New Year – New Gear (Part II) : Helmet – Arai X4 Detour

The official line from Arai pretty much says it all…

Adventure, grand touring or off road, no matter the riding conditions, the Tour-X4 motorcycle helmet is ready for anything. The Tour-X4 has a complete new outer shell. Redesigned to be tougher, stronger and stiffer than ever. As the Tour-X4 may be used under extreme conditions, the ventilation system has been redeveloped for maximum efficiency. The new Facial Contour System (FCS) offers more support and comfort to the lower jaw and creates a tighter fit. For an even better personal fit, there is a removable 5 mm surface foam layer on the cheek pads and temple pad from the headliner. Wear the Tour-X4 with or without peak, with or without visor and combinations of these two. The large visor opening offers plenty of room for motocross-style goggles when riding without visor.

The spec listing is as follows :

  • Super Fibre Construction (SFC)
  • Triple density inner shell
  • Two TDF3 front ducts
  • TX4 diffuser
  • Side exhaust vents
  • New controlled chin ventilation
  • Aeroflap – reduces wind noise and turbulence
  • Flatter neck roll to minimise turbulence
  • Visor/peak holder pressure plate enlarged for extra stability
  • Patented visor brow vents
  • Wear with or without peak/with or without visor or combination of the two
  • Enhanced visor with aerodynamically designed visor levers and brow vents
  • Facial Contour System (FCS) with removable 5mm foam layer on cheek pads
  • Removable 5mm temple pads on the head liner
  • Fully washable and removable Dry Cool® interior
  • Emergency release tab cheekpads
  • Optional holder set to use peak or visor only
  • Double ‘D’ ring fastening system ensures correct strap tension at all times
  • Visor Pinlock® ready and Pinlock® insert included
  • Supplied with clear visor

So there you have it, so how actually is it?

For me, I love it.  You will instantly notice that it is a pricey piece of kit!  A RRP of £449 puts it right into the premium price bracket, and remember price isn’t everything.  It’s all about safety and comfort.  There are plenty of sub £200 and even £100 lids that score very highly on safety and depending on the wearer are perfectly comfortable.

When I started riding a bike, when doing my lessons I wore a £65 Spada lid, it scored 5* in the safety department and although a little heavy, it was perfectly comfortable and I spent many long days riding without any comfort issues in this lid.

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Spada RP700 Motorcycle Helmet

I then moved onto another Spada lid, this time a Spada Sting.  It came in at a modest £95.  It was an adventure style lid like this and I wore it to its death.  Again a little heavier than the likes of Arai and Shoei but still scoring 5* in the safety department.  It was this lid that I traded in against this one and got £80 off the RRP.  The the couple of year’s use I got out of it ended up costing a measly £15!

Spada Sting Adventure Style Helmet
Spada Sting Adventure Style Helmet

Talking of that, it is worth checking out with your dealers if they are doing a helmet trade in scheme.  The £80 I got for my old lid made this Arai Detour £369.  I couldn’t find anything even close to this for the red, white and blue colour scheme anywhere online.

I had another few lids over the past year or so, a Guy Martin Replica AGV lid which I like because it looks awesome and easily fits in the top box.  The peak on adventure lids means they don’t like my Givi Top Box too much.  Then there was my BMW #WAWIn1Week Adventure style lid, you can see what I thought about it here :

AGV K3 SV Replica Helmet - Guy Martin
AGV K3 SV Replica Helmet – Guy Martin

On to the Arai X4 Detour then.  A few factors were important to me this time, obviously safety and comfort were topping this list however I wanted something that I could easily fit my Sena BT Headset into as this will be the audio input for my upcoming videos.

I had the comms set up in the BMW lid and the problem I encountered was the pressure that was put onto my ears and then my head.  It got uncomfortable reasonably quickly, then that ‘uncomfort’ became pain.  Pain isn’t good.  So this time after a little more research I discovered this lid has cut outs inside the lid for speakers.  As yet I have not installed the headset, but when I have and have clocked up a bit of distance I will report back.

Now to the nitty gritty – after spending effectively £450 how is it?

Arai X4 Detour Helmet
Arai X4 Detour Helmet

It is great.  It is clearly a quality lid, from the second you put it on it is comfortable.  There is even tiny 5mm removable strips of padding just incase it is a little bit tight for your preference without having to go down a full size.  The visor and vision from it is excellent, giving a wide field of view, the peak not affecting your vision at all.  There is no integrated sun visor which some similar lids do have however this is designed to be compatible with goggles so the easy removal of the visor is given priority.  The peak is there to deal with the sun for you anyway.

If you have never used a peaked lid there is one thing to be wary off, well maybe too.  The first and most important is noise.  Peaked lids, by their very nature are nosier that ‘normal’ lids.  The peak ripping through the air does this and that’s just how it is.  Try one and see if you can deal with it.  My advice is ear plugs, to mute the noise somewhat but also and importantly, to protect your hearing.  You can get good custom ear plugs with sound channels etc for about £100, a pretty good investment in my opinion.  If you don’t want to spend that all in one go you get throwaways for a couple of quid a packet on eBay, Amazon etc, and then there are solutions at all price points in between.

The second one is drag.  You need to just tilt your head down slightly to make yourself aerodynamic, obviously the peak with catch the air if you point it up and into the wind.  Don’t worry though, it won’t rip your head off, but it could get uncomfortable if you tend to ride looking up more often than not.  Just ever so slightly down from horizontal and you’ll be fine.

That’s about it really.  On my first trip out with this lid I did about 230 miles in one sitting, ranging from motorways to B-Class track roads.  I was comfortable the whole way.  That was it getting broken in, I hadn’t worn it prior to this and decided to go at it for a full day.  It was comfortable from it went on until it came off, I had no pressure points, and suffered no negatives, one thing I did notice was how light it was in comparison to everything else I have worn, except a Shoei Neo-Tec but that comes down to shape as well.  As far as an adventure style lid goes you will be hard pressed to find better, oh and just si you know for me it came down to this or the Shoei Hornet DS.  It too was comfortable, probably as comfortable as the Arai, for me the deciding factors were the cutouts for the audio and the styling, the Arai looks the dogs!

Arai X4 Detour Unboxing Gallery : 

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