When is the last time you thought about helmets?
It’s riding season again for me. I’ve dusted and detailed my old 2005 motorcycle and bought new tires. Riding has been therapeutic. I scanned the shops for a new helmet and was surprised as the diversity and selection. There are even more online. And some of them look awesome but I wonder about the safety and practicality of them.
Look at the variety of choices you have:
- Full Face
- Open Face / ¾’s
- Shorty / Half Helmets
I personally would like to have a helmet that looked like I was a member of the Predator alien planet. It looks fierce. It looks ready for battle. I might even try to create a device that I could fit a powerful flashlight or camera on my shoulder like the movie monster. My YouTube searched uncovered this company that does something from HJC helmets. http://rezzercustom
But here’s the deal on regular helmets. You are supposed to wear one to save your life in the advent you fall or have an accident riding. The cool factor is a sidebar.
These are supposedly been tested for: :
- Impact—The helmet’s shock absorbing capacity.
- Penetration—How well the helmet withstands hitting a sharp object.
- Retention—How well the chin strap can stay fastened without breaking.
- Peripheral vision—To pass, a helmet must allow minimum side vision of 105 degrees on each side.
It is the vision issue that I see with most of the “cool” helmets. And on the safety ratings you have to trust one of the four popular markings.
You should find some ratings on the helmet. Here’s what they mean.
- DOT – The United States Department of Transportation sets a minimum standard level of protection for helmets.
- ECE22.02 – The U.N. Economic Commission for Europe sets a standard level of protection for helmets in Europe.
- Snell2010 – A non-profit in the United States founded after the death of Pete Snell, a sports car racer who died from head injuries.
All helmets should include four basic components that make up their protection features, including:
The outer shell. -The outer-most layer of the helmet, this is usually made of fiber-reinforced composites, which will allow the material to contract during a hard impact. That will help lessen the blow of the force before it reaches your head.
- Impact-absorbing liner. -Usually made of Styrofoam or similar material, this layer continues to absorb shock and deflect the power of a hard hit away from your head.
- Comfort padding. -This is the layer that touches your head. It helps for comfort, but also ensures the helmet fits snuggly on your head.
- Retention system. – Also known as a chin strap. This piece will ensure the helmet stays on your head in the event of a crash.
Helmets typically range in weight from 1400 to 1800 grams. The key to weight is a properly fitting helmet so the weight is distributed evenly around your head and shoulders. Modular helmets often weigh more than a Full Face because of the apparatus installed to flip up the visor.
How Should it Feel?
Try the helmet on before using it. The helmet should sit squarely on your head with the top of the helmet’s eye port just above your eyebrows. A properly fitted motorcycle helmet will not go on easy at first but loosen slightly as it is broken in.
If the helmet moves or your fingers fit easily between your head and the helmet you’ll likely need a smaller size. The helmet should fit snug around your head and face with no pressure points. If desired, the check pads can then be adjusted for better fitting.
To further ensure your helmet is the best fit possible, look for these things after trying it on:
- Cheek pads—They should touch your face without pressing too hard.
- Gaps—Make sure there aren’t any between your temples and the brow pads.
- Neck roll—If the helmet has one, it should not push the helmet away from the back of your head.
- Chin piece—When pressing on this with full-face helmets, your face shield should not touch your nose or chin.
I understand the cool factor or riding with a particular helmet. I don’t get the no helmet or shorty, half helmet folks nor the ones that wear the plastic Nazi looking models. We only have one head. I know it gets hot but dang!
What’s your take on the helmet?