If you’re looking for a new helmet, you might be asking yourself: These days can there really be that much difference between one brand and another? And if so, haven’t any differences that do exist become pretty slim?
The answers are Yes. And No.
The simple truth is, while there are indeed a lot of helmets out there, there is still only one Arai.
Our name and reputation have been forged over time, the hard way. Which means we haven’t devoted three generations of the Arai family to the singular goal of no-holds-barred excellence just to turn out helmets like everybody else’s.
Arai alone has the experience, the quality, and the trust that truly set us apart. (If the others are the same as us, why would they copy so many Arai innovations?) In fact, we don’t know of any other helmet company that can match any of the Arai facts we’re going to tell you here. Not just one other helmet company – any of them. (Doesn’t sound like much like much of an argument for “sameness,” does it?)
But you can decide that for yourself here and now.
Arai is not some massive corporation run by rotating boards of directors with rotating missions, all of which have one thing in common: more profits and cheaper productions costs.
Fact is, we’re pretty much the polar-opposite in every way possible. Arai is a small family company, driven by the same family, with the same mission, through three generations-three generations that have all been riders. This fact tends to make you look at things differently than the big guys do.
Like: Could you really build a helmet you wouldn’t be willing to put on your own head, or the heads of your firends and co-workers?
Or: If your family’s name-and your family’s honor-are on the front of your helmet, how many corners would you cut? How many shortcuts would you take?
Or: If cost is the most important element, how much is a head worth?
That’s why our one mission has always been the protection and comfort of riders. To the best of our ability. Period.
That’s why we dont build Arai helmets to meet any safety standards; we build them to exceed the standards. At Arai, safety standards like Snell or DOT are our baseline, not our goal. Why? Because standards create minimum criteria. And while many helmet makers design their helmets to meet those minimums, “good enough” has just never been good enough around here. Not for us, not for the riders we serve. (Remember, we answer only to ourselves.)
Our standards are made for the real world. The world of distracted drivers, unpredictable situations, sharp angles. Things that don’t move when you hit them. A world you can’t duplicate in a controlled, predictable testing laboratory environment looking for a common denominator.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. There are real differences. But only you can say whether those differences are worth it to you or not.
We hope you see the difference in Arai, and in the three generations of the family behind it.
The early history of Fox Racing and Fox Racing Shox were intertwined. Fox Racing Shox is a brand of offroad racing suspension components founded by Geoff Fox’s brother, Bob Fox. Fox Racing Shox were distributed by Moto-X Fox and Bob’s company was originally under the corporate umbrella of Moto-X Fox. In 1977 Bob’s division split out as a separate company called Fox Factory Inc. Fox Head, Inc. headquarters are in Morgan Hill, California, with additional offices in Irvine, California and Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom. Fox built its business by developing clothing for motocross. Through sponsoring and working closely with riders such as Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Damon Bradshaw, Rick Johnson, Mark Barnett, Doug Henry, Jeremy McGrath and Steve Lamson, the company has researched and developed race clothing that provides riders with protection, performance and freedom of movement.
Fox Head, Inc. is headquartered in Irvine, CA, with additional offices in Morgan Hill, CA and Barcelona, Spain. The Fox brand is the most recognized and best selling brand of motocross apparel in the world today. Fox built its business by developing clothing for high intensity, physically demanding motorsport of motocross. Through sponsoring and working closely with the best riders in the history of the sport riders such as Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Damon Bradshaw, Rick Johnson, Mark Barnett, Doug Henry, Jeremy McGrath and Steve Lamson – our company has researched and developed race clothing that provides riders with maximum protection and performance and freedom of movement. For more than three decades Fox has created the best motocross riding apparel in the world, which is able to withstand the elements and the torturous racing conditions that are a major part of motocross.
A.G.V. is an acronym that stands for Amisano Gino Valenza. Gino Amisano is the founder of the company, Valenza Po the city in which AGV came to life in 1947. The logo is nothing other than “Ago”’s helmet as seen from behind. Or rather, the way so many riders would see it while being beaten by the Italian champion. The colours are those of the Italian flag, as to confirm AGV’s great pride of its connection to its homeland. After a few modifications throughout its lifetime, the brand continues to win while being worn by great champions, like Valentino Rossi.
Instead of designing helmets around the outer shell, the AGV STANDARDS start with the rider’s head, which is measured digitally using laser scanning technology. Three-dimensional scanning is a highly-precise technology (to a tenth of a millimetre) that allows one to convert anthropomorphic shapes into digital data and then carry out accurate research on the human physiognomy. This research then becomes the starting point for designing the parts of the helmet which are in contact with the face.
