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Full face Helmets...Flip up vs Rigid

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by Lone Wolff, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. Lone Wolff

    Lone Wolff Tire World...

    Dec 17, 2002
    I've been looking for a new helmet, and am intrigued with the filp up models (KBC FFR, Nolan N100E, etc.) From what little info I've been able to get about these, it seems like they're a bit noisier & heavier than a one-piece helmet. But I love the idea of being able to lift up the chin guard for certain things without having to take the helmet completely off.

    The couple that I tried on fit my head quite comfortably, but I'm not able to take one out and test it.

    Anyone rode with any of the flip-ups? Pros/cons?
  2. I don't trust the locking mech. enough to wear one myself. I keep thinking of highsiding face first into the ground and that thing lifting and grinding my jaw away.
    Like I said, no personal experience wearing one, but I'm not going to risk it.

  3. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

    Aug 8, 1999
    Great Southwest
    You'll note that none of these modular helmets is SNELL approved. I had a long conversation with the Arai representative at the Motorcycle Exposition in Long Beach a couple of months ago. I asked him about this. He said that the chin bar tends to separate from the helmet during crash dynamics. I have seen the resuls of stuff coming loose from a helmet during a crash. That stuff turns into shrapnel, knives, and other dangerous projectiles.

    I personally think a well designed 3/4 helmet is a safer bet than a modular one when the rider hits the road.
  4. I use the Nolan. I've seen failures with both kinds. I prefer the convenience of the flip up (I wear glasses). Not sure I agree with the 3/4 helment comment above...
  5. Catbird

    Catbird loves guns!

    May 21, 2001
    V I R G I N I A
    My wife and I wear Nolan N100Es.
  6. I look at a "Flip-Up" helmet as a 3/4 Helmet with better wind protection.

    I wear a "Flip-Up" when I would normally want a 3/4 Helmet and I wear a Snell rated "Full Face" 80% of the time. The Flip types are great for going through Drive-Throughs.

  7. Jake Mountain

    Jake Mountain Dragonrider

    Dec 23, 2005
    Gastonia NC
    Well in my younger days i never wore a helmet at all, and now with the recent purchase of my 99 Honda Valkyrie I bought the wife and I the flip-up helmets. I have a windshield on the bike so I can't comment on noise but I do like the flip-up feature.
  8. Gratiot


    Feb 3, 2006
    +1, the reason I can't wear anything other than a standard full faced helmet.
  9. J.R. Bob Dobbs

    J.R. Bob Dobbs Nerd

    Oct 3, 2000
    McGaheysville, VA
    I've got three helmets, and the one I prefer is a Vega (inexpensive but nice) flip-up helmet. I also have a 3/4 with shield and a conventional full-face.

    I tried it because I wear glasses, but found the flip-up feature to be more convenient and useful than I expected. And it's the quietest helmet I own.

    I'm sure it's not as strong in all types of impacts as a one-piece, but it latches and overlaps in enough areas to definately provide some chin/face impact protection.
  10. And to think, there are people who ride with no helmets at all... ;Q
  11. g29andy

    g29andy CLM

    Jan 28, 2001
    I have a HJC Symax flip-up, as well as a HJC full face. I use the Symax almost exclusively. Easier to put on sunglasses, drink, spit, etc. I refuse to wear a beanie half helmet.

    I know it was controviersial, but a recent study showed that although Snell rated helmets themselves survived impacts better, they actually transmitted more force to your gourd.

    As I understand it, Snell hasn't developed any standards for flip-up helmets, so they are not "Snell approved" because Snell hasn't tested them. From the Snell website FAQ:

    "Why won't Snell certify some types of helmets like flip up front designs?
    Snell does not dismiss out of hand any helmet design that strays from the conventional. Snell does not point out any design specifications other than general requirements in our standards. We are however, always concerned with innovations and new designs that may effect the helmet's ability to protect the wearer, or in some cases the helmets potential to cause injury. At present the Foundation has not had the opportunity to test any of the flip up front type helmets for certification. We do not find any fault with these designs as long as they are used according to the manufacturers instructions and meet all of the requirements of the standard. We will also certify any size of helmet as long as it meets the same requirements as any other Snell certified helmet."
  12. epsylum

    epsylum Boolit Hoze

    Sep 4, 2004
    Racing Capital, USA
    I have owned several brands of helmets in the past. I have an Arai Quantum F and it fits me like a glove. The Arai fit and finish is awesome.

    As far as safety, MC can print whatever they like. Many a MotoGP and WSB rider cannot be wrong. Not saying others suck (I like HJC and Icon also), just I REALLY like Arais.
  13. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    Flip-up helmets sacrifices that little bit extra of chin protection for convenience. There are no free lunches.

    I've thought a lot about getting a flip-up (aka modular) helmet for the easy cruisin' days, but since that I already have two helmets, there really is no need to carry another one. If I were to stop for a break and eat or drink something, I might as well take off the helmet.
  14. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    Yup, was a good read. I don't wear Snell and never will after reading that. DOT only for me. Fighter pilots and helo pilots have even lower rates than DOT, but Snell says it is ok for the head to take a 300g hit and get severe damage. I agree with DOT and say 250g's is more like it and could problably be reduced to the lower thresholds of pilots.

    I may stand with the minority.

    From the link:

    How Hurt is Hurt?

