Review of the Arai Rebel full face crash helmet

arai-rebel-older-model-featured

Arai Rebel – a helmet designed for streetbikes and nakeds

As we’ve found many a time, the performance of a crash helmet can change massively depending on the type of motorbike you ride – ventilation, noise and buffeting are all altered depending on whether you’re in the airflow or out of it – or somewhere in between. So Arai decided to produce a helmet that works when you’re riding in the wind, one that’s designed to work best on naked bikes without fairings. The result is the Arai Rebel; a composite fibre, full face helmet with chin spoiler and slippery rounded shape to reduce buffeting.

Note: the Arai Rebel has now been replaced by the Renegade V. Which means there’s some great deals to be found on the Rebel – check our retailer links below.

  • SHARP 3 star safety rated
  • Snell 2015 certified
  • Full face helmet
  • Double-d Ring fastener
  • Amazing ventilation
  • Designed for naked bikes
  • Composite fibre shell
  • Pinlock Max Vision included
  • XXS – XXXL (see Sizing below)
  • Expect to pay £399-£470

Safety

Arai Rebel splash green crash helmet
Arai Rebel in Splash green

The Arai rebel has been ECE 22.05 tested so you know the basics should all work well. It’s also been SHARP safety tested and scored 3 stars there – which is only an average performance. Looking at the SHARP data, it scored lowest marks on both side impact tests which is a concern.

It has also been tested in the US and is Snell certified, which might be telling as some folks believe that Arai focus on passing the Snell test rather than SHARP, which may encourage helmet makers to produce a harder-shelled helmet, something that’s arguably not the best for absorbing shock during an accident.

Arai do say they design helmets to be more rounded to glance off surfaces during impact, and that external features like spoilers are designed to break off during an accident to lower potential rotational forces. These factors are taken into account in the SHARP test so while it’s sensible helmet design, it’s difficult to see how much effect they really have.

Overall then, and despite the price point and Arai’s great reputation, the Rebel can only be rated as average for safety.

Looking to buy this Arai?

We recommend Motoin (Ger) for quality service and decent prices (even with the current £-€ exchange rate). Or you can click through to the Arai helmets pages at Amazon UK if you prefer to buy from them. Please see here for more info on these stores or click the links to go straight to their Arai helmet pages where you'll find the latest designs and deals.

Helmet Noise

Owners of the Rebel tend to say it’s around average to quite noisy for a full face helmet.

Which is a shame because with its rounded, slippery shape and the inclusion of its innovative pull-out chin spoiler, Arai have obviously gone to some lengths to make a helmet that’s not too noisy.

Of course helmet noise is very subjective and depends on lots of things – including how quiet your previous helmet was and your riding style. But while some owners do say it’s a quiet helmet, overall owners say it’s somewhere in the range of average-noisy, with noise increasing with speed and whether the vents are open or not.

Ventilation

arai rebel gloss black front view
Front view of the gloss black showing all five front vents

Ventilation is one of the Arai Rebel’s strong points. In fact it’s probably the best vented helmet we’ve come across yet.

It features a chin vent, brow vent that actually vents through the top of the visor and scalp vent towards the top of the helmet.

There’s also two sets of rear exhaust vents with the pair situated underneath the rear spoiler having an open/close switch.

Overall then, owners of the Rebel say it’s amazingly well vented; open all the vents and from the moment you start off you can feel the air move around your scalp and blow onto your face.

Each vent has multiple positions to either restrict airflow or change which parts are ventilated.

The chin vent has a 3 position slider that either fully closes the vent; or opens just the top part to push air onto the visor and face; or opens the top and bottom to vent visor, face, mouth and chin.

Arai Rebel crash helmet heritage grey
Side/rear view of the Rebel sporting Heritage design

The brow vents are actually – and unusually – a part of the visor. If you look at the top of the visor, you’ll see two small black covers which cover vents. These have 3 positions too – closed/intermediate/open and channel air into the top of the helmet.

Finally, there’s the scalp vents. Again, these have a 3-way slider for closed/medium/fully open and direct air into the top of the helmet, around the channels in the shock-absorbing EPS liner and over the head, then out of the rear exhaust vents.

All these vents are said to work really well – so much so one rider who uses his helmet in cooler weather commented it’s almost too well vented. But if you tend to ride in warmer weather and want a helmet that keeps you cool, then the Rebel should be bang-on.

The only slight downside is that the chin vents don’t have much of a mesh in them, with a couple of owners saying bugs got in. Not ideal!

Visor

The visor on the Rebel is Pinlock MaxVision-ready (and comes with a Pinlock in the box), is quick(ish) release and uses friction to keep it open rather than a ratchet.

Starting with that last point, unlike lots of manufacturers who use a ratchet on their visors, Arai instead use friction which allows you to open your visor as much as you want and the visor stays there. Arai have been using this system for years and it works well so nothing to worry about here.

arai rebel frost white
Arai rebel in frost white

There’s a locking mechanism at the bottom of the visor to keep the visor closed and locked and and which pulls the visor tight towards the gasket – keeping it sealed and watertight. It’s easy to unlock and raise by pushing up on the locking tab – pretty much like you would with a non-locking visor and there’s no opening tab built into the visor.

