Club, Endurance and Isle of Man racer, been riding bikes since 1970 something, got the bug sitting on the back of my dad’s 400 Four. First ride was an Italjet followed by RM80 and YZ125 dirt bikes, current bikes range from agricultural to exotic. Writing about bikes for four years.
Arai RX – 7V
I have been testing the new Arai RX-7V - the successor to the RX-7 GP. I have been wearing the RX-7V for over a year now, I picked the helmet up before the launch last November. The only issue I have had in the last year is the usual stone chips and I broke a vent when I dropped it. The vent was repaired at the free Arai service station at Motorcycle Live.
The first thing I noticed when I lifted the helmet from the box is the new visor locking system. The visor locks in place when closed and the new system unlocks and lifts the visor with one simple upward movement.
The Visor opening mechanism is borrowed from the helmets developed for Formula 1. There is an all new variable axis visor system, so when riding the single lever visor operation is simple to use even with a glove and clicks back into place effortlessly. Locked down there is no wind on your face at all and combined with the fabric chin cover nothing gets in. Riding behind a tractor carrying straw was a pleasure as nothing got in to the helmet, I have also used the helmet in the rain and it never got a drop inside the helmet.
After using Pinlock inserts for a number of years I wouldn’t look twice at a helmet that wasn’t compatible with a Pinlock (or equivalent) anti-fog visor insert. It’s great to see a Pinlock included with the 7V but a feature I really like is the recess within the Arai visor to house the anti-fog insert. This allows for a larger insert to be used offering more peripheral vision and is another improvement on the previous models. The RX-7V offers excellent field of vision. The vision above the eye line is great, you can see further ahead without giving yourself neck strain keeping your head up when tucked in. Overall great vision.
The central air intake is now 20mm longer than the RX-7GP and really increases airflow with larger intakes and better seals. The opening controls on the front have been changed, the buttons are bigger and they operate as slide system making it easier to operate when you're wearing gloves. The GP features smaller and more fiddly push buttons. The eight adjustable vents mean you can moderate the airflow and temperature.
I have owned and worn an RX-7GP for three years. I've loved it and have worn it for sports and track riding, especially when I wanted to keep cool but apparently the new RX-7V has 11 per cent more airflow (at 100kph) from the top duct and 19 per cent larger intake scoops.
I can report, the airflow is better through the helmet but without any increase in wind noise. I tested the helmet with and without ear plugs and the wind noise is certainly louder than a touring helmet. The helmet has really well placed pads over the ears which makes it more comfortable and further reduces wind noise. For me, the increased airflow outweighs the disadvantage of extra noise. I always use earplugs when I ride.
The new shell offers slightly more room around the chin area than the previous designs, 3mm to be precise. The extra room is immediately noticeable for those used to the RX-7GP and extremely welcome. The cheek pads are well positioned, combined with the extra chin space I could chew gum without knocking my chin on the front and without biting the inside of my cheeks.
The RX-7V has a rounder shape with a stronger shell. The shape aids aero dynamics, and improves glancing-off which is the ability to dissipate energy. The new helmet does this in three ways. Firstly, the stronger shell means there is less chance the helmet will change shape on impact. Secondly, the outer shell is rounder and therefore easier to slide over surfaces. Finally, the diffusers and ducts are glued to the outer shell so they are designed to snap off on impact which prevents digging in to the surface.
The RX-7V is also lighter than the GP thanks to improved resin which helps contribute to a 30g weight saving.
The old RX-7GP was comfortable, the new RX-7V more so. The interior has a new design and feels super snug straight out of the box. The fully removable interiors will help keeping it box-fresh (with the occasional wash), while the different size interior thicknesses are available should you need a custom fit.
A trick feature is the pull-down chin spoiler, designed to reduce wind noise and turbulence. The GP has this feature but the 7V has an extra fabric section that further reduces noise and turbulence. There is also an air wing between the air vents to fine tune the drag on the helmet.
The mounting point of the visor has been lowered by 24mm. The replacement visor system does improve the structural integrity of lid. On first appearance it’s as complicated as on previous versions. If you are already familiar with Arai this will be a change for you. It took me a few minutes to work it all out but it is really simple, you may need a couple of trial attempts then you will soon get the hang of it. Take care replacing the side pods as they are only held in place by a couple of small hooks.
I have tested the helmet on my commute to work. Sunday morning blasts and it was tested on various tracks. When I used the helmet abroad in higher temperatures it was great to feel the benefit of the high airflow.
£599.99 £100 extra for those with graphics