Editor Score: 80.50%
Arai’s latest lid to be brought into its North American line-up is the three-quarter Ram-X. The new helmet takes the freedom and convenience of a three-quarter helmet and incorporates some of the technology and ventilation from its top of the line Corsair-X race helmet. Freedom and convenience. If there’s one thing we ‘Mericans love more than convenience it’s Freedom with a capital F *cue bald eagles screeching*.
The Arai Ram-X shares its shell construction with the Quantum-X and Signet-X helmets using Arai’s proprietary Z-compound resin. The Z-compound resin achieves higher adhesion and therefore requires less resin to be used in the manufacturing process, making the helmet lighter. Four shell sizes are used spanning six sizes from XS to XXL.
As with other Arai helmets, the Ram-X uses a multi-density one-piece EPS liner. According to Arai, “A one-piece liner, integrating different densities according to the volume and position of each given area, allows Arai to make the shell shape more like a human head and enables the development of a compact shell structure.”
Ventilation diffusers are borrowed from the Corsair-X with a revised stationary aero stabilizer wing said to improve helmet stability and further reduce rider fatigue. Arai claims the diffusers each take in 19 percent more air than the previous generation, and the center duct takes in 11 percent more air than the previous generation, as well.
Arai has put a significant focus on shell balance. The aim here is to keep the lowest center of gravity possible for the helmet in order to reduce rider fatigue during long stints in the saddle. This coupled with Arai’s pillowy soft interior padding delivers an all-day comfortable user experience. Like much of America’s Arai lineup, the Ram-X is built for an intermediate oval head shape.
I primarily found myself using the Arai Ram-X helmet around town to run errands after the launch of the helmet in Ojai. Typically, I prefer the extra protection a full-face helmet offers, though after cruising around in the Ram-X, I was reminded of how enjoyable a three-quarter helmet can be.
To give the Ram-X a more thorough test, I decided to wear it on a 750 mile trip through the California desert and mountains to see what touring with the Ram-X would be like. It felt odd taking a three-quarter helmet on a long ride. I felt I had to remind myself to be more cautious and vigilant through LA traffic, as if I’m not already being as careful as possible. My thought was that the large shield would prove to be more tour-worthy than your garden variety shieldless three-quarter lid. So, I set off. I made a beeline from the coast to the desert and headed up highway 395 to higher ground.
To my relief, and as expected, the Ram-X vents quite well. The hottest temp my steed showed on the TFT dash was 113 degrees F. Enough to get a sweat going, for sure. When I popped my head out from behind the windshield, I was met with a blast of air coursing through my helmet cooling my sweat-drenched scalp. I did happen to notice that the ventilation actually works best in a forward canted position. Somewhere between a sportbike and an aggressive standard bike riding position. Not too much of a surprise since the diffusers were lifted from the Corsair-X, but I assume folks using this helmet are more likely to be sitting upright than being bunched over on supersports. The vents work while upright but not as good as when one is leaned forward.
The long shield was what had me considering using the helmet on a long ride in the first place. It worked quite well, letting a little wind in the bottom, but not so much to dry out my eyes or allow debris to blow into them. The Pro Shade system works well with the helmet and is easily adjustable up or down.
As mentioned before, the helmet is very comfortable, and I had no issues with my medium in terms of fitment versus any other Arai on my shelf. Spot on intermediate oval. One thing I notice more when moving the helmet around than actually wearing it is its heft. It’s not exactly light. I have one other three quarter helmet on my shelf, and granted it’s carbon fiber (Troy Lee Designs); it weighs in at 2 pounds 2.7 ounces for a medium. The Arai Ram-X weighs 3 pounds 6.7 ounces for a medium. For another reference, my medium Shoei X-14 weighs 3 pounds 8.3 ounces. Again, it doesn’t bother me while wearing the helmet, but the Ram-X has some heft to it.
I installed a Cardo Packtalk Bold into the Ram-X for my trip, and it worked fantastic. The helmet has large cutouts for comm systems, and the shield provided plenty of wind protection, making the system easy to listen to and communicate through.
There was only one hiccup I came across during my travels with the Ram-X. Once I was on my way home, I had the shield flipped up as I donned my gloves and got set to go. A little ways down the highway as speeds ramped up, I grabbed the middle of the bottom edge of the visor, and the entire shield, Pro Shade system and all, came off in my hand. I tucked it under my arm and pulled over to the shoulder to see what had happened. Nothing was broken and everything seemed to be fine. The helmet hadn’t sustained any drops or impacts of any kind. I’m not sure what happened, but I got the shield back on and rode the rest of the way home keeping it in the lowered position.
After getting home, removing the shield, and attempting to reattach it, I have yet to be able to get the thing to mount correctly. I’ve had no issues with the Corsair-X or XD-4’s shield mechanisms, but the Ram-X has been giving me a hard time. Admittedly, I haven’t had the time to sit there for hours trying to figure it out, but the time spent messing with it already is slightly annoying. Maybe it’s just me.
While it’s not the lightest, the Arai Ram-X is the most comfortable and, when the shield was attached correctly, convenient three-quarter helmet I have used. It is also, by far, the most expensive. At $680, the Arai Ram-X places itself atop the heap of expensive open-face helmets. The Arai quality and craftsmanship is evident, but nevertheless, that’s a chunk of change.