Arai XD3 - txadventure

Arai XD3

I purchased a black Arai XD3 about 3 years ago, after experimenting with flip-face helmets and standard motocross helmets. At the time there was no competition in the U. S. market other than the Shoei Hornet, and some inexpensive versions such as the Airoh S4, Joe Rocket and a couple of others rushed to market.

I briefly tried a Joe Rocket, but it was horrific in sidewinds and immediately returned it. I tried the Shoei Hornet, a good fitting and well built helmet, however the visor (also called a "peak") was so short and high it offered no real value for deflecting rain, sun, bug swarms etc, so I decided to drop the big bucks for the XD3. I found it on sale sub $400 briefly and snatched it up.

Upon arrival, the helmet was beautifully made - great style and paint, and it fit fairly well other than pressure points on the forehead. What I immediately did not like was the noticeable optical distortion of the face shield, but I decided to live with it as there were no other choices. The Shoei Hornet did not have distortion, and I briefly considered buying one and grafting an extension to the visor but decided I didn't want to mess with it.

After three years of use, here are my conclusions...


• Good build and paint quality

• Good styling

• No significant visor lift or side pull

• Good venting and airflow

• Visor was long and well designed, effective for sun, headlights at night, rain and truck spray, etc


• Shield distortion was a constant issue and affected depth perception especially in tight tricky stuff.

• Shield when partially open had severe distortion

• Shield when fully open fell right in the line of vision

• Shield would not stay open at speed no matter how tightly the screws were done

• Shield and visor attachment were poor and fiddly with many parts (common complaint)

• Ear pressure from helmet liner became painful (common complaint)

• Forehead pressure caused headaches after several hours (common complaint)

• The extreme curvature of the shield which causes the optical distortion also causes a lot of internal reflections.

Initially I liked the helmet, but in short order began to see it's issues. On trips I had to constantly deal with the shield, distortion, etc. On a long trip into Mexico I was already frustrated with it, and a "perfect storm" moment occurred that almost got me killed. We were exiting from a highway, late in the day, when the shield dropped into my vision and caught the glare of the sun and blinded me with the distorted edge. It was a rough road and I couldn't let go of the bars to slap it back up and at the same moment a bus pulled into my lane. I saw the wheels below the blinding line and barely missed hitting him. I was so angry I almost threw the helmet away. The design and execution of such an expensive helmet was so absolutely poor that I'd been frustrated with it and that was the final straw.

That was the capstone of the complaints I had about the helmet and felt it was unforgivable in a real adventure touring helmet.

Shortly after the incident I began looking at helmets in Mexico to buy and toss the XD in the dumpster. I found a new dual sport helmet there that was not offered in the U. S. - the X-Lite X-551 by Nolan. I tried one on and found the visor much better, the fit perfect and ZERO optical distortion in the shield. Unfortunately since they were new, the only size that fit had been sold, but I decided to order one upon my return to the U. S. See my review of the X-551 here.

So, my experience in 3 years of use is that the XD may be well manufactured, but is a poor design, seemingly one designed to rapidly get a dual sport helmet on the market, and suffers from inexcusable flaws for such a high priced helmet. Luckily there are more options to choose from now.