Arai reckon the Rebel has been designed with a wide field of view – obviously lots of peripheral vision is important in a crash helmet – but owners don’t really feel they’ve succeeded. It sounds like the shape of the visor aperture cuts out some of the peripheral vision.

If having a helmet with really wide periphieral vision is a priority for you, check our reviews of crash helmets with wide visor apertures here.

Finally, the Rebel’s got a quick-change visor. Ish. Once you know how, it’s pretty easy though a little bit more fiddly than some other brands. To remove the visor, you open the visor up and push up a couple of levers near the visor pivot and pull out the visor. To put the visor back in, just push the ends of the visor into each pivot and close the visor. It sounds easy and once you’ve had a go a few times, owners reckon it is.

Arai Rebel street black red crash helmet
Street black/red design – there’s also a black/white available

Comfort & Sizing

The Arai Rebel is available in sizes XS-XXL in most European retailers – though Arai do say it’s made in sizes XXS-XXXL so if you struggle to find a Rebel in these extreme sizes, it’d be worth pressing a retailer to grab one from the importer – they do exist.

There’s a few nice touches Arai have included inside the Rebel to make it fit as well and comfortably as possible. But first, the basics.

Inside, you’ll find a removable and washable comfort lining made from an anti-microbial lining Arai call Eco-Pure. The bottom of the lining has something called Dri Max applied to it – a hydrophobic material designed to repel water and stop the bottom of the liner getting wet when it’s raining.

Owners reckon the lining is high quality and very comfortable. One reason for this may be that the Rebel’s got Arai’s FSC system – essentially springy cheek pads, there to gently push the pads against the face and make the fit just right. And if that doesn’t quite do it, included in the cheek pads is a 5 mm pull-off section that allows you to tailor the internals further still to get the fitting right.

Arai Rebel street crash helmet rear view
Arai Rebel rear view

And if it’s still not quite right, Arai have a range of different sized internal linings available, so you’ve almost no excuse to have a badly-fitting Rebel! I say almost because if the fundamental shape of the helmet isn’t right for your head, then no amount of tweaking is going to help – read our fitting guide for more info.

So, Arai have gone to great lengths to help you fine-tune the fit to your head. It’s surprising then that they’ve neglected the chin strap a little because a few owners comment that there should be more padding on the strap and it can get a little uncomfy over time.

Looks & Graphics

It’s probably fair to say that some folks reckon the Arai Rebel is a bit staid and retro. Arai don’t blow with the winds of fashion like some other makers and the Rebel’s definitely got the look of the Arai family. But maybe it’s more about buying into that classic Arai style as opposed to buying a helmet that panders to modern styling.

As for designs and colour schemes, there’s standard black and white solid versions and frost white and black versions (more of a silk/matt finish) as well as a load of more funky designs – including the Venturi (white or red) Street (ditto) Command and Heritage designs. As usual, we’ve tried to smatter the page with all of these.

Video

Here’s a quick 3m video introducing the Arai Rebel.

Other stuff – chin spoiler & curtain, buffeting, fasteners, weight, glasses, build quality

Arai Rebel command black crash helmet
Arai Rebel in urban-inspired Command colours

The Rebel has a retractable chin curtain and front spoiler which are designed to work together to reduce wind getting inside the helmet, reduce buffeting and noise and increase helmet stability and downforce. Quite a few owners reckon they work well with a number commenting how stable the helmet is even at speed.

All Rebels come with a double-d ring fastener. There’s also a glasses groove making it easier to live with if you’re a glasses wearer. As to weight, it’s not the lightest full face helmet with a medium weighing in at 1.56Kg (average weight for a full face helmet we’ve found is 1.48Kg) though we didn’t find anyone who found weight a problem.

Finally, owners report that the build quality is excellent with Arai’s near-legendary attention to detail evident in finish and features.

Best place to buy this Arai crash helmet?

Please click below to visit the Arai helmets pages at our recommended stores (we research them and only recommend stores that score highly for quality of service). 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).

Click above to drop onto their Arai helmets pages or *quick view retailer T&Cs here.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.

Alternatives to the Arai Rebel

If you’re after a more exclusive helmet that’s not sportsbike focused, we’d recommend you check out AGVs GT Veloce – a SHARP 5 star rated all-rounder that’s lighter than the Rebel and cheaper too. Of course, if you do want an Arai, the Quantum ST is worth looking at – SHARP 4 star rated and around the same price point as the Rebel. Finally there’s the Shoei GT Air – an excellent sports touring helmet that’s quieter than the Rebel and has a wide, optically correct Pinlock visor.

Definitely want an Arai?

Here you'll find all our Arai crash helmet reviews and previews including full face, flip-up and open face helmets.

Overall/Summary

The Arai Rebel is a very competent crash helmet. It’s got amazing build quality, is extremely comfortable and has some of the best venting this side of an open face. There’s a few downsides – namely it’s not the quietest of helmets, it drops a couple of points for safety according to SHARP and it’s pretty expensive. But as a usable helmet that’s all day comfortable and a real hot-weather beater, the Arai Rebel is hard to beat.

Looking to buy this Arai?

We recommend Motoin (Ger) for quality service and decent prices (even with the current £-€ exchange rate). Or you can click through to the Arai helmets pages at Amazon UK if you prefer to buy from them. Please see here for more info on these stores or click the links to go straight to their Arai helmet pages where you'll find the latest designs and deals.

Star Ratings

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