Arai Helmets History, the Consistent Pursuit of Quality for Over 70 Years

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Established in 1952, Arai Helmets stands as a testament to unwavering family legacy, currently led by the third generation of the Arai family. At the helm is Executive Director Michio Arai, affectionately referred to as 'Mitch' by his team. A dedicated rider since the tender age of 7, the 85-year-old Michio has steered the company with wisdom and passion ever since his return to Japan after pursuing further studies in the United States.

Under Michio's leadership, Arai Helmets achieved global recognition. His pivotal role in developing the first Snell-certified Arai helmet in 1963 and his subsequent stewardship of the export division played a significant part in the company's international expansion. Assisting him in the journey is his son, Akihito Arai, who is being groomed to take on the reins of the business, ensuring the family's enduring commitment to crafting exceptional helmets continues into the future.

Best Arai Motorcycle Helmets Available Today

Scroll right to explore buying options, compare prices, and possibly seize exclusive discounts from sellers.

Helmet ModelCategoryAdvanced FeatureCheck & Shop Now
Arai Corsair-XBest Sport/RacingVAS (Variable Axis System) Shield MechanismRevZilla | CycleGear | BTO Sports
Arai Regent-XBest Street/TouringFacial Contour System (FCS) Cheek Pad DesignRevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon
Arai XD-4Best Adventure/ADVSuper Complex Laminate Construction (SCLC) ShellRevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon
Arai Classic-VBest Cruiser/VintagePB-cLc (Peripherally Belted - complex Laminate construction) ShellRevZilla | MotoSport | Amazon
Arai VX Pro 4Best Off-Road/MotocrossExtended Peak for Enhanced Sun and Roost ProtectionRevZilla | CycleGear | Amazon

The Arai Heritage

At 85 years old, Michio Arai reflects on Arai Helmet's rich history in Saitama. Behind him, an iconic photograph captures his father and the company's founder, Hirotake, standing on the saddle of his Harley in the late 1930s, embodying the enduring spirit and legacy of the Arai family in the world of motorcycle helmets.
At 85 years old, Michio Arai reflects on Arai Helmet's rich history in Saitama. Behind him, an iconic photograph captures his father and the company's founder, Hirotake, standing on the saddle of his Harley in the late 1930s, embodying the enduring spirit and legacy of the Arai family in the world of motorcycle helmets.

Hirotake Arai, born in 1905 as the first son of renowned kepi-style hat maker Yuichiro Arai, continued the family legacy by succeeding his father's business in the 1930s. During this period, he started crafting sun-barrier caps for the expanding Imperial Japanese Army, which later played a role in World War II. A passionate motorcyclist, Hirotake Arai, and his fellow Japanese riders faced a scarcity of motorcycle helmets due to Japan's closed-off economy in the post-war era. To address this need, he began crafting fiberglass helmets for himself and his friends.

For Hirotake Arai, ensuring the helmets were protective took precedence over business considerations. Consequently, each Arai helmet he crafted surpassed the previous one, embodying the true spirit of kaizen—continuous improvement in Japanese culture.

“We at Arai are motorcycle enthusiasts. We ride. We build each Arai helmet as if we’re creating it for one of our own—a brother, a father, a husband, a mother, a sister.”

To date, the entire process is still done by hand, with the exception of six laser robots that precision cut the shells at the eyeport and neckline, trimming them to size. Considering that, each Arai helmet take approximately 18 hours on the production line, it's no wonder Arai helmets aren't cheap!

