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View Full Version : How to choose a helmet


okayf00l
01-24-2006, 11:34 AM
I have been riding with a bieffe helmet for about a month now but I just ran into a problem. I was riding and my viso flew off! I had dropped my helmet earlier and one of the side panels holding the visor fell off. I realize I can relpace these pieces but the helmet also itches me really badly to the point where my face hurts!

I have decided I just want a different helmet. I have been looking on the web and the best two sites I found are these ones

http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/prod_category.asp?ManId=34

and

http://www.newenough.com/product_group_closeout_helmets.htm

well, the hjc ac-11 is on sale at both places for only about $100. There are also lots of other helmets for around 100$ and even less.

Price is definitely a consideration I am looking at. I would like to spend a little amount of money but it seems $100 can get a pretty good helmet. But I just want to know the difference between a helmet that is $10 or $150 even one that is like $70. Is the comfort level different or will a more expensive helmet protect you more in case of a crash?

Can anyone personally recommend me a few helmets off this site?
http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/prod_category.asp?ManId=34
that site has the hjc ac-11 among many other helmets. The HJC helmet seems to have a lot of componets so maybe it would be my best choice. Unfortunately I just found out it only comes in xl red that might not be best for me. KBC also has a few helmets that look nice. I am just looking for some preferences from some of you. Removable liner would be nice but I am not even knowledgable of some of these specifications. THanks everyone

okayf00l
01-24-2006, 11:42 AM
this helmet looks good too. http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=SV154-811

this one is also discounted $100.
http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=TR83-5900

i guess it might just come down to a matter of preference. most of these helmets have lots of the same specs and there are lots of helmets for good prices with all the specs I would want. I just need a few opinions.

mlinkibikr
01-24-2006, 11:53 AM
Unless you have had the opportunity to actually try on the helmet so you know the exact size you need for that manufacturer, I would make real sure that the internet dealer you use has a liberal return policy.

For example I wear a much larger indicated Shoei helmet than I wear in an Arai. Even with Arai there is one model line that filts and one that doesn't. I don't know why they do that, but they are all so different in terms of padding thickness and shape of helmet (round vs oval).

I know it's more money in most cases ... but it's also something that you are really committing to for a period of time which is why I cruise down to Cycle Gear to buy my helmets. They run pretty good sales all the time, it's probably still more dollars but it could mean a lot more comfort.

Check out their website and see if they carry the line you are looking at and you can get some proce comparos right off the bat. Then call them and see if they will deal. Worth a shot.

Dave.

mjacks
01-24-2006, 11:54 AM
I have always had good service from motorcycle superstore and they have a pretty large selection of gear. I have also had good service from new enough.

http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/

NUTT
01-24-2006, 12:14 PM
Go to Cycle Gear and try on every helmet in the store. Take notes on what fits and what doesn't.

bushwhacker
01-24-2006, 12:15 PM
Unless you have had the opportunity to actually try on the helmet so you know the exact size you need for that manufacturer, I would make real sure that the internet dealer you use has a liberal return policy.

For example I wear a much larger indicated Shoei helmet than I wear in an Arai. Even with Arai there is one model line that filts and one that doesn't. I don't know why they do that, but they are all so different in terms of padding thickness and shape of helmet (round vs oval).

I know it's more money in most cases ... but it's also something that you are really committing to for a period of time which is why I cruise down to Cycle Gear to buy my helmets. They run pretty good sales all the time, it's probably still more dollars but it could mean a lot more comfort.

Check out their website and see if they carry the line you are looking at and you can get some proce comparos right off the bat. Then call them and see if they will deal. Worth a shot.

Dave.

I was just over at British USA where I tried on a Nolan X-Lite X-1002 size large and a Nolan N102 size large. Both the same size, both from the same Manufacturer, the X-lite was tight to the point of almost too small but I have owned this helmet before so I know that the inner foam pads will conform somewhat to my face and the Helmet will feel much better after a few weeks of use. The 102 was so large it felt like my head was rattling around in a lobster pot.

I have not had a chance to check other N102 size larges or mediums to see if this was an aberation or just that the N102 runs larger than the x-1002 for the same sizes.

-

bushwhacker
01-24-2006, 12:17 PM
Here is an excellent article on Helmets that was in Motorcyclist magazine last year. I am not sure it will help you select a helmet but it will certainly give you lots to think about.

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/hatz/index.html

-

Tourmeister
01-24-2006, 02:52 PM
:tab Heads are all diff shapes and sizes. The Arai's are tailored to the classic round and oval shapes, hence the two lines. Dave is right, bee leery of getting a helmet by mail order if you have never tried it on. Inexpensive does not necessarily mean inferior protection. However, to a point, the more expensive helmet will have better build quality, be lighter, and often vent better. But that is NOT a hard and fast rule, just a generalization.

