Arai XD3
Simply muavelous!

Sorry, the camera doesn't come with the helmet.

[ Wednesday - August 13, 2008 ]

It's time to go to work.  That's nothing to get excited about other than the fact I get to try out the third generation Arai XD (e.g. XD3) for the very first time.  I saw this upgrade helmet a couple months back and wondered whether I should even bother or go with another manufacturer's helmet (e.g. Shoei Hornet).  I know I no longer ride a GS, but I still like these enduro/adventure-touring helmets.  They do a good job of keeping the sun off the face, and the extended chin guard gives the helmet plenty of room for a 2-way microphone.  The thought of spending another $450 for an upgrade definitely turns me off.

Well, I went ahead and gandered a peek on the net.  What did I find?  An Arai XD white (e.g. the cheapest of the Arai XD series of helmets) being sold for $376.  That's a steal considering the majority of the stores out there sells the helmet at a minimum of $450.  I knew I had to get the replacement.  So I jumped on it!

Simply amazing!  Within two days of hitting the submit (e.g. Buy now!) button on an eBay store called Geared-4-u, the helmet is here!  That is the fastest I have ever received any motorcycle equipment from any on-line store without spending an arm and a leg to ship something overnight.  These guys deserve 5 stars + 1 bonus star for being so fast and responsive.  I'm going back to these folks for more equipment buys in the future.

Anyway, the helmet fits kind of tight, but that is to be expected with a brand new helmet.  It will remain like this for at least a couple of week until the helmet is broken in.  On the positive note, it doesn't flop around like the XD2, which is beat up after 2 1/2+ years of everyday + long trip use and getting a bit loose.

What is the first thing I noticed when I twisted the throttle?  Wow!  It's quiet... remarkably quiet for that fact.  I'm so use to my XD2 screaming in my ears that I don't know what to make of the quietness.  I can hear my music with relative ease.  I don't have to crank up the volume to drown out the wind noise.  Then again, I'm only doing 40 MPH.  That's a test, but not a high enough speed test.  Still, this is all done with the visor mounted, face shield fully up, and a set of gold-iridium Oakley O frames (e.g. goggles) on.  Most of my XD2 noise experience occurs around 55-75 MPH (e.g. it gets louder as the speed increases).  So I'll reserve my judgment until I reach those speeds to see if the XD3 is truly better.  This commute will take the bike up to 55-60 MPH.  It's the low end of the indicated range but it's better than nothing.

The last time I rode my XD2 at 55 MPH with the visor on (R1200R), the visor was vibrating so much that my brain felt scrambled.  I removed the visor immediately at the end of that ride.  How does the XD3 fair?  Astonishing!  At 55 MPH, I feel nothing.  At 60 MPH, I still feel nothing.  This helmet is so smooth and quiet.  The whistling noise that I use to hear with the XD2, starting from 55 MPH on up, doesn't exist.  I turn my head to look before changing lanes, and I turn my head back.  Wait, I think I have the visor on.  Yes, I have the visor is on.  I don't feel any drag what so ever.  With the XD2 I would have to crank yank my head to get it back into the forward looking position.

Upon reaching work, the 30 minute test is over.  The XD3 passes the simple test with flying colors.  The trumpets are blaring La Rejouissance from G.F. Handle's Royal Fireworks.

I'm extremely pleased with the XD3.  To me the XD3 is the pinnacle of the Arai XD series of helmets until Arai tops it with the XD4, whenever that comes out.  As it stands, I can't find flaws with the XD3.  The only nit that I can squeeze out is the fact you have to screw/unscrew the visor and face shield on/off, but I think this is really a safety design/feature.  Not a flaw.  Yes it's a bit time consuming to swap things in and out, but what's you're hurry?  If you're touring around the world, you can afford a couple minutes to adjust your helmet.

Having used the XD1, XD2, and now XD3, I can honestly say that the XD3 is the best of the bunch.  The adventure-tourer out there won't be disappointed if they get the Arai XD3.  It's a definite 5 out of 5.

For those that are upgrading from an existing Arai XD helmet, like me, you'll be glad to know that the cheek pads and face shield are exactly the same on the XD3 as with prior versions of the XD.  It was smart of Arai to keep the internals and the face shield the same.  It definitely makes it more economical for the person upgrading.  That is if there is such a things as economy in a helmet upgrade.

The dark face shield you see above came from my XD1 helmet, which has been retired a long long time ago.

Revised visor vent hole.

Revised front vent hole.  This use to be round.

Revised rear exhaust vent hole with new easy open/close lever.

Revised lower exhaust vent hole.

Revised visor attachment plate.

New chin spoiler to prevent air swirling up into the helmet.

The chin spoiler folds up into the helmet.

Adjustable front vent hole covers in front of the left and right cheek pads.

Written on: August 13, 2008
Last modified: August 13, 2008