Arai’s take on an a retro 1980’s helmet: the Arai Rapide/Concept-X.

arai-rapide-concept-x-featured

Arai Rapide/Concept-X classic retro full face motorbike helmet review.

Note: it was originally launched as the Arai Rapide but I guess there have been naming issues in some countries which have switched to the Concept-X or Concept-XE name. It appears to be an identical helmet though.

Even staid old Arai – that most traditional of helmet makers – are starting to get in on the classic/retro helmet act.

And in the case of the Arai Rapide, they’re doing it with style. It’s all in the eye of the beholder of course, but you have to say, the Arai Rapide is a great looking helmet.

arai rapide modern grey retro motorbike helmet side view
Modern Grey version of the Arai Rapide

The thing about retro helmets though, is that they’re usually a compromise.

Modern helmets are all about performance and utility – with style. Whereas retro helmets are usually about the looks and style first and usability second.

Which can compromise how easy they are to live with.

Helmet brands are increasingly trying to make retro helmets that don’t compromise – like the Simpson Venom. Unfortunately, they don’t always manage it.

Having said that, Arai says the Rapide is based on their modern day helmet tech. It’s just that they’ve added period design features like that series of (closable) vents in the chin bar and a brutalist visor plate on the side to give it a real retro 1980’s feel.

So, if you’re looking for a helmet that’s a little different but gives modern day performance, then here’s all you need to know about the Arai Rapide.

Best places to buy an Arai Rapide/Concept-X?

Please click below to visit the Arai Rapide/Concept-X 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

The Arai Rapide hasn’t yet been independently safety tested by anyone yet so we’re in the dark about the exact level of protection it’ll give. Though it has been ECE 22.05 tested/approved (it launched before the 22.06 standard was introduced).

arai rapide number retro motorbike helmet rear view
This is a Rapide in Number graphic

What we can say is that based on recent SHARP tests of Arai helmets, we’d expect it to give decent protection.

Arai visors can be a bit fiddly to use – and the Rapide’s no different – but the included Pinlock antifog’s great and most owners get the hang of them pretty quickly.

Inside, the internals are based on tried and tested designs/materials and are incredibly comfortable according to owners. And the quality of materials and finish is second to none.

And despite looking like it shouldn’t vent very well, it’s surprisingly effective. So too is noise suppression, making the Rapide one of the quietest Arais on the market.

That’s all fantastic to hear and makes the Rapide a great helmet to live with. And that’s despite many owners admitting to buying one just because of its great looks!

Like most hand-built Arai helmets, it’s not the cheapest. But then hand built gear has never come cheap. And besides, that’ll just make it a more exclusive accompaniment to your retro ride.

So, the Arai Rapide looks great, is mega comfortable, vents well and is really well built. OK there’s some great alternatives out there too (you’ll find some at the bottom of this page and on our Retro Helmets Page) but if you like the looks and have the dosh, it’s a great performing and stylish lid – go for it.

Safety

 (more about helmet safety)

The Arai Rapide uses the same PB e-cLc helmet tech that’s used on the Arai Profile V.

That’s Arai’s own special fibreglass composite mix coupled with their peripheral belt that strengthens the shell in a band above the eye port.

It’s got the same overall shape of most other Arai’s too – their R75 rounder shape which they reckon (without any real evidence I can find) will cause the helmet to better glance off surfaces thereby reducing injury.

arai rapide gloss black motorbike helmet front view
Gloss Black Arai Rapide

So how do Arai’s rate for protection?

Well, they’re generally quite good. After a few years in the doldrums, they seem to be getting their act together and – at the time of writing – they’re actually number 1 in our Top 10 Safest Helmet Brands list.

Although that list doesn’t yet take into account some of their more recent test scores – including the much more average SHARP 3 star Renegade V.

Looking at the data from SHARP (who test helmets independently in the UK) their last five tested fibreglass helmets scored an average of 3.8 stars out of 5, with only the Arai QV Pro scoring top marks.

Most of these tested helmets use Arai’s special fibre laminate construction, so maybe aren’t 100% directly comparable to e-cLc helmets. But they look to share many of the same components and they’re all essentially fibreglass-based helmets.

