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What Helmet To Choose?

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For bikers, the quality of helmet is very important so choosing the right brand is I think important. I am a beginner for bikes so I really want my first helmet to the right helmet.

 

Can somebody help me in choosing helmets? What brand? And how should I know what helmet would fir perfectly with me?

 

Suggestions and experiences are highly appreciated.

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What kind of riding is it for, Track, Touring, Daily commuter, Weekend Canyon Carving ?

 

Also what kind of price range are you looking for, there are a lot of really nice helmets out there but not everyone can drop 700$ on a new Schuberth C3 or 4,000$ on a Arai

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Can somebody help me in choosing helmets? What brand? And how should I know what helmet would fir perfectly with me?

Evans;

First off - Welcome to the Forum. It's good that as soon as you joined you jumped in so let's see if we can get you some answers.

 

This is just my story so take it with a grain of salt. I started off with an HJC - liked it, no complaints but it didn't seem to have the features (at the time) that some of the European helmets did.

So I bought an AGV - loved it's looks but it was crushing my skull. It was my first realization that the shape of your head had to match the way the helmets are made; my brother-in-law swears by it to this day after I gave it to him.

Then I found pure joy in Suomy. I found pure comfort and protection in Suomy crashing in them a number of times, hitting my head/helmet on the track in the process with nary a headache or scratch. Since I subscribe to the one hard hit and you replace it rule, I have owned a number of them since. I'm a big Suomy fan...but others will weigh in I'm sure.

 

As for fit, do what I didn't do and go to a big shop that carries multiple lines and try different ones on. The fit should be snug but not too tight. If you can move your head any amount and the helmet doesn't follow directly, its too big. If there is (are) a pressure point(s) that "hurts" even though it otherwise fits - it will NEVER work for you (see AGV reference). Good luck with your selection.

 

Rainman

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Welcome to the forum Evans!

 

As long as you buy a respected, name brand helmet with the correct certifications (DOT, Snell) I think the real decision is made by fit and function (and as T-Mc pointed out, affordability). I've had good luck with Shoei (and like Rain have tested them in anger) but my current lid is an Arai. I switched because the fit was better and the aerodynamics are great (I like the way it helps my big melon cut through the wind).

 

And then there are the aesthetics, if you are dropping some righteous coinage on a helmet, it’s ok to like the style, I just wouldn’t use that as my first criterion :P . Webbikeworld does a lot of helmet reviews and has some good information on sizing, the certifications, shell shapes, etc.

 

Good luck in your search.

 

Carey

 

 

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There are some basic rules to remember;

1. Price does not equal safety - any approved helmet comply with the standards and plastic helmets are better at spreading the load, for instance

2. Price usually does matter when it comes to comfort, fit and finish - easier to replace visors, better scratch resistance on visors, better ventilation, interor comfort, possible to remove and clean interior, less noise etc.

3. As mentioned, find a helmet that suits your head shape

 

Personally, I used to find Nolan helmets quite good until they began using quick-release locks sometime around the early 90s. I then switched to Arai, low price range, in order to get D rings and were happy with them after I removed some of the foam around the temples. After nearly a decade of Arai I switched to AGV, a Rossi replica, and it is pure bliss. I'm on my second Rossi rep and also wore it when riding a big Intruder cruiser as well as now riding my Kawasaki classic. I'd rather have it in a more neutral colour, but I bought old designs and saved 50%. Looks ain't that important to me ;) I also bought a cheap AGV for the one ride I persuaded my wife to come along on during the past 15 years and although not uncomfortable, it doesn't fit nearly as well and is noisier by a significant amount.

 

Furtheremore, there are more helmets that doesn't fit me than those that do. Shoei, for instance, is praised by many but cause me instant and massive pain if I try to put one on. It's so bad I cannot even think, let alone consider riding.

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As for fit, do what I didn't do and go to a big shop that carries multiple lines and try different ones on.

This is great advice. What works for others is just as likely not to work for you. Trying on helmets of different brand, size and style will help you find what's right for your head.