Top Riders Who Have Trusted Arai Helmets

Famous riders who have won Arai helmets include Dani Pedrosa of the Repsol Honda Team and Nicky Hayden of team Ducati (MotoGP), Jonathan Rea in World Superbikes and the Formula 1 despicable duo, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel among others:

MotoGPMoto2Historical HeadsWorld Superbike
Karel AbrahamAzlan ShahFreddie SpencerMichael van der Mark
Daniel PedrosaEsteve RabatMick DoohanJonathan Rea
Maverick VinalesAxel PonsRandy MamolaChristopher Poisson
Cal CrutchlowTakaaki NakagamiKevin SchwantzDavide Giugliano
Nicky HaydenDominique AegerterJoey DunlopLeon Haslam

This goes to prove that Arai is the creme de la creme of specialized racing helmets, be it on the superbike or supercar tracks

Arai's Mission Statement

“Our mission has always been the protection and comfort of every person who chooses an Arai helmet. Our foundational principles of protection first, exceptional quality, and rider comfort have never been forgotten in over six decades of helmet design and manufacturing.”

Arai vs. Other Premium Motorcycle Helmet Brands

BrandFoundedMost Expensive HelmetCheapest Helmet
Arai1952Corsair X-RC ($4,095.95)Classic-V ($469.95)
Shoei1959X-Fifteen Marquez7 TC-1 ($1,049.99)J.O ($379.99)
AGV1947PISTA GP RR SOLELUNA 2022 ($1,924.95)K1 MONO ($209.95)
Shark1989Race-R Pro GP Redding Winter Test ($1,199.99)Ridill ($179.99)
Schuberth1922C5 Pro Carbon ($1,636.00)O1 Jet ($279.00)
HJC1971RPHA 1N Fabio Quartararo ($1,004.99)CS-R3 ($99.99)
Scorpion2003EXO-R1 Air Quartararo Monster ($599.95)EXO-R320 ($99.95)

The Arai Difference: A Detailed Breakdown of the Arai Production Process

But what makes these helmets so awesome, you might wonder? Here's a quick rundown of what goes into each Arai helmet:

The 10-Step Arai Helmet Forging Process

Step DescriptionDetails
1.Helmet DesignEngineers design the helmet, focusing on safety, aerodynamics, and rider comfort.
2.Mold PreparationA mold is prepared, and the "bird's nest" or preforma, made of EPS, is inserted into the mold. EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) provides impact resistance and absorbs impacts in various areas.
3.Reinforcement LayersShell experts place reinforcing layers, including laminated fiberglass, Super Fiber, and Zylon, inside the preforma. Another preforma is added on top, creating a sandwich structure. Laminated fiberglass layers provide strength and lightness. Super Fiber enhances tensile strength. Zylon adds high tensile strength as a peripheral belt.
4.Shell FormationThe mold is closed, and resin is poured in. The mold, with a thick airbag inside, squeezes the layers together and forms a light, thin, and strong integral shell. Resin binds materials together during construction. Structural Net Composite (SNC) provides structural support and holds layers together.
5.Trimming and CuttingRobots equipped with lasers trim the shells, cutting vents and eye ports.
6.Handwork and Quality ControlSkilled workers perform handwork, including sanding, priming, painting, decal application, and inserting the EPS liner. Each helmet undergoes quality control inspections.
7.Final InspectionShells are inspected for thickness, weight, and visible irregularities at the Amanuma facility.
8.CompletionHelmets are assembled, including attaching straps, comfort liners, and vents.
9.Packaging and DistributionFinished helmets are packaged and prepared for shipment to retailers and customers worldwide.
10.Post-Sales SupportArai provides customer support, including information on proper helmet usage and care, and handles any warranty or repair issues.

