Review of Arai’s entry-level full face helmet: the Arai Debut.

arai-debut-featured

Arai Debut: a great quality comfortable helmet at Arai’s entry-level price.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way into Arai helmet ownership, then the UK-exclusive Arai Debut is it.

It’s a fibreglass full face helmet that features loads of Arai’s trademark features along with its R75 rounder head shape, designed to promote ‘glancing off’ during an accident.

You can buy a top of the range Arai with prices getting on for a grand, so at a few hundred, the Debut is (relatively!) a steal.

Which you’d think would mean the Debut is probably going to be slightly compromised somewhere. Whether that’s build quality, materials used or some slightly compromised functionality, there’s probably going to be one or two corners cut to keep the price down, right?

So here’s the low down on the Arai Debut – what features it offers and what owners think of theirs…

Best places to buy an Arai Debut?

Please click below to visit the Arai Debut helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Overall/Summary

If you’re after a helmet that’s got that unmistakable Arai look but which won’t max out your credit card, then the Arai Debut is worth checking out.

arai debut gunmetal motorbike helmet side view
Here’s the matt gunmetal Arai Debut

It’s got the same helmet shell shape as all the latest Arai range (called R75), and while the shell itself is Arai’s more basic construction, the EPS isn’t so all in all it should give decent protection (we reckon around 3-4 stars if/when SHARP test it).

For the price, you can expect a few corners to be cut, but then Arai helmets have never been known to throw lots of the latest features and bells and whistles at any of their helmet range – so you’ll not be missing too much in those terms.

It’s not got a fully removable lining, and the ventilation system is nothing to write home about. But it has got a Pinlock anti fog insert in the box and owners reckon it’s mega comfortable too.

But it’s the value for money – a beautifully built Arai with all the attention to detail and quality materials – that many owners particularly love.

So, if you’re after a way into Arai ownership but prefer most of your money folded up in your back pocket, then the Arai Debut is probably the helmet for you.

arai debut motorcycle helmet in diamond white side view
It might be an entry level Arai but it looks very similar to all the others

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

As expected, the Debut uses Arai’s most basic helmet shell construction. It’s still a full fibreglass shell – what Arai calls SFL or special fibre laminate.

It’s just that Arai constructs some of their higher end helmets out of all kinds of fancy complex laminates. But to keep costs down, they’ve made the Debut out of good old fibreglass (albeit with a sprinking of Arai’s home-grown composite-fibre wizardry thrown in).

A quality fibreglass shell will be pretty effective at absorbing impact – plus it’s backed by Arai’s triple density expanded polystyrene shock absorbing liner – the same one as used in many of their much more expensive helmets.

It’s all kept on your head using their usual double-d ring fastener and it’s ACU Gold stickered too meaning you can take it on the track and the marshalls will happily wave you out of the pit lane (not back into the pits).

The visor on the Debut uses Arai’s SAI Max Vision visor – so not only is it nice and wide for maximum peripheral vision, but it also comes with a Pinlock Max Vision insert in the box to keep your vision clear even during the most grotty winter mornings.

Finally, the overall helmet shell is designed – like the rest of the Arai range – to comply with its R75 principles.

That’s where Arai designs their helmets to maximise ‘glancing off’ if a rider has a spill. Which means it’s designed to be as smooth, round and with as few protrusions as possible to help a helmet bounce off a surface rather than gripping and spinning the head.

So all those external bits and pieces like wings and side pods are made to snap off if they hit anything with force rather than dig in.

All that’s fine and dandy. But does it work?

Well, in recent years, Arai’s SHARP test results have been stonking, with four and five star ratings for all their helmets.

arai debut flag UK motorbike helmet rear view
UK Flag version of the Arai Debut. Note: rear spoiler hiding exhaust vents

Which is good news because that’s a maximum or near maximum safety score.

The slightly less good news is that the ‘budget’ Debut tends to use their more basic helmet tech.

But for comparison, there are a few other helmets that used SFL helmet construction – notably the Arai Rebel, the Arai Renegade V and and Chaser X – and they scored three, three and four stars for safety respectably.

So all in all, while the entry-level Arai Debut is a solid but basic helmet in terms of safety features, we’d expect it to score similarly for safety.

It doesn’t have the latest stuff like EQRS or slip-plane internals (like some Bell helmets or 6D helmets do), but Arais are solidly built and we’d expect the Debut to offer decent impact absorption.

As always, if you’d prefer a helmet that’s known to offer excellent impact protection, you can head over to our Safest Motorbike Helmets pages where you’ll find pretty well every current SHARP 4 & 5 star rated helmet reviewed.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Overall, Debut owners seem to rate their helmets slightly above average for noise suppression.

That plush liner combined with the Debut’s reasonably slippery R75 shell shape seem to combine to keep wind rush levels fairly low – though it can get noisy at speed according to a couple of owners (though of course all helmets get noisier the faster you go).

To find other helmets that are recommended for being even quieter than the Debut, visit our quietest helmets pages.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

The Arai Debut has a similar ventilation configuration to quite a few other Arai helmets.

That means a single ventilation panel in the chin bar to direct air towards the mouth and visor, plus there’s a single crown vent with a (slightly tricky to find) small opening slider behind it.

That top vent is supplemented by the two brow vents inset into the visor itself.

arai debut blast hi viz yellow crash helmet side view
After a hi-viz version? This one’s the Debut Blast yellow

All these vents channel air through the helmet shell and through into internal channels to circulate air around the head – exiting out of the dual helmet exhausts to be found under the rear spoiler and the couple near the collar.

According to owners, it seems the ventilation’s about average on the Debut.

