Arai Urban V review: a premium quality, Snell certified open face helmet.

arai-urban-v-featured

Arai Urban V open face motorbike helmet review.

The Arai Urban V is a fibreglass open face helmet that uses similar helmet tech to Arai’s range of full face helmets. It’s what Arai calls SFL or Special Fibre Laminate which is a complex fibreglass composite. And it also features their peripheral belting (a strengthening strip running above the eye port) as well as the usual R75 rounder shell shape found across the Arai range.

And of course, it will offer the same handmade build quality you find with pretty well all Arai helmets. Which is why they command such a premium price.

If you’re thinking of buying an Arai Urban V (sold as the Classic V in the US) it’s most likely it’s that excellent build quality associated with the Arai brand that you’ll be buying into.

But there’s more to the Urban V than that. Read on for our full Arai Urban V review…

  • Fibreglass open face helmet
  • Snell safety rated (DOT helmet)
  • Hidden ventilation
  • Double-d ring fastener
  • Sizes XS-XXL
  • Rear goggles loop
  • Expect to pay £350-£450

Best places to buy an Arai Urban V?

Please click below to visit the Arai Urban V helmets pages at our recommended store. 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).

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Overall/Summary

The Arai Urban V is a quality helmet. Not only is it well built and uses quality materials (like pretty well every Arai helmet) but the Urban V is a well thought out open face helmet too.

arai classic v frost black open face helmet side view 2
Ever popular Frost Black Arai Urban V

Crucially, it’s reasonably compact so it doesn’t look too big while you’re wearing it (thanks partly to the fact Arai makes a helmet shell for every two fitment sizes). And unlike most open face helmets, Arai has incorporated hidden venting channels in there to keep your head cool – and according to Urban V owners, they work well.

Sure, it’s similar in most other respects to many other basic open face helmets. But you do get Arai’s proven fibreglass composite helmet shell tech in there – the same that’s used on many of their full face helmets.

Plus the DOT version of the helmet – called the Classic V in the US – has been Snell tested/approved so it should work well if you ever have to put its protection to the test.

Of course, if you’re after ultimate protection, buy one of these full face helmets. But if you’re after a high quality, well designed open face helmet – and your finances can stretch this far – then the Arai Urban V is a great open face helmet that owners love.

Safety

 (more about helmet safety)

As mentioned, the Urban V uses similar composite fibre helmet tech that you’ll find in most Arai helmets.

That includes their own Special Fibre Laminate construction that Arai has honed over the years to give a particularly strong helmet shell. That’s reinforced by a strengthening band across the brow (which is the point at which DOT helmet testing occurs but it also reduces helmet flex during an impact) and it’s backed by their multi-density shock absorbing EPS liner.

Of course, it’s an open face helmet so there’s always going to be a large part of your face exposed compared to a full face helmet. But the Urban V has been ECE tested/certified (as well as DOT in the US) so the actual helmet shell should be more or less as protective as a full face helmet… as long as you don’t take a hit to the face.

arai classic v blitz brown copper open face helmet side view
This one’s the Blitz graphic in copper

So while we always recommend wearing a full face helmet (or a modular if you really must have your face exposed from time to time) if you’re going down the open face helmet route, then the Urban V should give good protection.

So good in fact that in the US the Classic V (what the Urban V is called over there) has been Snell approved, meaning it’s right up there with the best in terms of giving excellent impact protection.

Of course that was a DOT version of the helmet and we’ve no way of knowing if it’s exactly the same as the European ECE-spec helmet.

Having said that, that Snell rating might be as insightful as we can get, because SHARP (the UK’s independent testing body) doesn’t test open face helmets. They reason that you should always wear a full face if you’re serious about protection, so a Snell approval might be as close as we’re going to get towards independent open face helmet testing.

As with all ‘classic’ style helmets (and in fact all Arais) the Urban V uses a double-d ring fastener to keep it tightly fastened to your head.

But unlike most, Arai makes the Urban V in three shell sizes – one shell size covering every two fitment sizes. That’s great for comfort and looks as well as safety.

So, in terms of safety, it seems the Urban V will offer as good protection as you’re going to get with an open face helmet. It’s just never going to be as good as a decent full face helmet.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

It’s an open face helmet so it’s never going to be the quietest helmet around either.

arai-urban-v-diamond-white hlemet side view
Diamond White Urban V

It does have a smooth shape though with great aero (see below) and there’s plenty of plush comfort liner in there to help cut out some noise.

But with an open front and with ventilation channels cut into the helmet – which let noise as well as air into the helmet – it’s quite a noisy place to put your head.

If you want a quiet helmet, buy a full face lid – and preferably one of these quietest helmets.

And if you do buy an open face, make sure you buy some quality ear plugs to go with it so you don’t damage your hearing.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

Unusually for an open face helmet, Arai has incorporated some hidden vents into the shell of the Urban V.

So, not only will you get plenty of wind blast around your face, but when it really heats up, air can actually get through to your head courtesy of three intake vents hidden behind the liner above your goggles.

arai classic v frost black open face helmet side viewThat takes air in a front-back strip through the EPS liner, across your head and out of a couple of exhaust vents just about visible next to the neck roll.

