy away from the helmet interior as possible.
In addition, the Variable Axis faceshield System (VAS), lowers the faceshield pivot and results in an increase of unobstructed shell in the critical temple area, improving the impact glance-off ability of the Corsair-X. This system will eventually reach the rest of the Arai helmet range.
As a plus, the VAS system—although not quite as fast to practiced hands as the old one— will be a welcome upgrade for many users, as the mechanism is now visible when removing and installing the faceshield. Unfortunately, if you have a collection of faceshields for your Corsair-V, they will not be compatible with the X.
The Corsair-X exterior also features new cooling ducts that provide more airflow than on the V. Larger, three-position switches also make vent operation easier and help limit both noise and water intrusion. The under-chin fabric cover is now integrated with the helmet, and the chin- bar itself has been extended by nearly a half-inch to accommodate those who felt it was a little too close before.
Although Arai does focus heavily on safety, comfort is not ignored. The Corsair-X has a new Eco-Pure anti-microbial liner that is claimed to stay fresher longer—our helmet is too new to tell—and Facial Contour System cheek pads with peel-away layers are available for a custom fit.
Overall the Corsair-X is a marked improvement over its predecessor. I owe my life multiple times to Arai, so I welcome all the improvements they can make to their thoughtfully and impeccably researched head protection. With any luck, I won’t be testing this impact protection offered by this latest racetrack-focused helmet.
For additional information, visit Arai.
Story from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine.