Arai Signet-X Helmet


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Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:17 pm



I am a proponent of helmets. And not just any helmet. Of all of the protective gear that I wear when riding, my helmet is the single most expensive one. Why? Because when it comes to protecting my head, I want the BEST. I don't economize when it comes to my head.

This is one of two reasons why I choose Arai helmets. First off, they are the best that money can buy. But second, and just as importantly, Arai does something that no other helmet manufacturer does: they make helmets that are shaped to fit different head shapes.

I have a very oddly-shaped head. Thanks I suspect to vigorous use of "salad spoons" while I was born, my head is long, thin, and lumpy. For years I suffered in silence, wearing Shoei helmets that caused me hot spots and outright pain after 30 minutes or so of wear. That was until I was told about the Arai "long oval" series of helmets. My first Arai was an Arai Profile, and it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally, a helmet that didn't hurt! Something I could wear for hours at a time without the urgent desire to rip it from my head!

Arai has three different helmet shapes that fit virtually all heads:


On top of this, Arai offers different thicknesses of cheek pads and head/crown pads, to further fit the helmet perfectly to your head.

To get my Shoei (and other helmets) to fit, I had to wear a size large. This was the only way I could fit it to the front and back of my head. However this left the helmet loose on my head, which is dangerous. With Arai helmets, I wear a medium in Long Oval, and it fits snug to my head without moving at all.

My aluminum-silver color Arai Profile helmet was a wonderful helmet, but it was edging into its sixth year of service, so it was time to be replaced. Most helmet manufacturers recommend you replace a helmet after it has been used for five years.


I noticed more and more riders over the last couple of years wearing fluorescent yellow helmets, and it struck me just how visible these riders were in traffic. In England, these yellow helmets are practically universal. I decided that being visible in traffic is always a good thing, so my new helmet would be fluorescent yellow. So I chose the Arai Signet-X in Fluorescent Hi-Viz Yellow.

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Like all Arai helmets, it comes with a soft but strong carrier bag. It seems like the bag is inside out at first, but you then realize this is to put the soft fuzzy surface on the inside, where it will be up against the helmet and the faceshield.

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The bag is fastened with a drawstring at the bottom which you tie in a knot to secure the helmet.

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The helmet, while very yellow and bright, is covered in black highlights, most prominently the black visor mechanism cover, which is new for Arai. Black vents also show prominently on the helmet, which is also new - on my old silver Profile helmet, all of the covers and vents were painted the same color as the helmet itself.

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This helmet is built to flow air - it is literally covered in vents, with the very prominent exhaust vent showing at the back of the helmet. All of the vents are designed to shear off easily in the event of a crash, to prevent rotational brain injury.

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The faceshield is all-new as well. A new fastening mechanism, new detent and locking mechanism, and new removal mechanism. It has several detent positions which will hold it open in the face of strong wind, as well as the usual Arai "demist" position, where it is open just a crack, to help remove fog from the inside of the faceshield.

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The faceshield has the familiar two brow vents which are easily opened and closed with a gloved finger. These actually make quite a difference when it comes to cooling on hot summer days.

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Also relatively unchanged is the chin vent, which is again easily opened and closed with a gloved finger. New to this helmet is a plastic foam filter, which is nice - more than once I had a bug hit the chin vent on my old Profile helmet and go right through into the helmet interior!

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The two upper vents blow air directly onto your scalp, which again makes a big difference on hot summer days. On my old Profile, the fairly small rocker levers were somewhat hard to operate with gloves on. These new vents have a large slide lever on the side which makes for easy operation and easy identification of the vent position by feel.

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The outflow vent on the back has the same slide lever arrangement as my old Profile, although the lever is larger and easier to operate.

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Of course every Arai helmet meets both DOT and Snell safety standards. This is definitely not true of many cheaper helmets. Note the two more outflow vents on either side, as well as the outflow vent on the neckroll at the bottom.

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New on this helmet's faceshield is the Pinlock capability. This allows clear or tinted Pinlock anti-fog inserts to be fastened to the interior of the faceshield.

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This helmet can also accept the Arai Pro-Shade visor. This is a replacement faceshield with an integrated tinted shade that can be lifted in a baseball-cap-type peak, or lowered down over most of the faceshield for bright sunny days. Some competitors install tinted shields inside the helmet, but Arai decided that interior helmet space is better used for crash absorption material, and instead mounts its tinted shield to the exterior of the helmet.


