Arai has just released a Nicky Hayden Laguna Seca replica on its flagship RX-7V. The design says homage to the design the late former MotoGP champion wore at his home round in 2006 and features a star on the left-hand side, which is filled with the stars and stripes of the American flag, black and grey camouflage on the back and thick red stripes throughout. The RX-7V is the brand’s premium lid, and it boasts all the range topping details you’d expect. The outer shell is a result of Arai’s philosophy that a smoother shell offers the best protection through its enhanced ‘glancing off’ properties – the theory is that a smoother shape spreads the impact load across the whole helmet and thus helps reduce the amount of energy transferred to a rider’s brain in a spill. The shell itself is 30g lighter than the outgoing model, thanks a mainly to the new resins used, and there is now 3mm extra space around the rider’s mouth and chin. This focus on ‘glancing off’ means the RX-7’s has a low visor pivot to allow Arai to keep the shell of the RX-7V completely smooth above the test line of the Snell standard, further improving impact performance. The variable axis system also allows the visor to travel in an arc, allowing a lower and more compact visor mechanism and easier visor changes – which anyone familiar with the old RX-7’s sidepod creak will welcome. This helmet also sports a prominent visor tab, which Arai has carried over from its F1 programme. The system makes it easier to use with gloved fingers also makes it quicker to change visors and secures the visor better than ever. Handily, it also has an anti-fog position. But it’s not just with its protective characteristics that the RX-7V impresses; it’s extremely comfortable too, thanks to the comfort lining which has adjustable padding thickness that allows riders to customise it to suit their head shape. As usual there’s a fully removable interior liner system, but it’s now softer and also boasts anti-bacterial and deodorising properties. The RX-7V also boasts impressive ventilation properties for high levels of cooling airflow and both the top duct and the diffuser have been designed to work with the rear spoiler for enhanced stability at speed. There’s also a dual-pivot chin vent, which can be opened to help with visor demising or closed for greater rider comfort. And all vents now have three settings – closed, half open and fully open. HISTORY OF THE ARAI RX-7 HELMET The Arai RX-7 has become an almost iconic helmet. The history of this model goes way back to the sixties: 1968 Arai introduces its very first full face helmet. An expensive helmet as a standard open face jet helmet sold for 3.200 Japanese yen, an open face racing helmet was 6.900 yen and the full face sold for 25.000 yen. 1978 RX-7 cLc was released. The ‘’cLc sandwich construction’’ for the outer shell increased strength and reduced helmet weight dramatically. First use of Super Fiber material. The result was a helmet weight of 1400 grammess where the competition weighted 1700 grammes. 1981 Introduction of the Omni model with the world premiere of the now familiar ‘’holder system’’ for the visor mechanism. This holder system makes changing and adjusting the visor so much easier. 1982 New RX-7 with the new holder system. 1988 World premiere of the ‘’AdSis’’ visor system. This allows toolless changing of the visor in a matter of seconds. 1991Introduction of the RX-7RR with the innovative then brand new Diffuser system. The first RR was followed by several successors including the popular RX-7 Corsair. 2008 Introduction of the RX-7 GP – the first helmet with the advanced, adjustable ‘’Air Wing’’ concept. 2015 Introduction of the completely new RX-7V with the VAS (‘’Variable Axis System’’) visor mechanism offering an increased smooth outer shell area for better glancing off ability.