Our analog past

Motorcyclist - - Garage - ara­iamer­i­ —Zack Courts

Arai is steeped in his­tory—pre­dat­ing World War II and even the hel­met chin bar—and it had to step back in time a lit­tle bit to meet a con­tem­po­rary de­sire to buy three-quar­ter hel­mets. The Ja­pa­nese brand proudly pro­tects For­mula 1 driv­ers and Mo­togp rac­ers, which is more cred­i­bil­ity than many gourd guards can claim. A mul­ti­den­sity EPS liner and a com­plex, pro­pri­etary fiber­glass shell struc­ture mir­ror full-face Arai tech­nol­ogy, and five shell sizes are used to span six hel­met sizes from XS to XXL.

Slid­ing the Clas­sic-v (said “clas­sic vee”) onto the head, it’s clearly higher qual­ity and more com­fort­able than other hel­mets in the cat­e­gory. The in­ter­me­di­ate-oval shape is wel­com­ing, the lin­ing is cushy, and the speaker pock­ets around the ears mean no pres­sure points. A faux-leather trim around the hel­met’s edge adds a touch of class. Whether it’s worth full-face money— $470, with solid col­ors only, so far—is up to you.

What you get with the Clas­sic-v is a retro look with in­dus­try-lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing. It feels like a mod­ern three-quar­ter hel­met, not a min­i­mal­ist, thinly padded brain bucket. Cool, sure. And with any luck, chin bars will be cool again some­day too.

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