You can feel some venting around the scalp though the chin vents send air more towards the face than the rear of the visor.

Thankfully, the visor’s supplemented by the included Pinlock anti-fog insert, so you should be good for all-weather riding without the visor getting fogged.

Visor

(more about visors)

The Arai Debut shares its visor tech with some of Arai’s most expensive race-ready helmets, such as the old RX-7 GP and Chaser V helmets. It’s what Arai calls their SAI max vision visor.

Having said that, they’re mostly obsolete models now so you’re getting slightly last-gen tech with the visor in the Debut.

But it does mean the visor is pretty wide for improved peripheral vision, and it’s Pinlock ready allowing it to take the (supplied) Pinlock Max Vision anti-mist visor insert.

arai debut crash helmet in diamond black rear view
Ever popular Diamond gloss black Arai Debut

Like all Arai’s, there’s a visor lock on there too – so close the visor and it’ll auto lock – push up on the locking tab and it unlocks and opens the visor.

A few owners grumble about this mechanism as it can be fiddly to use – especially in thick winter gloves.

However it does also allow you to crack open the visor for a bit of extra ventilation. And quite a few owners rate the visor system for providing a ratchet-free operation that’ll still let you ride with the visor open at reasonable speeds without the visor slamming shut.

The only other grumble – but this is broadly an Arai wide issue, not just for the Debut – is that the visor can be tricky to swap out.

It’s a slower system than most other brands and requires those side pods pulling off. And a few owners reckon you feel like you’re about to break something when you try and refit it.

It’s OK once you’ve done it a few times, but more than a bit disconcerting when you haven’t!

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Arai has cut costs a bit with the lining of the Debut.

While the cheek pads are removable from the helmet, the rest of the comfort liner is fixed in place. So, if you like to wash your lining regularly, you’re gonna struggle with the Debut.

The cheek pads are contoured (Arai’s FCS or Face Contour System) to improve comfort around the sides of your face, and it has a comfy brushed nylon inner.

But while Arai has cut costs on the Debut’s internals, Debut owners don’t seem to mind.

Everyone we came across rated the fit highly and said it’s a very comfortable helmet with a plush feeling lining.

So I guess while it might be a lower-end liner for Arai, that still means good quality and really comfortable.

Looks & Graphics

The Arai Debut was initially released with just a handful of plain colours – blacks, whites, gunmetal and whatnot. But you can now get it in a range of slightly funkier designs.

arai debut motorbike crash helmet flag italy rear view
Arai Debut in Italian Flag design

That includes some Flag colour schemes – UK, Union, Italian – as well as the Legend range that features a Soltire or St George flag. There’s also a couple of colour options in the Blast and Blaze graphics.

And if any more are released, you should be able to find them by clicking the links to our recommended retailers below where you’ll be taken straight to their Arai Helmets pages.

Best places to buy an Arai Debut helmet?

Please click below to visit the Arai Debut helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Arai Debut Video

Here’s a quick 1m30s look over a pair of plain Arai Debuts from J&S.

Other stuff – weight, audio, warranty

A medium sized Arai Debut weighs around 1.5Kg which is lighter than most helmets in Arai’s range and about average weight for a fibreglass helmet. So weight shouldn’t be a problem – and a couple of Debut owners even reckon it feels light weight when you’re wearing it.

There are speaker pockets inside the Debut and we found one owner who found fitting his Cardo Scala headset was really easy and the speaker pockets were deep enough so they couldn’t feel the speakers.

One of the most common comments we found is that, even through the Debut is Arai’s entry-level helmet, the build quality is still excellent. Materials used and the quality of the paint is consistently praised as being excellent and one of the main reasons people love their helmet.

And which is undoubtedly one of the reasons Arais come with a generous 5 year helmet warranty from date of purchase (or 7 years from date of manufacture).

Good Alternatives to the Arai Debut?

OK, here’s some great alternatives: full face helmets available for around the same money or less than the Debut but with proven performance and safety levels.

Shark Spartan Kraken motorcycle helmet side view
Shark Spartan Kraken

First up is the full carbon version of the cool Shark Spartan 2 – that’s a SHARP 4 star safety rated and light weight full face helmet with pinlock in the box as well as a drop down sun visor.

hjc-fg-st-motorcycle-crash-helmet-punisher-graphics-side-view-visor-up
HJC FG-ST

Or there’s the HJC FG-ST. This is a great all rounder helmet that’s been rated a maximum 5 stars for safety, comes with a Pinlock and sun visor and is a ton cheaper than the Arai.

shoei-rf-sr-or-ryd-matt-black-side-view
Matt black Shoe RYD

If you’re wanting a helmet with the same kudos as the Arai, then the Shoei Ryd is an excellent SHARP 5 star rated helmet that’s got EQRS and well liked by most owners. It’s got great build quality too and is available for around the same as the Debut.

LS2-FF323-Arrow-C-Solid-Carbon-Crash-Helmet
LS2 Arrow-C

If you’re after a helmet for a sportsbike, you might want to take a look at the LS2 Arrow (especially the lightweight carbon version). It’s SHARP 4 star rated, has a class A optically correct visor with Pinlock and really good all-round vision for your sportsbike.

Best places to buy an Arai Debut?

Please click below to visit the Arai Debut helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Other full face helmets?

We've got lots of other ways you can find your ideal full face helmet. You can check out our Top 10 full-face crash helmets list to see our best rated helmets or head over to our Smartish Filters pages and zoom in on helmets with your 'must have' features. You can browse through all our full face crash helmet reviews as well as our safest motorcycle helmets page where you'll only find helmets that are SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there. Finally, check out our helmet gallery to find a lid that takes your fancy.

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