Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Arai Helmet : Behind-The-Scenes (Uncensored) Everything You Wanted To Know and Never Knew

After hearing so much about the brand before I even got my motorcycling license, to personally owning their products now, I've set foot at where it all began..

and finally learnt why at Arai, there is a difference

Above: Founder Hirotake Arai / PC: arai helmets
From a humble beginning of just making hats for a living,

Above: Nicky Hayden / PC: motogp
to producing the top helmet brand in the world recognized and worn by prominent MotoGP/WSBK racers Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa, Jonathan Rea,
Formula 1 drivers Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and the list goes on,

Above: Hirotake Arai / PC: arai
founder Hirotake Arai who was a motorcycle enthusiast himself, established the core value of creating the best protection helmet for the utmost safety of every wearer. That belief was what took the company through more than four decades of phenomenal growth since 1926,

PC: Welly Sungai Buloh
producing remarkable helmets that are arguably the best today.

Above: Michio Arai / PC: arai helmets
Currently, CEO Michio "Mitch" Arai 

Above: Aki Arai / PC: arai helmets
and grandson Akihito Arai runs the close-knitted independent company, as they continue to strive for quality consistency and growth, taking Arai to greater heights.

Even just from having a chat with them at Arai's home ground in Saitama,

to interacting with the co-workers through undergoing hours of product training and an intensive factory tour visit,

you know that the value and vision that Hirotake Arai had is still being strongly upheld among the company today, where everyone here takes pride not in selling the highest quantity of helmets or making the most profit, but instead -

in the consistent pursuit of head protection, for you and I.

KLCL Branch

Considering the fact that Every Arai Helmet is Hand Built has maintained consistency in their quality standards so far, it proves the dedication to protection that Arai has stood by all these years.

From the shell moulding foundation process,

to sanding down and smoothening the shell surface,

to coating,

to decal application,

to cushion/strap/liner/visor installation,

to overall assembly of parts,

down to the final packaging, are all done meticulously by every well-trained staff from the respective departments.

PC: motorcycle usa
The different combination of premium grade materials used to construct the Shell of an Arai helmet

along with its shape is what led it to encompass great strength that remains unparalleled over the years.

Using exclusive technology implemented onto a range of carbon fibre found in the latest fleet of commercial airlines, bonded with Arai's proprietary resins,

reinforced with super fibre belt/super fibre laminate/structural net composite and even the latest aerospace fibres is how Arai has developed indestructible shells that affirms its strength, impact flexibility and structural integrity.

You may notice some other helmets may spot a more oval sportier shape, or a sleeker look with a slight edge at the top of the helmet that looks really good. But at Arai, they have thoroughly researched that the roundness of a helmet's shell significantly reduces excessive rotational forces which,

PC: picofunny
can easily determine life or death during a fall.

Upon further studying real life scenarios instead of just complying with laboratory test standards, Arai's concept of their shell construction mandates a rounder and smoother surface along with their Variable Axis System (VAS) that enhances the helmet's ability to Glance Off.

This avoids sending direct impact to the helmet and effectively dispersing as much energy without stopping.

The importance of the shell to resist penetration of sharp objects and to maintain its shape no matter the impact must never be underrated.

Studies have shown that a round shell would better glance off an object or on rough surfaces, and the thickness of the shell determines the dispersement of energy upon impact, preventing it from getting to the rider.

Stringent Double Quality Control Checks are implemented to ensure no inconsistencies escapes a correction, identified and marked by the shell experts before proceeding onto the interior liner. 

After much research and tests done on various materials, Arai has found that EPS are the best option for creating their Multi-Density Liners tucked within the strong shell as it proved to be able to absorb maximum impact energy in minimum spaces.

This is one of the key factors towards helmet protection as you could never tell which part of your head will hit in an accident, and it is crucial to be kept safe within a helmet that is able to discharge impact energies at any angle.

Taking safety to the next level is where even for the chin straps installation, Arai has only 3 experts specially trained and certified to carry out the job which no other person is allowed to.

PC: why arai
After all, we should never underestimate the importance of the strap because that can essentially be the part that keeps your head within the helmet during an impact.

We all know it is always a challenge striking a good balance between Safety and Comfort.

PC: motogp
But it is through the last few decades of collecting data, gathering experiences from extreme racing conditions and daily crash damages that led Arai to advance their helmets via various components, bit by bit.

The accumulation of the slightest detail makes Arai different from the rest, where no big or small part of the helmet is ever dismissed, making the whole product complete.

Arai helmets are constantly improved and enhanced to be its very best it can be today.

PC: motogp
Confidence is further emphasized in the brand where they believe that every single customer, whether racer or not, deserves the best protection they could possibly create.

Not just meeting the basic safety standards regulated in every different country, but exceeding it and beyond the FIA racing standards.

Therefore no full face Arai helmet that you and I own are of inferior quality to those that Dani Pedrosa or Sebastian Vettel have on their heads,

PC: motorsports
while they blast through the tracks at over 300km/h with maximum 4.0 G-Force, vying for that world championship title.

I am one of them now.. HAHA as if.
Humbly signing my name on the same board as all other racers who visited Arai's factory :p

Yeap. #truestory right there.

Speaking of Comfort level, I can personally say that Arai tops my list after trying different brands over the years.

PC: revzilla

Their Micro Fit Interior and Cheek Pads creates a snugly fit for each wearer and they are nicely covered with Dry-Cool, Anti-Microbial and Brushed Nylon Material that offers an overall plush experience despite long hours of wearing.

PC: transworld motocross
Back to never neglecting Safety, Arai has inserted an Emergency Cheek Pad Release System to access an injured rider more easily and swiftly by medical professionals.

All of Arai Visors are layered with UV Ray protection but living on a tropical island with 365 days of merciless sun glaring in our eyes, we know that sometimes that is not enough.

Fully tinted visors are great, but may not be that preferred when night falls.

Through the past years, Arai never had a single helmet installed with built-in sun visor as they believe it could affect the integrity of the helmet's shell during a crash.

But now, they have invented the Pro-Shade VAS Shield (PSS) which works as an easy flip up lockable sun peak to solve the problem.

Instead of reducing cost or overall weight by excluding the use of materials at certain areas of the helmet that is least likely to affect the rider upon a crash,

Arai believes in the truth that there is no way to predict how one would fall during an accident, and impact could be received at any degree and angle of the helmet.

Hence, it is crucial to the development and design team that every single area of the helmet protects the rider to its best ability without any compromise of materials used,

before running multiple Comprehensive Crash Tests to ensure the helmet is good to go.

Helmets backed by quality and integrity from a company so entirely focused on a rider's safety, while constantly diving in the pursuit of enhancing the level of protection with everything they can, makes what they create no longer just a product.

But a symbol of trust and assurance that we wear, that guards our lives when we're out on the roads.

This is truly why at Arai, there is a difference.

Huge thanks to Kuala Lumpur Chiap Lee (KLCL) for this fantastic opportunity in gaining such deep insights as to what goes on behind the scenes in the making of the world's top helmet! 

Ever grateful to Arai for making this such a meaningful and educational experience.