A Summary of What Sets an Arai Apart From Every Other Helmet Brand

AspectDetails
Production ProcessArai helmets use a combination of hard outer shell and soft inner shell for optimum protection. Production involves 27 steps using no fewer than 27 separate parts, taking approximately 18 hours per helmet.
Glass fiber shell production includes precise slat placement, resin addition, and baking under pressure.
Craftsmanship99% of the work, from the base to the finished product, is done by hand by a highly trained workforce, emphasizing manual craftsmanship and precision.
Precision Cutting and TrimmingThe only machine-involving process is the six robotic lasers used for cutting and trimming the shells. Which still has to be doubled-checked by at least two experts.
Outer Shell SizesThe outer shell of an Arai helmet is made in five different sizes to cover the range from XS to XL.
Outer Shell ThicknessThe outer shell consists of a polyester composition that is 3 mm thick over the entire helmet, providing equal thickness at all points and ensuring consistent quality and strength.
Shell DesignArai’s current shell designs include Peripheral Belt-Structural Net Composite 2 (PB-SNC2) used in high-end models and PB-Complex Laminate Construction (PBcLc), evolving from numerous Complex Laminate Construction (CLC) designs since 1977.
MaterialOuter Shell: Composite shells made of laminated fiberglass layers and a 3 mm thick polyester composition for strength and lightness.
EPS Liner: Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) of at least 3 densities absorbs impacts in different areas.
Other Materials: Super Fiber, Zylon, and Structural Net Composite (SNC) are used for added tensile strength and structural support.
CustomizationArai helmets, including motorsport variants, can be customized based on individual preferences and designs.
Shape and SafetyHelmets feature a smooth, round shape for better protection, enabling sliding on contact with asphalt and preventing unnecessary rotations.
InspectionHelmets undergo double inspections, including final checks for thickness, weight, and visible irregularities.

Steps to Making the Arai “Egg Shell” Helmets

Arai's revolutionary Egg-Shaped Form (ESF) stands as the cornerstone of their helmet design philosophy. Beyond its fundamental role in absorbing impacts, this crafted helmet shape is engineered for smooth sliding and deflection, ensuring that impacts glance off and preventing rotational energy from affecting the wearer. This guiding principle has been integral to Arai's designs since the 1970s, maintaining a consistent use of a smooth, egg-like shell.

Functionally, these flexible shells are tailored to conform to the head, allowing for effortless entry and ensuring a secure, snug fit—a testament to Arai's ingenuity and precision. This customized fit not only maximizes comfort and minimizes noise within the helmet but also plays a pivotal role in safety during accidents. The helmet is specifically engineered to seamlessly glide off impacts while moving in harmony with the wearer’s head, underlining Arai’s unwavering commitment to both safety and innovation in helmet design.

Inspired by the robust and natural shape of an egg, the ESF tapers at the bottom, mirroring the contours of the human skull. This design not only preserves the shell's integrity during a crash but has also undergone continuous refinement since its introduction to the market with the Complex Laminate Construction shell in 1977. While the design has evolved over the years, Arai's production methods have remained remarkably consistent.

It is no mere coincidence that helmets from different eras, such as Freddie Spencer's 1983 500cc World Championship-winning Arai helmet, bear striking resemblances to those worn by modern champions like Nicky Hayden during his 2006 MotoGP victory and Maverick Vinales in the present day. This enduring similarity showcases the timeless and effective nature of Arai's innovative helmet design.

1. Making the “Bird’s Nest”

Arai Americas Managing Director, Brian Weston, oversees the preparation of a "preforma"—a bird's nest layer of finely chopped Super Fiber, primed and ready for the molding process.
Arai Americas Managing Director, Brian Weston, oversees the preparation of a "preforma"—a bird's nest layer of finely chopped Super Fiber, primed and ready for the molding process.

Instead of discarding the shell design and starting anew with each iteration, Arai's current shell designs, such as the Peripheral Belt-Structural Net Composite 2 (PB-SNC2) utilized in high-end models and the PB-Complex Laminate Construction (PBcLc), have evolved from a series of Continuous Laminate Construction (CLC) designs since the initial one in 1977. Both designs commence with Super Fiber, fine strands known for their 30-percent higher tensile strength than ordinary fiberglass.

These fibers are finely chopped, sprayed with resin, and then blown onto a perforated, rotating vacuum dome, forming a robust "bird's nest" structure of sorts. This structure is then heated to retain its shape, resulting in a strong and resilient shell.

