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Helmets?

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by Patterson, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Patterson

    Patterson Never Forget!

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    Oct 5, 2005
    The Garden State
    First, let me put some background to the question. I'll be turning 50 next year so this is one of those 2nd childhood things. I've always wanted a bike. I've ridden one 1/2 dozen times in my life, but it was never a priority to own one. Plus being a family man & sole bread winner it always seemed too risky. Anyway, I decided that before I am too old to enjoy it that I just have to give it a shot. I signed up for a basic rider class which I will be taking in August. I may decide to pick up a helmet prior to the class & just to have for practice time when available. My goal is that by this time next year I will be able to pick up a used Shadow or Boulevard to use in commuting 15 miles each way to work down some nice backroads. Now, onto helmets...

    There are an amazing number of helmets on the market at a wide price range. Should I ignore full face helmets given the type of bike I'm looking for? Is a half or 3/4 helmet more appropriate & why? I also wear glasses or sunglasses regularly & wonder if I need a helmet with a face shield to help ensure my glasses don't get sucked off my face. It appears that everything I see is DOT approved but is Snell approved an even better indicator of quality?

    Anyway, I would appreciate input on what folks like/dislike about helmets & what mistakes you wish you had avoided. Right now I am kind of leaning toward something like the Bell MAG-8, but what do I know?

    Thanks,
     
  2. stmcelroy

    stmcelroy Holster Maker

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    Central Oregon
    Personally I don't like stuff hitting my face, so i would choose a full face helmet even with the bike you are considering.

    If you are looking for a quality budget type full face helmet, I can whole heartedly recommend the Scorpion brand.

    Steve
     

  3. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

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    Jun 29, 2001
    New Mexico
    Rocks, bugs, sliding face first down the pavement, car door pillars, etc. don't care what bike you were sitting on before they hit you in the face.
    Get a quality full face helmet.
    The better brands like Arai, Shoei, Shark, Suomy etc. will have better ventilation, lighter weight, be quieter, and be more comfortable.
    A quality full face helmet is the only way to go, no matter what you ride.
     

  4. Exactly.
     
  5. Patterson

    Patterson Never Forget!

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    Oct 5, 2005
    The Garden State
    The replies so far have really confirmed what I was originally thinking before I posted - that a full face helmet is the smart way to go. With that said, I will cross off the thoughts of the half & 3/4 face options. Why are they so popular with some folks?

    I have a list of manufacturers that I was looking into as someone suggested (Shoei, Arai, Bell, Fulmer, HJC, KBC, Scorpion, AGV, and Suomy) Does it come down to personal choice of style, comfort, & cost? How can I rate these various manufacturers? Is cost always a true indicator of quality?
     
  6. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    Why are turtle shells, Nazi coal scuttles, half helmets, 3/4 helmets so popular? It's because of the looks. There is no deny that a full face helmet is the most safe in a crash, most comfortable in a ride (keeps wind and most of debris and detritus from your face), most protective of your hearing too (block out a good portion of road & wind noise).

    And for some reasons cruiser riders think that they don't "need" a full face because they go "slow". A crash at 45-MPH is a crash at 45-MPH regardless of riding a slow bike or fast bike.

    A modular helmet (aka flip-up) is a nice compromise. Has some of the features of full face (full coverage BUT doesn't have the crash resistance of a full face due to having pivot joints yet still better than half or 3/4 helmet) but also the convenience of a half-face (you can flip it up to talk to people and have a quite bite, quick drink, etc.). The con is that it's not as streamlined as a full face so you'll feel more drag on your head and more noise.

    On the other hand, you're riding a cruiser so maybe you'll have a big windshield to keep bugs and detritus away. So you wouldn't need a full face to do the same function. But that windshield isn't going to protect your lower face in a crash.

    It's up to you to decide whether or not you want full protection in case of a crash or the convenience/hipness of the other types of helmets.

    As far as helmet selections go, it's primarily a personal choice. Some people are anal about the shape of the helmet and the graphics (or lack thereof). The rule of thumb is you should at least get a DOT-certified helmet. Right now there are a lot of furor over whether or not a Snell-certified helmet is a good thing. Some think so, some don't.

    And yes, the price of the helmet matters. The more expensive, the better the helmet. The Brit magazines tend to test helmets at least once a year and generally speaking, the better quality/more expensive helmets tend to finish at the top (Arai always feature prominently) But there are some good buys out there that have both good quality for good price.

    The main thing is that to try out a helmet to make sure that it fits. That's critical. You cannot compromise on the fit. The best helmet you can buy isn't going to do squat if you have gaps between your head and the brainbucket.

