Friday, March 26, 2010

Essential Motorcycle Gear: A Great Helmet

I might be guilty of talking about helmets too much. I just love my helmet, a Shoei TZ-1. It’s comfy. It’s quiet inside (compared to a half-helmet or not wearing a helmet). It protects my face from those annoying little rocks that trucks kick up off the road, bugs, and rain. It has a few other benefits as well, such as hugging my head exactly the right way when I have a headache.

A decent brain bucket doesn’t have to be expensive. The cheap HJC and similar-brand helmets were actually found to do a darn good job of protecting your delicious brain from trauma, possibly even a better job than SNELL-rated helmets.* The important thing is finding one that fits you well. You’re going to have it on your melon for many, many many hours, so you’d better darn well like it. My Shoei seems to be shaped perfectly for my head, and even when it was brand new it was very comfortable. HJC helmets, in my particular case, press in exactly the wrong way in exactly the wrong spots.

I have heard that a white helmet is more visible to traffic. I don’t know if that’s true. My helmet is white because that’s what the store had and it fit so nice that I wasn’t going to leave without it. I have to admit it’s sorely lacking in style. I’ve considered getting an eye painted on to the back of it (I’m looking at YOU, buddy), but never got around to it.

Now, as much as I like my full face helmet, I have to admit I’d really like to get a 3/4 helmet, a pair of aviator goggles, and a selection of bandannas to cover my nose and mouth. One of these days I might break down and do just that. After all, I am about due for a new lid.

Anyway, a good helmet is a good friend. Get one, wear it.

What are your thoughts?

*Check this article comparing DOT-only and SNELL certified helmets.


cpa3485 said...

I now have a Scorpion EXO 700 full face. Used to have an HJC half helmet and wore some goggles with it. It did a good job of protection for the skull, but I never learned to really appreciate the surprise of a bug or pebble or dust hitting my face.

GPtuners said...

I only feel comfortable wearing a full-face helmet. I even feel weird about my chin sticking out of mine sometimes. What can I say... I'm a pansy. :)

Canajun said...

I have both a full face and a 3/4. I actually prefer the 3/4, but the full face comes in really handy when it's a bit cooler, or in the rain.
But like you said, what's most important is that it feels good on your head. I had a Bell full face many years ago that was the best fitting helmet I've ever owned. Never been able to replace it.

Stacy said...

I just came across this picture and thought of you:

clicky to see

David said...

I wear a full face. I figure I want my whole head protected. BTW, one of the guys on VStrom2 yahoo groups list has a saying that sums up why you wear a helmet.

"It's not the big wreck that kills you I worry about. It's the one that leave you finger painting in your own s%&t in some God-forsaken nursing home."

So that's why I wear a helmet. May not save my life, but if I don't die I have a much better chance of coming out of it with my brain (What there is left) intact.

Dave T.

RazorsEdge2112 said...

Great post! I used to have a Scorpion Exo 400 3/4 for the hot Vegas summers and an equally inexpensive full-face for cooler and bad weather riding. Loved both of them.

Some young kids stole them, and in a bind I jumped at an inexpensive Hawk full-face modular helmet. Big mistake. YUK.

Need to do some helmet shopping when I get some cash. For me, fit and airflow are paramount criteria. Definitely going with another full-face.

Ethan Rehman said...

I had a hard time deciding which kind of helmet to use, but your post gave me an idea of which is best to buy. Thank you for the information.