2 Into the Mold

Following the preparation stage, the preforma or "bird's nest" is carefully inserted into the mold, poised for the subsequent layering process.
Following the preparation stage, the preforma or "bird's nest" is carefully inserted into the mold, poised for the subsequent layering process.

They navigate through the deafening cacophony of machines, where fiberglass is being baked to perfection, towards a mold station. This station resembles a robust cast-iron oven equipped with a pneumatic attachment on the top and the capability to heat up the mold.

3. More Layering and Then a Sandwich

Each helmet, including the Arai Regent-X, introduced in 2020 and reviewed extensively, incorporates up to 18 reinforcing layers of Super Fiber—a material 30 percent stronger than regular fiberglass but six times more costly. Additionally, these layers are complemented by AR Mat, Zylon, and even carbon fiber. A team of expert craftsmen at Arai painstakingly arranges these reinforcing layers within the initial "preforma." Subsequently, a second preforma is added, securely encasing all the layers and effectively creating a robust "bird's nest" sandwich structure.
Each helmet, including the Arai Regent-X, introduced in 2020 and reviewed extensively, incorporates up to 18 reinforcing layers of Super Fiber—a material 30 percent stronger than regular fiberglass but six times more costly. Additionally, these layers are complemented by AR Mat, Zylon, and even carbon fiber. A team of expert craftsmen at Arai painstakingly arranges these reinforcing layers within the initial "preforma." Subsequently, a second preforma is added, securely encasing all the layers and effectively creating a robust "bird's nest" sandwich structure.

This intricate bird’s nest assembly is delicately positioned into a two-piece mold. Within this mold, up to 18 reinforcing pieces, including Arai’s Zylon peripheral belt (also utilized in bulletproof vests) encircling the top of the eyeport, and the Structural Net Composite (SNC) designed to bind the layers together, are inserted inside the bird’s nest structure.

Another bird’s nest layer is then placed on top, effectively sandwiching the entire assembly together.

4. Bag Molding With Resin

Next, resin is poured into the mold. Inside the mold, a robust rubber bag, resembling a water bottle in shape (thus termed “bag molding”), is carefully positioned. The mold's top is secured, and the bag is inflated, exerting pressure to compress the resin and fiberglass layers into a thin, integrated shell.
Next, resin is poured into the mold. Inside the mold, a robust rubber bag, resembling a water bottle in shape (thus termed “bag molding”), is carefully positioned. The mold's top is secured, and the bag is inflated, exerting pressure to compress the resin and fiberglass layers into a thin, integrated shell.

Once all the materials and the second preforma are in place, the technician pours in the resin and inserts an inflatable rubber bag. As the resin is added and the pneumatic bag is inflated, it pushes the resin into every conceivable gap and crevice, binding the components together to eventually craft an R75 shell. This nomenclature is derived from its continuous curve radius of no more than 75mm—representing the distinctive shape of every new Arai helmet.

Remarkably, after a mere 13 minutes, what initially started as a complex amalgamation of Super Fiber, fiberglass mat, and Zylon layers—knowledge and skill to assemble which can take years—transforms into a lightweight, slender yet exceptionally sturdy integral shell.

To add a personal touch, the technician also inscribes their name on the inside of the shell, ensuring that the craftsman's identity is forever associated with the creation, allowing you to always know who crafted your helmet.

5. Heat Forming and Curing

At this stage, the freshly molded shell emerges from the mold, revealing its raw form. It is now ready to undergo the precise artistry of the laser cutter. It’s worth noting that any staples used to secure specific fiberglass layers are strategically placed within the eyeport area, which is destined to be cut out during this process.
At this stage, the freshly molded shell emerges from the mold, revealing its raw form. It is now ready to undergo the precise artistry of the laser cutter. It’s worth noting that any staples used to secure specific fiberglass layers are strategically placed within the eyeport area, which is destined to be cut out during this process.