So maybe we can expect the Arai Rapide to score something similar? My guess would be 3 stars but possibly 4 if SHARP was to test it. Obviously, that’s an educated guess looking at past performance.

arai rapide motorbike helmet in gloss white side view
And here’s the gloss white version

That helmet shell is made in three shell sizes – which is great for enhancing protection as well as optimising fit and looks.

Apart from the shell, Arai has given the Rapide a Pinlock visor and includes a Pinlock Max Vision in the box – so you shouldn’t suffer from a fogging visor if you buy a Rapide.

That visor has Arai’s usual visor lock on there too, made to stop the visor opening on the road or after an impact.

It’s reasonably easy to use: it locks automatically when you close the visor bit it’s easy to unlock and open the visor with one hand.

And finally on safety, Arai’s also included emergency quick release cheek pads (EQRS) in the Rapide, which is a no-brainer for safety these days. Especially when you’re paying over £400 for a helmet.

So overall, we can’t be sure exactly how protective the Rapide will be without it being safety tested. But Arai has a good reputation overall, and there’s enough safety features on the Rapide for you to be pretty confident it’ll do a decent job when you need it.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Arai helmets have usually been very much in the middle of the pack when it comes to making a quiet helmet.

Maybe that’s because they’ve historically put less emphasis on aero than other makers, with their helmets all complying with their R75 ’rounder is better’ design philosophy. Or maybe it’s just they focus on other things and noise suppression is very much an afterthought.

Whatever it is, they’ve bucked the trend with the Arai Rapide because owners seem to be surprised at how quiet it is.

OK, that’s not out-and-out saying it’s a quiet helmet. And the Rapide is still an R75 rounder helmet. But I guess because it’s got fewer air vents on it than most Arai’s to keep that old school uncluttered retro look, that probably means there’s fewer ways noise can get inside the lid.

So, whether it’s good design or a lucky consequence, lots of Rapide owners seem to reckon it’s either quiet for an Arai or quieter than their last helmets. Overall, feedback is good, so we’ll add the Rapide into our Quetest Helmets list too – where you’ll find all the other quieter helmets we’ve looked at.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

While the actual helmet shell looks devoid of vents, that’s not totally the case because if you look closely, there’s a pair of brow vents in the top of the visor.

These two vents actually take air inside the helmet shell and channel it over the top of the head to bring cool air into the helmet. They then vent warm air at the rear of the helmet through a couple of always-open exhaust vents and a hidden exhaust vent in the neck roll.

arai rapide modern grey retro helmet front view
Modern Grey Rapide showing visor and chin bar vents

For venting to the face, there’s the obvious six vent slots in the chin bar. And while they look like they’ll be always open, you can actually close them from inside the helmet using a large slider.

That’s not going to be adjustable while you’re on the move but it lets you keep a nice uncluttered look on the outside of the helmet while being able to close them off when it gets cold or rainy.

Retro helmets are often a bit of a compromise when it comes to venting, and many do without vents in the helmet just to keep the looks clean. So Arai’s done a good job with the Rapide, keeping uncluttered lines outside but subtly including ventilation.

And the good news is that Rapide owners seem to reckon the venting system’s really good.

Not only does it push plenty of air into the mouth area and onto the back of the visor (as you’d expect with those six chin bar vents) but also giving decent amounts of airflow to the head as well. Good job Arai.

Visor

(more about visors)

Unlike most Arai helmets, Arai’s removed their trademark side pods to give the visor mechanism on the Rapide a bit more of an industrial look.

But it does mean that if you want to quickly swap the visor over, it’ll take a bit more fiddling with those two screws on either side before you can pull it off. Not a massive hassle in the scheme of things, but certainly more fiddly than the latest quick release visors.


A couple of useful links…

All our Arai helmet reviews
Retro and classic helmets


What is welcome is that Arai has made the visor Pinlock-ready and include a Pinlock Max vision antifog insert in the box.