 

Right now I have a Shoei X-12 and an Arai Quantum/f. I started 20+ years ago with a Bell and quickly switched to a Shoei. Then later I switched to an Arai. I've primarily worn Arai for the last 15+ years. When I crashed in 2010 my insurance paid to replace my helmet. Shoei had just got the X-12 to market so I decided to take a chance. It fits well, no pressure points or the like, is light and aerodynamic. However, I don't feel air moving like I would prefer, even though it has lots of vents, the eye port doesn't seem quite tall enough (if that makes sense), and it really just doesn't cradle my head quite the way my Arai does. Last weekend on a back road ride I wore the Shoei and today during our coach training I wore the Arai - I'm about to sell the Shoei and get another Arai.

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I was not able to wear the Arai due to shape...too tight on my forhead. Haven't tried one for while.

 

KBC's are working well, but hsve to lift them with some foam in the top for track riding (most brands we see this on at the track). The new carbon KBC has gotten rave reviews from our students, it is amazingly light! There is my shameless plug for the day :).

 

CF

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As has been said by others, go to a shop that has a wide variety of brands. Then if you don't know what size you need just ask for help. If you can't get any help then go somewhere else and try again. Wearing a helmet in a store for a few minutes should give you a basic idea if it fits. But this is like many things in life, as you figure out what you need you will get a better idea of what to look for.

Some of the manufactures make different models that fit different head types. For instance I wear Shark RSR2's and a RSX. I tried on an RSI model and it was very uncomfortable to the point of almost hurting. Tried a RSF2 and it wasn't bad but just not quite right. Their Evoline fits good. Now that's 5 helmets from one manufacture. 2 fit great, 1 is good, 1 if I had to and 1 is a nogo. The RSR2's and the RSX fit wise is almost identical to the Shoei RF series. I love the Soumy helmets but I don't think Ill ever be able to wear one. To date they hold the record for speed and severity in giving me a headache, wow!

Long story short, find your head size then start trying them on. If you find one that fits good remember which one it is then try on others that are for the similar head type, don't forget to ask the folks working there. Go home and think about how the helmets fit then go back in a few days and try them on again.

There are stores where you can buy a helmet and return it within xxx amount of time. That way you can take it home and wear it around the house for a bit to make sure it will work for you.

 

Just make sure you buy a helmet from a reputable company with a good reputation. The amount you spend is up to you.

 

 

Enough quacking for now. quack quack!

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Also, once you find one that seems comfortable, make sure you wear it for a good 10-15 minutes in the shop, this will highlight any issues that wouldn't be immediately apparent, if you find that pressure starts to build up, then find another in a better fit. Ideally once you take it off after those 10 minutes there should be no red lines on your forehead or anywhere else on your face which would indicate it's probably a bit too tight.

 

Bear in mind too that every helmet will give a little, so don't get one that's a little bit too big as it'll only get bigger.

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What kind of riding is it for, Track, Touring, Daily commuter, Weekend Canyon Carving ?

 

Also what kind of price range are you looking for, there are a lot of really nice helmets out there but not everyone can drop 700$ on a new Schuberth C3 or 4,000$ on a Arai

 

I want a helmet for everyday commute. I want a helmet that less than $500.

 

Thanks for the replies I really appreciate it. These experiences and knowledge you shared would be a great help for me as a beginner.

 

Anyways, I've searched for online sites that sells affordable helmets and there are really many of them. I found this site jafrum.com that sells a lot of helmet brands. I can choose from their wide collection. So what do you think?

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I think you still need to try it on for comfort. Which is easiest done at a dealer. Then it's up to you if you think it's OK to take advantage of your dealer's services and spend your money elsewhere or if you should also repay him by also buying from him. I often tell a dealer, if prices are vastly higher than online, that "You want X for this, I can get it for Y online including feight. I'm willing to pay 15% (to 20%) extra in order to get it here from you now, but more than that is too much. Do we have a deal?"

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As said, don't even consider buying one without trying it on first. I was convinced as a new biker that I wanted one of the AGV Rossi replica helmets, but it was really uncomfortable when I came to try it on.

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I was not able to wear the Arai due to shape...too tight on my forhead. Haven't tried one for while.

