It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Signet model in Arai’s helmet lineup. The last iteration was the Signet GT way back in 2000, and after a few years it seemed the model faded to the back of the Arai street helmet catalog. But 2012 sees the return of the Signet, with the latest generation designated the Signet Q.
The Signet model was always intended for those riders with “long oval” head shapes (rather than the more commonly found “round oval” shape), and the newest version carries on that tradition. Appearing externally identical to Arai’s RX-Q that debuted in 2010, the Signet Q’s helmet shell is 5mm longer front-to-back to provide the interior shape required for a long oval design. For those heads that require still more room on the sides, the Signet Q interior head liner also includes 5mm peel-away pads to allow for an even more custom fit.
Also adding to the Signet Q’s custom fit is the new Facial Contour Support (FCS) cheek pad design. Utilizing a “spring support system” in the lower portion of the cheek pads, the FCS allows the rider to easily slip on the helmet, then expands to provide additional support to the cheek area when being worn (note too that Arai also offers various sizes of cheekpads for an even better fit).
The same “sculpted” cheek pad shape pioneered with the RX-Q is carried over to the new Signet Q for additional fit and wind noise reduction. The cheekpads also feature Arai’s Emergency Cheekpad Removal System and removable neck roll from the Corsair V racing helmet.
Ventilation is basically identical to the RX-Q, with two upper and two brow intakes combined with four exhaust vents (two at the upper back and two down at the sides of the shell). As with the Corsair V, the brow vents on the Signet Q channel airflow to the temple and ear area of the rider’s head, helping to cool blood flow to the brain. The same SAI 10mm-wider eyeport from the Corsair V/RX-Q/Vector-2 Arais is featured on the Signet Q, which comes with a clear Max-Vision shield that features a recessed eyeport to accept the PinLock 100% Max-Vision® lens that is also included with the helmet.
As we’ve come to expect over the years with Arais, fit and comfort with the Signet Q were nothing short of excellent. For those with long-oval heads (like El Jefe), wearing the Signet Q feels as if you’re wearing a custom-fitted helmet; the cheekpads feel snug enough to keep the helmet from moving around on your head, yet coddle you enough to allow all-day wearing (which we’ve done on several occasions already, with no ill effects). The wider eyeport is a definite plus, especially during commuting where knowing as much of your surroundings as possible is paramount to survival. Even more of a plus is the SAI Pinlock shield that comes with the helmet; there’s nothing better than the pinlock system when it comes to anti-fog properties. However, we did notice that the Arai Pinlock shield suffered from a little bit of light distortion at night that would result in some “starburst” and other visual effects.
We’re still not huge fans of the Super AdSis™ shield pivot/replacement mechanism. On our Signet Q, the left side pod wouldn’t deploy the release lever properly, forcing us to use the old-generation AdSis method of pulling outward on the shield’s lower edge (which worked fine).
Ventilation on the Signet Q was very good. While obviously not on par with its Corsair V racing brother, opening the vents produces a noticeable cooling effect on the top and sides of your head. Aerodynamics were good, but again not quite on par with the Corsair V at higher speeds, with a slight amount of lift at the rear at 80 mph. Other than the small issue with the left shield pod release lever, overall fit and finish was superb, with excellent build quality visible on the Signet Q’s smallest details—something you can’t say about the cheaper competition.
The Signet Q is available in sizes XS-XXL, in a variety of graphics and solid colors, with an MSRP of $739.95. Log onto www.araiamericas.com for more info and to find your nearest dealer. SR