The Arai VX Pro4 is new for 2014, having been previewed on webBikeWorld in the Spring.
A significant update from the popular Arai VX Pro3 and a worthy successor in the VX Pro off-road family tree.
The VX Pro4 feels "just like an Arai" as soon as it's pulled out of the box.
It not only looks like an Arai but something about the sturdy feel of the shell and the nicely finished interior tells you that this one's different.
There are two notable updates that distinguish the VX Pro4 from the VX Pro3, improvements based on motocross, enduro and off-road racer and rider feedback.
These include a longer and wider peak with improved aerodynamics and air flow where the peak meets the helmet shell.
One of the most noticeable differences is the chin vent, which now has its stainless steel mesh ports placed in a removable assembly on the outside of the chin bar rather than incorporated in the chin bar itself.
Arai said that this adds some room inside the helmet and makes it easier to clean the vents. Inside the chin bar, in back of the central vent is a removable cover that allows easy access to the foam dust filter.
The top vent system is also all-new; a single plastic screw holds the assembly in place for easy replacement. But it has a lower profile, which should mean fewer replacements are needed.
The VX Pro4 meets the DOT standard and it's Snell M2010 certified in the U.S.A. The downside to all this goodness is the price, which is significantly higher than many of the other off-road helmets we've reviewed. And the VX Pro4 also weighs quite a bit more than the competition. But, it is an Arai...
Pull the VX Pro4 out of the box and you'll know it's an Arai. While this may sound trite, it's true. There's no cutting corners here just because it's not a street helmet; a temptation sometimes too tempting for other manufacturers to resist and this is probably why so many pro motocross riders choose the VX Pro-series.
The VX Pro4 has the same hand-laid Arai "Super Fiber" shell with the "R75" round-ish shell shape, designed to help prevent catching during an impact and slide.
Super Fiber is claimed to have "30% more tensile strength than fiberglass and increased penetration resistance", according to Arai.
It's one of those features you don't see and don't know is there (until you need it). And it's also one of the reasons the helmet costs (a lot) more. The stuff is said to cost 6 times as much as fiberglass.
It apparently works, because the shell of the VX Pro4 feels super solid and the helmet has the Snell M2010 certification. This solidity can be felt and the quality of the graphics in the way they're applied helps also.
This helmet is the "Tip" graphic in red (sort of a nearly high-viz bright red-orange).
If you look carefully (there's a photo in the slide show), the black sections are flecked with multi-colored metalflake bits, another subtle touch that adds to the helmet's richness. In fact, the white, silver and red areas also have a tiny metalflake appearance and overall, the Tip graphic is a stunner.
The liner is up to usual Arai standards also; it's a multi-section design that's relatively easy to remove and can be somewhat custom-fitted for the owner's head.
The moving parts have been designed more for race function than style, with basic sliders for the brow vents and an easily removable dark smoke clear vent cover on the top, sides and in the rear. The adjustable peak also feels solid, although perhaps not more than some.
While the VX Pro4 may not be as stylish-pretty as the Airoh Aviator (review), it is the most solid-feeling off-road helmet we've reviewed.
Score: We'll give the Arai VX Pro4 an "Outstanding" rating for excellent build quality, finishing and solid feel. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.
The VX Pro4 has the Arai "Intermediate Oval" internal shape, identical to the Arai RX-Q (review), with a slight narrow shape that has a bit of forehead room. It's about what we'd call a "Neutral" shape and it should fit a lot of different head shapes.
It was our understanding that the VX Pro4 is supposed to have the Arai removable foam sections under the liner to allow the owner to custom-tailor the fit. We don't see them on our helmet and at the time of this review, Arai doesn't have the VX Pro4 owner's manual or parts list available online, so that remains a mystery.
Arai also doesn't have a size chart that we could find on their website, another puzzling oversight for a company that prides itself on helmet fit.
Retailers list a 59-60 cm head circumference for the VX Pro4 and we think that's correct. In fact, a 60.5 "Round" shaped head like the Editor's is a bit too big for the size L (his RX-Q is an XL with a customized liner and cheek pads).
The liner padding and fabric is classic Arai, with the same comfort and feel as their top-of-the-line street helmets. So no compromising is necessary here, despite the fact that the VX Pro4 is designed for racers (but very usable for street dual-sport owners). It feels very similar to an Arai Signet-Q (review) and the Arai RX-Q with regards to comfort level.
And like other recent Arai helmets we've reviewed, eyeglasses or sunglasses fit with no problems.
The cheek pads have an emergency pull tab release and they're also easy to remove to exchange with thicker or thinner sections.
One quirk of the VX Pro4 is that despite the claimed improvement in chin room by moving the chin vent assembly to the exterior, the helmet feels a touch short compared to other off-road helmets we've reviewed.
In fact, the top of the breath guard touches the nose, although this could be trimmed and may not be a problem for everyone. This may be caused by the R75 round shell shape.
More information on helmet fit can be found in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, along with the chart that lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets and also by shape on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
Score: We'll give the VX Pro4 an "Outstanding" rating for shape, comfort, padding, fit and eye port.
