My Arai helmets have saved my life on more than one occasion. I've been wearing an Arai for at least 20 years and I will never wear anything else. BTW, congrats on your new Duc. I finally gave in to Ducati lust myself last year with the purchase of my '01 996SPS.
I'm on my second Arai helmet now but what I find comfortable may not fit you. You really need to go out and try on all the top brands within your budget to see which fits you best. Arai now has three helmets designed to fit different shaped heads. Arai, Shoei, Suomy, AGV, OGK and Shark are a few of the biggest helmet manufacturers to look at.
John posted the best helmet links I know of, so I'll just give you my opinion of helmets. I've owned a Shoei, Arai and an AGV. I'm no big fan of the AGV, but I would take the Shoei or the Arai any day. Personally, I think Arai is the, pardon my vernacular, shiznit. Particularly the more expensive RX-7RR lineup. Myself, I currently have an Arai Quantum/e "Raptor" in black.
Here's a different opinion. Unless you've got extra 100 dollar bills laying around (God bless you if you do), get an HJC AC-10. The helmets look good and fit really well, and have all the nice features. I was *really* close to buying a $500 Arai, then I was in the garage looking at my helmets. No frigin way, that $300 paint job would be screwed in only a matter of time - and NO, I don't drop my helmets. No one can argue the quality of the Arai's, but make sure your insurance company will cover it if you ruin it in a crash, or you'll just be ass out $500 for a new helmet.
If I put what I wanted in this signature, I would piss too many people off.
That's kind of John and mine's point -- we both have had tumbles in Arai helmets and are pleased with the protection. 'Course, if I wreck, the last thing I'm gonna be worried about is being out the $500 I paid for my Arai. Plus, the Arai (Shoei too) are very well constructed.
Just make sure whatever you buy has the DOT and, more importantly, SNELL foundation approval on it. Personally, the DOT approval don't mean jack and if it isn't SNELL approved, you might as well go without. The SNELL standards are more stringent and not just because they look at helmets -- they destroy thousands each year.
Thanks for all the advice and cool photos. I decided to get the AVG Demon because it fit my strange shaped mellon. The price was great on MAW.com. Friends wonder if it is a replica. I have USAA insurance so it is good to know that they will pay for any damages. Thanks again to all. Keep your bikes upright.
Aria's and Shoei(sp?) are great helmets no doubt but I think that HJC helmets are the best helmets on the market in terms of construction quality, crashworthiness and value. When I high sided the 996 last month I was wearing a HJC CL12 and it did a great job. I have even witnessed the bottom of the barrel HJC, the venerable ZF7 for under 100 bucks, save the noggin of a buddy that looped his Erion 929 (doc/images/icons/wink.gif). I never hesitated when I bought the AC10 with my RC51. IMO, as long as the lid is Snell approved you really can't go wrong.
If I'm shootin at ya and ya stay still, your probably safe.