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Helmet Guide

Discussion in 'Riding Tips' started by Craig, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Craig

    Craig

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    Most people think that it is the helmet's outer shell that protects the head. (If this were the case we would all be wearing steel army helmets from World War II). Instead, protection is provided by a combination of 'crumble zones' involving both the outer and inner layers. Therefore a helmet is actually a fragile item designed to break on impact. This fact has serious implications when it comes to topics like how to care for your helmet.

    [​IMG]
    Above: Distribution of impact on Helmets

    Finding the correct size of helmet

    A correctly fitting new helmet will have the following attributes once on.

    1) As you initially pull it on it will feel much too small. Use the chin straps to pull the sides of the helmet apart as you pull (not slip!) it on.

    2) Once on, it will still feel a bit too small. People new to biking will naturally want to choose a helmet one size too big as they are unaccustomed to the closed-in sensation. This sensation will go away!!

    3) Once on, grasp the helmet with both hands and try to move it side to side and up and down. Your skin should move with the helmet.

    4) A correctly fitted helmet will start directly above the eyebrows.

    5) Secure the chin strap. Leave the helmet on for a least 5 minutes in order to feel for excessive pressure at particular points. A well fitting helmet should place even pressure throughout. In the shop you may feel claustrophobic doing this. Don't worry! this sensation will probably vanish once you are on the road.

    6) The soft inner of the helmet will mould to your head and face over time - this is why it is important to choose a snug fit when you purchase it.

    7) Try on a number of different makes as each have their own particular idiosyncrasies - just like the shape of your head. There are basic dimension differences between European, American and Japanese heads - there are reasons for this but we won't go there!!

    Care of your Helmet

    Do not paint it or attach decals to it unless you have the go-ahead from the manufacturers. The chemicals used in glues and paints can damage the helmet.

    Look after your helmet like gold. Store it in a soft, protective helmet bag. Do not bang it, scratch it or drop it as it is designed to self-destruct on impact, thus protecting your head and neck. If you do, have it check out professionally.

    Keep it away from strong chemicals. This means all those household cleaners under the kitchen sink. Cleaning it with plain toilet soap and warm water is always best.

    Do not store it in direct sunlight. If the inner gets very wet during a thunder storm allow it to dry naturally.

    Replace it every two to five years depending on its condition and the amount of riding you do.

    The helmet inner can become smelly over a period of time. Some helmets have a system whereby the soft inner lining of the helmet can be removed for cleaning. This is a major advantage in a country like ours where it is so hot. One can also wear a type of head bandana made out of a thin cotton under you helmet (try a flee market for one). This can easily be washed thus keeping your inner, mould-free! When you do need to wash your helmet inner ordinary toilet soap and warm water does the trick. As helmets are all-weather items a little water cannot harm them so do not be shy with it when washing the inside. Then allow it to dry naturally.

    Wind Noise

    All helmets have a combination of ram air and vacuum vents that draw fresh air through the helmet. In the more efficient examples as much as 15 litres of air per minute can flow through a helmet at 120kph. This is good, but in combination with the 'wrong' screen, can be a a major source of wind noise that can damage your hearing with noise levels as high as 109dB(A) at 120kph. Therefore long distance, high speed bikers should always wear ear plugs. Generally the inexpensive foam rubber type are recommended for bikers.

    Choosing the correct type of helmet

    Most sources will tell you to buy the most expensive helmet you can afford. This is true up to a point i.e. certainly do not spend less than £99 and make sure that the helmet is safety approved for your country e.g. DOT. However the main difference between a helmet costing £49 and one costing £150 is that of weight. The more expensive one offers similar protection, but with less weight and, perhaps more comfort and, maybe less wind noise.

    • Full face and Motorcross helmets protect the facial region as well as the head, in particular the jaw.

    • Three quarters, Motorcross and cruiser helmets leave the face area open and thus a pair of goggles is needed to keep dust out of the eyes.

    • A Flip up helmet is a full face where the chin guard can be pushed right up exposing the face.

    At maximum speeds a fixed, full face helmet is the only option. Beside the obvious protection they offer, they keep icy wind out and prevent flying bugs, bees etc from entering the helmet. When travelling in excess of 100kph, flying insects can only be described mini scud missiles.

    One of the major advantages of the flip-up design is for people who wear glasses - a flip up is just a lot easier. It also offers convenience when stopping briefly e.g. for petrol. You can get some fresh air and can communicate without having to take the whole helmet off. (This is important when talking to traffic officers!). The disadvantages are an increase in price, weight and wind noise level. They are also not as watertight during a downpour and the hinges are prone to wear.

