When I first starting riding road bikes I simply used my brother’s old Bell helmet. It was a good lid, but it was slightly too big and just didn’t fit me well. At the time I had only just convinced (by convinced I mean bought a bike without asking) my then girlfriend (now upgraded to Minister of War and Finance) that road bikes were worth a shot. I soon realized that the big wide world of road riding was for me and it was time to get myself a proper helmet.
At first it was pretty daunting as to what helmet I should get. There are so many brands and they widely vary in price. I decided to spend a bit of money because at the end of the day, your head it pretty hard to replace.
I took the tactic of trying on anything I could get my hands onto. I must have a pretty mong shaped head because most helmets just didn’t feel right…until I tried on the Arai Vector.
As I slipped on the helmet an angelic choir started singing from the heavens. The helmet fit me damn near perfectly. I ended up purchasing a run out Haga edition for $539 and have never looked back.
First off, I like the ‘look’. The helmet has an almost retro look to it and it is further enhanced with an iridium or dark visor.
The lining is soft and pillow like with ample cushioning all-round. I really enjoy this type of finish (it feels sexual on my skin). It’s snug and doesn’t have any uncomfortable protrusions. I find that certain helmets apply pressure in points or there is a lack of cushioning in others, the Arai doesn’t suffer from these traits. One issue some people may mind is the chin guard sits pretty close to your…chin. I personally don’t mind it but I imagine it might bug some people.
The cheek cushions are easily removable (they simply clip in and out with buttons) but annoyingly the top lining is fixed. Not bad if you don’t have a stinky head, but I find it good to be able to remove everything and put it through the wash every now and again.
The visor action is a definite highlight for me. It is completely smooth. This allows you to leave the visor open at any angle and is a joy to use. The only trade off with this system is that is makes changing visors tricky. I ended up watching a YouTube video and have since got it down pat, not after breaking a clip though! There are easier systems out there (Bell’s is fantastic), but I don’t believe many feature the same notch free action and hidden mechanism. The visor locking device can be a little bit fiddly to unlock when the helmet is on, but overall it works ok.
Wearing the helmet, it is light weight, ventilation is good and the vents are very easy to use with gloves on.
I find I don’t have issues with the visor fogging up and I can wear the helmet all day. Noise levels are good but not up to top end standard (this is to be expected though).
The paint work is deep and has stood the test of time. After 5 years I have had minimal wear and tear or scratches.
Overall, I love my Vector. It’s not perfect, but it’s comfortable, light, looks great and the build quality is top notch. It may cost more than the cheaper helmets out there, but you won’t be disappointed.
Keep it OnTheBackWheel…