    So, get a decent helmet (set a price and then go checking) that's at least DOT certified (or Snell, or better yet BST - British standards) that fits you well and then ride. Don't forget the rest of the body. Road rash may not kill you but you would wish that you might have died off when half of your skin is left on the road. And remember we ain't exactly spring chickens. Bones don't heal like they used to, so get some pants and jackets that feature CE-approved impact armor.
     
  7. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

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    Jun 29, 2001
    New Mexico
    You really need to get to a well stocked dealer and try on the various helmet brands.
    Arai tend to fit "round heads".
    Shoei fits my "egg shaped head".
    Try on several before you buy.
    Also, buy one that initially fits pretty snug (the foam will conform to your head). If you are between sizes, take the smaller one.
    Find a dealer that knows how to fit you in a helmet. Arai stocking dealers tend to be the best (Arai has some good fitting literature available to their dealers).
     
  8. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

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    Jun 29, 2001
    New Mexico
    Around here the "bandana skull cap" and a pair of Ray-Bans are the protective headgear of choice.
    *and the rest of the story*
    Every motorcycle fatality in the last 3 years here in my locality has been under 35mph, on a cruiser style bike, drunk, not wearing a helmet, striking a solid object head first.
    I see a pattern developing...
     
  9. I agree with everyone else, and recommend Scorpion helmets. Great quality for the price, and they are available with wild graphics, solid colors, and in between.

    Some cruiser guys wear a bandana on their head. Sportbike kids wear backwards hats and sunglasses. To them, it's about image. You won't find DOT/Snell approved baseball caps or half-helmets (brainbuckets). Full-face is the way to go.
     
  10. Lone Wolff

    Lone Wolff Tire World...

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    Dec 17, 2002
    Nebraska
    You've probably got all the info you need from this thread, but I'll put my $.02 in as well.

    After you've narrowed down your choice to type of helmet, try on 2 or three diff models from EACH manufacturer if possible. Diff companies will fit diff shaped skulls as mentioned, but I've also found that certain model helmets within brands will have quite a bit difference in fit and comfort. (At least for my melon.)

    If one model fits best with a size large, and another model fits better with an XL, the model that fits best with size large is going to be the more comfortable helmet long term. That XL model will have too much slack once you break it in because all that padding will compress after you wear it for a few weeks.

    Once you buy the helmet, the bike will soon follow...

    Then maybe another bike will follow the first bike...

    It could be contagious.
     
  11. Patterson

    Patterson Never Forget!

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    Oct 5, 2005
    The Garden State
    Thanks everyone! All good responses from my GT Brethern!

    :notworthy:
     
  12. FoxMustang

    FoxMustang We Deal in Lead

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    Dec 15, 2001
    I'm also happy with my Scorpion.
     
  13. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    Yes on the Shoei, a resounding no on the Arai. Arai has several different lines in order to take account for head shapes. They have helmets for round heads (aka round oval), oblong heads (aka long oval), and one for in-between the other two. As far as I can tell, Arai is the only manufacturer that does this. The other manufacturers are pretty much one-head shape types.

    Also, the higher quality helmets will have better made liners that make the helmets more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, not to mention that parts and pieces tend to not falling off any time soon.

    I've seen the Fullmers and the Vegas and they do have DOT (sometimes even Snell) ratings, but the liners don't look much better than some rags stuffed in there and the wind shield is rattly. HOWEVER, on the other side of the equation, they only cost $90 versus $700 for a top of the line Arai. So, how important is comfort for you?

    It's always good to set a price range for gear because there is a market that caters to every price range. It's easy to say that my head isn't a $100 head, but guess what? Not everybody who wants to ride can afford a $700 Arai. Nor can they afford a $800 Aerostitch suit.

    Cheap gears are better than no gears and always buy the best gears that you can afford. Last year a riding acquaintance of mine, a fellow of nearly 40-years riding experience had his FIRST crash ever. Broken clavicle, bruised ribs, battered body, his helmet was trashed, but it and the riding apparel helped keep him from suffering worse. You can ride for years, decades even, before you would ever crash, but it might take just one to put you in a world of hurt.

    Riding gears aren't new. They've been around as long as the motorbike. They advance with the years as the motorbikes have advanced. All it takes is money and the desire to wear them.

    I am not a gear Nazi. I am a gear Nazi for myself but not for other people. We're all adults and we all make our choices. If people ask, then I'll give my worthless 2 centavos, but I am not going to go out of my way to lecture people on riding gears.

