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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been seeing a lot of posts from members seeking input about different types of helmets.

Here is something that I wrote not too long ago on another Sportbike forum. I think it is pretty sound advice!

Take it for what it's worth...from a mid-30's hack who has had to use his helmet on more than one occasion and is still very much here, firing on all cylinders!

You should never just buy a 'model' or even brand of helmet and stick it on your head because it looks good, someone tells you it's great, and/or even if it gets a good magazine review.

A helmet is a very, VERY personal choice. The reason is because you need to buy a helmet based on how it fits your head and nobody elses..... because every helmet manufacturer has a different 'base' head that they build their shape to and they don't suit everybody. For example, I can wear a Shoei and Arai (in most of their models), but I absolutely can't wear a Shark, HJC, AGV, Suomy or Nolan because their respective fits are not right on my head.

You really have to be careful with what you buy. Find a model that fits perfectly and feels comfortable, and only then should you pick the best graphic/color/design in that model that you like. Don't 'make' a helmet fit your head because you like the way it looks.

And I'll mirror the others when they say to buy quality. If they are giving you $400, add to it from your own money and buy a better (than $400) helmet. It's your head we're talking about man. Think of all the compensation money you will be able to spend when you're a vegetable because the cheaper helmet didn't do it's job!! Not sure what type of helmet you were wearing in your head on accident, or even how extensive your head hit, but there's no point gambling with your life. More expensive helmets cost more generally because they provide better protection.

Hope this info helps with your selection.

PS. People do the same thing with Ski and Snowboard boots. The uneducated and/or ignorant tend to buy what looks good and suits their price, not what actually fits properly. The horror!
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks.

Just one more thing I feel is important to mention. Some might say...."why do I need to pay more for a helmet when the cheap helmet and the more expensive helmet both pass the same DOT test and meet the same standard"?

That's a fair question. Well, ask yourself this....hypothetically speaking, say a Chevy Impala and a BMW 7 series both score, say '5 stars' for the frontal impact crash test - the highest attainable rating. Then the news is delivered to you that you are about to have a very bad car accident. You can take the pick of vehicles you can be in when you crash...the Impala or the 7. Which would you choose and why?

Although I am not a betting man, I'd confidently place a wager and say that you'd choose the 7. We each have our own reasons for why, but I figure your answers may have something to do with build quality, superior design and engineering, and superior materials used in construction - amongst others.

Sure, both cars may have passed the same crash test and scored the same rating, but I'd venture to say that you have a much better chance of coming out of the same accident in better shape in the Bimmer than the Impala. And they don't have a 6 star rating...if the Impala scored a 5, maybe the Bimmer would score a 7, 8 or 9. But you can't give a higher rating to a car when the rating system is capped - so the Bimmer scores a 5 as well!

So, as I reiterate, if your life is worth a mere $199, go out and buy a $199 helmet! If your life is worth more to you...spend more and be careful in your choice to buy the helmet that suits you, the best helmet that suits you. This is not an area in which to cut corners.

Too many things in motorcycling are stacked against our favor....adding to those by choosing the wrong helmet is not a smart move. Buying a more expensive helmet usually gets you better ventilation, ligher weight, lower noise and greater comfort. These design factors all assist with cutting down on rider fatigue...which is an important contributing factor to accidents.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Check out wreckedexotics.com, those BMWs get tore up just like anything else. Folks tend to drive those cars faster that more than makes up for any extra rigidity the car has over other makes. That said I would take a BMW over a Mercedes. Benz's come apart like pop cans. I like my 1985 Lesabre, it's got a frame. It would score a lot lower than 5 stars on the crash test, but in the real world it will out perform any car made today and most SUV's as well in a crash. I know I've tested it personally and seen pictures of other wrecks for comparison as well.
Now as far as helmets go, I have an HJC with a Snell rating that cost $130.00 I bought a chin curtain breath box and smoked shield separately, so maybe that is part of the reason it was so cheap. That helmet fits me perfectly, I have tried more expensive helmets in the store and they don't feel any more comfortable to me. The only complaint I have is that you can't wear that helmet without earplugs. The wind noise is worse than any helmet I have ever tried. If I was riding long distances that would be enough for me to consider a different helmet. Once the plugs are in I can't fault anything about the helmet. The thing is, I don't know which helmet would have an acceptable amount of noise, they don't let you test them out, and I'm not about to pay $700 just to find out I have to put in those damn plugs again. As far as the safety factor is concerned, I have not seen any tests that show how much more energy an expensive helmet can disperse compared to mine. If I could see some evidence that I was getting better protection for the money I might be convinced. Otherwise the expensive helmet just looks like a status symbol and nothing more. When I was buying my smoke shield, there was a customer there with a $900 Shoei, no one could figure out how to get the side plates on to install a shield. The clerk was on the phone with someone trying to get help to figure it out. They had not come up with the solution by the time I left, my shield took less time to change than it did for them to dial.
Perhaps there is some good research out there that would change my mind, if so I'd be happy to hear it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The only complaint I have is that you can't wear that helmet without earplugs. The wind noise is worse than any helmet I have ever tried. If I was riding long distances that would be enough for me to consider a different helmet. Once the plugs are in I can't fault anything about the helmet. The thing is, I don't know which helmet would have an acceptable amount of noise, they don't let you test them out, and I'm not about to pay $700 just to find out I have to put in those damn plugs again.
There is NO helmet out there I can wear WITHOUT ear plugs doesn't matter how much it costs.
If you don't wear ear plugs I can GUARANTEE you will go deaf it is scientific fact.
The white noise from the wind is detrimental to your hearing.
Especially for long periods of time and hearing damage is cumulative.
That means that if you ride today without plugs for a long period of time and you do damage to your hearing, then go riding tommorrow for a long period of time without plugs you have done just that much more damage to your hearing.
Eventually you are deaf it is a slow process but it will happen absolute.....
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i have an HJC CL-14. I fits so much better than anything else i have tried on. I have a big 'ol pelon and it's too tight in the Arai and the Shoei. I have tried them all and the hjc fits the best.
 

