BOISE, Idaho – Kabuto helmets are now available in the U.S. market thanks to a distribution deal secured with Western Power Sports/WPS. Four new helmet models made by the Japanese company formerly known as OGK made their debut in front of WPS representatives gathered in Boise this week for the distributor’s national sales meeting.
WPS intends to position Kabuto USA as a high-end helmet line, competing with the Arais and Shoeis of the world, but offering a more affordable price point for U.S. buyers, with MSRPs ranging from $139.95 to $479.95.
The distributor this summer started teaser ads in the consumer moto-magazines and is set to launch social media and event campaigns to support the brand’s rollout in the U.S., James Richards, Kabuto sales and brand manager for WPS, told Dealernews. “[Kabuto knows] we’re good at brand building,” he said.
Although Kabuto is new to the U.S. market, the OGK brand has been in operation since 1982 and due to the depth of its product lineup is the No. 2 seller of helmets in Japan, behind Shoei, Richards (shown, center, in photo with Kabuto executives) said.
Previously, riders who wanted to buy a OGK/Kabuto lid would be required to order a (non-DOT) model directly from Japan. The new U.S. line features four new western headforms, all of which meet and/or exceed DOT and Snell, Richards noted.
The four offerings are the FF-5V Aerodynamic Racing Helmet ($429.95 - $479.95), the Aeroblade III full-face ($349.95 - $399.95), the Kamui full-face helmet with inner shade ($249.95 - $299.95) and the Avand II three-quarter ($139.95). All carry a five-year warranty. The FF-5V and Aeroblade III are manufactured in Japan; Kabuto is able to achieve a lower price on the Kamui and Avand II by manufacturing those two models in China, company executives noted.
No matter where manufacturing is located, all four models share the same basic components, including advanced composite shells, COOLMAX interior pads, incorporation of Kabuto’s patented Wake Stabilizer that controls disturbed airflow to make the helmet more stable, and a patented SAF quick-change shield system that WPS reps were testing out during the demos.
The FF-5V is the top-end offering, a DOT/Snell 2010/ECE helmet suited to performance riding. It features an advanced composite shell which results in lighter weight without sacrificing strength, and includes an anti-fog Pinlock Original Insert Lens as standard. The FF-5V is available in black, white and three graphic designs.
The Aeroblade III is a lightweight and aerodynamic full-face helmet designed for all-day comfort. It features the same SAF quick change shield as the FF-5V (again, with included Pinlock anti-fog lens insert) and COOLMAX interiors, patent-pending side outlet trim vents, chin curtain and eyeglass-friendly cheek pads; it also incorporates the Wake Stabilizer anti-buffeting technology. The design of the shell enhances strength while reducing weight, according to the company. It’s available in black, white, silver and five graphics.
The Kamui offers a compact and lightweight full-face thermo plastic shell with an integrated inner sun shade for touring riders. It also shares the Wake Stabilizer “DNA” with the other models and COOLMAX interiors, Pinlock anti-fog lens insert, quick release retention buckle and a design that enables the rider to put on and remove the helmet in one smooth action. The Kamui is available in black, white, silver, high-viz yellow and in two graphic designs.
The Avand II three-quarter helmet is more suited for touring or city/scooter riders who prefer an open face but want a quieter ride, offered by Kabuto’s Wake Stabilizer system and COOLMAX pads. The Avand also features the quick-change shield. There are six styles available: metallic and flat black, white, silver, blue and red.
All styles are offered from XS to XXL.