Following the pressing process, a consistent and uniform shell takes shape. To ensure durability and structural integrity, it's heated, allowing it to retain its form while achieving a lightweight and thin yet integral structure. This crafted shell is now prepared for the laser-cutting stage. During this step, the eyeport is precision-cut, and excess material around the neck area is expertly removed, finalizing the helmet's form with precision and accuracy.

6. Laser Cutting and Trimming

In Arai’s factories, the only robotic presence is represented by the laser cutters utilized for trimming the newly formed shells. A single laser cutter operates at its research and development center in Saitama, while an additional five are deployed at the molding facility in Shinto.
In Arai’s factories, the only robotic presence is represented by the laser cutters utilized for trimming the newly formed shells. A single laser cutter operates at its research and development center in Saitama, while an additional five are deployed at the molding facility in Shinto.

The sole fully automated step in the entire process involves cutting out the eyeport and trimming the lower end of the virgin shells. This precise task, deemed safe for a robot to perform without compromising quality, is executed. However, even in this automated process, the machine's work undergoes thorough scrutiny by the human eye before the helmet can progress further down the production line.

7. Quality Inspection Of The Shells

Every single shell, whether it's produced 200 kilometers away in Shinto or nearby in Saitama, must undergo a rigorous final inspection at the Amanuma facility. Here, each shell is examined for thickness, weight, and any visible irregularities. This inspection ensures that every Arai helmet meets the stringent quality standards before reaching the hands of the customers.
Every single shell, whether it's produced 200 kilometers away in Shinto or nearby in Saitama, must undergo a rigorous final inspection at the Amanuma facility. Here, each shell is examined for thickness, weight, and any visible irregularities. This inspection ensures that every Arai helmet meets the stringent quality standards before reaching the hands of the customers.

The intricate manufacturing process comprises 27 steps, each punctuated by rigorous quality inspections. At every stage, from the initial molding to the final assembly, the helmet is subjected to thorough scrutiny. Failure at any point in this process renders the entire effort futile. The potential losses, both in terms of materials and labor, loom large if a shell progresses to the final boxing stage only to be discovered with a flaw.

8. Smoothing and Priming

Due to the relatively substantial weight of resin, Arai employs a minimal amount in the shell formation process. This conservative approach leaves the shell with a coarse finish, necessitating an extensive amount of manual craftsmanship to refine it before it can be primed and painted.
Due to the relatively substantial weight of resin, Arai employs a minimal amount in the shell formation process. This conservative approach leaves the shell with a coarse finish, necessitating an extensive amount of manual craftsmanship to refine it before it can be primed and painted.

Once the virgin shells are precisely trimmed at the bottom, and their vents and eye ports are expertly cut using laser technology, an intensive phase of handwork and quality control ensues. Dozens of highly skilled workers engage in a flurry of activity, refining and inspecting each helmet. Remarkably, with the exception of specific paintwork and the production of plastic parts, all these intricate processes are executed in-house.

9. Hand Painting and Finishing 

Graphics that are not painted are typically applied as water decals, a painstaking process completed before the helmet undergoes the final clear coat application. Interestingly, Arai entrusts the decal application specifically to women, a choice made due to their observed patience and attention to detail, qualities essential for such intricate work.
Graphics that are not painted are typically applied as water decals, a painstaking process completed before the helmet undergoes the final clear coat application. Interestingly, Arai entrusts the decal application specifically to women, a choice made due to their observed patience and attention to detail, qualities essential for such intricate work.

The painting process encompasses 10-15 steps, varying based on the specific model being created. These steps include initial hand buffing and primer coating, followed by baking in an oven. Subsequently, the helmet undergoes three distinct stages of wet sanding, each accompanied by its own primer application. The labor-intensive nature of producing a single helmet is significant, especially during the initial base paint application.

This step alone takes three days per color—one day for masking, another for painting and sanding, and a third day dedicated to laying out the water graphics.

