Date reviewed: November 2017 | Tested by: Simon Hancocks | Price: from £469 | www.whyarai.co.uk
I first tried on the 2017 version of Arai’s popular Chaser-X at Motorcycle Live last year, so had already had a good look at the helmet and gauged what fit would be best for me. Since then I’ve clocked up around 20,000 miles while riding sportsbikes, nakeds, tourers and customs. The lid sits in the middle of Arai’s range, just below the GP Spec RX-7V and above the entry-level Axces-3. It’s designed as a sports-touring helmet.
The outer shell of the Chaser-X is derived from the RX-7V – when looking at the helmets side by side the similarities are easy to spot and the Chaser looks typically clean and stylish. The shell is made from Arai’s Special Fibre Laminate – a multi-layer bonded material and is designed to dissipate impact energy over a larger area, hopefully reducing the forces transmitted to the interior of the lid. The finish of the helmet is great – I have the ‘Tough White’ version and all the graphics are perfectly applied.
The Chaser-X has a chin vent, visor-mounted brow vents, a single top-of-helmet inlet and rear-mounted exhaust vents. The chin vent has three positions: closed, half open and fully open. When half open it feeds air directly to your mouth area and when fully open it directs air onto the visor. The vents on the front of the helmet work best when used in combination; the brow vents alone do very little to aid cooling but when the chin vent is fully open they help to circulate air around your face and also through the air channels that sit within the interior. I can only ever feel the effect of the top vent when riding a sportsbike in the tucked position as this puts that inlet pointing directly at the airflow. I generally have the exhaust vents on the back open, unless the weather is really cold and rainy. All the vents are easy to find and use, even when wearing heavy winter gloves.
The visor on the Chaser-X is removable and the lid comes with a Pinlock in the box ready to install – I’ve always used it. One thing that did strike me the first time I wore the helmet was how big the field of view was. Comparing the lid with my Stealth Carbon lid I’d been wearing for about a year, I was surprised by how much easier life-saver checks were. The visor mechanism on the Chaser-X is the same as the RX-7V; there’s a latch on the left of the helmet you push up and then allow your thumb to follow through to the visor. I’m not going to lie; it took some getting used to. For about the first two weeks I would sit there fumbling around, eventually removing my gloves, before managing to lift the visor. Now though it’s not a problem at all, and the added security of having the visor locked actually makes a lot of sense.
I’m as ham-fisted as they come but I find the visor-removal mechanism on the Chaser-X really simple and easy. Lift the visor fully, click the two black levers either side of the visor to remove the side covers, pop the retaining pegs out of the holes and it’s out. Great if you’re at a track day and the sun is starting to set. I also like the fact that there’s no ratchet on the visor, meaning lifting it to the open position is a smooth and quiet affair.
The lining of the Chaser-X is geared more for comfort than the RX-7V, meaning it’s a soft, plush interior that can be worn for three or even four hours in the saddle with no discomfort. The whole liner is removable and washable and you can buy different cheek pads from Arai should you prefer a snugger fit.
The Chaser-X uses the tried and tested double-D ring method of fastening the chin strap. This is the second lid I’ve had that uses this method so from the off I was fine with it. I do remember the first helmet I had that used this system and did find it a faff to begin with. As with anything, personal preference and the way you use the helmet will have a bearing on which system works for you – this or a ratchet buckle.
As with any lid; try before you buy. As I mentioned at the start of the review I was lucky enough to try the helmet at Motorcycle Live, so knew the fit would be spot on. Now after so may miles the fit is starting to become loose around my cheeks – not so much that the helmet can turn on my head but I’ll try and pick up some thicker cheek pads and keep you posted on how they feel.
The Chaser-X is not the quietest helmet I’ve had but it isn’t the loudest either. I always wear earplugs, unless it’s a really short ride, and have never taken the lid off and had any ringing in my ears or tension headaches at all. One thing that does affect the noise is the position of the vents; if the chin vent is half open it’s fine, but when fully open there is a low pitch ‘woofling’ noise. This is probably generated by the air circulating my face and is a small price to pay to keep cool.
The Arai Chaser-X is a fantastic helmet for the type of riding I do; it must be, I’m still riding with it 20,000 miles later and I haven’t wanted to change it yet! The styling is great and it’s packed with features but best of all, they all work faultlessly. As a road-tester and writer it’s my job to try plenty of kit and to tell people about it, so I will always give you an honest review but, after using the Chaser-X for so long and enjoying it so much, it’s going to be a very tough helmet to beat.