Arai Announces New VX-Pro4 Off-Road Helmet
Arai’s message with its helmet designs has always been “Never revolution, but always evolution,” so when the company comes out with a design that advances the state of the art as well as pushing its own envelope, that is saying something. Arai’s latest off-road helmet, the VX-Pro4 is that kind of helmet.
To understand just how the VX-Pro4 pushes Arai’s limits, you must first understand that, regardless of whether or not Arai’s helmets are indisputably the safest helmets on the market (and there is no scientific evidence of that), it is hard to argue that the company doesn’t take a militant approach to safety. During its recent unveiling of the VX-Pro4 to select members of the motorcycling press at Perris Raceway in Southern California, the safety aspect of the company’s presentation was an hour long… condensed from a five-hour condensation of a two-day seminar… just on the subject of helmet safety!
So, when Arai says that the VX-Pro4 features the most ventilated shell the company has ever produced, routing vital, head-cooling air through the inside of the helmet, that is saying something. Truth be told, if the company had its way, all motorcyclists would wear a completely round helmet with no shell openings—not even eyeports—because that would be the safest design. Yet the VX-Pro4 achieves its greater cooling effect without compromising Arai’s tradition of offering the safest helmet it can produce, according to Brian Weston, Managing Director of Arai Helmet, Inc.
“With its improved features, updated design and legendary Arai focus on rider protection, we’re confident the new VX-Pro4 will only build on that tradition,” Weston said.
The VX-Pro4 offers several updated features and improvements over its predecessor, the VX-Pro3, but it is still at its core an Arai. That means it is constructed with the experience and attention to detail that Arai has learned over its six decades as a motorcycle helmet manufacturer.
For example, like all Arai helmets, the VX-Pro4 features a hand-molded outer shell built to Arai’s exacting R75 Shape concept—R75 stands for a radius of 75mm, which makes the helmet as round as possible, while meeting Arai’s shape requirements. Arai says that the R75 concept helps to better disperse impacts, the number-one job of any helmet. The VX-Pro4’s shell material is also proprietary, consisting mostly of Arai’s exclusive Super Fiber, which, the company claims, offers exceptional strength and elasticity. Super Fiber, Arai claims, is up to six times more expensive than standard fiberglass, but the dividend comes back in the form of 30% higher tensile strength and increased penetration resistance. Arai’s cLc (complex Laminate construction) method requires precise and time-consuming assembly by Arai’s master craftsmen from many individual pieces.
Hand molding. Master craftsmen. Is it any wonder why Arai helmets command prices as much 100 percent higher than their competitors in some cases? You get what you pay for.
The VXPro-4’s shell’s improved ventilation is the result of updated Air-Through top front, top rear and side port ducts, which represent a significant improvement over the VX-Pro3 while also being easier to clean and maintain. The VXPro-4’s new top rear duct diffusers can be easily removed or replaced simply by removing a single screw on the rear duct brace.
The VX-Pro4’s close and compact chin bar is similar to the chin bar of the VX-3 Pro, and that might well be considered a drawback by some long-time Arai customers. Like the rest of the helmet, the VX-Pro4’s chin bar is carefully designed to keep the overall shell shape as smooth, round and compact as possible to resist snagging or digging in during a crash.
“Our customers are constantly wishing that our chin bar extended farther away at the front of the shell,” Weston says. “They say, ‘If I pucker my lips, I can kiss the chin bar.’ Our response to that is, ‘Don’t pucker your lips.’”
Close as it is, at least the VX-Pro4 does incorporate a freer-flowing chin bar vent grill, which now mounts from the outside and can be easily removed for cleaning or damage replacement. Like the visors and vents on any Arai helmet model, the vent is also frangible, meaning it is designed to break away from the chin bar during a crash.
The VX-Pro4’s visor peak is also 14mm longer and 5mm wider than the VX-Pro3’s to improve debris and roost deflection. Larger air outlets in the peak are also used to help reduce lift and buffeting. To aid with goggle strap positioning, the VX-Pro4 features strap locators in the side port cowlings and top duct center brace.
Interior updates on the VX-Pro4 include a removable neckroll for convenient and easy cleaning, plus an improved emergency cheek pad release system, with tabs that are easier to access by rescue staff.
The Arai VX-Pro4 won’t be available in dealerships until October 2014, but it will naturally come in several color and graphic combinations, including White, Black Frost, Tip Orange, Tip Red, Tip Blue, Tip Green, Tip Yellow and NuTech. MSRP has been set at $599.95 to $609.95 for solids and $729.95 to $739.95 for graphics and racer replicas.
For more information on the Arai VX-Pro4 and the entire 2014 Arai lineup, visit AraiAmericas.com.