I posted this on cycleforums, but here it is again for those new to the sport who are shopping for a helmet and think that they absolutely need to buy Arai. :
I used to absolutely adore the name "Arai" because it's a big name in racing, it's the most expensive so it HAS to be the best, all the local cool guys and girls have em, ppl have Arai stickers on their bikes and backpacks and stuff..... so of course I had to buy one.
But after really knowing the bike industry and community, I realized it's "ok" to not have Arai. Especially after the stunt they pulled with the internet sales, and finding out how good other helmets are for a fraction of the cost, I don't think my next helmet will be an Arai unless I get a REALLY good deal on one.
If I were to choose again, I'd probably go with a KBC VR-1, but first I'd try out all the helmets ROOF included definitely.
I'm not saying Arai helmets are bad (far from it), but just letting people know it's ok to look at other helmets if money may be an issue and image is not.