Arai’s Tour X4 is the latest version of the incredibly popular adventure helmet, with a redesigned shell shape and added ventilation over the previous Tour X3.
The most immediately obvious changes on the Arai Tour X4 are a whole array of front and rear vents, which provide enough air flow to keep you ice cold when required.
The chin vent is fantastic even when used on its own but there are also metal mesh panels to each side, which are opened from the inside to allow more air to flow into the front of the helmet.
Arai have also added the brow vents that can be seen on most of their range of helmets. On the Tour X4 these work amazingly well, allowing the air to be channelled directly around your head.
There are also top vents to make sure every part of your head is getting blasted with air, and exhaust vents to draw out any warm air rather than letting it get stuck inside.
There is a downside to all of the vents and extra bits stuck on to the shell – the noise. In my experience Arais are noisy and the Tour X4 is no different.
I dislike wearing earplugs and prefer to ride without them, but I’ve had no choice when wearing the Tour X4 because of the noise levels.
The peak creates a lot of the wind noise, which seems to get in and around the peak and causes it to whistle like a camping kettle.
I also found that even with the chin curtain pulled out there was still a lot of wind noise coming through the bottom of the helmet. This was nice in the summer but left me reaching for a neck scarf during the winter months.
The peak can be removed, which does reduce the noise considerably and makes the helmet look incredibly aggressive. Combine that with a dark visor and you’ll look like you’ve escaped from Call of Duty.
The difficulty in removing the peak has to be one of my biggest annoyances and one of the reasons I feel this Arai looks a little antiquated. Arai don’t do quick-release and you need a screwdriver to remove the four plastic bolts holding the peak on.
You need to remove the peak to change the visor, slowing it down even more. I also detest the idea of taking a metal screwdriver to an expensive helmet and I’m not sure everyone has access to a plastic screwdriver.
On the plus side, the wide and deep visor and aperture offer amazing optical clarity and field of vision, which means I can perform a blindspot check with the smallest of head movements. Compared to the Tour X4 the view from a standard road helmet is like looking through a letterbox.
But perhaps the biggest advantage of the large aperture is that it has room to fit goggles. You don’t even have to remove the visor as raising it leaves enough room for the goggles, which is great.
Fitting a dark lens to my goggles and leaving the clear visor on the helmet meant I didn’t need to go through the slow visor change so frequently. As soon as the sun went away I took the goggles off and flicked the clear visor down.
The goggles sit really well and seal perfectly to my face. Although it creates loads of extra wind noise, my eyes are protected.
The visor comes with a Pinlock insert, but the shape of the visor means fitting the insert can be tricky.
It’s a challenge to get it to sit tight to the visor without being too tight, which causes a strange streak to appear, or having it too loose and being useless at stopping visor misting.
Once fitted and adjusted correctly I had no problems at all and it did exactly what you’d expect and kept my visor fog-free.
I found the biggest drawback to the helmet was weight. I’ve used the Tour X4 as a dual-sport helmet and after a few hours on the road or some green laning, its weight does become noticeable.
Having said that, it feels lighter on your head than when carrying it around and it’s nicely balanced so it doesn’t pull your head down while riding.
The weight is because Arai’s philosophy is to make a very robust shell and their argument would be that a lighter shell would be thinner and not as strong or safe – though other brands seem able to make a lighter adventure helmet.
An important feature of the helmet to me, is emergency-release cheekpads. Having had a previous helmet removed by paramedics, I feel this is an overlooked and underrated feature on a helmet.
The orange tabs allow the cheekpads to be removed whilst the helmet is still on. Once the cheekpads are out the helmet just rolls off the rider’s head without putting strain on the neck.
The cheekpads don’t have a pocket or removable foam to fit intercoms speakers, but underneath the cover of the cheekpad there is a recess that’s the perfect shape to accommodate speakers.
The skullpad has a 5mm section that can be removed if the helmet fits too closely – but once it has been torn out it doesn’t go back in, so give it time before ripping this out as you may find the helmet beds in quite nicely without removing it.
The fit on mine loosened to the point where I needed new, thicker padding to restore a close fit, so it’s definitely worth waiting before taking out that section of skullpad.
Overall, the Arai Tour X4 is a seriously good helmet that takes the best bits from its predecessor and builds on it.
It’s not perfect but it’s very well made and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. If you are looking for an adventure helmet you have to consider the Tour X4.
The visor is huge and the field of vision fantastic. Sometimes you can see the edge of the Pinlock insert and at night, the Pinlock causes distortion to appear around the headlights of oncoming cars.
This is one of the best-ventilated helmets I’ve used. There are many little vents and they’re in awkward places, but they are easy to operate once you know where they are.
Fit & Comfort
I’ve gone for my usual size and it fits me bang-on. The helmet is comfortable, but the weight and noise impede a little.
The shell of the helmet and interior are some of the best available. The peak is also very robust, however the vents are glued on and feel a little flimsy.
The features that Arai have added to this helmet are amazingly well made. There are a few things missing that you would expect at this price point.