Well, I'm working an angle from a sponsored racer so I won't be paying anywhere near retail for my new one. Cause your right, there damn pricey, but, if there is one piece of safety equipment I would "splurge" on, it is a helmet.
Mainly get one that fits my mellon best. I really wanted to get a Bell when I was shopping for this one that is in the trash. But damn, my head shape isn't for a Bell. Nails my forehead. The Arai was the same. The Fox, Shoei, and TLD seem to fit me the same as far as the forehead goes. You can get different size cheek pads to eliminate the "chip monk" cheek feel if the store bought helmet didn't come with ones that fit the best. It think all 3 listed do that.