Accurate 3D research into the shape of the face has enabled us to design helmet inner shells and linings in ways never achieved before to obtain a comfort lining that is optimised for different roles, with different foam densities to maintain the aerodynamic position of the helmet, breathable fabrics and anatomical geometries. Combining ergonomic research with measurements of rider posture has allowed us to design the helmet components and visor opening to achieve the fullest field of view toward the horizon.
Having a mathematical model of the helmet in all its parts allows us to perform Finite Elements Method (FEM) analyses which provide computer simulations of a series of crash tests reproducing not only the official approved standards, but the more demanding AGV standards as well. The FEM analysis and its results show whether the helmet structure needs to be modified to achieve the performance required by the AGV Standards. This procedure allows a helmet to undergo a much greater variety of tests many more times than is possible with “real-world” tests because it doesn’t involve the destruction of the shell tested. The protection capacity criteria specified by the new standards are:
HIC = Head Injury Criterion: brain trauma risk related to acceleration.
Rad/s2 = Rotational acceleration criterion which measures the risk of trauma due to tangential impacts on the impact surface.
During this important phase, agv worked and has been working in conjunction with MIPS AB STOCCOLMA e PADUA UNIVERSITY, (Mechanical Engineering, Materials Characterisation).
Troy Lee Design Helmets
What began as a hobby of a motocross racing teenager named Troy Lee, painting helmets in his parents garage for his friends, has grown to become recognized as the premier custom helmet paint shop in the world. TLD is the place where “The World’s Fastest Racers” go when only the best will do.
A Message from Troy
For over 30 years, I have been customizing helmets “For The World’s Fastest Racers.” Our relentless commitment to creating products that exceed the cutting edge style, design and quality, has given us the reputation as an innovator in many different racing fields. Troy Lee Designs has since expanded into a full force operation, offering a product line from helmet visors and graphics, to casual wear and the all new Speed Equipment Racewear.
I have to thank all the amazing athletes that we have worked with over the years, and welcome the new ones that will become part of our team. From F1 to Indy to NASCAR, Motocross to Enduro to Freestyle, Dirt Track to Road Racing, MTB to BMX and on down the line, we have been fortunate to work with the best in the world. We at TLD appreciate the fact that every day the racers get out there and put it all on the line. They are my motivation to hop out of bed every morning and smile all the way to work!
Never in a million years did I think I’d have my own race team. With racing, you’re forced to take the good with the bad, and the emotion is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Just like the sense of fulfillment and achievement I’ve felt creating this business.
I work with amazing people. My passionate and talented employees have created a body of work that has many convinced we’re the most creative and artistic company in all of racing.
I have a wonderful wife who endures the craziness I put her, and probably everyone through. I have two gifted kids Max and Carly, and a new set of twins Dylan and Maya. And I’ve been able to make a living out of the two things I enjoy most: racing and art. They say that great art comes from strong emotion. Well, what I’m feeling right now is about to make my eyes well up.
See you at the races.
– Troy Lee
Shoei is a Japanese company producing motorcycle helmets since 1958. Its roots go back to 1954 with the founding of Kamata Polyester Co., whose first helmets were produced primarily for use in the construction industry.
Shoei’s founder, Eitaro Kamata, began to produce helmets for the motorcycle racing sector and in 1960, the Tokyo factory began to produce the first motorcycle helmets to meet the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS).
In 1965, Honda Motor Co. adopted Shoei’s helmets as their ‘genuine’ helmets, increasing their popularity and availability. The Shoei Safety Helmet Corp. was established in 1968, shortly after construction of the Ibaraki factory. The current Iwate factory was built in 1989.
Despite their success, Shoei remains a relatively small company, with a workforce of under 500 people worldwide.
Shoei sponsors several MotoGP riders, like Chris Vermeulen and Toni Elias.
The name SHOEI has long been synonymous with “premium” in the motorcycle helmet market—a credential that hundreds of loyal men and women in our Japan factories wear with great pride. The evolution and production of our world-class helmet line is a meticulous process that combines the very latest in technology with consumer feedback, modern testing practices, advanced materials, and over 50 years of helmet building experience. Just like the very first SHOEI helmet built by our founder back in 1959, every SHOEI today is still handmade in Japan utilizing a sophisticated process that involves over 50 people for each and every helmet.
ScorpionExo® is, quite simply, the next wave in motorcycle helmet and protective gear design and manufacturing. ScorpionExo® Helmets are engineered by some of the world’s most sought-after helmet designers, with over 178 years of cumulative experience. And their wild, innovative graphic designs are created in hotbeds of extreme-sports creativity all over the world, from Europe to Southern California, to stay two steps ahead in this fast-moving field.
