ARAI RX-Q in Hi-Viz

Arai RX-Q Helmet - Hi-Viz Fluorescent YellowArai RX-Q Helmet – Hi-Viz Fluorescent Yellow

I have been riding around with my new Arai RX-Q helmet all season and I am now well prepared to give a rider report.. The Arai RX-Q is a replacement for my five year old Arai Corsair RX-7. I replace my helmets every five years because the oils in your scalp over time weaken the foam core inside the helmet. Most manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet no later than every five years.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I jumped on the Arai RX-Q after I found out that this new helmet release was being made in Hi-Viz. The Hi-Viz really works and I recommend it to everyone. Sure, I know helmet choice is often about looks and style and Hi-Viz may not be the look that everyone is going for. I get that. But I get the feeling that the world is slowly ratcheting its way in the direction of safety and visibility. I recently read that French motorcyclists are going to be required to wear H-Viz Jackets within the next couple of years. I need to find out more about that.

My new Arai RX-Q is a bit on the pricey side but I can only echo Arai’s older ad campaign and say “what’s your brain worth.” The quality of the Arai RX-Q is evident throughout and I have only one complaint about the helmet – more about that later. I think the thing that I like the most is that it is by far the quietest helmet I have ever ridden with. Wind noise is substantially diminished in the ARAI RX-Q although I still wear my ear plugs. The cheek pads (although a bit rougher in feel than my old Arai Corsair RX-7) are designed in such a way that they really wrap around your face. The feel is snug without being constricting. The cheek pads are, of course, removable and washable and it is possible to pull them out and remove some adjustment bits of foam to make the fit right for you: you can also just replace them with varying size fitments to get it just right for your skull bone.

The Face shield on the Arai RX-Q is of the standard Arai SAI variety that you find across the line. It is a thick and very clear shield and there is nothing flimsy about it – after all its Arai here. The peripheral vision is wider with these SAI setups too. If I have one complaint about this helmet it is in the way that the face shield comes off and on. Mind you though this is a complaint I have about every face shield I have encountered so it is not necessarily Arai specific. There is a YouTube video of a guy popping an Arai SAI face shield off and on like it was nothing. I don’t know how he does it. For me the process is awkward and cumbersome and I am thankful that I don’t do it very often. I ride with polarized sunglasses so my need to swap out face shields is minimal: I just pull them to clean them.

The rest of the helmet build on the Arai RX-Q is a blessing indeed. The vents pop open and shut with a gloved hand with ease and I really like way that they have positioned them. My old Arai Corsair RX-7 had a vent in the forward, top, middle of the helmet (up front between the left and right roof vents.) That vent is gone in the Arai RX-Q and with it is gone some of the whistling that I had when I tilted my head back a bit. Voila, gone. Instead the new Arai RX-Q has these nifty vents incorporated into the top of the face shield and they extend into the helmet – again, easily flickable with a gloved hand.

I haven’t had the opportunity to do much rainy weather testing on the new helmet yet but that will be coming up in no time at all: where did the summer go?

All in all I have to say that this Arai RX-Q is the best helmet I have ever owned (no, really!) and I expect it to last me for another five years. As far as visibility goes, well I had some friends who saw me five blocks back ahead at night in busy downtown traffic and they picked me right out. That’s exactly what I am looking for in visibility. – To see and be seen.

Gerde Applethwaite

Introducing the Brand New Icon Airmada Helmet!

The Icon Airmada helmet is available in a wide array of different graphics and solids and we think it is about time Icon released a new model jam-packed with upgrades.

Icon Airmada Stack Helmet - Hi-Viz Yellow

We all know helmet fit is important and the Airmada has so many options that give riders a better, more personalized fit.  Icon gave the Airmada a new low profile shell that comes in four separate sizes made out of polycarbonate.  The dual density EPS liner is an oval shape and comes in five additional sizes.  Getting plenty of ventilation in this helmet will not be a problem.  The SuperVent system has been improved with exhaust ports across the helmet.

