REVIEW: The Arai Vector

New helmet touts a solid, simple design

By Diane Ortiz

The Arai family has been making motorcycle helmets for more than 65 years. The company has a reputation of making a quality product and the latest entry, the Vector, doesnt disappoint.

Diane wears the Arai Vector helmet on a recent ride. The Vector features a roomy chin area.

The Vector uses a technology that makes the shell strong yet flexible, while still keeping it lightweight. The shells main job is to spread and dissipate impact energy, protecting that most valuable part of the body the head and brain.

Arai uses a complex laminate construction on the Vector helmet for a strong, flexible shell that dissipates impact energy with strength, structural integrity and impact-flexibility.
The Arai Vector helmet has a distinctive ridged reinforcement band along the bottom of the shell to add reinforcement and shell strength.

Sizing on a helmet is very important and I didnt realize I had been buying helmets that were too big until I got fitted for one by an Arai representative at the International Motorcycle show in New York City. The “fitter” measured my head and examined the shape determining that my head was the perfect shape for the “intermediate oval” Vector helmet in size medium. I was using large and extra-large sizes in my older helmets, which caused them to slip forward obscuring my vision, especially when I was on the track or on leaned over on a sportbike.

Bruce Porter of Arai takes measurements and gives helmet recommendations at the 2007 International Motorcycle Show in NYC. Arai has three standard shapes available for the North American market the long oval, intermediate oval (like the Vector), and the round oval.

When I first pulled the snug-fitting medium sized Vector over my head, it felt a little tight for what I was used to. Fortunately, the padding compressed after a few hours of wear and quickly adjusted to the contours of my face. Arai has a chart with details of the different models including specific size and shape recommendations at There is also a helpful how-to guide put together by specifically for Arai Helmets based on the Arai “Fit” video.

The helmet comes in a variety of solid colors and graphics. My favorite, my test model, is the Phil Read race replica version (Im a sucker for the racing checkerboard). Phil Read is the first rider to accomplish the Triple Crown of motorcycle racing, winning the 125, 250 and 500cc GP championships. The photo on the Phil Read tribute Web site shows him wearing a helmet with the identical graphics as the Vector. The paint on this model is finely detailed and the clear-coat finish is extra thick for a high quality look and feel.

The Vector has lots of venting and my head didnt get sweaty even when I wore it riding in heavy traffic in very hot weather (over 95 degrees). There are two vents in the face shield by the brow areas that help provide ventilation. It was easy to open the intake and exhaust vents with my gloves on. The face shield locking tab pushes forward to open the shield slightly to clear any fogging.

Most of the bikes I ride dont have windshields so sometimes helmets can buffet a lot (get pushed up) from the force of the wind. The aerodynamic shape of the Vector helps to minimize buffeting at high speeds. The Vector is also a very quiet helmet with very little wind noise while still allowing me to hear outside sounds. The neck strap is generous and well positioned and the helmet is easy to take on and off.

The Arai Vector has a standard two-ring chin strap closure.

The Vector helmet comes with a clear face shield. The optics on the face shield are excellent clear and free of distortion. The high quality and finish are evident in the Arai Vector helmet. All Arai helmets are made by craftsmen, not mass-produced. The Vector is Snell approved, the highest helmet safety rating available, and comes with a five-year warranty. It weighs 3 pounds 7 7/8 ounces, one of the lightest in the industry.

Every Arai helmet shell is weighed. If it is even 1/10 of an ounce over spec it is scrapped.
The chin vent on the Arai Vector has a two-position dual-pivot hinge mechanism that allows for increased airflow.
Arai helmets are handmade and the workers put their signatures on every helmet they work on.
Photo from inside the Arai factory in Ohmiya, Japan.
Photo of an Arai helmet being made, taken inside the factory in Ohmiya, Japan.

Sizes available are XS – XXL. (For those who need a very small size, the Arai Quantum model comes in XXXS)
Price for the Vector: White, Pearl-Black $407.95
Aluminum Silver or Gray, Frosts, Sports, Race $417.95
Multi Color Graphics and Road Race Replica (with the Union Jack) $521.25.
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