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Sime said:
More expensive helmets cost more generally because they provide better protection.
Motorcyclist magazine proved that statement is completely WRONG. if I recall correctly it was a Z1R helmet that retails for $70 that scored one of the highest ratings in their test. quality of protection has nothing to do with the price.

Buying a more expensive helmet usually gets you better ventilation, ligher weight, lower noise and greater comfort. These design factors all assist with cutting down on rider fatigue...which is an important contributing factor to accidents.
this is correct though. except the lower noise part. I have a $500 Suomy Spec1R and from what I've read its one of the loudest helmets on the market. I always wear earplugs.
go to Home | Helmet Harbor they have lots of reviews on many helmets. they rate things like comfort and noise among other things.



I think your main point of buying a helmet that fits YOUR head is the most important thing for anyone to learn.

over the past couple weeks I've tried on a variety of helmets. the Shoei RF1000 does not fit my head at all. The Arai RX7 and Shark RSR fit my head very well but I can't get my glasses into them without a lot of difficulty. The Scorpion EXO-700 fit nice but I wasn't happy with the liner or weight. After reading on helmetharbor.com that the AGV TiTech is a different shape than Arai I stopped looking for one to try on because its probably not gonna fit right anyway. So I'm just gonna buy another Suomy because I've enjoyed the one I've been wearing for the past few years.
I will say I haven't found many graphics that I really like out of all the new schemes. The one I kept going back to is the Suomy Extreme Roberts Eagle. So I'm about to drop $650 on it, but the site I found it on is offering free 2 day shipping (so I'll have it in time for my track days next week), a second visor (I think the Extreme is suppose to come with a second visor anyway) and a free helmet bag.
 

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So then it's about fit and style then?

FIT is of utmost importance. if it doesn't fit properly it won't do its job (protecting your noggin in the event of a get off) to its full potential. anything after that is up to you. I would go with comfort second though. a well ventilated, light helmet that isn't affected much by wind buffeting, with a comfortable liner will help reduce fatigue and is thereby safer in my opinion. after that pick one that looks good to you.



oh yeah and one more thing. in that Motorcyclist article they didn't test anything but full face helmets because the others are basically a waste of time because leaving any part of your face unprotected will obviously lower the protection dramatically. I'm not positive but I don't think they included any flip-up full faces either as that mechanism is one more thing that can go wrong and take away protection.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
FIT is of utmost importance. if it doesn't fit properly it won't do its job (protecting your noggin in the event of a get off) to its full potential. anything after that is up to you. I would go with comfort second though. a well ventilated, light helmet that isn't affected much by wind buffeting, with a comfortable liner will help reduce fatigue and is thereby safer in my opinion. after that pick one that looks good to you.
Yep, that is the main point of my post. I see too many people asking about brands of helmets before they go and try them on to see if they actually fit their head. A person in the market for a new helmet absolutely needs to go in without any pre-conceived notions about what they are going to walk out of the store with.

When I first started skiing, I would go into the store and pick the boots I wanted because I liked the way they looked. I actually went so far as to buy a pair of boots that ended up hurting my feet after about 1 hour on the slopes, because I was more concerned how they looked than them providing adequate support and a good fit - for my foot. I have since wised up, but I do believe the analogy is comparable for some people buying motorcycle helmets.