Of course, one important criteria for an off-road helmet is how the goggles fit. The VX Pro4 has a roomy eye port and extra-large sized goggles like the Scott OTG (Over the Glasses) goggles (review) used by the Editor fit very nicely and the peripheral vision is about as good as you'll find with a helmet of this type.
The peak of the VX Pro4 has been revised from the previous version of this helmet by making it 14 mm longer and 5 mm wider. It has good coverage and a small range of fore/aft adjustment by loosening a friction screw. It also has a black appliqué underneath the brim, which helps reduce glare.
The VX Pro3 peak had less room for air to flow under and through, which caused lift, so the attachment point on the VX Pro4 has been changed.
We didn't notice any unusual lifting or buffeting, although when the helmet is used on a motorcycle with a short windscreen, such as a dual-sport bike, we did notice some extra noise along the top of the peak at certain combinations of head angle and windscreen adjustment. Some lower-frequency noise can be generated by the peak, again depending on its angle and the type of windscreen, and this noise disappears as soon as the air is blocked or the peak angle is changed.
Score: The VX Pro4 has excellent eye port visibility in all directions, so we'll give it an "Excellent" rating overall.
The ventilation system on the VX Pro4 was completely revised from the VX Pro3 to eliminate the Arai "scoops". The VX Pro4 has a pair of brow vents under the peak that open with simple vertical sliders. On top, in the center position is a single vent covered by a dark smoke plastic low-profile cover and the same dark smoke plastic is used on the rear exhaust also.
All of these vents are open and can't be closed; apparently Arai said that most owners never closed the vents anyway, so this eliminates some moving parts.
The rear exhaust assembly can be easily removed by unfastening a single plastic screw. Although the parts list wasn't available on the Arai website at the time of this review, it is assumed that all of these parts (including the peak and liner parts) will be available for sale.
The revised chin vent consists of stainless steel mesh screens on an external assembly that's designed to break away in a crash. There's a removable foam filter underneath the center vent that is accessed via a snap-in plastic cover inside the chin bar.
The combined ventilation system works well and may be the most efficient of any off-road helmet we've reviewed. The only caveat here is that we did notice that the noise levels were slightly louder than we expected. But
Score: We'll give the VX Pro4 ventilation system an "Excellent" rating.
The VX Pro4 has good aerodynamics with minimal lift from the peak. But the peak design and the vent covers seem to generate slightly increased noise levels, so overall the helmet is slightly noisier than we expected. The helmet flows a lot of air though, so it's a good tradeoff.
The increased noise levels can vary, depending on the motorcycle and if there's a windscreen that directs air at the top 1/3 of the helmet.
But this is true also of almost all of the off-road helmets combined with street-oriented rides. Overall, we rate the VX Pro4 as quieter than expected, with better noise control that many other full-face or other helmet types.
Note that our helmet evaluations are a combined effort of several riders over time on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBW Earplug Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual.
Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit, the type of motorcycle and windscreen, wind speed and direction and even the rider's clothing.
For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.
Score: We'll give the VX Pro4 a "Very Good" rating for noise control.
The VX Pro4 has to be the most luxurious off-road helmet we've reviewed and this luxury adds weight, as does the Snell certification.
As a comparison, the Airoh Aviator (review) is also an off-road helmet designed for motocross racing. It's CE rated only and it weighed a miniscule 1115 grams for a size XL, making it the lightest helmet of any type that we've reviewed.
We also recently reviewed the AFX FX-21 (review), which weighs in at a light 1351 grams for a size large. The Shoei VFX-R Air (review), which is Shoei's off-road helmet competitor, weighs only 1508 grams for a size XL.
Compared to these, the Arai VX Pro4 is heavy; the size large shown here weighs in at 1571 grams (3 lbs., 7-3/8 oz.), making it one of the heaviest off-road helmets available. How this translates to race comfort and neck strain we don't know (but can guess), although 1571 grams is fine for a street helmet and the VX Pro4 balances very nicely on the head, so the weight isn't that noticeable (at least in street and dual-sport riding).
Note also that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the weights are available on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page, along with a chart that lists the helmets by weight and shape on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
Score: We'll give the Arai VX Pro4 a "Neutral" rating for its weight with good balance.
The VX Pro4 has a double D-ring chin strap attachment but it has the too-short padding underneath that is similar to every recent Arai helmet we've reviewed.
The helmet meets the DOT standard in the U.S. and it's Snell M2010 certified.
The Arai VX Pro4 is the continuation of a very popular line of Arai off-road helmets. It has several very useful improvements and the VX Pro4 makes a very good helmet for off-road, dual-sport or adventure-touring riders who also spend time on the street.
The overall fit, feel, comfort, ventilation and the ease of use with goggles make this a solid choice for an off-road helmet.
Apparently the weight doesn't bother the pros and their feedback has been implemented in this latest version of the premiere Arai off-road helmet.
The VX Pro4 also has that hard-to-define Arai feel, so for Arai fans, there will be no other choice.