10. Creating the Multi-Density EPS

Both Arai and Bell claim to have independently invented EPS (Expanded Polystyrene), although there is an ongoing debate about who pioneered it first. Regardless of the origin, what remains indisputable is that EPS stands as the best material discovered thus far for a motorcycle helmet’s protective liner.

Arai, among other premium helmet manufacturers, forms its liners using EPS pellets of varying densities. Lighter ones are strategically used for thicker areas such as the crown and forehead, while heavier ones are employed for thinner spots.

11. Final Assembly

Once the shell reaches its final state, the EPS liner is pressed into place, a process that often requires a significant amount of manual force.
Once the shell reaches its final state, the EPS liner is pressed into place, a process that often requires a significant amount of manual force.

In stark contrast to many other helmet manufacturers, Arai exercises meticulous control over every phase of production, starting from the initial laying of fiberglass to the final boxing of a freshly finished helmet. Virtually nothing is outsourced; every detail is meticulously managed, leaving no room for chance.

Arai’s Key Milestones/Timeline

Arai has been crafting helmets that motorcycle riders and numerous successful racers prefer to wear since it introduced its first fiberglass-shelled model in Japan in 1952. The company's founder, Hirotake Arai, the son of a hat maker and an avid motorcycle enthusiast, established a headgear and textile factory in Saitama, Japan, near Tokyo, in the late 1930s. After World War II, he began making helmets for construction workers.

When local racetrack friends requested helmets, Arai ingeniously created the first Japanese motorcycle helmets from fiberglass, resin, and expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), effectively pioneering the Japanese motorcycle helmet industry. Despite prioritizing rider safety over business concerns, the company thrived, producing helmets under the "HA" (Hirotake Arai) brand. A significant milestone was the establishment of the "bag molding" technique using two-piece metal molds, a method still widely employed in composite helmets today.

Michio Arai, Hirotake's son and a rider since the age of 7, returned to Japan from college in the U.S. to assist the family business. In 1963, Arai produced its first Snell-certified HA helmet, marking a pivotal moment in its history. Export activities began, and under the guidance of U.S. distributor Roger Weston, the brand transitioned from "HA" to simply "Arai."

Today, Arai Helmet Ltd. operates factories in Saitama and Shinto, Japan, remaining a privately owned family business under the leadership of Michio "Mitch" Arai, 81, and his son Akihito. The manufacturing process, predominantly done by hand, also incorporates six robotic lasers employed for cutting and trimming shells.

Recently, Mitch and Aki Arai, along with Brian Weston, son of Roger Weston and the Managing Director of Arai Americas, initiated a unique opportunity for enthusiasts and industry experts alike. They opened the doors to Arai's skunk works in Japan, providing a glimpse into the intricate world of helmet manufacturing.

During this event, they showcased their latest innovation, the Regent-X full-face helmet, a testament to Arai's constant pursuit of excellence. This exclusive tour emphasized two fundamental aspects of Arai helmets. Firstly, it highlighted the company's unwavering commitment to tradition, exemplified by the remarkable attention to detail and quality displayed by the skilled factory workers and helmet experts. Many of these professionals have been dedicated members of the Arai family for decades, underscoring the brand's deep-rooted expertise.

Secondly, the event underscored Arai's strong conviction that a helmet's design goes beyond mere impact absorption. Arai firmly believes that a helmet should facilitate smooth sliding and deflection, preventing rotational energy from affecting the wearer. This principle has guided Arai's designs since the 1970s, with a consistent focus on using a smooth, egg-like shell shape. Through this event, Arai not only showcased their cutting-edge innovations but also highlighted the enduring values and principles that have defined their brand for generations.

