Arai XD4 adventure motorcycle crash helmet review

Arai XD4 Dual Sport Motorcycle Helmet review – Arai’s most verstaile helmet ever?

Arai has designed the Arai XD4 to be probably the most versatile helmet in their range.

Out of the box, it looks like a regular adventure helmet, with sun/roost peak and large shield giving it the look of a helmet that should work nicely off road. But, like many adventure helmets, you can remove the peak entirely to make what looks like a more-or-less regular full face helmet. Or you can remove the shield, push on some goggles and you’re in a motocross helmet. Which makes the Arai XD4 one of the most versatile helmets on the market.

And as usual with Arai helmets, their design goal – alongside making a helmet that’s as safe as possible – has been to produce a nice round helmet with any vents or spoilers being as low and close to the helmet as possible to increase ‘roll-off’ during an accident and reduce noise created when air flows over the helmet.

Worthy aims indeed. But have they pulled it off?

  • Adventure helmet
  • Fiberglass shell
  • 3 configurations:
    • adventure
    • full face
    • motocross
  • D-ring fastener
  • Snell m2015 certified
  • DOT and ECE certified
  • Great ventilation and comfort
  • EQRS
  • Sizes XS-XXL
  • 5 year warranty
  • Expect to pay $550-$690

    arai xd4 detour motorcyle helmet side view
    Arai XD4 in Detour graphics

The Arai XD4 is, like most new Arai models, very much an evolution of what’s gone before. Check it out alongside the XD3 and you’ll be hard-pressed to spot much difference. But that can very much be a good thing as it means Arai have taken their well-regarded adventure helmet and improved its performance where they (and their customers) think it needs it.

Looking to buy an Arai?

We recommend both Revzilla (PA) and Rocky Mountain ATV/MC (UT & KY) for outstanding service. Please click either link to see their full range and latest deals or see here for more info about our recommended retailers.

Helmet Configs

As we mentioned, the XD4 is a hyper versatile adventure helmet. As you can see below, that means you can wear it in regular dual-sports mode with shield and peak (which is how it comes in the box), or you can pull off the shield and re-fit the roost guard/peak and you’ve now got a full-on motocross helmet which will even fit goggles inside that nice wide shield opening.

Of course, if you’re intending doing some serious highway miles, you might want to use it in conventional mode. That means, pulling off the peak, transforming it into a more regular full-face helmet.

arai-xd4-tour-x-4-different-motorcycle-helmet-configurations

All you need to do to make the transformation, is unscrew the peak by taking out a couple of nylon screws on either side. If you’re happy with that, you can bung up the holes using the replacement side-pieces that come in the box, so you don’t have unsightly holes in the side of the helmet. Or you can remove the shield and screw the peak back on to make the motocross version.

All of which makes the XD4 one incredibly useful helmet. Did we mention it’s versatile yet?!

Safety

Arai goes to massive lengths to make helmets that are as safe as possible. The Arai XD4 is both DOT certified and ECE 22-05 tested/approved (Europe), and the version sold in the States has been tested/certified by the Snell Foundation. All of which is very good and exactly what you want to hear when you’re buying a helmet.

arai xd4 Tour X4 route black white crash helmet rear view
Peak and vent guards are all designed to break off on impact (shown on XD4 Route in black/white)

Arai has also designed the XD4 to share its R75 helmet form which is supposed to improve ‘glancing off’ performance so the helmet skids rather than grips during an impact (though as we’ve previously found on this site, there doesn’t appear to be much actual science to back this up) and they use one-piece multi-density polystyrene linings inside the helmet to give improved shock absorption at different speeds. This last point is something you find in the best performing helmets.

Unfortunately, all this careful safety design isn’t always reflected in great SHARP safety ratings. You can read all about SHARP here, but in a nutshell, even though Arai obviously works its little socks off to make amazing, premium helmets, that doesn’t always translate into the safest helmets – at least as far as SHARP safety test results are concerned.

Over the years, 12 Arai helmets have been tested and their average score is 3.4/5. Not poor by any standards, but not the best either – which is kinda what you’d expect from expensive helmets like Arais!

The Arai XD4 hasn’t been tested by SHARP yet so it’s impossible to say how well it’ll perform in an accident (so we’ve given it our default safety score of 3 stars until we know for sure).