    PS When you're ready to buy (helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots, etc.) just PM me and I'll hook you up with a mail/internet order contact. They give out extra discounts for my acquaintances. Please, don't buy a helmet or gears from these guys or from any other internet order joint without knowing how the gears fit you.
     
  14. I'm going to add some more to this thread.

    www.helmetharbor.com has great prices from what I've seen, and pics of all helmets available so you can compare. I spent a lot of time on that site reading reviews and looking at designs. Then when I had a pretty good idea, I went to the local bike dealer and tried on and purchased my helmet.

    The Scorpions have a removable liner, which I thought was great (and uncommon with helmets under $200)... although I haven't even removed it for washing in the 10 months I've had it. I would also recommend a chin spoiler, with whichever helmet you choose (some come with them, some are sold sep.). I rode through the (FL) winter, with temps getting down to 40. I would have to hold my hand up to the bottom of my helmet to keep my face from going numb. Of course I didn't buy a chin spoiler until months later, but boy what a difference. It now gets into the 90's, so I should probably remove it to improve airflow.
     
  15. Scrappy

    Scrappy

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    I have had many helmets and none compare to the Arai!
     
  16. Super Trucker

    Super Trucker NRA Life Member

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    Jun 27, 2004
    Michigan
    Shoei aslo has different helmets for different shaped heads, I wear an X-11 but can not wear a RF-1000. I had an Arai Corsair prior to the Shoei, it was comfortable but it was very loud, I think because of all the vents. Moral of the story try on many before you buy one. It is pretty much a ford/chevy thing with which brand you choose. Each have their own little pros and cons, I haven't found the perfect one yet. Also more expensive isn't always best. The Arai I had cost 75.00 more than my 650.00 Shoei, but I like the Shoei much better.
     
  17. NMGlocker

    NMGlocker BOOM headshot

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    New Mexico
    My Shoei RF-900 fits much better than my X-11.
    That's why that whole "try before you buy" thing needs to be emphasised.
    :thumbsup:
     
  18. Scrappy

    Scrappy

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    FYI - I went shopping for a new helmet myself for the past 2 days. After trying on every helmet made I just kept coming back to the Arai Quantum 2 . I went to a small MC shop this morning where I bought my last Arai from and tried more helmets. Every brand made and walked out with the Arai Quantum 2 in Pearl Black! Got a great deal that could not be found anywhere else to boot! $375 and of course $40 more for a dark smoke shield! This is even more comfy then my old Arai Quantum . So now passengers will have a nice comfy helmet using my old one.
    Now if that's out of the price range and your on a budget I liked the Scorpion EXO 700. But it is by no means an Arai!
    Also Arai makes helmets for every head shape!
     
  19. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

    I'm still wet behind the ears, this is my 3rd year riding.

    I have a Grex G10 helmet (DOT approved) I bought after some thought. It is a modular helmet and I like it for longer trips where I pull over to grab a sip of water and take 5. This is the only time I find the modular feature useable. Fnfalman is right about being less protective than a true full face helmet in a crash. Let me tell ya one thing, when you have a June bug smack your faceshield at 70mph like I did today you will be glad you have a full face helmet.

    There is much debate as to whether the Snell rating means more protection or better quality. Motorcyclist magazine did a report on it and lost lots of advertising because of what they printed. The Snell rated helmets have a harder shell. Most Snell rated helmets transmit more G's to the head than the DOT rated helmets. Fighter pilot helmets are rated to transmit less G's to one's head than motorcycle helmets. Go figure. I'd rather less G's transmit to my head but I won't shy away from a Snell rated helmet just because of a Snell rating.

    I'm looking to upgrade my helmet in the coming weeks with a Scorpion EXO 700 Crackhead helmet (in blue of course). The only thing I'm anal about is color. Has to be blue. My bike is blue, my jacket is blue, wear blue jeans, blue shoes, blue gloves.

    Fits the budget. The mantra about you can't afford not to spend X hundreds of dollars on a helmet is BS to me. I am not about to spend a whole month's wage on a frickin helmet. Yes, I take home about $700 a month. Being in college sucks. I tried on the pricier brands of helmets and really wasn't impressed a bit.
     
  20. Scrappy

    Scrappy

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    PA
    "I tried on the pricier brands of helmets and really wasn't impressed a bit".

    Man in blue:
    Your only kidding yourself. An Scorpion EXO 700 is not bad but it is not a Shark or Arai.
    My head is worth every penny I spend on it! Comfort, quietness, weight, ventilation and other stuff are important!