    Choose a helmet that offers a variety of ways to ventilate your head and face - you need it on hot, summer days.

    Zany-wacky coloured helmets are very cool but not half as visible as a pure white one. (Most accidents happen when a driver does not see the motorcyclist.)

    Is is common to see riders who use a cruiser helmet (generally the Harley crowd) wearing a bandanna over the face to give some measure of protection against insects and sunburn. Most cruiser owners who sport a cruiser helmet on Sundays have a full face helmet as well for the longer rides.

    If you own a helmet where your face is exposed you must use sun block during the summer months.

    Helmet Visors

    The clear visors have to be replaced every two years or so as they become scratched - not so much as a result of abuse, but due to the abrasion of moving through dust laden air. Thus there are two factors here i.e. will you be able to get spares years down the line and how easy is it for the visor to become detached from the helmet?

    They should also be treated regularly with an anti-fogging solution. Riding in a heavy downpour is bad enough without having your visor misting up as well.

    Experienced South African bikers swear by the household aerosol cleaning product called 'Mr Min' to keep their visor and helmet clean. Do not however spray the cleaner directly onto the helmet as the propellant (usually butane) destroys some of the materials used in helmet and visor construction. Instead spray it onto a clean cloth away from the helmet and then apply it.

    Source: http://www.flamesonmytank.co.za/helmets.htm
     
  2. Was in the Rocket Centre in Blackburn (for those that don't know, it is a big bike dealers) yesterday looking at winter gloves. I'd told the sales staff that I'd had a 4 year break from biking but luckily had kept all my kit. They said that I would still need to replace my helmet even though I have not been using it as the insides degrade over time even when in storage (they degrade even faster if you store your gloves in your helmet).

    The sales woman said even she wasn't aware of this until last month when they had training from a manufacturer.

    So my question is.......

    Is this a sales pitch to make me buy a new helmet that still feels tight and has only been worn for about 2 years or should I be looking at a new helmet?
     
  3. Craig

    Craig

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    A while ago I saved this onto my computer so I'm not sure what site I got it from but it may help answer your question.

    I don't think there's a definite answer as there are too many variables e.g. how it was stored, how many hours of wear it's had, current condition etc... I tend to go on the rule of thumb change the helmet every 3 years as in the past I've also heard that that plastic and foam will go brittle over the years.
     
  4. Jap_Sti_3

    Jap_Sti_3

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    I had exactly the same, My Lid had been in the office for 5 years with only very occasional wear so I did go for a new one. Mind my son is wearing my wifes old lid so looks like I best get him one now as well. Rocket Centre Here I come, Thursday PM. See ya ther Onlyonewayhome LOL I'm in the Hein Gerricke Pro Shell. Best investment of last year.
     
  5. Craig

    Craig

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    While we're on the subject of helmets has anyone every tried the Reevu MX1 helmet? They're £300 but have a built in rear view mirror. I just want to see how good they really are out of curiosity ;)
     

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  6. would love to know how that works :?
     
  7. Jap_Sti_3

    Jap_Sti_3

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    :eek: :eek: :eek: Got all on consentrating on what's in front of me ............ Sod whats behind :? :? :?

    As Long as it does not flash Blue :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  8. Craig

    Craig

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    lol, I believe its a series of fiber optics that run through the helmet and it was originally designed for racing. I'd just love to know how clear it is; and like Jap says, would it distract you from whats going on ahead :?
    I can't work out if it would help the safety of a rider or hinder it. :)
     
  9. Jap_Sti_3

    Jap_Sti_3

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    Tried the Aria RX-7 yesterday at the Claycroos Bike Centre, LOVED IT! :D :cool: all bar the fact it's £400 :?

    Always had Aria till I got the HJC from Triumph dealers - It's OK but last night the rain got down the inside of the visa at 70 mile an hour over the M62 all way thom Doncaster in "Sheet Rain" and Very high winds, once the cars all hit the break lights it was HELL!!!! :roll: So saving up already ;)
     
  10. Stu

    Stu

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    I want a Schuberth C3 but at £450 it's a bit expensive. I may have to use the HG interest free option. :D
     
  11. Jap_Sti_3

    Jap_Sti_3

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    Th S1 looks good but whan ||i tried it on it moved up and down on my head so not a good fit for me :(
     

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