It’s over 10 years since I last road tested an Arai lid, as I’d given up on finding one that properly suited my head shape.
Then this new-for-2019 Arai Profile V landed and delivered a level of comfort I’d never experienced from any other lid, let alone an Arai.
For the first time I could properly appreciate what the die-hard Arai evangelists have been banging on about for all these years.
The consistency of the foam, softness of its covering and the give in the EPS itself all contribute to a high degree of comfort − as long as the shape inside is well matched to your noggin, of course.
It’s a put-on-and-forget level of plush and combines with a pleasing build quality to help justify a pricetag that starts at £379.99 for plain colours at the time of writing.
The Profile V slots into Arai’s range with the aim of luring riders who’ve ignored Arai’s charms in the past. One of its main selling points is that there’s more room at its base, making it easier to put on than the rounder Arais that form the rest of the collection.
Though it’s never been an inability to get the lid on that’s put me off in the past, the innovation achieves its target and the Profile V is easy to get on and take off again after a ride.
I have a suspicion, however, that extra room around the neckroll makes the Profile V noisier. Even when wearing earplugs there’s a noticeable level of windroar, which eases when I hunch my shoulders and block the gap around the lid’s base.
The internal shape and entry aperture may have changed, but the rest of the helmet is classic Arai. Its smooth shape remains, deliberately so to make sure it impacts the ground cleanly should your rideout go badly wrong. The visor is still attached with the sidepod system and bears the distinctive brow vents.
There’s still a refusal to follow the crowd and include an internal sun visor, as Arai contend that a second visor takes up room that could and should be filled by extra protective EPS liner material.
This is an admirable approach, but something to think about before choosing an Arai. If you’re happy to pay for a second, tinted visor and don’t mind swapping from clear to tint when necessary then there’s no issue.
You also need to decide if you’re happy breaking the law, however unlikely you are to get in trouble for it. We’ve not heard of anyone being prosecuted over it for a long while, but dark tinted visors aren’t legal on the road and are sold for track use only. This doesn’t apply to internal sun visors as the rules apply to eye protection, which is taken to be the outermost visor.
Changing the visor isn’t the fastest process, demanding the release of two sidepods and easing each side of the visor itself clear of channels before reversing the process to refit. It takes a while to learn, but as muscle memory develops it becomes much quicker and some folks can change them in a few seconds.
Joining the supreme plushness of the lining in the reasons to buy category is very impressive ventilation. The chin vent opens widely and scoops through a constant flow of fresh air to get facial hair billowing in the breeze, while those brow vents are excellent and direct a cooling waft to each temple. Can’t say the same for the smaller vents on top, however, which didn’t seem to do much in my experience.
After three months of wearing this lid, I don’t really want to move on to review anything else. If you’re like me and have never found an Arai to fit well, it’s worth giving this one a try to see if it changes your view of comfort too.
The Pinlock Max Vision visor insert is highly effective and peripheral vision is good. The eyebrow vents at the top of the visor are the only slight downside on the vision front as they sit above the eyeline and look a bit weird at first.
Opening the two vents on top didn’t seem to make much difference to the ride, but strong airflow from the chin and eyebrow vents made up for it.
Fit & Comfort
My head has never suited Arais in the past, but this one seems to hug my bonce perfectly and feels like a business class upgrade for my head. Sizing is consistent. I am usually a medium, though occasionally need to take a large − and in this I took the medium.
Arai have always excelled in this department and this helmet feels high quality from the base of the shell through to the tip of the crown vent.
Lack of an internal sun visor (for well-considered reasons on Arai’s part) and absence of emergency-release cheekpads and a breathguard are the only bits missing.