The store owners hate me. When I look for a new helmet, I try on every single helmet in the store just to make sure I have exhausted every option....and then I'll go to another store and do the same thing (if they have different brands that the other store didn't carry).:evilaugh:

I have a Shoei X11 - Shoei's top of the line helmet. I bought it because it is very light, has easy visor changes, a really comfortable fit and very good wind resistance - in addition to a Snell rating. I couldn't find all of that in a cheaper helmet (although I was open minded!). I still wear earplugs religiously with this helmet.....although a big part of that has to do with my TBR exhaust.
 

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Just one more thing I feel is important to mention. Some might say...."why do I need to pay more for a helmet when the cheap helmet and the more expensive helmet both pass the same DOT test and meet the same standard"?

Although I am not a betting man, I'd confidently place a wager and say that you'd choose the 7. We each have our own reasons for why, but I figure your answers may have something to do with build quality, superior design and engineering, and superior materials used in construction - amongst others.

So, as I reiterate, if your life is worth a mere $199, go out and buy a $199 helmet! If your life is worth more to you...spend more and be careful in your choice to buy the helmet that suits you, the best helmet that suits you. This is not an area in which to cut corners.

Too many things in motorcycling are stacked against our favor....adding to those by choosing the wrong helmet is not a smart move. Buying a more expensive helmet USUALLY gets you better ventilation, ligher weight, lower noise and greater comfort. These design factors all assist with cutting down on rider fatigue...which is an important contributing factor to accidents.
I know you mean well but your statement is very misleading. What if you compared a Lexus ES model with the same year Toyota Camry? Aside from a few bells and whistles, the ES is no safer than the Camry (for obvious reasons)

That said.... Arai's and Shoei's are just way overpriced and its not all because of build quality. They are bigger companies that have to account for more marketing and sponsorships (blah blah blah)... even if you think they are better, they are useless to me because nothing they have fits my head.

Given the choice between a Jaguar and a Honda Civic, I'd take the Civic everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Expensive does not necessarily mean better. Especially for folks that are starting out and wont be able to afford the rest of their gear if they drop $700 on a helmet. I can hear the noobs coming into my ER now: "I was gonna buy some (insert gear here) soon, but I couldnt afford it"

To each his own... (helmet choice that is) just remember that:

It should fit you snug :thumb:
It should be a late model helmet (yes they have expiration dates) :thumb:



-jh
 

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Just one more thing I feel is important to mention. Some might say...."why do I need to pay more for a helmet when the cheap helmet and the more expensive helmet both pass the same DOT test and meet the same standard"?

Although I am not a betting man, I'd confidently place a wager and say that you'd choose the 7. We each have our own reasons for why, but I figure your answers may have something to do with build quality, superior design and engineering, and superior materials used in construction - amongst others.

So, as I reiterate, if your life is worth a mere $199, go out and buy a $199 helmet! If your life is worth more to you...spend more and be careful in your choice to buy the helmet that suits you, the best helmet that suits you. This is not an area in which to cut corners.

Too many things in motorcycling are stacked against our favor....adding to those by choosing the wrong helmet is not a smart move. Buying a more expensive helmet USUALLY gets you better ventilation, ligher weight, lower noise and greater comfort. These design factors all assist with cutting down on rider fatigue...which is an important contributing factor to accidents.
I know you mean well but your statement is very misleading. What if you compared a Lexus ES model with the same year Toyota Camry? Aside from a few bells and whistles, the ES is no safer than the Camry (for obvious reasons)

That said.... Arai's and Shoei's are just way overpriced and its not all because of build quality. They are bigger companies that have to account for more marketing and sponsorships (blah blah blah)... even if you think they are better, they are useless to me because nothing they have fits my head.

Given the choice between a Jaguar and a Honda Civic, I'd take the Civic everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Expensive does not necessarily mean better. Especially for folks that are starting out and wont be able to afford the rest of their gear if they drop $700 on a helmet. I can hear the noobs coming into my ER now: "I was gonna buy some (insert gear here) soon, but I couldnt afford it"

To each his own... (helmet choice that is) just remember that:

It should fit you snug :thumb:
It should be a late model helmet (yes they have expiration dates) :thumb:
it should be DOT and Snell Certified



-jh
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I know you mean well but your statement is very misleading. What if you compared a Lexus ES model with the same year Toyota Camry? Aside from a few bells and whistles, the ES is no safer than the Camry (for obvious reasons)

That said.... Arai's and Shoei's are just way overpriced and its not all because of build quality. They are bigger companies that have to account for more marketing and sponsorships (blah blah blah)... even if you think they are better, they are useless to me because nothing they have fits my head.

