Arai VX-Pro4 helmet Review

First available in October 2014, the Arai VX-Pro4 has been around for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean that the premium helmet, hand made by trained technicians, is any less effective than it was when it was introduced. After all, the basis for all of Arai’s helmets, the R75 Shape, has been around for much longer.

The reasoning behind Arai’s “egg-shaped” helmets is a simple one: the round shell shape allows the helmet to glance off objects rather than hit them solidly, thus reducing the rotational forces transferred to the rider’s head. Additionally, glancing blows transmit lower G-forces to the helmet itself, meaning that it will not need to absorb as much of the shock to protect the rider. It sounds like a win-win to me. The key to the round shape is keeping the radius of the shell 75mm, which Arai’s designers have determined to be the optimal curvature.

Arai: The Philosophy Behind The Helmets

Limiting the number and strength of the protrusions from that perfect radius is another key point of the Arai philosophy. All vent and aerodynamic structures are designed to break and tear away in the event of a crash. The same goes for an off-road helmet’s peak.

All of these layers go into a single Arai helmet, with their placement determined by the protection requirements of the helmet. Arai calls this process complex laminate construction.

The VX-Pro4 is Arai’s flagship model when it comes to riding in the dirt. Beginning with a shell crafted out of a proprietary layered blend of fibers that were chosen specifically for their ability to absorb and distribute shocks while also defending against penetration. For example, Arai claims that its Super Fiber costs six times more than fiberglass but delivers 30% more tensile strength.

Ventilation is key to an off-road helmet’s function since the rider needs to keep cool while being active. If you look closely, you’ll notice that even the chin bar maintains the R75 Shape with minimal protrusions. This does keep the chin bar a little closer to the face than with some other off-road helmets. Still, the chin bar has more breathing room than on street-going Arai lids, which is nice since off-road riding can be a workout. The chin vent, with its stainless steel mesh, not only flows a ton of air, but it also is designed to break away in a crash. Additionally, it is removable for cleaning. That same break-away approach is applied to the rear duct structure, which can be removed or replaced via a single screw.

While the chin bar may not offer the breathing room of other off-road helmets, the vent flows plenty of air, and structure allows for the R75 Shape.

The peak is longer and wider than the one on the previous generation helmet, protecting the rider from roost. Cleverly, the underside of the peak is lined with a black, anti-reflective material to reduce the glare reaching the rider’s eyes. Finally, in case of an accident, the Emergency Release Cheek Pad system allows for medical personnel to remove the helmet more easily.

The VX-Pro4 features an intermediate oval head shape that fits my head quite nicely. The removable, washable liner is as plush as on any Arai helmet I’ve used. I was surprised to find that the eye port isn’t a little bigger, though. I had to remove the nose guard from the helmet’s chin bar for my average-sized goggles to fit. With that modification, the helmet was good to go. The only other complaint I have about the VX-Pro4 is it tips the scales on the heavy side at 3.4 lb.

Arai’s method of varying EPS density to the impact absorption requirements of specific areas of the helmet is one of the company’s key safety features.

Since I haven’t done a head plant wearing the VX-Pro4, I can’t comment on that area of function. However, in terms of venting on hot desert rides, I have been quite satisfied. After a few rides, the helmet adapted to my head’s shape, fitting me quite comfortably. Like all dirt helmets, the VX-Pro4 is significantly noisier than most street helmets when worn on the public highways while riding an ADV bike. The wide eye port and the large peak contribute to that. Still, at highway speeds, the peak’s cutouts keep it from lifting significantly in the wind.

As with every Arai helmet I’ve owned, the fit and finish delivers a premium feel that fits the company’s reputation. The graphics are hand-laid stickers under a clear coat, giving an almost imperceptible feel. While the ear pockets don’t explicitly have speaker cutouts for communicators, there is enough room to install speakers. However, folks with sensitive ears may not like the fact that doing so will push the liner out enough to lightly contact the ear’s auricle, but I figure it’s a small price to pay to be able to coach my daughter as we ride together. It bears mentioning again that the quality of the liner helps elevate the riding experience to a premium level. We’ve probably all worn a low-cost helmet at some time that met protection requirements but lacked any real comfort features. These lids are likely the source of the brain bucket moniker, while a nicely fitting helmet gets you in the mood to ride.

The peak offers good protection from both the sun and roost, while the vents help to minimize lift at elevated speed.

All in all, the Arai VX-Pro4 is exactly what I was looking for in an off-road helmet. It is comfortable whether I’m riding or standing beside the trail coaching my daughter. The ventilation has kept me cool on hot days, and although I’ve never tested it, the crash protection is there when I need it. The helmet itself looks good and doesn’t pull at highway speeds. With a build quality this good, it’s easy to see why the VX-Pro4 has been around unchanged for seven years. The Arai VX-Pro4 is available in sizes XS-2XL. Prices start at $610 for solid colors and go as high as $750 for graphics. While this represents a sizable investment, I think my head is worth it.

Check pricing for the Arai VX-Pro4 here


FAQ

What is the interior shape of the Arai VX-Pro4?

Arai lists the VX-Pro4 as an intermediate oval, meaning that it should fit a large percentage of American heads. As with any helmet purchase of an unfamiliar brand, trying one on before laying down your hard-earned funds is a good idea.

Are Arai helmets worth the money?

While all certified helmets meet the same minimum requirements, premium helmets, like Arais, command a higher price because of the improved comfort features and a higher level of fit and finish contribute to the higher cost. Additionally, all Arai helmets are made of hand-laid fibers, at an additional manufacturing cost, as a means of creating consistent quality across the production line.

Are Arai helmets safer?

All certified helmets meet the same minimum standards. However, Arai claims it’s manufacturing processes exceed those standards, making their helmets safer. For example the R75 Shape used exclusively by Arai as the basis of all its helmets is rooted in the company’s desire to produce the safest helmets in the world.

Additional Resources

Arai: The Philosophy Behind The Helmets
MO : Arai XD4 Helmet Review
MO Tested: Arai Defiant-X Review
MO Tested: Arai Corsair-X Review
MO Tested: Arai Regent-X Review
MO Tested: Arai Ram-X Review


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