Arai Classic-V Helmet Review [Open-Face Protection Test]

Although most buyers of Arai motorcycle helmets are looking for maximum protection, some riders will settle for the most protection for the type of helmet they prefer. No doubt about it, a full-face helmet protects you better than an open-face design. However, if you enjoy the feeling of the wind on your face, and it is a wonderful sensation, an open-face helmet is difficult to beat. The Arai Classic-V gives you a high level of protection for the covered part of your head, along with many hidden features.

Arai Classic-V Helmet Review: For Sale

While we can’t independently and scientifically assess the absolute safety of any motorcycle helmet—we do our best to avoid testing the impact protection afforded our heads by a helmet—we can tell you about the in-use features of the helmet, including the Arai Classic-V.

Although the Classic-V doesn’t have the ultra-round shape of the R75 full-face Arai helmets, it still reflects the “glancing off” philosophy that the Japanese firm hangs its hat on. The idea is that a smoothly curved shell can help dissipate energy in an impact.

Arai uses many different impact tests to evaluate the safety of its helmets, rather than simply building a helmet to pass a government-mandated test. While Arai must meet government DOT standards, and the Classic-V is Snell M2020D certified, its helmets must also meet the family-owned company’s standards.

Arai Classic-V Helmet Review: Price

Like the full-face Arais, the complex belted-fiberglass shell is handmade by craftsmen and goes through multiple levels of quality control before ending up in an Arai box.

Arai believes in a one-piece, multiple-density liner, rather than a liner made up of different pieces with various densities. According to Arai, this allows for an EPS liner that is softer and thinner to reduce the size of the helmet.

So, there’s your safety rundown. Buying a motorcycle helmet is a leap of faith. As you can’t test the helmet yourself, you have to rely on the reputation of the company making and selling the helmet. In decades of riding, with occasional falls, we have confidence in Arai helmets.

Arai Classic-V Helmet Review: MSRP

Okay, now we get to the fun part—riding around in the Arai Classic-V.

True to its open-face heritage, the Classic-V is easy to don. You effortlessly slip it on, tighten the double D-ring chin strap, and off you go. It’s an Intermediate Oval and compatible with my skull in this application, even though my noggin tends toward Long Oval.

At 2 pounds, 10.2 ounces in Medium, the Classic-V is lightweight and balances perfectly on the head. I was never uncomfortable wearing the helmet for long stretches.

Arai Classic-V Helmet Review: Specs

The interior is soft, though the non-removable comfort lining is more scalloped than you expect from Arai if you wear the company’s full-face offerings. Although the main liner is affixed to the helmet, the cheek pads are removable and washable.

The Arai Classic-V ensures your head gets plenty of airflow, thanks to three channels through the forehead of the lining that guides air through passages in the EPS liner. The rear of the helmet has two permanently open exhaust vents, giving the incoming air somewhere to go. With the open face and this ventilation system, this is a helmet for people who like airflow—face and scalp.

There’s no faceshield, though Arai will sell you a peak with a mini-visor for $27. I rode with Wiley X WX Grid and Choppers sunglasses for eye protection, though Arai makes provisions for goggles with a snapped strap holder on the back of the Classic-V.

Arai Classic-V Helmet Review: DOT and Snell Approved

The finish on the Arai Classic-V is first rate, as you have the right to expect on an open-face helmet that starts at $490 for solid colors, including the Copper Frost we tested. If you like graphics, get your wallet ready for $610. The trim is faux leather—rejoice, vegetarians—with the stitching giving it a premium look.

Deciding to wear an open-face helmet rather than a full-face or modular helmet is a purely personal choice. Certainly, your face is at more risk when there’s no protection. However, if you like the wind in your face and hair, the Arai Classic-V gives you a high-quality choice with skull protection at a lofty level.

Arai Classic-V Fast Facts

  • Sizes: X-Small – XX-Large (three cheek pad thicknesses)
  • Certification: Snell M2020D; DOT
  • Colors: 6 solid; 3 graphics

Arai Classic-V Prices: $490, solids; $610, graphics

Arai Classic-V Helmet Review Photo Gallery