Known throughout the industry as one of the main purveyors of top quality lids, Arai decided to freshen up its least-expensive Vector helmet in 2011 with the new Vector-2. Of course, while it may be the bottom-rung model in Arai’s catalog, you’re not exactly looking at some cut-rate cheapo helmet, and the Vector-2 would certainly do justice as the flagship model for the vast majority of competitors.
A number of features from the top-shelf Corsair V and RX-Q models have been infused into the Vector-2, including the wider eyeport (5mm on each side) for improved peripheral vision, the Hyper-Ridge design around the shell’s base for more strength and larger bottom opening for easier entry/exit, and the 5mm peel-away cheek pad layer that allows custom fit without having to purchase the accessory pads. The Vector-2 still uses a single front and three rear vent holes, but the design of the front intake and the rear ACR-2 exhaust vent/wing combination has been redone via extensive wind tunnel testing to refine the new rear wing setup to accelerate airflow over the three 10mm rear holes, resulting in better evacuation of stale air inside the helmet. The larger side vent ports have also been subtly reshaped to keep noise levels in check.
The Vector-2 has also been given the fully removable liner and removable/replaceable cheek pads with removable/washable covers from the higher-end Arai models, allowing you to keep your helmet fresh and free from bacteria. The chin vent has also been moved slightly lower on the chin bar.
As usual, comfort and fit with the Arai Vector-2 on an oval-shaped head are superb, with no uncomfortable pressure points or looseness. Overall finish and quality are first-rate as well, with no flaws or mismatched graphics. We did notice that the shell and/or liner isn’t quite as deep as the Corsair V, with the padding and helmet feeling like it’s not quite coming down as far coverage-wise over your head…but it was nothing to be alarmed about. Wind noise is about average, although the din definitely picks up when you open up all the vents.
Actually, speaking of vents, on one of our Vector-2 helmets, the front intake vent’s door would resonate in the closed position at highway speeds, making for a very annoying howl unless we either left it open or repositioned the door slightly with our finger. Otherwise, the helmet was trouble-free, and the vents easy to operate. Ventilation was good, but nothing approaching the performance of its top-of-the-line Corsair V, obviously. Aerodynamics drew a similar comparison; the Vector-2 is very good up to approximately 80 mph, where it begins to get a little bit of lift in the rear that the adjustable-wing-equipped Corsair V doesn’t suffer from.
Like the rest of Arai’s street lineup, the Vector-2 utilizes Arai’s patented Super AdSis LRS shield mechanism that allows changing shields without tools. If you’ve never used it before, it takes some practice to remove and install a faceshield (which is why an instructional DVD is included with the helmet), but once you get accustomed to the technique, it becomes second-nature. A wide array of accessory shields are available, with everything from different color tints to Pinlock fog-free shades available.
Again, while the Vector-2 is the least expensive helmet in Arai’s lineup, that doesn’t equate to “entry level” as with most other helmet manufacturers; the Vector-2’s performance and quality are light years ahead of the top-of-the-line helmets from many other competitors. And it’s not entry level as far as price, either. But rest assured, you get what you pay for — a superbly built, high-quality, comfortable helmet.
|| |---| | Details| | Arai Vector-2| | Retail: solid colors $479.99 to $509.99, graphics $609.99| | Sizes: XS-XXXL| | Arai Americas, Inc.| | www.araiamericas.com| **
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