To sum up this awesome new helmet: the Icon Airmada is bringing rider comfort to a whole new level!

Getting Ready to Ride in the Rain

Here at Helmet City we are already thinking about the upcoming rainy season. The riding weather is superb right now but we are always getting new gear in and that makes us take another look at the options. I have a history of ignoring the ATGATT dictum and as a consequence I have a small compendium of soaked-and-cold-to-the-bone stories to tell around the campfire.

One of the more miserable events was the time i was riding through France (North to South) during the Bol D’Or Weekend. It was late summer and I thought I would be fine with just a leather jacket, boots and jeans: oh, I was so wrong.  Not long into the journey the sky grayed up and the temp. started to drop. I could see it coming and about the time that you could smell the rain in the air a mist started to fog up my face shield. I figured the road would start to get slick as the water brought up the oil on the expressway so I slowed down.

I looked for a place to pull over in order to snug up my jacket but figured it could wait until I got gas. By the time I pulled into the massive super station I was drenched. There were bikes everywhere as it was one of France’s biggest Moto weekends.  I looked around at the assembled crowd clustered around the filling pumps and I was the only fool in a leather jacket and jeans. Rain Water sloshed in my boots and now that I had something else to focus upon other than keeping the bike upright I started to shake from the cold. I still had many more wet miserable miles to go before I made it to my campsite.

Everyone else at the petrol emporium was either wearing some sort of multi-season gear and just going on about their business or they were tearing into their bags for rain-specific outer coverings. I ached with envy and swore I would never do another ride without thinking through the whole rainy weather scenario.

I am slightly embarrassed, after laying out the story above, to say that I have yet to get it sussed. I do have the boot thing sorted with my new Sidi On-Road boots. Nice. Here’s what I figure: I can either get a nice multi-season jacket and wear it along with the reasonably water resistant textile overpants I am fond of riding in these days or I can go for the small folded-up  rain suit rig that scrunches down under the seat or into a panier or tank bag. They both have their advantages. There are also the full suit options.  I had one once back in the mid-eighties and it was extraordinarily comfy in all but the hottest weather.

This season I am trying to plan ahead and find myself touring through our wet weather options. We have a section of the website dedicated to a collection of our rain gear offerings. If I shift some tools around under the seat I think I may have room for a small scrunchable rain suit. So, the master plan at the moment is to get something that lives under the seat all the time and then look more closely at my rain jacket/pant or rain suit options. This setup will have me covered in all possible scenarios and avoids the potential for future sad sack gas station shivering.

I currently have a couple of Tourmaster jackets and I am happy with their fit, workmanship and price.  So, I think my choice for rainsuit (oversuit) type rain gear is going to be either their full suit, the Elite II or their Sentinel Jacket and pants set. Both of these Tourmaster rain suit options are designed to be worn over your riding jackets and pants. None of the Toumaster rain gear clothing comes in hi-viz but amongst their many color offerings there is a bright yellow. Again, I wonder why these gear manufacturers are not putting out more hi-viz riding wear.

The other possibility I am considering is a jacket and pants combo that is designed as rain gear but is not an over-suit.  Although it is a bit costy I really like the looks of the Icon Patrol in their Hi-viz, mil. Spec. yellow. The Icon Patrol duo is loaded with features not the least of which are their magnetic storm flap closures, full CE armor and even a water bladder option.

On trips when I know I am going to be heading out into inclement weather the  hi-viz Icon Patrol would seem to be the way to go for me. The thought that they put into this set up really shows and if I am riding in nasty weather I want to be seen on the road. Then again there will be plenty of times down the road when I get caught out in the rain as I did in France. The Toumaster Sentinel or elite setups would be easy to pack and to don when the sprinkles start.  I will let you know what I decide and I’ll do a wetness test at the advent of this year’s rainy season.

Gerde Applethwaite.