The faceshield release system is entirely new, as the faceshield has to be lifted out and away slightly in order for the Pinlock system to clear the helmet opening. It also allows the use of a new locking system, which prevents the faceshield from being ripped open during a crash.

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Opening the helmet involves first pushing up on the release lever, which lifts the faceshield away from the helmet, unlocking the visor from the helmet.

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Next, you fit your finger underneath the raised tab and pull it outward and upward to open the faceshield.

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I loved the old Arai faceshield removal system - you lifted the faceshield up, at which point a little lever popped out. You pushed the lever and pulled the faceshield up and out, and it popped right off the helmet. This new faceshield system is more complex. First, the mechanism cover needs to be removed. This is done by opening the faceshield fully, then pressing this little lever backward. It will not allow you to press it if the faceshield is not fully open.

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As soon as the lever is pushed, the cover pops off. Note it is attached to the helmet with a tether, so even if it is inadvertantly released while riding, you won't lose it. This exposes one of the main safety features of Arai helmets: Flush mounted mechanisms. Other helmets intrude on the interior helmet space in order to fit the faceshield mechanism. Arai leaves the interior space for crash absorption material and instead makes a very slim mechanism that fits to the outside of the shell.

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Removing the faceshield involves lifting the shield so that the brass rivet pops up out of its channel.

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You then rotate the shield downward so that the brass rivet fits into the red dot.

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The faceshield then pops off the main pivot and can be removed from the helmet. The first couple attempts take a few minutes to get right, but it quickly becomes second nature.

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Once removed from the helmet, you can see the interior ridge and pins that fasten the Pinlock shield in place.

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The Pinlock shield is a plastic shield with a silicone gasket. It fits up against the inside of the faceshield, and is held in place with these two little pins on either side. Like double-paned glass, this traps a small amount of sealed airspace in between the Pinlock shield and the faceshield. This acts as a temperature barrier, and stops your breath from fogging up the faceshield on cold days. I love this feature, as I do a lot of cold-weather riding!

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Another great feature for cold weather riding is this neck seal. Made of stretchy neoprene, it seals the helmet tight against your neck, stopping any cold air from getting up into the bottom.

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Of course, it's not always cold out, so the neck seal can be easily removed if desired.

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Like my Profile, it has a chin air dam that pulls down for cooler weather that might not be cold enough for the neck seal. This is actually amazingly effective, I used this feature often on my Profile.

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The interior of the helmet is removable and washable. To start, you pull the small plastic tab from the side bolster from the cheek pads.

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The cheek pads can then be pulled back to release them, and then removed from the helmet.

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The chin strap goes through the middle of the cheek pads.

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Once removed, the liner can be seen stretched over the pad. This is the default 25mm pad that comes with the helmet. Thicker and thinner pads can be purchased to better fit the helmet to your head.

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Peeling the liner off one side reveals the EPS shock absorption layer.

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And peeling it from the other side reveals the emergency release system. This orange tab releases the cheek pad retention system when pulled down by EMS workers, to allow them to more gently remove the helmet without causing injury.

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Turning the cheek pad over, the soft foam comfort layer is visible.

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Pulling the chin strap hole retainer upward...

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...and rotating it to push it through the hole releases the liner entirely.

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The liner can be hand washed in soapy water and air dried.

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Looking at the cheek pad without the liner, you can see the dual density foam used to provide support. If the pads are too thick, one layer of foam can be peeled away, reducing the width by several millimeters.

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You will notice a semicircular cutout near the back of the cheek pad.

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New for Arai, this can be removed, revealing smooth EPS, to allow the installation of helmet speakers.

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The crown liner is held in with four bosses (basically snaps - similar to what holds the side panels on your Goldwing). There are two in the front of the helmet...

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...and two in the back.

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Once unsnapped, the liner can be pulled free.

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This again is available in various sizes and thicknesses, and can be hand washed in soapy water.

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Note the fairly complex system of strong support straps and multi-density foam to both provide support and comfort.

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There are several layers of foam, again which could be peeled away to fit.

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The overall size of the crown is adjustable with these tabs. This is the defautl position as it comes from the factory.

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Sliding out one stop allows you to enlarge the crown slightly.

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More multi-density foam prevents hot spots on the top of your head.

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The inside of the helmet is solid multi-density EPS. It is painted black, which is used to detect damage. The relatively soft EPS will "give" during a crash, to protect your skull. It does not bounce back - it is a one-time crush action, which is why helmets must be discarded after they have been involved in a crash. When this occurs, the black paint is stretched and broken, revealing very obvious white cracks (the underlying EPS is white). Looking at the paint, if the black paint is cracked and showing white, then this indicates that the helmet is no longer providing the necessary protection it was designed to give.