That said, if you want to make sure any helmet is going to give you maximum protection, when you buy your next helmet, first-off, make sure it fits right. According to experts – including Snell and the SHARP testing labs – a great fit is the number 1 factor in getting a helmet that’ll give you the best protection.

Test scores aside, there’s a few other things we can look at which contribute to safety.

arai-xd4-black-frost-adventure-helmet-top-side-view
Frost (matt) black version of the Arai XD4

That Shell is made of what Arai call their CLC complex laminate construction – including materials Arai calls ‘superfibers’, which are essentially high-grade fiberglass layers designed to offer more strength and bending resistance. All of which points to a more rigid shell – something that’s not necessarily a great feature in a crash helmet that needs to absorb and dissipate energy rather than simply repel it, and may point to why Arai doesn’t score top marks in SHARP helmet tests (but scores well in Snell tests which have a penetration test)?

On the flip side, Arai produces five different helmet shell sizes for the XD4, which we reckon will contribute to improved safety compared to helmets made with fewer shells. It’ll also make for a helmet that looks better and more in proportion to body size for the wearer. So that’s good.

A few final points on safety is that, like all other Arai helmets, the XD4 uses a traditional double-d ring fastener (absolutely fine though can be a bit fiddly compared to micrometric fasteners) and comes with EQRS built in – for quick helmet removal in an emergency. Again, that’s very good for a helmet that might see a bit more offroad use.

Helmet Noise

The new Arai XD4 has more ventilation holes than the outgoing XD3. More vents can mean more ways for sound to penetrate the helmet; but it also has a redesigned interior which was designed to keep more noise out. So has it worked?

arai xd4 Tour X4 hi viz neon yellow crash helmet side view
Hi vis Neon yellow XD4

Well, there’s a wide variety of opinions out there. A couple of owners reckoned it’s easily the quietest adventure/dual-sports helmet they’ve ever used and another said it’s on-par with Arai’s road helmets.

On the flip-side, a couple of people said it’s really noisy. Also, a few have said they’ve suffered from a whistle or hum that seems to be coming from the peak – possibly from vibrations somewhere on the peak. It’s not an insurmountable problem – one guy cured it by adding lots of tape and weights to the bottom of the peak and another used lollipop sticks – but it can be really irritating while it’s there.

Other than that, the bottom line – as is usual with nearly all helmets – is that how noisy you find the XD4 depends on lots of factors like how fast you ride, your riding style, what bike you ride, whether you ride a naked or fairing bike – and how quiet your last helmet was (i.e. if it was a real old bucket, then the XD4 will probably feel really quiet).

Plus, if you’re taking your XD4 off-road, you might want a bit of noise coming through to hear the revs and chat with other riders. It all depends.

And if you’ll be using your XD4 mostly on the road mostly, then stick in some decent ear plugs and you’ll find it a nice quite helmet anyway!

arai-xd4-mesh-red-motorcycle-helmet-top-side-view
XD4 Mesh design – also available in sand, yellow and orange

Ventilation

Ventilation on the XD4 has been increased from the old XD3. You’ll find vents aplenty – 3 in the chin, two brow vents in the shield itself and a couple of large scoops up top. All these aren’t going to be much use unless the air can escape the helmet too, so there’s four large exhaust vents in the shell to the rear, plus there’s a large collar exhaust in the padding at the back.

All input vents on the front can be closed off (the bottom chin vents with the gauze over them can be opened/closed/directed from inside the helmet) and the two large top exhausts can be opened/closed too.

So far, so many numbers. But do they work?

As it turns out, yes they do!

Lots of folks say they’re outstanding or very good, offering lots of air to keep shields (relatively) fog free and your head cool. They can be a bit tricky to locate and operate, but then that goes for most helmets (so stick it on and practice before you go out) but they’re decent to use in gloves and some of the vents give a nice positive ‘click’ so you know you’ve just used them.

