arai ax­ces Hel­met

From £249.99 I www.wh­yarai.co.uk

Motorcycle Monthly - - Tested - Tested by: Bob Pick­ett

For the last decade I have en­trusted Arai with the task of look­ing af­ter my brain when rid­ing. From the feel when wear­ing to the qual­ity of the fin­ish, these hel­mets just ooze class.

I am also a biker on a bud­get and this was my one gripe with Arai, as some­times there seemed to be a wide gap be­tween the tech of­fered up be­tween the bot­tom and top ends of the range. The Ax­ces has ad­dressed this sit­u­a­tion with bet­ter-look­ing vent­ing.

Some things never change on an Arai. I pulled on the Ax­ces for the first time, there was a mo­ment of dis­com­fort and then “Oh, that feels right”... which is how my last two Arais stayed for their life­span.

The qual­ity of the fin­ish (Arai makes its shells ex­tra hard and shiny to help the hel­met slide in the event of a crash) is even bet­ter than on my pre­vi­ous Arai Con­dor. Just like my Con­dor, the weight of the Ax­ces is beau­ti­fully bal­anced.

So, what has changed? Arai evolves, so change comes in grad­u­ally. But the Ax­ces has made a real leap for­ward when com­pared to my Con­dor.

The vi­sor fea­tures Pin­lock II, cov­er­ing al­most the en­tire sur­face. This is good news as it means no more pe­riph­eral mist­ing or af­fected vi­sion from look­ing through coated and non-coated parts of the vi­sor.

This meant the vi­sor vents had to be dropped (no is­sue for me, I never used them as they seemed to blow air straight into my eyes!) – a bonus as it brought the vent­ing sys­tem from fur­ther up the Arai range to the Ax­ces. The chin vent is es­sen­tially the same (two set­tings when open – one blows air on to your neck, the other on to your face), but it now fea­tures a lip that lets you op­er­ate it easily, even in thick gloves.

This ease of use con­tin­ues with the top vent­ing. Again with twin set­tings, the top vent con­trol is rear-set, just the right place to reach back easily to op­er­ate on the move in gloves. The ratch­et­ing is smooth, but gives enough feed­back to tell the rider the set­ting they have se­lected. And the vent­ing is ef­fec­tive. It is good enough that with both sets of vents fully open on a pleas­ant (if slightly cool) day, I had to shut them off as my head was cold. In heat, as long as you are mov­ing just a lit­tle, the vent­ing will keep your head cool.

But bet­ter vent­ing brings with it the old Arai com­plaint. The Ax­ces, like all Arai hel­mets, is noisy. With the vents open earplugs are a good idea and if I bend my head too far down­wards there is a strange squeak as air gets forced through the top of the vi­sor.

The Arai Ax­ces is qual­ity. The en­hance­ments since I last bought a hel­met make it a game-changer in this price bracket. Go and try one, I think you will be im­pressed.

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