Arai Contour-X Review [Motorcycle Helmet Test]

The Arai Contour-X is the latest lid to join the Japanese maker’s lineup and fills an all-important role within its current range—a sporty full-face helmet designed for the daily grind. Nestling itself next to the race-ready flagship Corsair-X, the Contour-X casts a wide net by bringing new aerodynamic features and a raft of creature comforts into the fold, making it a wise choice for those out on the road.


As with all things Arai, the story begins with the handmade outer shell that uses the brand’s iconic egg-inspired, smooth, and round R75 design to help dissipate impact energy by glancing off blows. With no flat or angular surfaces to catch on the ground during a tumble, Arai believes its wearers stand a greater chance of gracefully skipping across the tarmac, rather than hooking up on obstacles and sustaining further injury.

There is change afoot at the Japanese firm, though not when it comes to safety. For more than seven decades, Arai has relied on the shell to bear the brunt of impact absorption and is constantly tweaking its formulas or materials to ensure the right balance between strength and flexibility. The DOT- and Snell-certified lid employs the same Peripherally Belted Complex Laminate Construction (PB-cLc2) as fellow upper-tier Quantum-X, Signet-X, and Corsair-X helmets, adding a few updates in its laminated fiberglass shell.

The Contour-X rolls out a new Z-Compound resin and AR mat, which is said to shave weight while also achieving its lofty safety testing goals. As a reminder, Arai doesn’t simply meet safety standards; the family-owned company endeavor to exceed them radically—for more on that, check out our visit to Arai’s facility in Japan. While the Contour-X borrows from the Regent-X quite a bit, it’s a couple of ounces lighter. The Medium tips the scales at 3 pounds 5 ounces.

Should any energy make it past the shell, that’s where Arai’s handmade multi-density EPS liner comes into the picture. Each color band represents a different foam density, which engineers strategically place throughout the liner. High-risk zones use harder-density materials, while other areas opt for softer variants.

What makes the Contour-X appealing is that it uses pages from both the Regent-X and Corsair-X playbooks and then adds plenty of its own notes to the margins. First, the chin bar’s Hyper Ridge is redesigned and offers more of an aerodynamic swish that leaves a flat mounting surface on the side for communication devices. Above all else, the helmet opening is 5mm wider to make squeezing into this lid easier—just like the Regent-X.

That brings us to the Contour’s racier appearance, as it is endowed with a sizable spoiler inspired by the optional DF-X2 available for the Corsair-X. In addition, the lower rear exhausts are pronounced in the name of slicing through the air. A few spirited runs on the Yamaha MT-10 SP proved that spoiler keeps things nice and stable, with no lift or headshake—what you’d expect from it being positioned as Arai’s sensibly sporty helmet.

Arai Contour-X Review: MSRP

Of course, you may be asking if this spoiler violates Arai’s egg-influenced design principles. According to Arai, it does not. All spoilers or adjustable vents are engineered to sheer off and reveal a smooth shell during an unplanned exit from your steed. Word to the wise—don’t carry your Contour-X by the spoiler, as it’s designed to break away.

The Variable Axis System (VAS) mounting plates for the faceshield are situated lower to allow more shell coverage of a rider’s temples. Arai states that, on average, this solution nets an additional 24mm of smooth shell real estate, thus, greater protection. Yet, vision out of the eyeport is excellent, with unobstructed peripheral vision that allows riders to keep a clear view of the road.

Toolless faceshield swaps are rapidly done once you’ve got the motions down, but there is a bit of “wax-on, wax-off” before you get there. To avoid confusion, we recommend checking out this handy video from Arai Americas that provides clear instructions.

The familiar two-stage shield-locking mechanism is still with us. Lifting the faceshield requires a bit of dexterity and a scooping motion that can be tricky. Again, a bit of “wax on, wax off” is needed here, but you’ll get it. Slapping the faceshield down is simple enough; tapping the lever will leave it cracked for extra airflow at low speed.

The VAS-V faceshield is nearly ubiquitous with Arai full-face street helmets, so you can swap with current-generation Arais and save some coin if you’re already an Arai devotee. Various tints and the Pro Shade faceshield are available, too.

Two small faceshield eyebrow air inlets are standard fair here and quite effective, which are essential to the Japanese brand as they prevent further cutting into the shell or EPS liner. A Pinlock Max Vision 120 anti-fog insert is provided and works excellently, having worn the Contour-X in downpours.

The Contour-X’s interior is nothing short of a 5-star accommodation for your noggin, with the new antimicrobial brushed nylon padding offering a truly luxurious feel. As mentioned before, the larger helmet opening makes squeezing in and out of it a breeze and is a departure from the tight race fit seen on racetrack-oriented helmets such as the Corsair-X. Once you’ve taken up residence in the Contour-X, you’ll rest easy against supple yet supportive Facial Contour System cheek pads, available in various thicknesses to fine-tune fit.

Much of the interior is derived from the Regent, and the lovely comfort we’ve experienced with that helmet still rings true. However, the Contour-X sits farther up in the Arai hierarchy. The cheek pads now feature an Emergency Release System, speaker pockets, and wire routing in the neck roll—the Regent can’t claim the same.

Arai Contour-X Review: Price

As usual, Arai is one of the few brands that caters to those who wear glasses. The cheek pads offer relief in the foam to accommodate even the chunkiest thick-rimmed spectacles.

Noise levels seem pretty run-of-the-mill for the Japanese manufacturer, though I should remind readers that I always wear earplugs. Your unique head shape always influences how much noise reaches your ears.

Arai Contour-X Review: For Sale


Since we’re discussing fit, we should note that the Contour-X is an intermediate oval shape and a full range of sizes is available, from XS to XXL. Check Arai sizing specifications and work with an authorized dealer to ensure you’re selecting the correct helmet for your head.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to comfort, as ventilation is nothing short of excellent, thanks to 13 ventilation ports—seven intake and six exhaust. Nearly all the vents are easy to manipulate with a gloved hand, with top marks going to the multi-position chin vent and Formula 1-derived teardrop vents up top.

Arai Contour-X Review: Airflow

The raised two-position 3D Arai-logo vent is new for the brand and works incredibly well at city speeds. Despite its raised design, this is the only vent I find difficult to open while riding due to the short range of motion between open and closed. And yes, it’s designed to sheer off when contacting the ground, just like the rest of the stuck-on bits.

Opening each vent one by one reveals the amount of positive airflow brought to the table, which is truly impressive. Of course, if air is brought in, it must also go out. Hot air is pulled out the rear via adjustable exhaust ports under the spoiler and always-open exhausts at the back and in the neck roll.

Arai Contour-X Review: VentsStarting at $740 for basic solid colors, the Contour-X boasts a premium fit, finish, and excellent craftsmanship that we’ve come to expect from Arai and flexes a corresponding price. There are minor personal quibbles with the locking mechanism and vent adjusters, but that doesn’t detract from the overwhelming list of positives the Arai Contour-X offers for the average sport-riding enthusiast.

Arai Contour-X Fast Facts

  • Sizes: XS – XXL
  • Shape: Intermediate oval
  • Certifications: DOT, Snell
  • Weight: 3 pounds 5 ounces (Medium)

Arai Contour-X Colors/Prices:

  • Base solid color: $740
  • Premium solid color: $750
  • Regular graphic: $890
  • Replica graphic: $900