Once upon a time there were very few trustworthy helmet brands. Thankfully as technology and research methods have moved on and upward that is no longer the case. So with such a wide variety to choose from how do we choose which one to wear? Who do we trust our most valuable asset to?
There are many different types of helmet on the market. For some of the more gentle riding styles such as are to be found on cruisers and scooters the open face is just the thing, while for others the ‘system’ helmet, as favoured by some police forces, offers the best of both worlds. What we need on the track is a one piece full face helmet. There is no room for compromise on this.
Approval ratings and standards are both important and relevant as various jurisdictions have rules and standards as to what qualifies as a standard and what is needed to meet them. Some of the testing is more rigorous than others. The American DOT rating is one of the least rigorous in the world while the Snell test from the same part of the world is, arguably, the most stringent.
Good quality helmets are easy to wear. Wide apertures for easy visibility are a must. Indeed the visor and visor area tell us a lot about how well put together a helmet is. Tear off posts on the visor let us know that the lid is put together with the track in mind. After all there is nothing as bad as trying to string the perfect lap together with the innards of the biggest bug you’ve ever seen oozing down past your eye line!
Pinlock is a relatively new addition and in simplest terms, when fitted properly, prevents the visor from fogging up thanks to creating a clever and maintenance free double glazing system. This works incredibly well, particularly on cooler mornings.
Quick release visors are a must. These make changing from clear to tint or pulling a visor off to clean it a simple and uncomplicated affair. Anything that has bolt on visors or needs a tool to remove them is to be avoided. Ask for the visor system to be demonstrated by the nice young sales assistant before you buy.
Riding around the track can be an involving experience. Take a look at Cal Crutchlow when he takes his lid off at the end of a Moto GP and you’ll see what we mean! Washable liners, therefore, are a must. Some are easy to remove from the helmet and throw into a washing machine; some are easy too clean in the helmet. Establish how easy it is to maintain them and they will be wearable for a lot longer.
Fitting is the most important part of buying a helmet. While many look great it’s important to note that fashion is secondary. These are pieces of safety equipment. As such the fit should be snug, poorly fitting helmets will cause more problems in the event of an off than they will prevent. If they are too small you can expect a perfectly good day to be ruined by a new type of headache. Ask the seller to explain the fitting process before putting one on.
Materials are varied with carbon fibre being the lightest and multi layered construction using various compounds doing a lot of work to keep us both safe and comfortable. Venting systems in the shell work incredibly well by using the bikes speed to help prevent excessive heat and moisture build up inside the helmet.
Nearly every dealer suppliers at least one brand. Arai, Shoei, AGV, Shark and LS2 are just some of the better ones. If you have any questions simply drop us a line. We’re more than happy to help…