Arai says its new full-face Defiant helmet was inspired by Cycle World’s 10 Best-winning Ducati
“Arai has a great relationship with Ducati,” said Brian Weston, Managing Director at Arai Helmet, Inc., at
the Defiant’s unveiling in Los Angeles. “They wanted a helmet to go with the Streetfighter. While Arai has
never chased fashion or fads—we don’t design specifically for a given market or a certain style—we saw
a need for a new look. We wanted to give urban, naked-bike riders the core protection they need and the
styling they want.”
Known as the Rebel in Europe and Rapide-IR in Japan, the DOT/Snell M 2010-approved Defiant is based
on the RX-Q, which Arai bills as “the ultimate street helmet.” Shared features include: an “intermediate-
oval” shell shape with proprietary Super Complex Laminate Construction; ingress-easing, bottom-of-helmet
Hyper-Ridge reinforcing band; a multiple-density, single-piece EPS liner; tool-less faceshield removal; pull-down chin spoiler; brow ventilation; varying-density Facial Contour System cheek pads with emergency
release; and a removable, washable liner and neck roll.
Unique to the Defiant is a downforce-creating, front air dam that is claimed to reduce buffeting, lift and
wind noise. “The air dam is probably the most pronounced visual feature of this helmet,” said Weston.
“The sides of the dam kick turbulent air outward and away from that pocket between your shoulders and the
bottom of the helmet where most wind noise is created.”
Another alleged benefit is improved lateral stability, which keeps the helmet from rocking back and forth in turbulent conditions—experience gained from Arai’s involvement in MotoGP with Repsol Honda rider Dani
Pedrosa. Weston believes the dam is so effective that consumers will see some variation of it on the next generation of Arais.
Likewise exclusive to the Defiant: the broad, four-opening, three-position IR chin vent (with easily accessed mounting screw for cleaning or replacement) and large, slide-gate-closure, IC-4 upper intake vents. “A version of these vents may find their way onto another helmet if we can prove they benefit more than just urban riders,” said Weston.
Arai is also experimenting with new interior materials. “The Dry-Max used on the neck roll and bottom
of the cheek pads is hydrophobic,” said Weston. “So, in a rainstorm, it will not absorb water and thus add
weight to the helmet. Arai has tested this in MotoGP, and it’s been very well-received. So, we’re going to
test it on the street with this helmet.”
The Defiant will be available in XXS through XXXL sizes. In addition to five solid colors and six graphics
options, Arai will produce a Ducati-exclusive paint scheme. MSRP for the former will range from $619.95
to 759.95. “Because it comes with a Pinlock Max-Vision shield and anti-fog insert in the box,” said Weston, “the Defiant is going to have the same pricepoint as the Signet-Q.”
Looks first, features, quality and safety second? Not at all. “Yes, the Defiant is stylized,” said Weston, “but it’s very much an Arai underneath.”