    Doctors and head-injury researchers use a simplified rating of injuries, called the Abbreviated Injury Scale, or AIS, to describe how severely a patient is hurt when they come into a trauma facility. AIS 1 means you've been barely injured. AIS 6 means you're dead, or sure to be dead very soon. Here's the entire AIS scale:
    AIS 1 = Minor
    AIS 2 = Moderate
    AIS 3 = Serious
    AIS 4 = Severe
    AIS 5 = Critical
    AIS 6 = Unsurvivable

    A patient's AIS score is determined separately for each different section of the body. So you could have an AIS 4 injury to your leg, an AIS 3 to your chest and an AIS 5 injury to your head. And you'd be one hurtin' puppy. Newman is quoted in the COST study on the impact levels likely to cause certain levels of injury. Back in the '80s he stated that, as a rough guideline, a peak linear impact—the kind we're measuring here—of 200 to 250 Gs generally corresponds to a head injury of AIS 4, or severe; that a 250 G to 300 G impact corresponds to AIS 5, or critical; and that anything over 300 Gs corresponds to AIS 6. That is, unsurvivable.


    The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL) has created a g-tolerance standard for helicopter crewpersons’ helmets. For a two-meter drop height, the same drop height we used in 3/4 of our testing, the Army allows no more than 150 gs to the earcup areas of the head, which they have determined are especially vulnerable, and no more than 175 gs on other areas. Should we motorcyclists—who are often older, not as fit, and not quite so willing to die or sustain head injuries as eager young soldiers—accept g tolerance levels of 300g for the same hits?

    Raised my eyebrows? To each his own. Ride safe and don't hit your head.
  15. g29andy

    g29andy CLM

    Jan 28, 2001
    Regardless if you line up with the Snell guys or the DOT guys, the most important thing is to get a lid that fits your particular head (wear it for awhile) and at least DOT rating. Everyone has a different shaped head. If you get hotspots after 20-30 minutes, you aren't going to use the helmet. The HJC just happened to be the one for my head. I realize it is not the best or most expensive lid.

    For me, I believe the MC article. You could have a steel plate in front of you instead of an airbag. But you are better off with something that gives during impact. Your brain gets injured when it suddenly slams into your skull, so anything that prolongs the decel time would be better for you. Just my nonscientific opinion.

    Of course, if your skull gets penetrated, that's not so good either. Maybe they should put Snell stuff on the outside and DOT on the inside..
  16. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    Snell-rated helmets were designed to take two impacts, and one of them against a hard surface. The question is how likely is it for a rider to undergo this sort of collision. Motorcyclist Magazine and their researcher claim that you don't tend to get into this sort of collision too often.

    I am still undecided.

    There's a helmet on the Arai website that saved the rider (he's alive and kicking) from a 100+MPH collision. So, either Snell or Arai must be doing something right as well.

    As for me, Snell or DOT aside, I think that I'll trust my brain to the protection of a Shoei or Arai before I put the same trust in a Pep Boys' special.




    Dear Arai Helmets:

    I want to express my gratitude for the fine product you make and the way one of your helmets served me in an accident.

    I was riding westbound on 1-20 near Weatherford, TX at what eyewitnesses later said was about 140mph on my CBR600RR when the accident happened. I don't remember the accident or, in fact, most of that day. However, I know I took out a street sign with my Arai helmeted head and also took out a guard rail which indicates the force of the impact.

    Most of my ribs on the left side were broken as was my sternum. My lungs were bruised. My leg was broken in eight places and my back was broken. There was no injury to my head or brain thanks to my Arai helmet. I was a paramedic for six years and attended too many crashed motorcyclists and had seen first hand the difference a quality helmet can make in the after accident outcome. That is why I bought the Arai just two weeks before my accident.

    The responding trooper had taken the helmet to use in safety lectures. When I asked my mother to get the helmet for me she contacted him. He was amazed that I had survived and returned the helmet so that I could use it in my own lectures on safety. My body was so damaged that the hospital gave me only a ten percent chance of recovering. But I did and my head and brain are just fine and I've returned to full time work. I've sent a series of photos of the helmet so that you can see how good a job it did for me.

    Thanks again Arai, Gary Blanton / Fort Worth TX
  17. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    As do I. Snell on the outside, DOT inside, I am with you 100% on that one too.

    Buy a proven brand with a design you like and fits and you will be all good. I wouldn't buy a Pep Boys either. I have a Grex G10 helmet now and am looking at the KBC modular helmet and Nolan modular helmet. Both brands have been around and I trust.

    From the letter to Arai:
    Probably twice the speed limit on the highway. Deserved every single injury he received. Utter stupidity. Do that on a track not a public street. There is no justification for that at all. I don't care if there was 'no one else on the road'. Just freakin' stupid. Poor bastard is going to do it again when he heals and will probably kill an innocent motorist. Eyewitness close enough to be an eyewitness and estimate his speed, yeah that's safe. Like the "Safety Awareness Ride" I read about in a magazine (vtwin maybe) and only ONE person in the whole picture of perhaps 30-50 riders had a helmet on.;g :soap:

    For every save at 100mph+, there are hundreds more dead at 30mph, a $600 helmet may or may not make a difference.
  18. g29andy

    g29andy CLM

    Jan 28, 2001
    Of course, then we'd look like peewee football players, or maybe Dark Helmet from "Spaceballs"
  19. PDude


    May 5, 2005
    I often wear a Nolan flip-up On my ST1100, I'm on my second one. I took apart several brands, and the Nolan has the strongest looking latches. Convenient, easy to drink water on a hot day, and smoke a cigar in rush hour traffic.

    On the sportbikes and serious rock-n-rolling, the Arai Quantum. Tested a few Arai helmets the hard way, two thumbs up.

    I know I feel like a whore in church without a helmet when riding in no helmet states. I can't last 15 minutes.
  20. Catbird

    Catbird loves guns!

    May 21, 2001
    V I R G I N I A
    Could you please describe that feeling; I have no point-of-reference for comparison. Thanks.