 

KBC's are working well, but hsve to lift them with some foam in the top for track riding (most brands we see this on at the track). The new carbon KBC has gotten rave reviews from our students, it is amazingly light! There is my shameless plug for the day :).

 

CF

 

 

I have that problem too. The top of the eye port is maybe a quarter inch above my eyebrow. Thats just dandy if you ride a cruiser. But it really causes a lot of neck strain to have vision when low on a sportbike. I have to have my head cranked up as high as it will go. Sometimes my neck hurts like heck for a few days after a real long ride or a CSS day. Sucks that I have to pad up the crown as it really cuts off the airflow. I see pics of racers and it looks like their eyeport top is half way up their forehead. I fit into just about all medium helmets and dont have some freaky shaped head. WTF over?

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I want a helmet for everyday commute. I want a helmet that less than $500.

 

 

If that's truly the case one feature I HIGHLY recommend is the built in sun visor. It may seem like a gimmick but I assure you after a few months you'll never want to go back to not having it. Its really great here in SoCal where your morning commute is often cloudy with "marine layer" but your afternoon commute is bright and sunny. And if you find the built in visor isn't quite dark enough for your taste you can switch your main shield to a light smoke instead of clear and darken it up a tad without making night riding impossible. Of course your choices for this option are still somewhat limited, I know HJC, Scorpion, and Schuberth are options, I believe Nolan has started to include this feature in their modular helmets, Shoei also now offers a modular helmet with it. I currently have a Scorpion EXO-500 and I love it, it also helps that it fits my head quite well the venting and weight on the 500 are massive improvements over the older EXO-1000

 

And definitely don't buy anything without trying one on at a local shop,

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As said, don't even consider buying one without trying it on first....

 

I couldn't agree with Steve more! Finding a lid that fits is second only to buying one that provides quality protection.

 

Additionally make sure if you are ordering online that you know what the manufacture date is. Helmets have a life span and the discount might be because the shelf life is getting old. While there is some debate over this (usually with people that don't want to have to buy a new helmet), I believe both Arai and Shoei recommend replacing at 5 years old.

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They recommend replacing them in order to make more money and probably to wash their hands should there be a lawsuit at some stage.

 

In Germany, they tested a 13 year old very well used JEB's helmet against new ones and it passed the current test, which was stricter then when the helmet was new. Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about age, more about how much sweat and little knocks it's received. Bright sunshine also deteriorate stuff over time, so it makes sense to store the helmet as far away from daylight as you can when not in use.

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There are some basic rules to remember;

1. Price does not equal safety - any approved helmet comply with the standards and plastic helmets are better at spreading the load, for instance

2. Price usually does matter when it comes to comfort, fit and finish - easier to replace visors, better scratch resistance on visors, better ventilation, interor comfort, possible to remove and clean interior, less noise etc.

3. As mentioned, find a helmet that suits your head shape

 

Personally, I used to find Nolan helmets quite good until they began using quick-release locks sometime around the early 90s. I then switched to Arai, low price range, in order to get D rings and were happy with them after I removed some of the foam around the temples. After nearly a decade of Arai I switched to AGV, a Rossi replica, and it is pure bliss. I'm on my second Rossi rep and also wore it when riding a big Intruder cruiser as well as now riding my Kawasaki classic. I'd rather have it in a more neutral colour, but I bought old designs and saved 50%. Looks ain't that important to me ;) I also bought a cheap AGV for the one ride I persuaded my wife to come along on during the past 15 years and although not uncomfortable, it doesn't fit nearly as well and is noisier by a significant amount.

 

Furtheremore, there are more helmets that doesn't fit me than those that do. Shoei, for instance, is praised by many but cause me instant and massive pain if I try to put one on. It's so bad I cannot even think, let alone consider riding.

 

 

As said, don't even consider buying one without trying it on first....

 

I couldn't agree with Steve more! Finding a lid that fits is second only to buying one that provides quality protection.

 

Additionally make sure if you are ordering online that you know what the manufacture date is. Helmets have a life span and the discount might be because the shelf life is getting old. While there is some debate over this (usually with people that don't want to have to buy a new helmet), I believe both Arai and Shoei recommend replacing at 5 years old.

