Product

Arai Profile-V review

Visordown was on hand for the launch of Arai’s new Profile-V at the Ron Haslam Race School at Donington Park

ARAI’S latest lid, the Profile-V starts at £379.99 and is a high-quality sports/sports-touring lid, that sits just above the Debut (from £299.99) and below the Renegade V (£529.99). With Arai’s design ethos, preferring to gently evolve helmet architecture while sticking to the same principles of a smooth, strong shell that can glance-off a surface in an accident, the Profile-V is unmistakably Arai.

The one big change with the Profile-V is a new interior lining and lower shell design, both aspects of the lid should now make the helmet more comfortable to a greater range of head shapes than before.

What’s new?

The lining of the helmet is partly removable, with just the skull-cap being permanently held in place. Because of this, there are no poppers of press-studs fixed into the top of the lid, helping to make the upper area of the interior very comfortable – especially if you have short hair.

To help make the Profile-V easier to take on and off, the front of the opening (around your chin) has been opened on each side by 5mm, and frontally by 5mm. The result is a much easier helmet to work with. There’s noticeably less effort required to put on and remove the new product – when compared to my Chaser-X for instance.

The removable cheek pads have also had a re-design and are now wider at the bottom, helping to hold your jaw in place, rather than merely clamping your cheeks and pushing them upwards. The result is a very secure feeling lid when you are out on the bike. Even hitting 130mph on the long, back straight at Donington the lid remained completely stable, with no buffeting or movement whatsoever.

Shell

The outer shell is a complex laminate which use the R75 shape (the same as the range-topping RX-7) that is peripherally belted across the top of the visor opening for extra strength and protection. There is one shell covering each two shell sizes from XS-XXL. There are four plain colours, gloss black, white, grey and matt black for £379.99. For those that prefer are more eye-catching lid there are seven graphic options which come in at £459.99.

The EPS interior of the Profile-V is Arai’s super-secret multi-density inner liner, which uses different density foam for different areas of the lid.

Vents

The Profile-V benefits from five inlet vents, two top-mounted, two visor vents and a large chin inlet. The front vents are all easy to find and open/close while on the move and give a reassuring click to let you know the when they are closed or open. Unlike models like the Chaser-X and RX-7, the rear vents on the Profile-V are always open which in my mind isn’t a problem – I’ve used a Chaser-X for about two years now and have never closed the rear vents.

With the mercury hitting the teens, and the Ron Haslam Race School instructors working us hard, the flow of cooling, Derbyshire air through the frontal vents of the helmet was very welcome. Despite the two top-vents looking quite small they do a very good job of directing some cool air into the lid and down the back of your head. The large chin vent and two smaller brow vents also do a great job of keeping the air flowing around your face – handy when you’re hyperventilating your way down Craner!

Visor

The Profile-V utilises the Variable Axis System (VAS), meaning the side pods need to be removed to clean and change the visor. The VAS got a lot of stick when launched, with some users claiming it over complicated the visor removal system over the older SAI type of visor. For me, the VAS is perfectly simple and it’s the older SAI method I find more difficult to use!

The visor comes with Pinlock insert tabs on either side, and a Pinlock is in the box ready to install. As with all VAS visors, the Profile-V uses the new shield latch lever, that locks the visor securely shut and requires a thumb on the lever and upward pressure to release it.

Out in the glaring sunshine at Donington, the tinted visor (available separately) gave me a perfect view of this stunning former Grand Prix circuit. The wide aperture makes shoulder checks a doddle – handy when pulling out of the pits into a braking zone were Elite riders are nudging 150mph! Tucking behind the tiny screen of the CBR650R, there was no undue glare or distracting reflections to contend with, although the chin on the tank riding position forces you to look out of the very top of the visor opening. For me the Profile-V would be most at home in a slightly more upright riding position.

Lining

As mentioned above, the liner is partially removable, with just the skullcap being permanently fixed to the interior of the lid. The lining is covered with a soft and plush comfort material that is almost velour-like in its feel. The result is an extremely pleasant place to be and much more comfortable than the tech-lining of a more track-oriented helmet – where sweat wicking is more important than overall comfort. After about an hour on track riding Honda’s awesome CBR650R, the lining was obviously damp with sweat, although after about 20 minutes of chatting and rehydrating it had already started to dry out.

The newly designed Facial Contour System (FCS) of the Profile-V takes the pressure off your cheeks and onto your jaw. The system is extremely comfortable and doesn’t restrict your movement or make it difficult to talk in anyway. It just makes the lower part of the helmet feel much more planted and secure. It’d be nice if these cheek pads could be swapped into other lids – changing the fit and comfort of helmets like the RX-7 or Renegade V.

The Profile-V comes with pre-installed speaker pockets to fit a wide range of intercoms and Bluetooth systems.

The removable parts of the liner can be washed according to Arai’s guidelines, while the skullcap needs washing with gentle soap and water.

Fastening

The Profile-V uses the tried and tested double-D ring method. For those that find this type of fastening fiddly or over-complicated, stick with it. The reason most racers prefer it is because it's the most secure way of keeping a lid on your head when you crash!

Noise

After riding to the launch in my AGV Corsa R (with earplugs) and then using the Profile-V on track (also with plugs), it gave me a great chance to almost back to back test the two lids for noise. And it’s a win for Arai in this round. The smoother shape of the Profile-V and smaller, less intrusive vents make it a very quiet lid indeed. I’d never advocate riding without plugs – unless it’s for a very short distance and at low-speeds but, if I had to ride unprotected; this would be the lid I’d choose.

Verdict

With Arai’s own PR team describing the Profile-V as ‘entry level’, I was happily surprised by how well it performed on track, which isn’t its natural habitat. What it did show, was the Profile-V is a quiet, comfortable, easy to use and stylish lid. And performing well at 130mph is proof, if it’s needed, that it’ll perform just as well when cruising up a motorway at 75.

The one comment made by Arai’s PR team that I do disagree with is the ‘entry level’ comment – I don’t think there is anything entry-level about the Profile-V. It's merely better value than much of the competition!

Pics: Tim Keeton @Impact Images & ThrillPic.com

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