And it all really works: even in the height of US summer where a few owners said you can really feel the cooling air across your head.

Of course, that might not be such a great thing if you’re thinking of using an Urban V during a British winter – because those vents are always open!

Visor/Goggles

(more about visors)

The Urban V has 5 studs on the front – with the top 3 there to take a regular visor or sun peak and the bottom two to help if you need a 5 stud fit for a bubble shield or similar.

If you’re wanting to ride in goggles, word is that pretty well any goggles will fit and there’s the usual handy goggles loop at the back to keep them in place.


A couple of useful links…

All our open face helmet reviews
Helmets where money’s no object


While I couldn’t find any specific Arai visors available for the Urban V, given that the studs are standard fitment with pretty well all other open face helmets, most other visors should fit.

We’ve heard from owners fitting Biltwell and Bell visors without a problem. In fact some visors, like Bell’s 3 snap bubble shield, have adjustable snappers so maybe go for one of those if you’re unsure.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

According to several owners, Arai Urban V’s size correctly (so no need to buy a size up or down) and thanks to the fact that Arai makes a different helmet shell size for every two fitment sizes, each should be pretty well optimised in terms of padding and EPS liner.

arai urban v blitz brown open face helmet side view
Brown Blitz Urban V

It also means that, while the Urban V isn’t the most compact helmet, you won’t look like a bobble head because; firstly, you won’t be wearing an oversized helmet shell and secondly, the Urban V has been designed to sit reasonably low on the head.

Pretty well all Urban V owners we came across said that it’s a comfortable helmet too.

I guess the fact that it weighs around 1.2Kg (2lbs 10Oz) helps too because that’s a light weight helmet – about average for an open face but light compared to a full face.

Arai uses a semi-removable comfort lining inside the Urban V. That means you can swap out the cheek pads (or remove them for cleaning) but not the upper part of the liner.

It is however antimicrobially treated and the cheek pads are washable.

Oh, it’s worth mentioning that if you’re looking at the pictures of the Urban V and thinking it looks like stitching on leather around the helmet, don’t be fooled. It’s faux plastic leather.

I guess that’s much more suitable than leather for making a helmet weather proof. Though if you’re after a quality ‘occasional ride’ helmet, that could be a bit of a let down.

Looks & Graphics

You can buy an Urban V in a range of plain blacks, whites and greys. And Arai has also released a few classic-style retro graphics – the Era and the Blitz both available in a few different colour combinations and shown further up the page.

Best places to buy an Arai Urban V helmet?

Please click below to visit the Arai Urban V helmets pages at our recommended retailer. 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 Urban V video

Here’s a 4m look around a frost black Urban V…

Other stuff – audio, aero, build quality, warranty

If you’re wanting a helmet you use with a bluetooth headset, you should be OK with the Urban V. There’s a pair of generous speaker pockets inside and there’s enough space to fit a sticky or clamp mount on the side.

arai classic v modern grey open face helmet side view
Modern Grey version of the Urban V

Helmet lift can be a problem with open face helmets as the wind can get inside the lid at speed and start to pull it upwards. The word from a couple of owners of the Urban V is that it’s particularly good at reducing this – possibly due to the venting system letting air go through the vents and out of the exhausts rather than going into the helmet and having no where to go.

One of the main reasons people buy an Arai is because they want a quality item and – as usual – several owners commented on how well the Urban V is built with nice finishing and paint and materials used throughout.

All Arai helmets come with a lengthy 5 year warranty.

Good Alternatives to the Arai Urban V?

Shoei J-Cruise Corso orange open face motorbike helmet side view
Shoei J-Cruise

Another helmet that’s well built and shares its shell tech with the range of full face helmets is the Shoei J-Cruise. That also has a drop down sun visor as well as a clear main visor.

shoei jo helmet hawker side view
Shoei JO Hawker

Same quality goes for the Shoei Jo. That’s a well liked and comfortable helmet and while it looks like a classic open face helmet, it’s got a drop down clear visor too.

LS2 Spitfire RUST - graphics side view
LS2 Spitfire Rust

If you’re on a budget, the LS2 Spitfire is a really low price thermoplastic alternative. It’s low profile and has a hidden drop down sun visor in there.

nolan_n40-5_classic-n-com-black-no-peak-side-view
Nolan N40-5

Finally, there are quite a few modular helmets that let you convert them to an open face – in case you want the flexibility. Such as the Nolan N40-5 range that you can ride in full face, adventure or open face mode whenever the mood takes you.

More Helmet Options?

For more helmet buying options, click through to our Open Face Helmet Reviews, our Modular Helmets Top 10 and our Safest Helmets. Or jump onto our homepage to find lots of other ways to find a new helmet - just scroll down.

Best places to buy an Arai Urban V?

Please click below to visit the Arai Urban V helmets pages at our recommended retailer. 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).

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Star Ratings

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Safety
Comfort
Noise
Features
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