Arai XD-3 12K miles service.

Arai XD-3 purchased in Aug 2008

[ Monday - April 12, 2010]

We know it all too well.  Those of us that love motorcycling are more than aware that we have to perform regular maintenance on our motorcycle to keep everything in tip top shape for whatever lies in front of us.  This also ensures that our machine doesn't break down in the middle of freakin' nowhere.  I'm a 12K a year rider so I'm more than familiar with the regular maintenance intervals.  My machine receives two service intervals a year.  Of course this doesn't count tire changes.  This is all well and good, but when was the last time you performed a 12K miles service on your helmet?  Yes.  You read that right.  A 12K miles service on a helmet.  Another way of asking this question is... when was the last time you changed out cheek pads and/or helmet liner?  My guess is, most of you haven't.  There is a good probability that the cheek pads you have are the original pads that came with the helmet.  "Why would anybody want to change out cheek pads?  They're perfectly good for the duration of the helmet's warranty."  You can think that, but that's hardly the case.  Foam degrades over time.  Just the mere constant physical pressure will degrade the foam.  Not to mention what UV and sweat will do to the foam.  The reality is, nothing last forever and that includes motorcycle helmet foam.

What most people fail to realize is that the foam in their cheek pads and helmet liner will go bad within one to two years of use.  Of course this depends on how often you ride and how much abuse you subject the helmet to (e.g. heavy winds, etc.).  For me, the Arai XD series of helmet innards last about a year.  undoubtedly this is due to me putting on and taking off the helmet on a daily basis.  Wearing the helmet for 12-14 hours at a stretch, on long trips, doesn't help the foam much either.

How can I tell the foam needs to be replaced?  Well, there are several things I do to check.
  1. If the helmet has a lot of play when I shake my head from side to side (e.g. pretend you're shaking your head to say no with the helmet on), it's time to change helmet innards.
  2. If the helmet is pinned to one side of my face and the other side is barely touching in a heavy cross wind, it's time to change helmet innards.
  3. If I touch the foam with my fingers and the foam easily give with mild or hardly any pressure, it's time to change helmet innards.
  4. If I install a new set of foam cheek pads/liner and expel a "Wow! What a difference!" when I put the helmet on, it's time to change helmet innards.
No. 4 is the most obvious check.  Just recently I went ahead and put a new set of cheek pads in the XD3 and I wen "WOW!!"  Yes.  It's a clear sign that the helmet innards needs to be changed out.  In fact I should have changed the innards out a couple of months ago.  The other thing I notice when I change out cheek pads and liner is how much less fatigue I encounter when I'm out riding around at speed.  It sure makes a big difference with eliminating wind vibration.

Bottom line... don't forget to take care and service your helmet, in addition to your motorcycle, on a fairly frequent interval.  I'm sure your neck will thank you for it.  Not to mention something to the effect of the helmet being more effective in preventing possible injury.

Be safe and ride smart... Cheers.

Written on: April 12, 2010
Last modified:  April 13, 2010