Arai RX-7R, £599.99 helmet plus £500 paintjob
Time tested: North West 200 and TT fortnight
What’s good? It’s the obvious choice at the TT, not just because the RX-7R is an excellent helmet but the back-up service at the TT from Arai is invaluable. After each session, including practice week, my Arai gets a full service, clean and check over. This service is free for anyone who is racing at the TT with an Arai, which includes servicing and tear-offs. Believe it or not this helmet was brand new at the start of practice week. As the pictures show it has taken some real punishment from stones and other road debris. At the TT Arai will even add extra padding or personalise your lid to fit if you are having problems, as you need a tight fitting lid due to the high speeds. The Arai team are also on hand for a quick visor change at the fuel stop. It takes their skilled boys around 10 seconds to replace the visor with fresh tear-offs, two from the left side which is my personal choice. I also have three visor options - dark, tint and clear. These are specific race items with anti-fog inserts that are bloody amazing and are impossible to steam up. For now they’re for racers only but hopefully all road riders will eventually be able to buy them. The comfort and feel is excellent, it gives you a secure feeling when you put on a RX-7R. The vents work really well keeping your head cool and visor clear. Even at high speeds I had no problems with buffeting. I’ve worn an Arai for the last three years at the TT and can’t praise them highly enough. The paintwork was done by Richard Stevens (www.richartconcepts.co.uk ) and he does amazing work. He has painted every lid of mine for the last 12 years and I’m still blown away by the quality each time. If you want a similar spray job you’re looking at around £500 as it complex, while simpler designs would be cheaper.
What’s not? They’re not cheap, but you only get one head. Stone chips have broken the top vent and bottom vent, which will need replacing and painting, yet more expense. But I wouldn’t wear anything else but Arai at the TT.
Quality rating: 5/5
Value rating (helmet without spray job): 5/5