Arai is now selling its new retro helmet in Japan with the slogan “RETRO MODERN NEW OLD SCHOOL.” The full-face Rapide-Neo is a Snell certified, modern-classic lid by the prestigious Japanese manufacturer of racing helmets. Its cleaner silhouette with strong details give the Rapide-Neo a look inspired by the ‘80s — setting it apart from other Arai products and mesmerizing those who love the mad era of ‘80s GP and superbike racing. If you're thinking about getting the new Suzuki Katana or any other retro-futuristic motorcycle, you might as well consider grabbing one of these.
The Rapide-Neo’s Snell rating and high-tech features are on brand, promising quality construction and excellent safety. Arai lowered the shield’s Variable Axis System (VAS) VC by 24 mm in order to excel in Snell’s shock testing while realizing a smoother form. The PB-cLc2 shell is constructed using specially developed fiberglass of greater fiber density and strength. Arai says this material is 40% stronger and six times more expensive than regular fiberglass. Underneath are 20 layers of protective composites, and to suppress cracks forming upon collision, a Super Fiber Belt (SFB) derived from F1 helmets reinforces the lid from within. The skull is further safeguarded with a Multi Density Liner (MDL).
The noticeable lack of venting at the top of the helmet gives the helmet a clean, more classic appearance. Meanwhile, cooling airflow is routed through vents at the forehead, the chin grille, two slits at the bottom-rear of the helmet, and an exhaust nozzle at the back of the neck pad. A switch operates an inner shutter that closes off most of the front grille, leaving the top open for defrosting and defogging duties. The forehead vents can also be opened and shut.
Meanwhile, the helmet’s sculpted skirt serves an aerodynamic purpose while acting as an additional shock absorber, much like a car’s bumper. The ES Chin Cover V is an optional accessory that can be attached to the lower part of the helmet for greater noise blocking and protection from the elements. In addition, the FCS interior of the Arai Rapide-Neo is adjustable, antibacterial, and odor-resistant.
The helmet comes with a lightly smoked VAS-V shield as standard, but this can be replaced with other VAS-V shields by Arai, including tear-off shields and the VAS-V Pro Shade System. This high-performance product doesn't come cheap though. Its base price surpasses AGV's '60s retro full-face X3000 by a bit, and even Simpson's own Snell certified Outlaw and Street Bandit helmets. The Arai Rapide-Neo comes in five sizes; solid colors cost ¥46,000 and graphic models cost ¥54,000. Global availability has yet to be announced, so stay tuned with your local dealer.