Arai says its new helmet, the DT-X, gets the first half of its name from “Down Town.” But it’s the X on the end of the name that’s the real reason to take notice.
That X signifies more than meets the eye. It ties this new helmet in with the Signet-X, the Quantum-X and most importantly the Corsair-X. The Corsair-X is the helmet you see on half a dozen riders on the MotoGP or World Superbike grids. The Corsair-X is a super-aggressive design that’s made to live on the track, however. Its venting works best in a full tuck position at a minimum of a 140 mph, not in an upright or three-quarters riding position at 60 or 70 mph. And at a starting price close to $800, it’s not inexpensive. But what if you bring some of the Corsair tech and fit to the street?
That’s where the DT-X comes into Arai’s line. At just above the $500 mark, it is the step up from the Vector 2, costing about $80 more than the Vector 2 and $80 less than the Quantum-X and Signet-X. Like the entry-level Vector 2, the DT-X provides the intermediate oval head shape that is the Goldilocks of helmet fits for the largest number of North American riders.
The DT-X gets the Peripherally Belted part of Arai’s PB-SCLC tech, which reinforces the outer shell structure and has been part of the “X” helmets higher up the food chain but doesn’t make it into the Vector 2. The DT-X also receives an upgrade to the VAS-V shield system, along with many of the features you’ve come to appreciate, like 5 mm peel-away layers (which debuted in the Vector 2, for those keeping score) in the cheeks and temples to allow you to fine tune the fit, brow vents that route cool air to the temples, etc.
Realizing that these are less than prosperous times for the motorcycle industry, Arai took a practical look at ways to keep costs in check. Reinforcing the theme that this is not a race helmet, but a street helmet, the Pinlock insert is now offered separately, as is the large chin skirt. The neck roll is not removable (not a big deal) and the cheek pads are not emergency release (could be a slightly bigger deal).
But as with all Arai helmets you have to put one on to really understand what it all means. Then you begin to understand why being hand-built is important and how it makes a difference. The quality of materials also makes a difference. Features such as vents that don’t feel like an afterthought and having a shield without detents that still stays where you put it are the details that make Arai who they are.
Arai used to be the most expensive helmets on the market 20 years ago when I started riding. Even Shoei helmets were less money back then. Arai has continued to hone the craft, continued to evolve and improve with each new model. Now, other helmet makers are breaking the $1,000 even $1,500 threshold, but it’s hard to see where the money is being spent once you put a few miles down in a DT-X.