One person said the vents can be a bit fragile, but that’s more a design feature for Arais – all the external bits and pieces are designed to break off easily so they don’t dig in and rotate the helmet during an accident. Usefully, most of these external vent covers are available to buy should you drop your helmet or if they snap off.

arai-xd4-flare-blue-adventure-crash-helmet-rear-view
Shell shape is Arai’s R75 designed for better ‘glancing-off’ performance

Shield & Goggles

The shield is large and contoured to the shape of the helmet and has integral venting in the form of brow vents directly in the shield. It also has Arai’s usual shield lock to keep the shield locked and closed (though there’s no cracked-open position on the lock like you find in some Arais). It isn’t a quick-change shield either which is a shame, but it is Pinlock-ready so you can add a Pinlock anti-fog insert to stop steaming on cold/rainy/humid days.

And because the shield aperture is so large, if you do take the shield off there’s room in there for a pair of goggles. By the sound of it, not many people actually bother, but one guy who did said they took his Scott OTG goggles, though it was pretty tight.

Peak/Roost Guard

That Peak works as both a sun shield and, if you take the helmet off-road, as a roost-guard to stop dirt and stones thrown up from other bikes from hitting your goggles/shield.

Like most external bits on an Arai helmet, the peak is designed to break off in an accident and so it’s only secured by a couple of nylon screws on either side. And according to one or two owners, that can mean it’s a bit wobbly.

If you’re not used to dual-sports helmets, you’d be forgiven for thinking that peak will act as a sail when you’re riding – particularly in a cross-wind or looking back over your shoulder. And truth be told, you will notice it’s there and it can take some getting used to. However, reports are that the peak on the Arai XD4 is very aerodynamic, with a couple of owners saying it’s OK for up to about 90 MPH before the drag gets really noticeable.

arai-xd4-distance-orange-dual-sport-helmet-side-view
Arai XD4 in Distance orange/black colours

It also gives great shade, especially if your shield’s a bit scratched where one owner said it’s great for stopping sunlight whiting-out the shield by casting shade over it.

And apart from the possible whistling noise mentioned in the noise section above, both shield and peak are reported to work very well.

Comfort & Sizing

Like many Arai helmets, the overall internal shape of the XD4 is medium oval – which should suit all but the roundest head shapes.

That’s helped by an innovative fitting system that Arai uses to help owners tailor the fit.

First off, there’s Arai’s FCS or facial contouring system – which is essentially a pair of carefully sculpted cheek pads with additional springing to gently push the cheek pads towards your face to give a nice firm fit.

Inside the helmet, the comfort lining has several removable panels – one in each cheek pad and another couple for either side of the head. These 5mm foam panels can be removed to give more room if required. And, like all Arais, you’ve always got the option of buying replacement internals and larger/smaller cheek pad sizes to more fundamentally adjust the fit still further.

The foam pads are covered by Dry Cool material which is essentially a nice and comfortable moisture-wicking fabric. And of course everything is removable and washable.

arai-xd4-vision-black-frost-dual-sport-helmet-rear-view
Rear view of the XD4 Vision

You’ll also find Arai’s usual pull-down chin curtain on the inside of the chin guard. There’s mixed reviews on how effective it is – for some it’s useful, for others it gets in the way when you put your helmet on.

But all in all, the internals of Arais are usually very plush and very comfortable – and the XD4 is no different. As long as the fit’s right for your head in the first place, most owners find their XD4s are extremely comfortable helmets.

Looks & Graphics

Like most helmets, the plain solid colour designs are the cheapest – so if you’re after a plain gloss white or black (Diamond white/black in Arai-speak) or matt (Frost) black, you’ll find these versions cheaper than the rest.

If you’re after a choice of graphics, then there’s heaps of options for the Arai XD4. There’s the Vision, Move, Mesh, Desert, Detour and Route designs available – all coming in a range of different colours. That’s a lot of helmet designs to choose from – plus there’s new ones coming out all the time (and some being withdrawn) – so to see the latest range of designs and the latest XD4 deals, please click through to the Arai helmets pages of our recommended stores below.

Best places to buy an Arai crash helmet?

We've chosen two of the best places to buy from - whether it's an Arai or any other helmet/gear.

Revzilla are based in Philadelphia and offers outstanding service (at the time of writing 9.75/10 at Reseller Ratings) 30 day refunds and free shipping on orders over $39.99 to 48 states.

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC are in Utah and Kentucky, score 4.9/5 at Google Customer Reviews, offer free shipping to 48 states on orders over $75, 45 day no quibble returns and will pay for shipping if it doesn't fit right.

