If you ride motorcycles, you’ll have heard of Arai Helmets. But do you know its history?
SPECIALIST SPOTLIGHT: (almost) everything you need to know about Arai

Arai’s built a reputation for offering some of the best head protection available on the market. But how did it get to be the globally recognised brand it is today?

Back in the 1950s Hirotake Arai created a helmet purely for his own protection. He wasn’t thinking about business – he just wanted to keep his noggin safe. He didn’t have choice, because it was incredibly difficult to get your hands on a helmet in Japan back then – there were no manufacturers and as the country was a closed market, it was nearly impossible to import one.

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Then he made a few helmets for his friends – and came up with his own testing standards and equipment. That was the start of Arai as a helmet manufacturer. It wasn’t his intention to create a commercial business – instead he was focused on creating helmets that were able to protect his fellow riders. And that’s an ethos that still drives Arai’s work to this day.

Alongside comfort, ventilation, aerodynamics, low weight and low noise – Arai focuses on the most import function of a helmet – protection.

For Arai, industry safety standards are the starting point, not the goal. While acknowledging standards are important to set minimum criteria, just “good enough” has never been quite enough for Arai. It strives to go further. And to do that, it focuses on impact absorption and glancing off.

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There’s a reason why Arai’s helmets are round and smooth. It’s to allow them to slide across uneven surfaces and glance off obstacles – in turn minimising rotation. The Japanese factory has decades of lessons learned on the road and racetrack, which reinforce the simple truth that a rounder, smoother and stronger shell is better able to divert impact energy by sliding across uneven surfaces and glancing off obstacles more easily. It might sound obvious, but it’s not. The end result is the current Arai shell shape. It’s basically an egg – the strongest shape found in nature.

Impressively, every Arai helmet is handmade – and it’s a meticulous process which combines the latest technology with nearly 70 years of old-world craftsmanship. In short, it knows what it’s doing. Ok, so its helmets aren’t cheap – but if you want the highest level of protection for your head that’s been proven to be one of the best, time after time, you know who to trust.

Ross Mowbray

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