:tab I have tried Arai's and they just don't do it for me. I like Shoei's. The visor release mechanism is great on the Shoei's and lame on the Arai's, and on many other brands. That is a big deal for me because I change out visors frequently. Also, lately it seems like Arai has gone the cheap route on their venting mechanisms and they break easily. That is unacceptable to me on a helmet costing that much. The Shoei vents seem pretty sturdy. My wife has an HJS and she loves it, except for the visor release, hehe. I tried the KBC's because the look like they are pretty good deals, but alas, my head did not fit them right. I also checked out the helmets that won in that comparison in the post above. the Z1R. I was not impressed with the construction quality or fit.

Greg in H-Town
01-24-2006, 04:39 PM
I know it's more money in most cases ... but it's also something that you are really committing to for a period of time which is why I cruise down to Cycle Gear to buy my helmets. They run pretty good sales all the time, it's probably still more dollars but it could mean a lot more comfort.

Plus, Cycle Gear has a 30-day trade-in policy if you buy a helmet and find out there are fit or comfort issues. The first one I bought (a KBC something-or-other, about $199+tax) felt okay in the store, but after wearing it about 30 minutes or longer it started to hurt the top of my head. I went back and traded it for a different model KBC and it's very comfy -- so far I've ridden for 3-4 hours at a stretch with no problems.

kocook
01-24-2006, 06:26 PM
I have an Arai, but will likely go with some other brand for replacement. Cheap vents and parts. Visor side plate and vents have all broken in the 18 mos I have owned it. Warranty support from Cycle Gear was worthless. Where ever you buy it, make sure the dealer has a clue.

I bought my Arai from Cycle Gear, and visor leaked badly. Also, they wanted me to handle warranty items directly with the factory (don't use Arai's website, no one answers). Brought it to the MC show and a dealer there adjusted the visor so that it seals properly and replaced the vents.

BTW, the Arai rep at the MC Show display would not help me. Told me to go to a dealer.

For that price, I expect a dealer to be knowledgable and to support the product.

hottrodd
01-24-2006, 06:43 PM
Before ordering a helmet online, I would go to a local dealership and try on a bunch. You can go there, get their help, and try on a bunch of different helmets even if you decide to order online.

leekellerking
01-26-2006, 10:29 PM
[QUOTE=okayf00l]I have been riding with a bieffe helmet for about a month now but I just ran into a problem. I was riding and my viso flew off! I had dropped my helmet earlier and one of the side panels holding the visor fell off. I realize I can relpace these pieces but the helmet also itches me really badly to the point where my face hurts!

I have decided I just want a different helmet. I have been looking on the web and the best two sites I found are these ones

http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/prod_category.asp?ManId=34

and

http://www.newenough.com/product_group_closeout_helmets.htm



Did you check out Helmetharbor.com? They offer free shipping and seemed helpful. I agree, however, that you had best try on helmets locally, first. Then see what kind of deal the local shop will give you.


Lee
(Comparison shopper)

jhansen
01-26-2006, 10:47 PM
Ive had good luck with the following
www.tonker.com
www.motoxoutlet.com

both will get repeat businnes from me.:clap:

DaveC
01-26-2006, 10:50 PM
Lone Star Triumph has a good selection as does Woods, Cycle Gear didn't have my size and was expecting me to order it (pay for it too) so I could try it on! Nope, the only one that did not give me a headache, to loose , to tight was a 3/4 Nolon.HJC is a head ache after an hour,visors are hard to get if at all, Vega flip up front has blind spots in my perifial and gives me headaches. I don't do polycarbonate shells either. Lining must be removable to wash. Quick connects are a plus (chin strap) Shorty helmets bite, little parachutes:doh: I spent $150 for each Nolon (I have to buy matching:roll: ) I have an OLD Arai that I loved, worn though. Austin has no one location that has ALL the helmets. Is there a SUPER Store in Texas?

Greg in H-Town
01-26-2006, 10:55 PM
For that price, I expect a dealer to be knowledgable and to support the product.

It's surprising that you had so many problems with a helmet that probably set you back several hundred dollars. I think the bigger problem here is that Arai didn't stand behind their product; a warranty is no substitute for getting it right the first time. :deal:

motohut
01-27-2006, 12:21 AM
Remember that there are only a hand full or so of companies that actually make helmets. And those co. make helmets for all the other co. You will have a different paint pattern and some difference in inner materials, but the shell of a helmet will be the same or very similar. For example HJC makes the Z1R line. Guess which one is more expensive.Try to no let the price of a helmet lead you. That's not to say that you can't get a good helmet at a good price. Protection is priceless!
All reputable helmet co. have sizing chart. They are very helpful. I rarely sell a helmet to a customer w/o busting out the measuring tape. Getting your head size will start you on the right path. It's good to have a dot/snell approved helmet. It's also important that your helmet have a large periphreal view and has good noise reduction. You also don't want a helmet that is too heavy. It's often the momentum of the head that will crack a spine. The less weight moving upon your neck the better. It's nice if you can get a helmet that has the euro. saftey approvals, for ex. ece 22.05. It is a little harder to come buy and they are a little more expensive, but they have got us beat in the way of saftey developments and regulations.
Holy @#%*. Sorry about that ramblin' on. Hope that helps:rider:

Big Bandit
01-27-2006, 04:42 PM
I have heard several people dismiss polycarbonate helments as "plastic". Polycarbonate is what they make airplane windshields and windows out of. I understand that the windows are thicker than a helment shell, but if the FAA allows thousands of lives a day to be trusted to this material that says a lot. Airplane windshields have to pass impact tests, in case they hit a gagle of geese at several hundred miles an hour and the pressure differential can be substantial. Polycarbonate is amazing stuff. I wear a polycarbonate helment. The only advantage I see to the hand laid composite shells is weight reduction.

motohut
01-27-2006, 06:00 PM
You bring up a good point. I do think polyc. has been demonized some what. The main thing is that polyc. does not disperse the impact aswell as a layered style helmet. The very fact of a helmet being made in layers allows the energy from an impact to travel a different path than if it was not layered.That's a big point. The weight issue should'nt be over looked. Like I said in my previous post, it matters a great deal. But, I'd rather have a polyc. helmet than nothing at all. :rider: Too hotrod

bushwhacker
01-27-2006, 07:43 PM
The Nolan X-lite served me well in my low-speed high side in December so I just ordered another one.

Web site -

http://www.x-lite.it/home.asp

The best price I have found -

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8016690896

Photo of helmet - I landed head first -

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b120/wfsjr/Helmet1.jpg

ColGoodnight
01-27-2006, 08:02 PM
Before ordering a helmet online, I would go to a local dealership and try on a bunch. You can go there, get their help, and try on a bunch of different helmets even if you decide to order online.
I personally wouldn't go to a local storefront and finger their display merchandise and take up their time to figure out what I wanted, and then order from a distant warehouse that doesn't give me trial fits in different sizes before I lay my money down or pay local taxes on display inventory and who's manager doesn't coach a neighborhood little league team just to save $5, but everybody's got their own code and that's cool.

Here's a page on helmets Ive found informative:
http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-helmets/motorcycle-helmet-faq.htm

Tom

Rodger De
01-27-2006, 10:11 PM
I have the Arai XD helmet yes it's high $$$$ but I only have one head that has a brain in it:rofl: , You get quality , light weight, removeable liner, excellent fit & finish for me any way...I to bought a cheaper helmet when I first got my new KLR back in september, but my friend (Moto-hut) told me about the Arai XD & I just had to get one for my ds ridin, flip-up shield w/ visor which is great blockin the sun & tree limb's ,roost , etc... I give it a :thumb: up... Ride On...

Tourmeister
01-28-2006, 01:50 AM
:tab Nice helmet indeed, but expensive to replace when it hits the ground! In DS riding, the odds of that happening are pretty good ;-) If money were no object, I'd probably try one though.

DaveC
01-28-2006, 09:20 PM
I have heard several people dismiss polycarbonate helments as "plastic". Polycarbonate is what they make airplane windshields and windows out of. I understand that the windows are thicker than a helment shell, but if the FAA allows thousands of lives a day to be trusted to this material that says a lot. Airplane windshields have to pass impact tests, in case they hit a gagle of geese at several hundred miles an hour and the pressure differential can be substantial. Polycarbonate is amazing stuff. I wear a polycarbonate helment. The only advantage I see to the hand laid composite shells is weight reduction.

They have a seam running right down the center, I had one a long time ago with the seam, I dropped it out of my hand and it split most of the way down the seam then off to the side. If they made them as a single molded unit dual layer like the aircraft window then sure I would. I avoid any helmet that shows a seam.:eek2: I don't recall if it had a DOT or a SNELL sticker which I think it did have a DOT. But polycaabonates as tough as it is still cracks, it may need to be there on the second bounce.

motohut
01-28-2006, 11:29 PM
God I love you. I've been wanting to say that since I joined the forum. But, seeing what business I'm in I figured it would be taken wrong. But, there it is. It's out there, so yeah preach. And about that whole love thing.... I mean I - I don't even know you. :rofl: Later. addressed to hottrod

sharkey
01-28-2006, 11:56 PM
Helmet discussions are like 9mm vs .45, Harley vs Jap bikes, or Cummins Diesel vs. Powerstroke - they can go on forever.

My 2 cents: I currently wear a Scorpion EXO 700 which is a great helmet for $179. Little noisy but comfortable. I had a KBC VR1 Euro before that and it was a nice helmet too.

I bought my last 3 helmets from helmetharbor.com Good people, great website, and they took back a helmet that didn't fit right.