Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Helmet shopping

From time to time (and when the funk in my current helmet is too much to bear) I find myself shopping for motorcycle helmets. It's a strange world though. From the alphabet-soup manufacturers (HJC and the like) to the high-end Japanese jobs (Shoei, Arai), there's a gigantic amount of choice, and a similarly gigantic amount of variation. The key to a helmet of course is that it must protect your noggin in the event of a spill, and to that end, most helmets are DOT, SNELL or BSA approved nowadays. Given that metric, a $70 helmet ought to protect as much as a $700 helmet. And they do. So it then comes down to style - the way it looks - solid colours or graphics, and fit and build quality. Sadly for me, I have a Shoei shaped head. I don't mind - I like Shoei helmets because they fit well and are built well, but I say 'sadly' because that puts me in the $350 range for a new lid. I've never been able to fit into Arai helmets because they always seem to be too oval for me but this time around I was able to try on a lot more manufacturers products than normal. I must have had my head in 40 helmets trying them for fit and it ultimately came down to three. The HJC CL-15 actually fit really nicely once I took the noseguard out. It had some funky graphics options but felt a little 'cheap'. The Scorpion Exo 700 was similar - a nice fit although a little tight across the forehead. The whole feel of the helmet was more polished although it did have a lot of vents on it which makes me wonder how noisy it would be. Ultimately, as always seems to be the case though, I got to Shoei and popped on a TZ-R and it fit like a glove first time out. Typical. Questionable personal taste in graphics aside, this is what I ended up with then:

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