Given the choice between a Jaguar and a Honda Civic, I'd take the Civic everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Expensive does not necessarily mean better. Especially for folks that are starting out and wont be able to afford the rest of their gear if they drop $700 on a helmet. I can hear the noobs coming into my ER now: "I was gonna buy some (insert gear here) soon, but I couldnt afford it"

To each his own... (helmet choice that is) just remember that:

It should fit you snug :thumb:
It should be a late model helmet (yes they have expiration dates) :thumb



-jh
I agree with you 100% on that. I didnt have the budget for a 700 dollar helmet. **** i still dont have a budget for a 700 dollar helmet. But i did have a budget for a 350 dollar helmet, a 300 dollar jacket and a hundred dollar gloves. Which in my opinion would cover my ass in a get off a lil better then the Ben Bostrom Repli
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That said I would take a BMW over a Mercedes. Benz's come apart like pop cans.
Mercedes have some of the best crash test ratings in the industry. I would rather crash in a Mercedes than any other car being made right now. (other than a racecar with a full roll cage)

That said.... Arai's and Shoei's are just way overpriced and its not all because of build quality. They are bigger companies that have to account for more marketing and sponsorships (blah blah blah)...
Shoei is a company that has less than 500 employees. Which I would consider to be small.

Helmet debates are turning into tire debates or the worse. :eek: I recently bought an X-11. My reasoning? Its a quality helmet that fits good, has great ventilation, and looks awesome, also the point that it costs so much. I am a believer (most of the time) that higher priced items are of better quality. Ive read the review on helmets on Motorcyclist. There are some good points. Shoei didnt want to participate. Why? I dont know. But I do know I love my X-11!
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I really don't understand the chemistry behind limited life-span helmets. If polymers oxidize, they oxzidize and depolymerize. Period. The padding in your helmet should disintegrate over time and fall out in smallish chunks if it is degraded over time. Moreover, oxidizable helmets should come with a date of manufacture and an expiration date. Otherwise, how are you to know how long the thing sat at the stealership?

It is a bit more logical to think of a limited life-span as a myth promolgated by helmet manufacturers and retailers to sell more helmets. But if it is for real, then there should be some explainable science behind it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I really don't understand the chemistry behind limited life-span helmets. If polymers oxidize, they oxzidize and depolymerize. Period. The padding in your helmet should disintegrate over time and fall out in smallish chunks if it is degraded over time. Moreover, oxidizable helmets should come with a date of manufacture and an expiration date. Otherwise, how are you to know how long the thing sat at the stealership?

It is a bit more logical to think of a limited life-span as a myth promolgated by helmet manufacturers and retailers to sell more helmets. But if it is for real, then there should be some explainable science behind it.
:confused: you explained it at the start. Of course by the time the foam falls out in chunks it has lost its padding factor LONG ago. Ditto for the EPS liner which is more important. As far as an expiration date they do have one, manufacture date is in the helmet take that and add 5 years. At that time get a new helmet.
 

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Limited life spans are usually specified by manufacturers based on 2 things: Fear of liability and the inability to control how the product is stored and used after it is bought. Worst case scenario would be a helmet left exposed to seasonal temperature extremes and ultraviolet degradation in addition to any head funk left inside by the wearer. It is ultimately the user's responsibility to inspect the gear and determine when it is no longer safe or servicable. I have a 10 year Shoei X-9 that I still consider to be a safe helmet to wear based on its limited use and storage in a climate controlled environment. I have also seen helmets that people leave stored on the bar end that were less than 3 years old that I would not want my dog to drink water from. It's your head, give it protection that is appropriate to its value to you. I live at the beach and the (perceived) cool setup here is shorts, sandals, and a $10.00 black biker beanie that probably provides less protection than a yarmulke-natural selection at work!
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
:confused: you explained it at the start. Of course by the time the foam falls out in chunks it has lost its padding factor LONG ago. Ditto for the EPS liner which is more important. As far as an expiration date they do have one, manufacture date is in the helmet take that and add 5 years. At that time get a new helmet.
Again, that isn't logical. Oxidative damage should go from outside (maximum exposure to atmospheric O2) to inside, so chunks should come off long before it looses interior protective value. Moreover, the materials used for helmets (molded polystyrene, polycarbonate, carbon fibre, fibreglass and others) are not particularly sensitive to oxidation, although they can be damaged by UV. A good reason not to pull the liner out of your helmet and leave it in the sun.

I don't buy the liability angle. Nowhere on my helmet or in the associated literature does it say the helmet is only good for 5 years. To get out of a liability suit the helmet manufacturer would have to show that a reasonable person would know this, which means that they would have to show a pretty big label saying that in bright red letters. I've never seen or heard of this except on this board, leading me to believe it is an urban myth. Of course, I would be happy to be proven wrong.
 
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