Arai Signet-X and Quantum-X ReviewFollowing in the footsteps of the Arai Corsair-X motorcycle racing helmet, Arai has released two new X series helmets—the Quantum-X and the Signet-X.Replacing Arai’s much-loved at Ultimate Motorcycling RX-Q and Signet-Q, theQuantum-X and Signet-X incorporate many of the features introduced on the race-ready Corsair-X, while retaining the street orientation of their predecessors.
The most significant difference between the Quantum-X and Signet-X is the fit, with the EPS liner giving each of the helmets a distinctive feel. The Signet-X is a Long Oval shape, with the Quantum-X housing a Round Oval design.[Visit the Ultimate Motorcycling Gear/Parts Page]Every rider has a different skull shape, so everyone will describe the feel differently. Arai tells us that many riders prefer one strongly to the other. After putting 250 miles on each helmet is a variety of conditions, I can report that I can feel the difference between the Quantum-X and the Signet-X, but I can wear both on all-day rides without discomfort—just as I could with the two helmets the Xs replace.The Signet-X gave me a bit more room on the top of my skull, but the face area did not feel quite as secure. Conversely, the Quantum-X gave me that good feeling of security in the cheeks, but was just on the cusp of being too tight up top.An excellent feature of the Signet-X and the Quantum-X is that changing pads or peeling off layers can personalize the Anti-Microbial comfort liner.As a bonus, the entire Quantum-X comfort liner can be swapped with that from the Corsair-X, giving the Quantum-X the Corsair-X’s Intermediate Oval fit—midway between the Quantum-X and Signet-X.The most obvious change for the two new X helmets is that they get the Variable Access System (VAS) faceshield system pioneered on the Corsair-X. While many people loved the no-tools shield exchange set-up on the previous generations of Arais (and still available on the Defiant and Vector-2), others were unable to master the process.VAS makes it easier for more people to switch Arai faceshields—the side panels are popped off so you can see what you’re doing—but it does slow down those of us who had the old mounting system mastered. While on the subject of faceshields, the new VAS-MV (Max Vision) faceshield comes with an anti-fogging Pinlock-120 lens in the box.Although not obvious, the shells have been upgraded with Arai’s proprietary Peripherally Belted—Super Complex Laminate Construction (PB-ScLc) shell. It’s very close to the shell on the Corsair-X, though it is slightly heavier due to the use of less exotic materials.Updates have also been made to the ducting, with the claim that more air now flows through the helmet. Testing in 100+ degree temperatures—as well as temps in the 50s—confirms that claim. It’s not a dramatic improvement, but your scalp is likely to detect a bit more flow with the Signet-X and Quantum-X.Twin intake forehead vents are closable, as is the exit vent on the top-back of your head. The side vents are permanently open, as a new exhaust duct on the back of the removable liner. The mouth vent and eyebrow vents have been redesigned and are definitely easier to manipulate with gloves while underway.Ergonomics have been tweaked a bit, with the removable chin curtain installed at the factory, and the mouth guard is a few millimeters farther from your mouth. While I’ve never felt claustrophobic in an Arai, some people will welcome the extra breathing room, especially with the chin cover in place.Both helmets accept Arai’s Pro Shade system. This newest version—the VAS Pro Shade System—is upgraded a bit, with the detents stronger. This makes it less likely the dark drop-down shield will move due to windblast. I tested it at speeds over 100 mph and it worked perfectly. Operating it also feels easier than when working the previous generation.There are two choices of shades, and I am partial to the Dark Smoke Extended shade that gives more protection in the down and intermediate positions. For those who prefer a traditional faceshield, Arai has a variety of smoked and color-tinted shields available, in addition to the standard clear.A new mechanical locking system holds any shield installed on the Signet-X and Quantum-X in place at any speed, as well as make it less likely to pop up in the event of an accident—that’s all good. However, it is a more complex system that before.To put the faceshield into the locked position, you have to press down fairly hard on the shield to get the lock to engage. To release it, you have to manipulate the release lever while pushing up on the faceshield. Usually it was easy, but once in a while it was fiddly while at speed. A downside is that it’s difficult to release the shield and just open it a crack for a bit of ventilation.All told, the new locking design is safer and more secure, but something that will take some time for the rider to build familiarity and develop the needed finger dexterity.Aerodynamics of the both helmets is excellent, as turning your head at high speeds is effortless. The wide eyeport is a huge safety feature, as the peripheral vision offered is excellent, especially to the crucial lower left.When riding through a heavy seaside mist that caused water to bead up on the faceshield, a simple turn of the head at just moderate speed whisked it off—nice.As expected, Arai focuses on the safety of the Signet-X and Quantum-X. It has the round shape that will glide smoothly on the ground in the event of a crash. Arai focuses on traditional EPS design, lacking any of the new styles of interior shock absorbers, as Arai feels that a single-piece multi-density liner is superior.I can’t judge that claim, but Arai does have a hard-earned and well-deserved reputation for concern for the highest level of helmet safety performance. Without any doubt, I feel fully secure and safe wearing either the Signet-X or Quantum-X, or any Arai.Although not revolutionary, the Arai Signet-X and Quantum-X helmets have a long list of updates compared to the helmets they replace. Put all those changes together and there is little doubt that the two new Arai helmets are significant improvements and will satisfy any rider looking to upgrade, or to replace a previous Arai.
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: Quantum-X, 11 choices (7 solid, 4 graphics); Signet-X, 10 choices (7 solid, 3 graphics)
- Arai Signet-X and Quantum-X Prices: $680-$830 MSRP