J.D. Power & Associates: Arai Ranks Highest for 10th Year

Arai ranks highest in satisfying motorcycle helmet owners for a 10th consecutive year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study.

The study measures the overall satisfaction of motorcyclists with their new helmet by examining 11 key areas: quietness; ventilation/air flow; de-fogging; face shield ability to keep wind out; face shield ability to resist scratching; ease of replacing face shield; scratch resistance of shell; color/graphic design; weight; ease of fastening the strap; and comfort/fit.

Arai, with an overall index score of 819 on a 1,000-point scale, performs particularly well in comfort/fit and face shield's ability to keep the wind out. Shoei follows with a score of 816 and receives high ratings in comfort/fit. Icon ranks third with a score of 806, improving by 71 points from the 2007 study.

The study finds that overall satisfaction with motorcycle helmets increased to an average of 761 in 2008 — up 26 index points from 735 in 2007. All 11 measures of satisfaction improve in 2008 and are at their highest levels since the study's inception in 1999. Comfort/fit, ventilation/air flow and color/graphic design are the top three measures that most impact overall satisfaction.

"Manufacturers continue to improve on the key attributes that have the greatest impact on overall helmet satisfaction, maintaining the upward trend that began in the 2002 study," said Tim Fox, research manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Across the industry, satisfaction with all 11 attributes improves by approximately the same amount, indicating consistency in efforts by manufacturers to enhance overall satisfaction."

The study also finds that the helmet industry as a whole improves with regard to perceived value for the money spent on a new helmet, with all brands receiving higher scores in perceived value in 2008, compared with 2007. Helmet owners who spend more money for a helmet perceive a higher value for their money than those who spend less.

The 2008 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 5,386 purchasers of new 2007 model-year motorcycles who provided information about their most recent helmet purchase experience and helmet use. The study was fielded in September and October 2007.