Key Milestones in Arai's History

YearEvent DescriptionSignificance
1905Hirotake Arai's BirthFounder of Arai Helmet Limited, born in Tokyo as the eldest son of Yuichiroh Arai, a hat manufacturer for government offices.
1937Establishment of Arai FactoryHirotake Arai establishes a factory in Ohmiya, Saitama, initiating headgear manufacturing.
1938 (July 22)Birth of Michio AraiMichio Arai, current president, born in Tokyo.
1948Founding of Arai Sewing CompanyEstablishes Arai Sewing Company for T-shirt and blouse manufacturing.
1949Entry into Safety Helmet ProductionArai Hirotake Shoten Co. Limited starts constructing safety helmets for workers, using heat-formed resin and later Fibre Reinforced Plastics (FRP).
1950Innovates heat forming shellsArai develops helmet shells by heat forming with resins.
1950 (Oct)Establishment of Arai Hirotake Shoten, Co., LimitedArai Hirotake Shoten, Co., Limited established in Ohmiya, Saitama.
1950Development of Testing StandardsHirotake Arai develops his own testing standards and equipment, focusing on creating helmets for riders' safety.
1952Expansion into Motorcycle HelmetsArai moves into motorcycle helmets, producing the first FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastics) helmets in Japan
1952 (July 7)Licensee of Japan Industrial Standards (JIS)Arai becomes licensee of Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) for construction workers’ helmets.
1956Introduction of HA BrandProduction begins under Hirotake’s initials, “HA”, immortalized on the Rapide HA in 2020.
1958Standardized Helmet ConstructionProduction of motorcycle helmets with FRP outer shell and inner Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) liner starts, becoming the industry standard.
1959Introduction of Bag Molding MethodArai establishes the bag molding method for FRP shell construction, creating the first open face helmet using this technique.
1962Introduction of Snell Certified HelmetHA produces the first Snell certified Japanese helmet.
1967 (Mar)Introduction of Full Face HelmetModel R-6M certified to Snell 1968 standard; first Japanese full face model introduced.
1971 (Oct)Introduction of New Trademark “Arai”New trademark “Arai” designed and registered.
1972Invention of Modular HelmetIntroduction of movable chin piece.
1973Name ChangeCompany name changes to “Arai Hirotake, Co., Limited.”
1973 (Nov 16)Birth of Akihito AraiAkihito Arai, son of Michio Arai, born.
1977Professional racing sponsorshipArai starts motorcycle-racing support with Japanese professional racers.
1977 (Dec)Birth of Arai AmericaArai Helmet (USA), Limited established.
1978Recognition and Global ExpansionHirotake Arai is decorated by Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Arai Helmet Ltd expands globally, establishing offices in the USA and Europe.
1979First off-road helmetFirst exclusive off-road riding helmet introduced.
1980Invents one-touch open-close face shieldOne-touch open-close face shield mechanism developed.
1983 (Feb 28)Opens Netherlands B.VArai Helmet (Europe) B.V. established in The Netherlands.
1983Arai Racing Service introduced.Freddie Spencer wins the World GP 500cc Road Race Championship with Arai.
1984Keke Rosberg sponsoredArai sponsors Formula One driver Keke Rosberg.
1985Invents Eyebrow VentsIntroduction of eyebrow ventilation in the visor.
1986 (Jun 14)Passing of Company Founder Hirotake AraiCompany founder Hirotake Arai passes away; Michio Arai becomes President.
1986 (Dec 1)Company Name ChangesCompany name changes to “Arai Helmet, Limited.”
1988 (Oct)Invents Advanced Shield Installation SystemArai introduces AdSis (Advanced Shield Installation System) for tool-free visor change.
1990 (Jun)Invents Super AdSis VisorPatented Super AdSis (SAL visor system) applied.
1993First manufacturer to offer 5 year warrantyArai becomes the first helmet manufacturer to offer a full 5-Year Limited Warranty.
1995Arai Expands to EuropeNew premises of Arai Europe opened.
1996Introduction of RX-7 Model with Diffuser VentilationRX-7 model introduced with the Diffuser ventilation system, setting a new benchmark in motorcycle helmets.
1998Establishment of Arai PaintshopArai Paintshop is established for specialized helmet finishing.
2003Introduction of Limited Edition Chikara ModelArai introduces the limited edition Chikara model, honoring the 20-Year anniversary of Arai Helmet (Europe) B.V.
2005Introduction of Carbon Fiber HelmetsCarbon fiber helmets become mandatory in Formula One; Arai introduces its first carbon fiber helmet, the GP-5 Racing Carbon.
2006Opens Arai Inspiration Centre (AIC)Arai Inspiration Centre (AIC) opens; PB-SNC® Construction developed for Formula One helmets.
2006Invention of the EQRSVX-3 off-road helmet introduced with Emergency Release System.
2008 (Feb)GP-6 Racing Carbon Available to the Public25th Anniversary of Arai Helmet (Europe) B.V.; Introduction of GP-6 Racing Carbon for commercial use.
2008Introduction of GP-6 Racing CarbonRX-7 GP introduced with wide view SAI visor and PB-SNC® Construction.
2009Invention of the Max Vision VisorArai introduces Max Vision visor.
2010Massive Adoption of Arai in Formula OneOver 50% of Formula One grid and 30% of MotoGP riders use Arai helmets.
2011Launching SAI Max Vision VisorQuantum model introduced with factory fitted SAI Max Vision visor and brow vents.
2013Arai Becomes Official Helmet Partner of Isle of Man TTArai Helmets becomes the Official Helmet Partner of the Isle of Man TT.
2014Released of Arai ProShadeArai ProShade external visor shade system released.
2015Launch of RX-7V HelmetArai launches RX-7V, featuring MAX-Vision visor, PB-SnC shell, and VAS-V Visor Mechanism.
2019Introduction of Profile-V Helmet and FIM RecognitionArai launches Profile-V, FIM Homologation standards introduced. RX-7V Race FIM meets FIM Homologation requirements.
2020Launch of GP-7 Range for MotorsportArai launches the GP-7 range for Motorsport, used by drivers like Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Sebastien Vettel, and Daniel Ricciardo.
2021Introduction of Quantic HelmetArai unveils Quantic, a new premium sports helmet with advanced features including a large aerodynamic spoiler and 3D top vent.

