Arai Arai Tour-X 4 adventure helmet - first look

Arai Tour X lid

Arai's top-end adventure touring lid impresses from the off

Beautifully made adventure touring lid
Light, top-end protection, looks ace
No flip-down sunvisor, visor change mechanism needs screwdriver

WHEN THE golden ticket came in for a run out on Kawasaki's new Versys 1000, I thought I should get a new adventure-style lid to go with Kawasaki's new adventure-style bike. So I gave the lovely folks at Arai Europe a shout, and asked if I could check out their latest helmet.

That turned out to be this - the Tour-X 4, in a rather natty black and white finish. It seems to be designed by an outfit called 'Fast Bend', which made me think of plumbing for some reason. But it turns out to be a crowd of mad Catalonian graphic designers, rather than some U-bend experts. They've made a good job of this lid - it looks the bomb in the flesh, with a nice matt/satin finish rather than old-skool deep gloss.

Away from the looks, we have a classic Arai design. The Japanese firm is obsessed - obsessed I say - by safety, and the entire philosophy of the designers is aimed at this. So there are no fripperies on the Tour X: no internal flip-down sunvisors or no Bluetooth gizmo preparation - both things the firm say compromises the ability of the helmet to protect you. I know this is their argument, and see the sense in that philosophy - but those flip-down sun visors are very convenient these days...

I have a dark visor and a peak though, so for the bright sunshine of the Canary Islands, I'm sorted. The visor change mechanism uses two plastic screws on each side, so you need a screwdriver to change it. You can use it without the peak - just fitting the visor, which would be ideal for normal road riding. YOu can also use it with the peak and no visor, and use offroad goggles instead, should you fancy that.

There are plenty of vents, all of which work well, and for my (Arai shaped) head, it fits really well, and was very comfy from the off. The first time I put it on was when I got on the Versys for the two-day launch, and it bedded in very nicely.

It's not cheap - £579 is the RRP - but Arai is a premium top-end brand, and you're getting a very high quality helmet for your cash. It's a bit low on gadgets and gizmos compared with some other options - but that's the choice Arai has made.

I'll be wearing this over the summer, whenever an adventure-style lid is needed! And I'll report back on how she goes after a few thousand miles.

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