It seems that just about every enthusiast has an "Arai head." How can that be? Is it a genetic thing? Do all enthusiasts share identically shaped heads?
Perhaps it's because Arai features two distinct shell shapes: the long oval (LO) and the round oval (RO).
The LO is the traditional Arai shell shape, designed to fit heads that are narrower from side to side, giving more room at the forehead and alleviating the infamous forehead pinch common with some competitors. Arai's Signet series helmets incorporate the LO shell shape.
Year 2000 edition Signet series helmets have undergone a few significant upgrades. The new Signet GT offers a new cheek pad, neck roll and chin spoiler design, something they call the FFS FreeFlow system (which is, translated from marketing jargon, re-designed cheek pads, neck roll and chin spoiler) that Arai claims reduces wind turbulence while re-routing hot air away from the face. The Signet GT also comes with a new, dual intake/exhaust ventilation system designed to draw hot air out from the helmet's interior, as well as a new face shield release system that is supposed to make removal easier.
Woo-hoo! For a $520.00 USD base model suggest retail price, the more gizmos, the better. But are these "upgrades" in fact upgrades, or simply insignificant cosmetic changes?
Well, two out of three ain't bad.
The most important redesigns, airflow and ventilation, are indeed improvements. The FFS FreeFlow system does improve turbulence and, coupled with the new ventilation systems, keeps the helmet cool and dry at normal riding speeds. Unfortunately, we are not at all enamored with the "LRS" face shield removal mechanism. Unlike the simple system found on the Shoei RF-800 , the Signet GT face shield does not remove easily, at least that's what some people on the MO staff found. True, more than a few, proud Arai owners will read the above statement and mutter "What a bunch of dorks. I have no problem removing the shield." No doubt of few readers will have no trouble, but remember, we're professionals, albeit allegedly, and if we're finding some difficulty, someone else will as well. There is one truism describing motorcycle enthusiasts: No matter how squidly others may find you, take solace in the fact that there always a bigger knucklehead right behind. Translation: Somewhere there is an even bigger dork fumbling to remove his Signet GT face shield.
Still, the face shield does come off, eventually, and all the features remain that conspire to make Arai helmets (the top-of-the-line Signet and Quantum models in particular) the best motorcycle helmets on the market. The Signet GT is light, comfortable, cool and good looking. The entire interior, including cheek pads, is removable and washable. It's simply the best helmet money can buy. However, you'll need a little more bank than normal because the Signet GT series ventures into the $700.00 range for a few of the more graphically-enhanced designs.
We remember an MSF instructor telling a class of novices, including more than few incredulous, wind-in-my-hair-bugs-in-my-teeth, American-made cruiser types that they should invest in the best helmet they can afford. "If you have a fifty dollar head, buy a fifty dollar helmet. If you have a five-hundred dollar head ..." The MO staff is deluded enough to value our heads at least $500.00, and we wear Arai helmets by choice, irregardless® of price. Despite the less-than-advertised shield-removal system and high price, we give the new Arai Signet GT series helmets **** ¾ stars, with ¼ star removed for the awkward shield-removal system and high price.
Motorcycle Online Rating:**** ¾