Sidi Vortice Hi-Viz Yellow/Black Boot Hits the US

After Sidi released a photo of Andrea Dovizioso holding the Sidi Vortice hi-viz yellow/black boots they received so much positive feedback that they decided to release them in the US.  There is no doubt that hi-viz motorcycle gear is growing in popularity, so it only makes sense to make the Sidi Vortice boots in the hi-viz yellow/black color combination available to everyone.

Who’s Andrea Dovizioso? Let me give you a brief history of his career.  Dovizioso debuted in the 125 class race in 2001, then went on to seize the 125cc World Championship Title in 2004. Ever since Dovizioso has proved himself as a top racer. After a long career with Honda he is now teaming up with Yamaha in hopes of a new adventure, all while wearing Sidi boots.

Here is what Andrea Dovizioso had to say about the new Sidi Vortice boots, “I know about the quality and technical value of Sidi boots, and now I’m happy to get the chance to wear them in competition. My first impression is really good, because right away Vortice comes off as a high performance boot that nonetheless doesn’t sacrifice solutions studied to insure safety to the rider’s feet. The first tests of the season in Sepang will be important to fine tune the bike, but also to put some touches on my new Vortice boots. Boots are fundamental to a rider because they are a unifying fulcrum between man and motorcycle.”

Sidi Vortice Boots give riders the best protection money can buy and offers the patented Tecno VR adjustable calf system that can only be found in one other boot, the Sidi Vertigo.  An adjustable Tecno Knob allows riders to evenly close and wrap the internal mono-filament line around the calf for a perfect fit.  The shifter pad ensures that the plastic qualities will not change in high/low temperatures and provides a consistent feel due to the molded DuPont Techno-polymers.

Sidi Vortice Boots - Hi-Viz Black/Yellow

Although the Vortice hi-viz yellow/black boots will not be available in the perforated air model, they do feature a closeable vent system on the toe and vents on the side of the foot.  If you prefer the perforated air model then check out the Vortice Air boots available in black and white.

We believe the Sidi Vortice in hi-viz yellow/black will be the new ultimate sport-on road boots and will go fast.  Make sure to check out the Vortice boots before they are gone and order yours today!

Conspicuity: The Value of Hi Viz

Arai RX-Q Helmet – Hi-Viz

When I geared up for this season the biggest item I bought was a new helmet.  I have been riding with either Shoei or Arai helmets now for more years than I care to count. It is no surprise then that this year when I needed a new helmet to replace my 5 year old Arai Corsair I popped for the Arai RX-Q Hi-Viz.  When I found out that Arai had a HI-Viz helmet that fit my head I didn’t hesitate. I have been slowly heading toward Hi-Viz for a while. When you watch the Olympics the shoes that leap off of your hi-def screen are those yellow green Hi-Viz track shoes. I recently bought a set of work gloves at the big box hardware emporium and among them was a pair of bright yellow gloves. Up until now I had never seen bright yellow work gloves. Hi-viz is slowly (too slowly, I think) starting to infiltrate our visual awareness.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I ride a bicycle as well as a motorcycle. Over the last few years I have been slowly adding reflective stickers to my bike helmets and I am now  riding with a worker type lime green safety vest. All of the gear I buy now will likely be Hi-Viz.

There are just too many idiots on cell phones now and too many distracted drivers for me to not to take the whole conspicuity thing seriously. I am not preaching to the unconverted. If you think that lime yellow/green gear just isn’t for you then there are lots of safe(r) options out there for you in terms of new gear. I just want to be seen as far away and by as many drivers as possible . Its that simple.

I’m not the only one thinking this way. My copy of David Hough’s 2nd edition “Mastering the Ride” arrived not too long ago. It was on reserve for a couple of months awaiting the July release date.  Its great. I recommend it because it really starts a decent discussion about how to save your own life when you are riding.  If you live in the Bay Area you have the advantage of access to both Friction Zone magazine and Citybike. Both of these are motorcycle rider publications and both of them just had articles relating to David Hough and to riding safety. Its on the minds of a lot of folks these days and there is no better ambassador than Hough.  This book is the followup to his excellent “Proficient Motorcycling” and they are both great.

