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Old 08-06-2010, 11:18 PM   #1
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Shoei RF 1100 VS Arai RX-Q

My current helmet is well over a decade old. I have started doing some research into a replacement and have narrowed it down to the above two. I am leaning towards the Shoei mainly because I have no experience with Arai. Is the Arai worth the extra $??? I commute daily on a sport tourer so I need a good all rounder. Any input
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Old 08-07-2010, 04:53 AM   #2
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Testing conducted by independant labs has shown that many inexpensive helmets perform just as well or better than expensive, top of the line helmets. In some cases what you're getting for the extra 3-400 bucks is nicer finish, graphics and better plastics in the venting. While that may make those helmets "better", that does not mean they are any safer(despite what someone who believes Arai's ad copy says and who is more than a little proud of the fact they laid out 700 bucks for a helmet).

If you find the fit of a particular helmet suits your head especially well and it passes the standards you find important, that is the helmet to go with. Everything else is window dressing.

BTW-I have current Arai, Shoei, AGV, HJC and Bell helmets in the closet and I wear each for different reasons. My Shoei TZ-R is my favorite helmet because it's the quietest but it sucks in cool weather because it turns into a terrarium. My HJC CL-SP is a great cool weather commuter helmet because it vents well but the shell is large and on my Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport I get buffeting at 75mph on trips with it. They all have trade offs.

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Old 08-07-2010, 07:46 AM   #3
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I've found Arai to have best for over-all comfort...for me, that is. I have an intermediate to long oval shaped head, so helmet shape isn't just right I get pressure on the ol' forehead, followed by a head ache. Arai is the only company that purposly builds to different head shapes AND specifies the shapes of their different helmets.

I'm currrently own Shark RSI which is long oval are pretty darn comfy and quiet, but it get pretty breazy in the face area, even with the vents closed. This sucks an occasional small bug into the helmet in the summertime, which isn't too big of a deal, but you'll freeze when the temps dip without a balaclava. My Arai didn't have any of those annoyances, although the face shield was a PITA to change. I'd say that's the biggest drawback to owning an Arai. It's hard to change the face shield without breaking something.

I pretty sure the Shoei are a bit easier in that regard. While you're at it, the new Bell Star has been getting rave reviews and is in your price range. You might want to try one on. It's a quality helmet and the face shield is easy to change.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:15 AM   #4
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There are some good deals on that Bell Star. Looks like a nice helmet, I need to get to a shop and try one on. Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-07-2010, 10:24 AM   #5
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The one that fits you best bro - they are both most likely great helmets but I doubt if they are that much better than some cheaper ones out there.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:51 PM   #7
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You need to try them both on, your head shape will be a large determining factor.

It's true that many cheaper helmets offer the same, or sometimes better protection. However, I find the comfort of the Shoei on a different level from cheaper helmets (in the store anyway).

The RF1100 is the quietest helmet I have ever owned, and also the best vented one. Changing shields is a 30-second job (if that).

No experience with the Arai, but I'm sure it's fine also. Let your head decide :-)
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:15 PM   #8
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I'm a Shoei guy. They fit me well. I have an RF-1100 (Hadron) and a Hornet DS Sonora. Both great helmets.... fit and finish is excellent, they are quiet, the shields work great and are very good optically. I think you get what you pay for in helmets... the cheaper helmets may meet the Snell and DOT standards, but there are other things like fit/finish, features, and stuff like that you will miss out on.
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:12 PM   #9
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It is all about fit, fit, and oh yeah fit. Seriously. And when you try on helmets be sure to have your "normal haircut" --sounds ridiculous. But now that i am balding...sigh...and keep my hair nearly shaved --my Shark RSI helmet didn't fit right anymore and forced me to buy the only other long oval helmet, an Arai Profile with a custom-fitted liner.

I like Arai helmets, they have a serious attention to detail, the helmet finish is tough, and most components are replaceable (and available). Their ventilation system is intricate and allows for fine tuning of the air flow. Replacable and different thickness cheek pads and liner can give an improved fit. The visor changing mechanism was a major pain with my old Arai Signet though. Super annoying. It appears to have been updated/improved but how much I can't say. New helmets still come with a DVD.... Poking around on the internet you can see people swappin' em out in no time but maybe my technique is faulty.

My riding buddy had a RF-1000 for years. Decided it was time to update last year, bought a Shoei X-11 and after a while was disappointed with the shield fogging, whistling noises and subpar comfort. When we were at Laguna GP he tried on all the helmets he could find: RF-1100, Bell Star, Soumy (can't remember which models), and then the Arais RX-Q. He got fitted with a thinner cheek pads for the RX-Q and has been elated since.

I have a very "long oval" head. For 5 years, I had an Arai Signet GT. It eventually wore out and at the time I was fed up wrestling with changing visors on my Arai and went for the only other long oval option the Shark RSI.

The RSI is light and quiet. Changing the visor is stone ax simple (and the visor is thicker than other brands). The visors come with an anti-fog coating that works great...for a year or two. The vents are not terribly effective but, as tremor38 mentioned, a lot of air comes up from underneath the helmet (the Arai has a chin curtain that is sweet). One of the reasons the RSI is so quiet is that it does not have ear pockets (hard to wear custom molded ear plugs and impossible to wear glasses for any length of time without major pain). In four years the materials in the Shark broke down (cracked vinyl, etc) in a way that my arai never did, but in fairness Shark replaced the faulty bits under warranty.
Oh, and Shark makes other helmets with a rounder fit that may suit you better than the RSI.
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:22 PM   #10
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+1 on buy what fits best!

I recently replaced my aging HJC fibreglass helmet. That thing fit me like a glove, even after 5 years. Shoeis I had previously left me with a pressure point on my forehead after an hour or so, the famous Shoei stripe. When I was shopping for a helmet, I REALLY wanted an Arai. I tried on a ton of lids, did hours of pad swapping, wandered around dealerships with helmets on my head for hours at a time, and ended up coming home with an RF1100.

So far I really like the helmet. It is snug but comfortable, quiet and vents nicley. When I stand up out of the buffet zone, things get very serene. One thing that suprised me is that the eye-port is HUGE! Visibility is great, very nice in traffic or just enjoying the sights. The helmet also has large recesses for mouting helmet speakers.
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