Both are recommended retailers for quality of service and if you buy from either, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site).

Click to visit Revzilla
Click to visit Arai at Revzilla
Click above to visit Rocky Mountain ATV/MC
Click above to visit Arai at Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

Arai XD4 Videos

Here’s a couple of Arai XD4 videos (the second one is for the same helmet in European spec – called the Tour-X 4 over there).

Other stuff – audio, weight, glasses, aero & buffeting, build quality, warranty

Word is that the Arai XD4 should be great for most bluetooth communicators. There are large ear pockets inside the helmet and one owner said his Scala Rider Q3 fitted well, as did another owner with a Sena SMH-10.

arai-xd4-solid-white-adventure-crash-helmet-side-view
This one’s the solid gloss white Arai XD4 – what Arai call diamond white

The Arai XD4 isn’t the lightest helmet in the world, but then it wasn’t designed to be. It weighs around 3.6lbs (1.65 Kg) so is pretty hefty compared to your average full face helmet at 3.2lbs (1.47Kg) (though about average for a dual sport helmet). But no owners commented on it feeling too heavy – just that it’s very comfortable – so I guess it’s not an issue. Either that or most owners don’t expect an adventure helmet to be featherweight.

A couple of owners said that the Arai XD4 is comfortable if you’re a glasses wearer and it’s easy to slide glasses on while wearing the helmet. As for aero, Arai has carefully designed the Arai XD4 to keep the shape as slippery and quiet as possible. And on the ‘slippery’ front at least, they seem to have done well because, while you will notice that peak in the air if you’re not used to a dual-sport helmet, it’s good for stability and lack of buffeting.

All round build quality on the Arai XD4 is universally praised. Much of an Arai helmet is hand made and, together with their five-stage QC inspection process, one of the main reasons we buy Arais is because we expect that amazing Arai build quality. With the Arai XD4, a few things can feel a bit wobbly or plasticky, but that’s probably because some parts are designed to break off during an accident. All the rest feels well put together with quality materials.

One slight quibble with the Arai XD4 is that the double-d ring fastener, while it works well, it could be longer (and so could the padding on the strap). It’s a very little quibble for most folks and just makes it a bit more fiddly to tie up the helmet.

And finally, all Arais come with a 5 year warranty as standard. That’s as long as motorcycle helmet warranties come so far and should last the suggested lifetime of the helmet.

arai-tour x 4-diamond gloss black-dual-sport-helmet-side-view
Classy gloss ‘Diamond’ black Tour XD4

Overall/Summary

The Arai XD4 has a legion of faithful followers – and it’s not hard to see why.

It’s got Arai’s legendary build quality, coupled with tremendous versatility that delivers a full face, motocross and dual-sports helmet all in one package.

OK it’s not the lightest helmet around but it is both DOT and Snell certified so should offer decent protection. So if you’re after a ‘go anywhere, do anything’ type of helmet that’ll be comfortable for all day riding and with superb ventilation, then the Arai XD4 has to be toward the top of your dual-sports helmet list. Owners love it and we think it’s great.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.

arai-tour-x-4-move-red-dual-sport-helmet-side-view
XD4 Move in red and black

Alternatives to the Arai XD4?

It might be a great adventure bike helmet, but the Arai XD4 has lots of worthy competitors.

Of the big-hitting brands, there’s the Shoei Hornet ADV; that’s another versatile fiberglass helmet with big shield and EQRS that’s around the same price as the XD4.

Or for a smidge less money, you could buy an AGV AX-8 Dual Evo, which is a cool-looking dual sports helmet that’s lighter than the XD4; though if you’re planning on using goggles you should check it’ll work with yours before you buy (read the review for more info).

If you’re on a much tighter budget, the Bell MX-9 dual sport is a cheaper polycarbonate helmet, but still offers great ventilation and lots of comfort, plus it comes with Bell’s 5 year guarantee – so it’s well worth a look.

Looking to buy an Arai?

We recommend both Revzilla (PA) and Rocky Mountain ATV/MC (UT & KY) for outstanding service. Please click either link to see their full range and latest deals or see here for more info about our recommended retailers.

Definitely want an Arai?

Here you'll find all our Arai crash helmet reviews and previews including full face, flip-up and open face helmets.

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