The U.S. helmet market, bombarded with inexpensive imports from the East, now boasts more than 25 brand names, allowing powersports retailers walking the floor at the Dealer Expo to see a greater offering of lids than ever before.
While many of the new helmets to be presented at Indy are sure to carry non-familiar names, two leading international suppliers, Arai and Shoei, also are planning product releases.
ARAI CONTINUES TRADITION
Founded more than 50 years ago by Hirotake Arai and still family-owned under the guidance of Michio Arai, Japan-based Arai Helmets Ltd. has ranked number one in Customer Satisfaction in five J.D. Power and Associates Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Studies.
Last year, the Arai RX-7 series was the single highest rated helmet in the study. For 2004, the manufacturer hopes to achieve equal merits with models including the aforementioned RX-7, plus the Signet GTR, SZ RAM II, VX-Pro D/C, MXC-Pro Series, the four-model XD line revealed in July, the Classic/m with three new colors, and all-new Astral-X and Quantum-2 models.
“Arai revamped half of its line for 2004, and plans to revamp the other half of the line for 2005,” Brian Weston of Arai Helmet Americas, Inc. told Powersports Business.
While the most innovative part of the Quantum-2 is arguably Arai’s Super AdSis shield system, which allows the face shield to be removed in seconds without a tool and without having to remove the helmet, the Quantum-2 also shares the lightweight Sclc (Super Complex Laminate Construction) shell, patented dual-pivot chin vent, and Breathguard with the RX-7.
Weston said fit is of utmost importance to the manufacturer, and said the company “concentrated heavily” on the removable liner inside the natural-looking “organic” shell shaped helmet.
“We put a lot of effort into making this liner as comfortable as a non-removable liner,” he said. “We bumped the forehead area out a bit, increased the padding in the front and along the full perimeter, and we’re offering various thicknesses to get those in-between sizes.”
With a MSRP ranging from $497.95 to $614.95, the Quantum-2 by Arai comes in a host of colors, graphic designs and racer replicas in sizes XXXS to XXL.
SHOEI UPGRADES POPULAR RF-900
Shoei Safety Helmet Corp., the California-based division of Shoei Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, has announced a successor to its popular RF-900, discontinued in 2001. The new helmet, the RF-1000, was designed using Shoei’s proprietary AIM+ technology and incorporates a revolutionary cooling system and the company’s 3D comfort liner.
“Shoei has been making safety helmets for more than 40 years,” said Tim Miyazaki, president, North American operations, Shoei Safety Helmet Corp. “Our design and engineering teams have spent thousands of hours studying human physiology, developing new technology, and testing in our wind tunnel and on racetracks. The RF-1000 is the end result of everything that we’ve learned.”
The backbone of the RF-1000 is its AIM+ (Advanced Integrated Matrix plus Multiple Fibers) technology, which the company says embeds ultra strong organic fibers into fiberglass to create a strong yet lightweight shell. Other notable features include the EPS (expanded polystyrene) liner system that facilitates cool air flow while venting hot air; the 3D liner system that essentially fits to the shape of the user’s head and features removable cheekpads; and the CX-1V face shield used on the race-proven X-Eleven helmet.
The RF-1000 has a beginning MSRP of $340.99, and is available in sizes XXS to XXXL. Solid and multi-colored designs are offered, as is a Miguel Duhamel replica version.
To view Arai’s complete 2004 lineup while at Indy, visit J&D Walter Distributors Inc. (Booth # 525). To see all of Shoei’s latest offerings, visit Helmet House (Booth # 3725).