Many of us believe that absorbing energy in the event of an off is the only job that a helmet has to do. Wouldn’t it be better if the helmet could glance off objects rather than stopping suddenly? Glancing off objects such as footpath edges, the bonnets of, for example, an Audi A1 and, of course, turn one at our favourite race track is much more favourable than coming to a sudden stop when and if we’re unfortunate enough to meet them with our heads.
After several lifetimes of making the best helmets in the world Arai have been using the R75 concept to allow their helmets to glance off better. The name comes from all the helmets in the Japanese company's range having a continuous convex curve of a minimum radius of 75mm.
This allows the helmets outer shell to travel over an uneven surface for longer. In turn, dissipating the energy and leaving more of that wonderful ability to absorb unwanted energy in reserve. We’ve had a rummage around the attic and found several old crashed lids and found the same evidence in each one. Multiple impact marks suggest that when the helmet landed it slid rather than came to a sudden stop. As anyone who has ridden competitively will testify sliding is always so much more preferable to stopping suddenly.
The R75 shape prevents the helmet from snagging on anything in the middle of an ‘off’ and is assisted by being fitted with vents that come off easily and side pods that are flat enough to the side of the helmet so as not to take away from the R75 shape in any way. This in turn minimises the amount of energy transferred into the helmet.
Arai helmets are available in all good motorcycle shops. They are still the helmets of choice for road and track racers the world over. And they are still made by Mr. Arai’s son and grandson in Japan to the most exacting of standards.