Pinlock’s are pretty much essential kit when riding in the UK or anywhere it gets cold/rainy or even humid. So that’s a big thumbs up.

And if you like a visor that doesn’t work on a ratchet, then that’s another thumbs up for the Rapide as it’ll open to whatever point you put it without the need for a ratchet.

arai rapide ha yellow motorcycle helmet side view
Striking Rapide HA design, named after the Arai founder, Hirotake Arai

Like all Arai helmets, there’s a visor lock on the left hand side of the visor which is also where you’ll find the visor opening tab.

When you close the visor, it auto-locks, meaning you have to release the lock to open the visor.

That can be a sticking point for people that’re new to Arai helmets. They can be pretty fiddly until you get used to them – some folks find them OK and get the hang of easily pushing up on the locking mechanism to release the catch and open the visor in one fluid movement.

Other Arai owners, not so much.

Having that catch on the left does limit the visor to a single opening tab on the left hand side though. That’s a very common setup, but it’s not as handy as having a tab on both sides so you can release the visor with your throttle hand when stopped.

While Arai doesn’t make any claims about making a wide visor, a couple of owners have said there’s plenty of peripheral vision with the Rapide. So while it does look like a pretty narrow visor port, it seems it does give quite a wide view of the road.

A couple more said it seals really well against the elements too which is good to hear for UK riders.

All in all then, it’s the usual story for an Arai visor. They’re a bit more fiddly in some respects than most visors but overall most Rapide owners get used to them and they work well.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Inside the Arai Rapide is a typically comfy and well made Arai comfort liner.

It’s antimicrobial and adjustable, with peel-off cheek and temple pads that allow you to tailor the fit if things are too tight. And if you still find the fit isn’t totally right, Arai does sell replacement larger/smaller cheek pads too.

arai rapide number brown retro motorbike helmet rear view
Not many brown helmets around. So if you’ve got a brown bike… this is the Number graphic in brown

Unlike many Arai helmets of old that were longer fitment inside, the Arai Rapide suits slightly less long, more medium oval head shapes (so should suit most of us).

The liner is of course fully removable and washable and the cheek pads have been fitted with EQRS (meaning they should be really easy to remove by pulling the red tabs on the bottom of the helmet) and are designed for use by emergency services to help remove the helmet from your head without disturbing your head/neck too much after an accident.

Hopefully you’ll never need them, but well worth having just in case.

And to say that Arai Rapide owners reckon their helmet is mega comfortable seems to be a bit of an understatement. OK, it goes without saying that you need to have the right sort of headshape in the first place, so if you’ve a really long/thin head you’ll probably struggle with an Arai Rapide, for example.

But, owners seem to rate the comfort of the Rapide extremely highly saying things like ‘it fits like a glove’ and ‘it’s just the perfect sizing’ with amazing regularity.

And as they say, having a helmet that fits well and is comfortable are probably the top two most important factors to making a helmet that offers great protection. So, although it hasn’t been SHARP tested yet (which is why we’ve scored it a default 3 stars for safety – which isn’t far off Arai’s average SHARP rating across all tested helmets if you look at the data), that’s gotta be a big thumbs up for the Rapide in terms of helmet safety.

While researching what owners think of their Rapides, we only found a couple of glasses wearers talking about their helmets. The good news is that both reckoned the Rapide works great with their specs.

And finally, the Arai Rapide is available in sizes XS-XL.

Looks & Graphics

If you’re thinking of buying an Arai Rapide, we’ve sprinkled all the graphics available at the time of writing up and down the page. If any others are released, you’ll find the latest colour schemes and designs by clicking the links below to visit the Rapide pages at our recommended retailers.

arai rapide gloss black motorbike helmet side view
Side view of the gloss black Rapide

As usual for Arai helmets, you’ll always find a plain gloss and matt (Frost) black version as well as a gloss white. And there’s also a mid grey Rapide called Modern grey.

As for graphics, there’s just a couple – the HA Rapide, named after the initials of Arai’s founder Hirotake Arai and available in blue, green and yellow variants.

And there’s also the striking Number design, in blue, white or brown (!) – but that’s it (for now).