On page 91 of ‘Mastering the Ride’ (available at:  he talks about the importance of being seen when you ride and the importance of conspicuity gear. Here is a part of what he has to say:
” One of the conclusions if the Olson Report was that wearing a brightly colored (they call it “fluorescent”) jacket was very effective, especially a jacket in the bright-green spectrum.  For whatever reasons, having a brightly colored fairing was not as effective as wearing a brightly colored “upper-torso garment.” For riding at night, the report showed considerable benefit in having reflective panels in the riding jacket.”

“… Hi-viz Lime Yellow “jumps out” on a primal level because it is not naturally occurring, and because the human eye is most sensitive to light in this part of the spectrum. (The eye is least receptive to red and black.) The brightest color possible under visible light, Hi-Viz Lime Yellow is more effective than fluorescent colors which, because of their chemical makeup are dependent on the UV radiation in sunlight to “glow,” making them less effective at night and in vehicle headlights.  The piercing Hi-Viz lime Yellow carries plenty of visual “punch” even under incandescent and low-light conditions.”

I cannot recommend the Hough books more highly. I am fond of my Arai RX-Q Hi-Viz helmet and will write up some of my thoughts about it in another blog post. Get out there – and be seen.

Gerde Applethwaite

Arai Signet-Q Helmet

Arai Signet-Q Helmet:

The Arai Signet-Q was designed for the long oval head shape. You will find that the new Arai helmets have the SAI face shield which adds a wider eyeport to the tune of 5 millimeters per side of peripheral vision. Arai has grappled with the problem of fogged up face shields and has designed, in conjunction with the Dutch Pinlock firm, the Arai-Pinlock fog-free face shield which is standard on the Signet-Q.

The Arai Signet-Q is designed for an upright or 3/4 upright riding position and the fully adjustable chimney and rear vents work perfectly in that position. The Signet-Q helmet is loaded with all sorts of clever vents not the least of which is the brow vent system that is fully adjustable and is designed to channel air onto the temporal arteries for efficient cooling. Up in the front of the Signet-Q you will find Arai’s universally thoughtful touches: there is the three position chin vent and the retractable chin spoiler both of which can be easily manipulated with a gloved hand.

Lastly, the Arai Signet-Q is extraordinarily quiet and that comes down to the removable, washable, moisture wicking cheek pads. Again you see the countless hours of designing that have gone into a Signet-Q cheek pad set that is adjustable to fit your face type and will fit your head snugly yet comfortably enough to keep the helmet in place and substantially reduce wind whistling.

New Arai CT-Z Open Face Helmet!

The brand newArai CT-Z helmet will be replacing the revolutionary XC-RAM adding to its long list of exceptional features.  Expected to be released this fall, the CT-Z open face helmet is Snell rated with a simple organic shell shape.

Arai CT-Z Helmet - Black Frost
Featuring the latest Facial Contour System, the CT-Z improves overall comfort with minimal pressure on the head.  The cheek pad design gives riders secure support and reduces sound with noise absorbing foam.  Removable and replaceable liner helps achieve the best possible fit.

Superb ventilation extracts heat build up from inside the helmet.  The Arai CT-Z features a fixed air-wing that reduces lift at high speeds.  A vented neck roll takes airflow from around the neck to increase ventilation even more.

Arai CT-Z Helmet - Black Frost

The Arai CT-Z helmet is perfect for those morning commuters.   For those long rides heading into the sun, an adjustable peak offers protection from the bright sun.  The new CT-Z will enhance your overall riding experience, so make sure to check it out! Available in four colors: Black Frost, Diamond Black, Diamond White and Aluminum Silver.