Arai vs. Suomy - Observations

Discussion in 'Gear & Accessories' started by thestumper, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. thestumper

    thestumper New Member

    United States
    Apr 6, 2021
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    As some of you know, I recently purchased a Suomy Speedstar helmet. I like it. I also stumbled into an Arai Corsair very lightly used for the price of a tube of 3M weatherstrip adhesive. I've had the chance to ride them back to back and the verdict is in: I like the Arai WAY better...

    ... but why?

    While it's easy to assume that a $900+ helmet would naturally be "better" than a sub-$400 helmet, my observations are more pragmatic:

    1) The Arai fits a bit better - nothing you can say about that - it's just better on my head.

    2) The Arai move a lot more air, yet is considerably more quiet. To me, these would be mutually exclusive but it's the big reason I find myself favoring it.

    It's not as if Suomy doesn't know how to design a helmet - my Spec-1R was as good as the Arai, but it occurred to me that I had not really accounted for what the helmet was designed for. The Speedstar is a touring helmet - if I sit almost bolt upright into the wind, the noise mellows out and the ventilation improves. Unfortunately, I find myself in at least a light crouch/tuck most of the time. It is in this position that the Arai shines brightest - it seems the lower I tuck, the quieter it gets while continuing to move air effectively. When I try that on the Suomy, it whistles and howls to the point of being downright distracting and a get a lot of buffeting. I LOVE the flip down sun shade, but it contributes to the noise - when it is down, it's worse, I assume because it opens a space under the vents. When it's up, its not nearly as bad. Regardless, it's a great feature, but yet another reminder that every design is a compromise at some level.

    My eyes aren't as good as they were - I find that with too much tint on a visor I now lose too much visual acuity in shady areas that I ride through frequently. Unfortunately, my eyes now fatigue considerably more in the sun with a clear visor. My choices with the Arai are:

    1) Split the difference with a light smoke screen and hope the compromise is acceptable

    2) Sunglasses with a light enough tint that work in most conditions and can at least be removed. I wore dark-tinted glasses the other day and I really suffered in the shady stuff and it can be hard to pull over in the middle of nowhere but eventually I had to.

    Or I could just learn to accept the noise and buffeting of the Suomy, but that leads to fatigue as well. I suppose I'll have to experiment some more and figure out what works best, but as usual, be careful what you wish for. And remember kids - getting old SUCKS!

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