The Scorpion Sports factory (Kido Industrial Co., Ltd.) is a state-of-the-art, 810,000 sq. ft. campus, staffed by as many as 400 skilled technicians, each dedicated to crafting the world’s best protective headgear. Almost every operation needed to create world-class helmets is located on this one amazing facility, including both fiberglass/Kevlar™ and polycarbonate shell molding, EPS liner manufacturing, liner sewing, water-decal production, clean-room paint booths, drying rooms, assembly, packaging and shipping.
Many helmet brands simply private-label helmets purchased from generic mass manufacturers. And most other helmet brands sub-contract major portions of their manufacturing to smaller vendors. Scorpion does not-because we want to control every operation, every detail, to insure optimum quality, confidence-inspiring integrity and utmost efficiency. The driving force behind ScorpionExo® is Mr. Jang Park. Mr. Park who has worked in the motorcycle industry for over 30 years in Europe, the U.S., South America, and Asia. He and Kido are known the world over for highly technical apparel assembly with world-class quality control. He teamed with top helmet engineers in 2002 to build a new state of the art factory in China, using Korean sub-materials and engineering expertise with both America and European designers. His number one goal is to supply premium products for motorcyclists at value prices, what this means for each and every rider is – the highest of quality product at a price we can all afford.
Fly Racing Helmets
Established in 1996, FLY Racing began as a manufacturer of motorcycle handlebars and helmets. Since then, the brand has quickly developed into one of the fastest growing powersports apparel brands in the competitive North American market. FLY Racing products are distributed in 40+ countries worldwide; and in the United States exclusively by Western Power Sports. Offering an extensive lineup of helmets, we make sure our customers have a huge selection of product to fit their needs perfectly. The Formula is a no-excuse high end helmet. A lightweight SNELL/DOT model using top shelf materials; Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, Titanium and microfiber combined with advanced composite technology, the Formula helmet sets the standard for high-end protection, comfort, and style. One ride and you will feel the difference. The F2 Carbon represents race-inspired lightweight helmet technology utilizing lightweight carbon/Kevlar construction. Though it shares many of the same construction features as the leading Formula model, the F2 Carbon has its own unique style and identity. The all-new Three.4 helmet is nothing short of an exotic moto creation. Fluid lines and stylish graphics compliment SNELL M2010 safety. The Three.4 is a helmet that represents next-level comfort and style at an “I-can’t-believe-it” price.
It’s no coincidence that Bell is both the first name in speed and the first name in helmets. Born in the 1950’s California hot rod and racing scene, Bell founder Roy Richter built an entire industry anticipating the unmet needs of those with a speed-hungry disposition. People wanted to drive fast…he corralled all the go-fast parts he could find into the world’s first speed shop. They wanted to race…he built them race cars. And when the need-for-speed started to reveal some grim realities, Roy did something about that too and Bell Helmets was born.
Roy Richter spent his life removing the limits of what was possible—and his unlimited spirit has been Bell’s guiding light for nearly 60 years, earning the admiration, trust and loyalty of generations of champions. Throughout those years nearly every advance on the list of helmet “firsts” were built under Bell’s auspices. That drive to anticipate and create continues, as much a part of Bell’s ethos today as it was back in Roy’s day.
Whether for auto racing, motorcycling or bicycling, Bell is synonymous with instilling confidence and enabling awesomeness. Established 1954, proven ever since.
One Industries Helmets
We began as a small band of riders driven by a common passion and a belief that we could do better. In 1997 the army began assembling in the heart of San Diego, California. First we revolutionized motocross graphics, but we were soon designing and marketing a complete line of innovative products for moto and bike riders.
ONE has been recognized as a world leader in moto graphic kits and seat covers since it was founded. Before long we were delivering industry leading moto gear, moto helmets, moto gloves and casual wear to hard core moto riders all over the world. In 2012 the company added innovative mountain bike gear and mountain bike helmets to our product line for our platoon of gravity junkies.
While the company has grown, our philosophy and focus remain the same. We are driven to make the best possible products for riders. Motocross and downhill mountain bike racing are two of the toughest sports in the world. We have spent countless hours with some of the most talented riders on the track, on the hill and in our design lab testing, tinkering and improving our products. We expect our products to be the best, because we are riders like you who want to be at our best on every ride.
But our products don’t just push the limits of technology, we also design with a style that is powerful and unique. Why? Because we believe every member of the army should look their best when on the podium, in a race, or on a practice ride. So join us on your next ride. And become another rider in the “Army of ONE”.