X-lite X-551 vs. Arai Tour-X3. - BMW R1200GS Forum : R1200 GS Forums
 

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Old 09-May-2013, 04:37 AM (400)
Nick V's Avatar
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Default X-lite X-551 vs. Arai Tour-X3.

I've come to the conclusion that Arai's trump card is it's marketing effort, and that the X-lite X-551 is simply a better helmet than the Arai Tour-X3.
For the benefit of anyone shopping around, I will qualify that - I own and wear both, and have had ample opportunity to compare the two helmets on the same bikes and same riding conditions.
To elaborate:

1. The X-lite is lighter - seemingly by at least a couple of hundred grams.

2. In heavy rain (and I DO ride in heavy rain), the Arai leaks like a sieve. This is most apparent around the visor, where the hard, relatively inflexible plastic seal creates gaps which allow water to run down the inside of the visor.
This can lead to dangerous situations, because if a) enough incoming water permeates the helmet lining and b) you are not using the anti-fog insert at the time, the inside of the visor mists so badly that visibility is cut to almost nothing within a very short time. This gives you a choice: visor down (keep stinging raindrops out of your eyes, but risk a crash), or visor up (try to get some visorless visibility, and risk a crash).
The X-lite has a less radically-curved visor, softer and more flexible visor seal, and better-sealing air vents that eliminate these problems.
(Having said all this, neither Arai nor Nolan have any excuse for persisting with a snap-in anti-fogging solution - not when Shark, whose helmets and visors are substantially less expensive, offer visors with a pre-applied anti-fog coating which works brilliantly and presents zero visual distortion.)

3. The X-lite creates less air turbulence around the face. This could be due to a better-designed chin curtain which also closes the gap between helmet and chin better. (As a side note, the Arai's flip-down chin curtain is a typically Japanese high-tech, complicated solution to a simple problem. Not needed!)

4. Changing visors on both helmets is a pain in the @$$. All the better, then, that Nolan see fit to have equipped the X-551 with a peak which fastens to the helmets using three wing-nuts, while Arai use four cheese-head screws (requiring a screwdriver... wake up, Arai - some lateral thinking is called for!)
And - major bonus - you don't need to swap between visors anyway, because the X-lite has a flip-down sun shield. Also, because of the location of the peak fasteners on the X-lite, changing the position of the peak is also faster, and it's secured position more positive.
In today's age, there is no excuse for designing an adventure helmet where tools are needed to remove the visor.

5. The X-lite is a little quieter than the Arai (a moot point for me, since I always wear earplugs).

6. The X-lite is set up from the factory for an in-helmet comms system.
The Arai isn't.

7. The air vents - especially the 'top-mid' ones - work much better on the X-lite.
If you've ever worn an adventure helmet for eight hours at a go, you know what a luxury this really is.

8. The Arai has always been a supremely comfortable helmet in terms of no defined 'pressure points' and ability to wear the thing for hours without stress. But in the same terms, the X-lite is just as comfortable. (With the helmet off my head, the quality of the lining speaks for itself.)

9. The X-lite does all this while managing to stay at least R2 000 under the cost of an Arai Tour-X4.
Let's put it this way: in 2009, my Tour-X3 cost me R6 000.
Today, a replacement Tour-X4 costs closer to R9 700.
The listed retail on the X-551 was R7 000, but the one I got was in last year's colours (and R500 cheaper). Together with a discount for cash of 10%, I paid R5 850 for it.

The words "No" and "Contest" spring to mind...
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Old 09-May-2013, 09:04 AM (586)
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Nice report, thanks.

I'm still using an XD-3 which has about a year of life left before I'll need a new helmet. I went with it due to fit and the size of the eye port. A large eye port is the feature I look for first.

Edit: not available in the US although revzilla has a page that says "coming in 2012"

Last edited by marc; 09-May-2013 at 09:16 AM (594).
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Old 10-May-2013, 12:49 AM (242)
Nick V's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc View Post
Nice report, thanks.

I'm still using an XD-3 which has about a year of life left before I'll need a new helmet. I went with it due to fit and the size of the eye port. A large eye port is the feature I look for first.
My pleasure!
The padding on the X-551 is very slightly harder, but it has very good 'conformance' to the overall shape of my head.
Eye-port-wise, I haven't really noticed a substantial difference in size, but if I'm wearing a helmet and it hampers my peripheral vision in any way, I'm acutely aware of it (this is a problem on my Shark RSR2 - no issues at all on the X-551).

(Note for those who don't know: The Arai XD-3 is sold in South Africa as the Tour-X3.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by marc View Post
not available in the US although revzilla has a page that says "coming in 2012"
...You do mean the X-551?
If you want to save some cash, you might want to try getting one through an independent importer - or import it yourself (I have no idea whether this would breach DOT or FMVSS regulations in any way - the X-551 is ECE 22-05 certified).
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3-2012 to 9-2012: '08 F800GS (Sold)
9-2012 to 2-2013: '09 R1200GS Adventure (Gen. 1.5 hexhead, custom black/yellow, wire wheels, Cytech exhaust - Sold)
2-2013 to now: '09 R1200GS Adventure hybrid (Custom metallic blue, R1200S engine and gearbox, Afriflo de-cat, Tornado Developments 'pipe, 17" Supermoto conversion)

8-2013 to now: '10 R1200GS Adventure (Tornado Developments 'pipe, 17" Supermoto conversion)

All your fast lane are belong to us!
Someone set up us the bike!
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Old 10-May-2013, 05:49 PM (951)
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Yes, I meant the X-551.

There's a thread on advrider.com regarding the helmet that includes a link to a german dealer who is happy to ship to the US.
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