American racer Wes Cooley passed away due to complications with diabetes in October, 2021. While the racing community mourned the loss, Cooley’s death shined a spotlight on his past accomplishments on the track. From his first AMA superbike race win aboard the Kawasaki KZ1000 in 1977 to his first AMA superbike championship with Suzuki in 1979, number 34 proved that he could tangle with racing’s best.

In 1980, the Los Angeles, California-born rider defended his AMA title against future MotoGP legends Eddie Lawson and Freddie Spencer. However, Cooley suffered a life-threatening injury at California’s Sears Point Raceway, and he struggled to return to form thereafter. In 2004, the AMA cemented Cooley’s place in motorcycling history by inducting him into the association’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Just months after Cooley’s passing, Arai also pays homage to the late rider with a Wes Cooley Replica of its Rapide Neo helmet. The Japanese helmet brand sponsored Cooley throughout his race career and his simple graphic designs and bright colorways were easy to spot on the circuit. Presented at the 2022 Tokyo Motorcycle Show, the new Rapide Neo lids captured Cooley’s trademark design in a white/red/blue and a white/blue/black livery.

The Rapide Neo model represents a retro lid for Arai, with the firm employing several throwback color schemes and graphics to match the old-school shape and chin vents. In Europe, the lid is rebranded as the Concept-X, but in a twist of irony, Arai doesn’t offer the model in the United States, Cooley’s homeland.

While the Wes Cooley replica matches the Rapide Neo’s simplistic styling, Arai hasn’t committed to releasing the design as a production model just yet. The brand will gauge the helmet’s reception at the 2022 Japanese trade shows before it releases or shelves the design. If Arai does move the replica into production, hopefully, it offers the design in a model available for the North American market as well.

Got a tip for us? Email: