The most telling feature is the extended coverage of the lower jaw-cheekpad area that offers more facial coverage without sacrificing the traditional open feel of the helmets. With the XC, the lower jaw now extends 1 3/16 inches forward compared to previous-and traditional-open-face three-quarter shape helmets.
The look itself is intriguing. Someone at Arai has compared the look to that of "an ancient Greek warrior's helmets with the jaw extensions. Definitely cool. But like everything we do, primarily, our objective is to build a better helmet for riders."
Indeed, Arai says the XC is continuing proof of its longstanding emphasis on "rider protection above all," and its tradition of improving on what works instead of simply changing for the sake of change or "short-lived marketing headlines."
There are two models in the new XC series: standard XC and XC-RAM. The RAM's upper-vent system is borrowed directly from the top-of-the-line race helmet, the Corsair-V. The advantage is improved airflow and helmet stability. It also has a fully-removable Arai Dry-Cool® liner.
The standard XC model's ventilation utilizes Arai's TDF-3 and DDL-4 intake and exhaust vents taken directly from the Arai's "ultimate street helmet," the RX-Q. Side cowl exhausts complete the XC's advanced ventilation package.
A vented neck roll on both models takes advantage of existing airflow from around the rider's neck to further enhance helmet ventilation by extracting more heat build-up from the interior.
Like all Arai helmets, the XC series is handmade in Arai's storied environment of skilled artisans rather than the alternative of mass production. They are available in sizes are XS through 3XL in four solid colors: Diamond White, Aluminum Silver, Black Frost, and Diamond Black. Suggested retail price for the XC is $499.95, and $559.95 for the XC-RAM.