 

I know now that even helmets have life span thanks for that. I think its not about expensive the helmet is, I think its all about how protective the helmet is. Find a helmet in local store that fits me well, search for it online, find a reliable site and purchase one.

 

Thanks for all those replies. It helped me a lot about helmets.:lol:

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The guys above have it all covered really, just to add that yes some makes have certain shell shapes, e.g. back in the day, Arai were for peopel with heads like Alien (flat sides), and Shoei for Mekons (round). These days that isn't necesarily thte case, e.g. Arai Signet is a new shell shape and is more round (maybe the Signet is obsolete but there will be a replacement model). For everyday stuff, avoid going too race-rep and getting loads of vents. I've got an Arai Chaser (I think) and the extra venting makes it really noisy and actually quite cold in the winter, wish I had know that before I bought it.

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Carried both my own AGV Rossi replica and my son's HJC Spies replica today after the ride and man is that HJC light! Feels like air compared to any other helmet I've held. That's a serious safety asset in itself.

 

 

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While helmets may not go bad after a certain date, I would not say there isn't a "lifespan" to them. 5 years is a good average life for them. Now that 5 years might be different if it hasn't been worn vs worn every day. If you wear it every day - with heat, sweat, moisture, etc - I can see where the styrofoam inside the helmet might be impacted vs a non-used 5 year old helmet. . . So I can't say age doesn't play any factor in an helmet. ..

 

I will agree with everyone else here - try on all the major brands and see which one fits your head. There are various shapes of helmets that fit certain heads better than others. After a certain dollar amount - they all kind of protect your head above a certain measured threshold. After that - some might be better than others but there is no standard of testing that I would unequivocally go by. Many people swear by Snell outside of DOT and EC certifications - but there has been a lot of controversy around Snell that the helmet manufacturers have been actively trying to cover up. The m2010 Snell standard by all accounts is robust - however, the m2005 standard is supposedly frought with issues. Several people tried to point that out and were fired (or advertising budgets pulled if they reported on it) or muffled. On top of that - when the "new" 2010 standard came out, they didn't want to offend existing manufacturers that had 2005 certified helmets so they made the new labeling intentionally misleading. So the once reliable "snell certified" label is a bit suspect (I guess you should always trace back to who supports the organization).

 

Anyhow in terms of quality - most of the top end helmet manufacturers made decent lids. personally, I am not a fan of AGV Rossi helmets as I think they are not as good as the other top end manufacturers for the same price (probably due to them having to pay Rossi absurd amounts :). Also, the top end helmets from Arai, Shoei, AGV, Shark, Suomy all are quite noisy. You would think they are quiet - but to achieve ventilation, it involves more opennings and more openings mean more sound. The exception to that might be the Schuberth SR1 which I am quite impressed with (just received). Still doesn't ventilate as well as the Arai Corsair V series though.

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I know now that even helmets have life span thanks for that. I think its not about expensive the helmet is, I think its all about how protective the helmet is. Find a helmet in local store that fits me well, search for it online, find a reliable site and purchase one.

 

Thanks for all those replies. It helped me a lot about helmets.:lol:

Some more anecdotal story to consider... I had a buddy that bought a size XL because he's a tall guy. We went to an AMA race and the had lots of vendors there and he found he should have been wearing a M instead. This was with an Arai, which have removable cheek pads- he was fitting the cheek pads to his face and not feeling how the rest of the helmet fit his head. I tried one on and found the same thing. We ended up with different models, but we both got thinner cheek pads (I think I went from 30mm to 20mm), so the fit over the whole head is very even. You don't want it so tight on your face you bite your cheeks, but don't compensate for that by getting one too large.

 

The comments above about wearing it for 10 minutes sound right, as it's subtle and it take awhile to get the feeling (I've read the same thing when buying a sofa, you're supposed to sit on it for at least 10 minutes to decide if you like it, not 10 seconds).

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So what did you end up going with ?

 

I had this Bell Star full face I had my eyes on when I went to a local dealer of helmets. I tried it on and it was really comfortable and the dealer said that it is also a good helmet. Anyone had experience with Bell Star?

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