Tips To Buy Motorcycle Helmet
While we have a hard time convincing hard noggins to wear helmet, the campaign just flags when we try to tell them to wear the right helmet. Deciding to buy a helmet is the first step towards not ending up as human pulp on the road. However, getting the correct helmet of the exact type, fit and design that you need, is more crucial. Gone are the days when helmets were available only in the traditional round shape. Manufacturers may be fairly consistent but Lord Almighty is not. So, quite a few of our brethren, with oddly shaped heads, ended up with ill-fitting helmets that were more a bane than boon. Humanfolk have definitely gotten smarter with time and manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to cater to misshapen heads. Of course they are just trying to protect the evil brains inside them.
So what should you bear in mind while buying a motorcycle helmet, a lid that your life would depend on, in your most vulnerable 69 seconds?
1. Need :
Why exactly do you need the helmet.
- Are you a regular commuter? You might need a DOT certified helmet.
- Do you ride frequently at night? You will need a hi-viz helmet.
- Are you planning to hit the track for thrill? You will need a Snell certified helmet.
- You ride in a group? You will need a Bluetooth enabled helmet.
- You want to ride only for a short period of time? You will need a cheap DOT certified helmet.
2. Safety Certification:
Most locations require the helmets to meet certain safety standards nominated by the state. In US, for street use your helmet must be DOT approved. This minimal qualification is set by the Federal government’s Department of Transportation so that helmets adhere to basic quality threshold.
The Snell Memorial Foundation has set up an independent standard, Snell, which has higher basic standards than DOT. Snell approved SA, M and K helmets are tested to be fit for use in racing and motorsports. Snell is the Goliath in terms of testing standards.
3. Fit and retention:
An incorrectly-fitting expensive helmet will eat dirt against a well-fitting cheap helmet. Any lid that you buy should sit comfortably and snug on your mug . Otherwise it will cause you endless irritation while riding and take your mind off the process, thus making the helmet counter-productive. Different brands have different size charts so it is important to find your size accordingly. Sales personnel at accessory stores are trained to fit different helmets correctly. A first time buyer may not be familiar with the adjustments of the helmet and may end up buying incorrect sizes or pass over a perfectly smart helmet. Any help from the salesperson would count at that juncture.
A helmet that fits properly sits properly. Right fit is the key to retention. During a crash, the helmet may just fly off your head if it doesn’t sit right. Strap on the helmet tight and try to lift its rear off your head. This test will help determine whether your head will retain that helmet on the streets.
The most important rant of anti-helmet weirdos is about ventilation. It is indeed the centerpiece of most helmet blueprints. Bell and Shoei have set examples of their dedication to this cause with helmets that keep your head windier than your rear. Vents near chin, eyebrows, intake and exhaust, Venturi and spoliers, there are a lot of configurations. The decision has to be made for your comfort according the speed that you ride at, the climate of your area, whether or not you plan to use a communication device. The latter because wind noise can be a formidable problem for Bluetooth devices. Ventilation also modulates fog on the face shield.
5. Face shield:
If you plan to buy a helmet with visor, that opens up an avenue of visor specific options. These days you get anti-scratch, anti-fog, UV protected visors with reasonably priced helmets. Some even come with tinted visors that shield against sunlight on a bright day. A higher end accessory is the photochromatic sun visor that darkens and lightens according to sunlight automatically.
The most basic test for face shield is to check that they are optically correct by putting them on and checking that the vision is not distorted in any manner.
6. Shell coverage:
You may go for an open- face(only shell and/or visor), full-face(shell, visor and fixed chinbar) or modular(shell, visor, retractable chinbar) helmet. The shell itself and inner EPS liner coverage should be maximum for better protection against head injury. The shell should not get in the way of peripheral vision though. The face shield area must be broad enough to allow good visibility on the side.
7. Other features:
If you like to speak on phone on the go, or listen to music, you might want a helmet with Bluetooth ear pockets or Bluetooth enabled helmets. Easy to operate switches for vents and other functionalities are also preferable. Small switches are a pain to handle with gloved hands. If you are big on off track racing, you would look for tear-off posts or easy replacement visors.
Helmets come in a melange’ of graphics and colors. If you are a fan of suave, you might like to stick to classy, sleek helmets. Hi viz helmets with fluorescent designs and colors make you conspicuous in the crowd which is a key factor in preventing accidents.
Helmet buying is a veritable art that requires a little research. But it completes your rider ensemble for the serious motorcyclist looks. All these points, along with your budget consideration would be your helmet buying kit. Cheap helmets are not necessarily a bad bargain. Few of them are packed with enough features to take out a terrorist cell and bang big for bucks. The whole process can seem a little grueling but once you get one of those babies, you start loving the whole riding experience.