Best places to buy an Arai Rapide/Concept-X?

Please click below to visit the Arai Rapide/Concept-X 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 Rapide Video

Here’s a good 8m video taking a look at a green Arai Rapide HA: a look around the helmet as well as riding with it on UK roads.

Other stuff – fasteners, audio, weight, quality, warranty

Like motorbike helmets of yore, the Arai Rapide comes with a tried-and-tested double-d ring fastener. It’s a safe-as-houses, low tech solution that should keep your helmet on securely.

arai rapide number retro motorbike helmet in blue side view
Here’s the blue Rapide Number

If you want to fit a bluetooth headset to your Rapide, Arai has added some speaker pockets inside. Several owners reckon they’re good sized pockets and we’ve heard from owners who managed to fit Sena systems without a problem – including an SF4 and a 10u.

The Rapide weighs around 1.5Kg (3.4lbs) which is about bang on average weight for a fibreglass full face helmet. It not the lightest helmet out there, but it’s light enough to not cause any weight problems and to be all day comfortable.

Like all Arai’s, the Rapide isn’t the cheapest lid you could buy! People buy Arai’s expecting a high quality helmet for the price – and you shouldn’t be disappointed if you buy a Rapide. Heaps of owners go all misty-eyed when talking about the level of finishing and quality of materials used. All in all – it’s reported to be first class.

Like all Arai helmets, the Rapide comes with a massive 5 year warranty (7 years from date of manufacture – which you should find printed inside the helmet).

Crash Helmet Buying Guides & Top 10s

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various Motorcycle Helmet Buying Guides - or have a look at our Top 10 best helmet lists where we've got the top 10 best rated helmets overall along with Top 10 Best Budget/Top 10 Safest/Top 10 Best Full Face/Top 10 Best Modular/Flip-up/ Top 10 Best Sportsbike/Track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Arai Rapide?

You’ll find all the retro and classic inspired helmets we’ve checked out on our Retro helmets pages. But here’s our pick of the crop that you could do with checking out.

shoei glamster resurrection white retru crash helmet side view
Shoei Glamster Ressurection in white

First up, Shoei’s Glamster is looking like being a quality 70’s inspired alternative. It’s got EQRS, Pinlock and a quality fibreglass shell too and it really looks the part but with modern underpinnings.

simpson ghost bandit solid matt black crash helmet side view
Matt black Venom

The Simpson Venom is half retro/half current – and it’s certainly distinctive. It’s also SHARP 4 star safety rated, lighter than the Rapide and costs less.

Bell eliminator outlaw motorbike helmet red black front view
Bell Eliminator in Outlaw design

The Bell Eliminator is an auto-inspired retro that’s a real looker, with a bit of retro quirkiness built in. It’s light weight too and comes with an optically correct visor.

agv-x3000-ago-retro-helmet-front-view
AGV X3000 in Ago colours

Finally – and arguably the most authentic looking of the four – is AGV’s X3000. It’s a fibreglass full face with leather interior that’s based on the racing helmet sported by Agostini in the 70’s.

Best places to buy an Arai Rapide/Concept-X?

Please click below to visit the Arai Rapide/Concept-X 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

Star Rating

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Safety
Comfort
Noise
Features
Value
Previous articleLS2 Spitfire review: a great value open face with integral sun visor.
Next articleReview of Arai’s entry-level full face helmet: the Arai Debut.
arai-rapide-classic-retro-full-face-motorbike-helmet-reviewThe Arai Rapide not only looks great but it's a real performer too. OK, we're not sure how protective it'll be because it hasn't been SHARP tested (though it is ECE 22.05 of course) though recent Arai helmets have scored an average of 4/5 stars when tested. What we can say is that Rapide owners say it's mega comfortable, great venting, and really quiet on the road. It's beautifully built too and has useful features like Pinlock insert and EQRS cheek pads included. So, it's a helmet that works well and of course it really looks the part too if you're after a retro helmet. Apart from the fiddly visor mechanism that all Arai's have (but most get used to), it's a lovely helmet that owners highly rate. If you want one, we say get one.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here