REVIEW OF THE ARAI VECTOR-2 HELMET
- $499.95 and up, Sizes XS-XXXL
- Available at Revzilla.com
- Removeable, washable and replaceable headliner and cheekpads (in XXmm to customize fit)
- SAI Max Vision Pinlock visor, optional
- Rear vent/wing
- Brow, mouth and top vents
- 5mm peel away cheekpads
- Intermediate round shape
- Helmet purchased by GearChic.com
- Review date: August 2012
On my 3rd Arai helmet and the Vector 2 is as great as the first two (Quantum II's). Unfortunately, it took me this one to fully understand what shape fits me the best.
So why did I begin to think about buying a Vector 2? Well, one because I just wanted another one, but more importantly because I had a lot of summer trips planned and I wanted something that would ventilated better. Between the mouth, brow and top vents, this helmet flows air really well and keeps me comfortable in extremely hot temperatures. It's very lightweight, never weighs me down and like every Arai, never weighs me down or feels too heavy at the end of a long day's ride.
I'm also a huge fan of Pinlock visors and inserts. If you don't know what it is, check out Revzilla's video guide here or Arai's video of the Pinlock system. You can purchase the SAI Pinlock Face Shield and Insert separately to have 100% antifog coverage, all the time. It's the only thing that works, no matter what the outside temperature is. In the photo above, I'm wearing mine with the Pinlock Faceshield and Insert installed. You can't even tell it's there. It goes all the way to the top of the brow vent so it won't obstruct your vision. Never use anything but water to clean your Pinlock accessories, as you shouldn't need anything else to keep them clean.
Arai doesn't believe in spraying or coating their face shields for antifog, so that's why they chose to partner with Pinlock to give you the best solution. I put them in every helmet I own, and I refuse to buy a helmet that doesn't offer one as an upgrade.
I've probably ridden about 6-8,000 miles in it by now. It's always been comfortable for me, except in winter when it ventilates too much air through the neck. That's why I designated this one as my summer/spring helmet. With it's low center of gravity you'll never feel fatigue from it and you'll be more than happy to spend allllll day with your head in it.
Fit / Shape
I want to mention that I HIGHLY recommend Arai helmets if you have a very small head from front to back. Arai has one of the most compact shells on the market, the next smallest I've seen is actually AGV.
I've had this helmet for almost 2 years now and I now know my head is an intermediate oval. When I started to think about buying another Arai I was previously wearing a Shoei Qwest It was a very close fit, but I longed for a helmet that would flow more air and breathe a little more in the summer heat. I was really happy to find out that the Vector 2 fit almost the same an intermediate oval!
I did end up upgrading the headliner on my Vector 2 to get a snugger fit because it wasn't hugging me as much around the crown of my head as I'd liked. I went ahead and upgraded it to the 10mm option and it gave me the snugger fit that I wanted. I always recommend waiting until you have fully broken your helmet in before you start switching liners, because more often than not, break in time fixes everything.
Compared to the Shoei Qwest
The reason I wanted to compare this to the Qwest is because I have that helmet but also because they do have very similar fitments but perform very differently. You can read my review of that helmet here.
The Qwest is a quieter helmet but does not flow nearly as much direct air as the Vector 2. It's my go to helmet for summer / hot weather riding. The reason is the very large opening and lack of neckroll to block wind.
I noticed the Qwest hugged the back of my head, right above my neck unlike my previous Arais. So I started wearing my Qwest every day before the Vector 2.
And as a bonus, it was a touch shorter from front to back in length compared to the Qwest. When you have a compact head, or have a size XS/S head, you don't want to wear the same helmet that someone in a much larger shell size is wearing. It can be heavy and disproportionate to the rest of your body. I love Arais for this very reason, the shells are very small, compact and lightweight.
Overall, I adore my Vector 2. I only wish it had a nicer lining like the Signet-Q or Defiant. But since it's an entry level in the Arai lineup, I totally understand why. I think it's best features are the lightness and increased airflow in the summertime. If I had to rank noise levels between this one, my Qwest and my C3Pro, I would rank this the noisiest helmet out of all 3. But that's what ear plugs are for, so it's not a problem for me.
If you have no idea why you should spend this much on a helmet, I highly recommend watching this video series which introduces you to the world of Arai and why many of us are so in love.
So I had to stop wearing my Arai because I learned that after wearing my Shoei Qwest on a VERY long weekend trip (~1500+ miles) that the Shoei simply fits me better. Arais are still slightly rounder shells so as a result I ended up with a hot spot on the top of my head after owning this helmet for a couple years. It turns out that the Arai was too wide across the back of my head so it ended up "sitting" on my head instead of completely hugging it. My head is simply too narrow back there. I'm no longer an Arai head, and am now sticking with Shoei.