Michael's Summary and Conclusion

For over four decades, Arai has maintained an esteemed status as one of the world's finest helmet manufacturers, a reputation widely recognized by riders and the motorcycle industry alike.

In my personal journey, I first encountered Arai helmets back in March 1978. In the preceding year, our sponsorship had linked us with a promising young rider from Shreveport, LA, named Freddie Spencer. Freddie had previously wore AGV helmets, specifically the X-3000 and X3000/S models, renowned designs developed and worn by the legendary 15-time World Champion, Giacomo Agostini.

But Freddie faced a challenge when he got the chance to ride a superbike for American Honda at Daytona in March 1978. Being a US rider, he was obliged to wear a helmet with a current certification from the Snell Memorial Foundation. At that time, the AGV helmets I imported hadn't yet undergone testing. Recognizing the need for a certified helmet, Arai made a strategic move and stepped in. Freddie aligned himself with Arai for the entirety of his remarkable career, a decision that endures even today.

What sets Arai apart, in my eyes, is not just the superior quality of their helmets but also the fact that it is a family-run business. Founder Hirotake Arai, himself an avid motorcyclist, instilled a unique passion into the brand. The thorough workmanship that goes into each Arai helmet, all handmade in their Japanese factory, is perhaps the most defining characteristic.

Having been deeply entrenched in the motorcycle industry, I am aware of the different opinions that exist about helmet brands worldwide. But in the case of Arai, there was an unparalleled consensus — a unanimous respect and admiration that transcended differences. Arai's legacy, rooted in quality, heritage, and genuine passion for motorcycling, continues to resonate, making it not just a helmet choice but a testament to a legacy built on excellence and unwavering dedication.

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About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

Click Here for Michael’s LinkedIn Profile

Click Here for the Complete AGV Helmet & AGVSPORT History

Click Here for All AGV Sports Group Social Media Information

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