Arai DT-X Motorcycle Helmet Review
Arai has been in the business of manufacturing top-shelf motorcycle safety equipment for over six decades, and the DT-X is the latest in a long line of superb helmets from Arai.
Since the Japanese brand’s inception, Arai has strived to maintain the highest level of protection by executing some of the strictest standards of quality control found in the motorcycle helmet industry.
To do that, Arai sticks to their deep roots and does things the old-fashioned way – by hand. Not one, but two technicians personally sign off on every Arai shell before they roll on down the assembly line to have all holes drilled, all eye-ports cut, and all graphics laid – checking for discrepancies along the way.
Such a high level of care put into each helmet usually translates to a higher price tag at retail—and so that’s where the new Arai DT-X comes in. However, the DT-X doesn’t fall by the wayside when it comes to quality and quality control, despite its more approachable price-point within the Arai line-up.
Arai offers helmets in the three standard Oval shapes—Signet-X (Long Oval), Quantum-X (Round Oval) and race-oriented Corsair-X (Intermediate Oval). I happen to fall into the common intermediate oval group, making the DT-X a good match for me.
As always, we strongly recommend that you go to your local shop and try on several helmets yourself to decide what size and shape is the best fit for you personally. We can’t tell you what head shape you have—that has to be determined in-person.
Constructed out of a lightweight fiberglass material, the DT-X shares many similarities both in design and appearance to other models carrying the X moniker. Making use of the egg-like R75 Arai external shell shape, the DT-X also features Arai’s signature Hyper Ridge along the bottom edge of the shell to improve strength and aerodynamics while also allowing the helmet to be easily put on and taken off.
The result is a motorcycle helmet that is light enough to stay comfortable for a full day’s riding, as well as one that also stays stable at high speed. Checking over your shoulder when changing lanes won’t be met with resistance, and I attribute that to positive aerodynamics.
A wide viewport allows for great peripheral vision from inside the DT-X, making for greater awareness of your surroundings. Commuting, touring, and even track excursions (though not racing), are well within the realm of possibilities for the DT-X.
To facilitate airflow, the Arai DT-X features 10 vents. Beginning at the front, a single multi-position chin vent can be found, along with two brow-vents, both of which do a great job of controlling fogging and make for a pleasant ride while in hot weather.
On the top of the helmet is a dual-function plastic vent. It not only takes in air when sitting in an upright riding position, but also allows air out. Behind that is another intake vent designed to flow air when you’re in an aggressive position. Two vents flank the center intake to create low pressure so air can be drawn through the helmet. Both the duct and spoiler positions are easily manipulated with a gloved hand.
Finally, two always-open vents sit at the bottom rear. In all, I found that airflow with the DT-X adequate, even in weather that spiked well into the 90s.
The interior of the DT-X is plush and comfortable, using antimicrobial materials to keep things from getting funky. After a full day’s worth of riding in some pretty hot weather, much of it lane-splitting through LA’s world renowned traffic, I was no worse for wear.
The ear pockets feature molded recesses to allow intercoms to be installed, and there is a small amount of fit customization via 5mm peel-away layers in the comfort liner and cheek pads. However, the adjustability of the comfort liner stops there, unlike the Corsair-X, which is completely customizable to your liking—this was one way to the lower price of the DT-X without compromising safety.
As expected, Arai’s one-piece multi-density EPS liner is being put to use inside the DT-X, allowing for further protection by implementing various densities in areas of the helmet where they’re needed most during an impact.
The Variable Axis Shield (VAS) faceshield system introduced a couple of years ago on the Arai Corsair-X is found on the DT-X, which allows for quick no-tools face shield changes—once you’ve come to understand the system. However, during the learning process, you will come off as a Neanderthal who has just discovered fire. Instead of attempting to explain it, we’ll just allow the people of Arai to show it action below. Sadly, the DT-X does not come with a Pinlock insert, which could be seen as another cost savings strategy.
The faceshield operates smoothly and locks into place confidently, without air leaks of any kind. The locking mechanism is another new piece of kit to Arai helmets that does take some getting used to. Operating the latch will allow the shield to move into a “demisting” position—slightly cracked open. From there, you can lift the shield.
After a while, you can execute this one motion – if you don’t believe me, just watch Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa do it.
In addition, this allows the DT-X to make use of the VAS Pro Shade system, which is Arai’s solution to carrying multiple faceshields, or offering a photochromatic shield. The Pro Shade also allows Arai to eliminate incursions into the EPS liner by using an externally mounted visor solution. Cuts into the EPS liner and shell compromise the structural integrity of the helmet, and that goes against the Arai philosophy of safety above all.
While this is a great option for commuters that may find themselves riding during the day and night—such as fellow staffer Kelly Callan—I tend to stick with one shield option because the darkened screen only partially covers your vision, making my view inconsistent, which is distracting for me.
Just as replacing the faceshield takes some practice, so does manipulating the Pro Shade up and down. Having said that, I would most likely go with the VAS Pro Shield if I found myself doing a trip where I’d be riding both day and night.
Perhaps the greatest success of the Arai DT-X will be for riders who wear glasses. Typically, I’m forced to fiddle with my glasses in order to get them in a position where they won’t cause pressure points. The DT-X is perfectly accommodating to riders that use glasses, even thick-rimmed glasses like mine.
At no point during my first ten-hour day in the DT-X did I get any discomfort from the helmet. That makes it worth all the money for anyone who uses corrective eyewear. My glasses slide into place with ease and sit just where I need them to be.
Noise levels are a bit of a non-issue for me, as I always wear ear protection. That said, I find the ambient noise no greater than any other top-tier helmet that I’ve put to use. With the optional chin curtain installed, ambient noise levels dropped a small amount.
The Arai DT-X is a commendable piece of kit, allowing great performance and protection for a far more approachable price than many Arai motorcycle helmets, without too many sacrifices in the name of the almighty dollar, and certainly none that compromise safety.
Whether you’re a commuter, weekend warrior, touring rider, or someone who partakes in the occasional track day, the Arai DT-X can handle whatever you’re willing to throw at it.
Action Photography by Drew Ruiz
Arai DT-X Fast Facts:
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colors: White; Black; Black Frost; Guard Red; Guard Green; Guard White Frost
- Arai DT-X Prices: White, Black: $590; Black Frost: $600; Guard Red, Guard Green, Guard White Frost: $730
For more, visit Arai Americas.