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When the cheek pads are installed, the EMS tabs stick out from the bottom of the helmet. Pulling these tabs releases the cheek pad retention system, allowing them to be easily removed. Don't use these tabs to remove the cheek pads except in an emergency!

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Overall, I am very impressed with the new features and improvements in this helmet. As I always do with a new helmet, the first thing I did was put it on and wear it around the house for an hour or so, to make sure that it was going to fit properly and not cause any hot spots.

I will add more to this review as I get more time to wear the helmet while riding, and have had more experience to discover if there are any faults. I expect there to be none.



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Re: Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by MacNoob » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:18 pm

Excellent review - thanks! This one is high on my list as the 'next' helmet.

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Re: Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by harvey01 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:55 pm

I agree, it was an excellent review!

I am glad to see you go for the full face helmet also! I well remember years ago when my wife and I were wearing almost brand new Bell helmets and complaining about the lack of comfort during all day riding. We tried on the Arai Signet and they were far more comfortable. So that is what we wore till Arai came out with the RXQ (or whatever) and I understand that it has been eliminated for the new improved Signet X. I guess that will be my next helmet purchase.

There is an excellent full service Arai dealer in PA named The Service Pavilion. They do go to many shows and events and can furnish needed parts, cheekpads, and so forth to make your Arai work better.
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Re: Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by Bentrider » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:16 am

I bought an Arai Signet-Q prior to last years riding season. As far as I can tell, the primary difference between the Q and X is the visor mounting system. I too suffer from the "elongated oval" head shape, and the Arai Signet was a wonderful relief. My old helmets were two HJC's, a full face and a 3/4. I wore the full face until the day got too hot and switched to the 3/4. Both helmets were XXL and I had crushed the Styrofoam in the brow to fit my head. The Arai fitment table indicated that with my head measurement, a size large was recommended. I didn't believe it, so I ordered TWO helmets, a large and an extra large, planning on returning the one that didn't fit. I returned the extra large helmet. I rode with the Signet all last summer with my HJC 3/4 in the trunk in case the Signet got too hot. That never happened. I should mention that I also purchased a silver mirror tinted visor that may have helped keep the interior cool as well as a visor carrier from Tourmaster to protect the clear visor I needed for night rides. This investment was one of the best ones I have ever made. No more splitting headaches!

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Re: Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by seabeechief » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:32 am

WingAdmin; do in install speakers and microphone in your own helmet, or does Arai have the complete helmet like Nolan does? Gotta have my satellite radio going.

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Re: Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by Mag » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:50 am

When I started wearing helmets back in 80s, I had an Arai, loved it....I am now wearing a Scorpion and I get the ear hurts and forehead burns after a couple hours of riding.....so I will have to swallow the cost and go back to Arai, which I am happy to do at the next helmet change interval. Would love to keep doing the longer rides again with out my head hurting as much.

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Re: Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by WingAdmin » Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:23 pm

seabeechief wrote:
Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:32 am
WingAdmin; do in install speakers and microphone in your own helmet, or does Arai have the complete helmet like Nolan does? Gotta have my satellite radio going.

Chief
Arai does not offer this, but I believe there are a few places (I think Sierra is one of them) that install the J&M headsets in helmets that they then sell. I have installed speakers and microphones in so many helmets now that I've got it down to a science, so I no longer have any qualms of cutting into my $700 helmet. :) I also make sure that I do so in a way that does not in any way compromise the protective qualities of the helmet.

Arai makes it much easier now than it used to be - they obviously know people are doing this, because they now have tear-away foam circles the size of the speakers built right into the earpads, to help with the installation of them.

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Re: Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by madmtnmotors » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:13 pm

I, too, was suffering from severe pressure across the top of my forehead from many different helmets. I could not stand to ride much more than an hour before the headache would start. I was on the verge of giving up riding altogether when I learned about the Arai Profile. Man, what a difference! I can ride all day, and have done up to 12 hours in the saddle. I am now sporting an Arai Signet as well. Shop frequently and you may find them on closeout for half price. This is how I was able to afford both my Profile, and most recently my Signet lid. Paid about $350 for the Signet, you may have to be flexible on the color though... ;)

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Re: Arai Signet-X Helmet

Post by julimike54 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:48 am

Don't know much of anything about these two; Icon and LS2; but found that they have the long oval shape also. Been using the Signet for I don't remember, very comfortable! I wonder what replaced the RX-Q (different shape)?


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