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regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazine

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regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazine

Old 07-18-2005, 08:25 PM
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regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazine

I saw the Z1R mentioned in a thread here and thought I'd ask:
Did you guys see the article?
WOW -was it ever good!!

I had about settled on a Scorpion (polycarbonate) as my next helmet, but now will wait and check out the Z1R.
$79 and it was (based on how I read the article) the best helmet tested as far as g-force loads to the brain due to impact.

www.z1rhelmets.com

Brian
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:13 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

Yeah, that article has been a topic of numerous threads on the 'net and it came just in time for me as well since my Arai Harada that I really, really love is about worn out. I choose Arai because of A) comfort and B) quality fit/finish and C) safety. Their new retail only price scheme has soured me so I looking elsewhere.

I too had been considering a Scorpion 700 model because of the many, many positive reviews and finally finding a dealer to inspect them. I was looking/waiting for a sale on one when the article came out. Now I see it's even higher than the "hard" Arai/Shoei's so I've dropped that idea.

Unfortunately most of the helmets that scored well in the test aren't great in the fit/finish department and since I do frequent all day type rides comfort is a big issue for me. I might get another Arai and just plan on crashing only at super high speeds!
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:19 AM
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Yea. I think it was a subscription boosting scheme, and a pretty irresponsible one at that. Harry Hurt is fueding with Snell. That's not news.

I'll start buying my helmets at Walmart when Motorcyclist editors do. They're still wearing Arai and Shoei.
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:45 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

I sort of disagree.
I have been aware of the general differences between Snell and DOT (and some other) helmet testing requirements for years.
I have, on my own, been a bit dubious about the focus on test criteria that drive helmets to get harder and harder.
My concern has been, and continues to be, that the extremely hard outer shells will result in a greater force transmitted to the brain. I realize that the inner liner plays a big role, but take it to the extreme: would I want a helmet whose outer shell was made of steel?
I wouldn't.
Whether the article was the result of a fued (which I have read does exists) or simply a desire to provide data, one main factor carries weight in my book:
emperical data
I don't care who did the test and what their motivation was/is. The data is data and it speaks for itsself. Add to the data the move by the European testing and standards folks, and I can feel comfortable considering a helmet that was not designed, nor tested, to pass Snell requirements.
I like the idea of having a helmet give way and absrob energy, rather than remaining fully intact, and transfering more energy to my head.

The harder the helmet, the more elastic the collision becomes.
The more elastic the collision, the greater the g-force applied, and the more energy transfered to whatever is inside of it.

The more energy absorbed and dissipated by the helmet outer shell, the more inelastic the collision.
The more inelastic the collision, the lower the g-forces and less energy transfered to whatever is inside the helmet.

I guess it's all just a matter of different strokes for different folks.

But, you does raise a good point. I wonder if we will start to see the various Editors at Motrocyclist switch to Z1R helmets........

Thanks,
Brian
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:50 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

Originally Posted by superbling";p=&quot View Post

I too had been considering a Scorpion 700 model because of the many, many positive reviews and finally finding a dealer to inspect them. I was looking/waiting for a sale on one when the article came out. Now I see it's even higher than the "hard" Arai/Shoei's so I've dropped that idea.
have you looked at the Scorpion 400? It is a VERY nice helmet. I have tried one on two different occasions. The fit is great, the finish is great, the visor change is super easy and functional, and the price is great.
The 700 is fiberglass.
The 400 is polycarbonate and scored better in the helmet test (at least that's what I seem to remember).
Even before the article, I had decided against the 700 because I had my own opinions about the increasing "hradness" of the outer shell.

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Old 07-19-2005, 07:38 AM
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Scorpion seems to make a nice helmet, but we have no history on them yet. Prior to Snell, helmet failures were common. They would often split in half. Snell standards brought competence to the industry.

Their track record, unpaid board, years of dedication to the subject and a board that reads like a who's who of safety, leads me to trust them more than the dilletantes at Motorcyclist. The lack of commitment living the conclusions of their theory, the lack of their willingness to print critical letters, and my suspicion of their motives reinforce -- for me -- Snell as the preferred expert. There is also a lack of real-world experience to back up their claims which, if true, would show up as helmeted deaths.

It is possible they are right. But I'm not willing to abandon the organization that revolutionized helmet safety just yet.
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:38 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

Again, some good points.
And, I can't let the opportunity pass without saying "Thanks" - for the civility.
It seems so many web sites / forums degrade to insults and name calling at the first hint of any disagreement.
What a pleasure to be able to hold different (to some extent) points of view and still have a reasonable discussion.
That said, what do you, personally, make of the g-force data collected?
Is it valid, but not that big of a deal to you?
Is it suspect due to its source?
Does the direction the Europeans seem to be taking hold any sway with you?

Aside from track record and/or reputation, what do you look for as the MAIN factors in helmet decision?

Thanks again!
Brian
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:51 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

What I make of it, is that it is relevant, though I leave it to Snell to tell me how relevant. No one collection of data has scientific relevance. In fact, its our starvation for real research (in motorcycling) that makes us wishful about this.

What I think is suspect, is Motorcylist's use of the data and the conclusions they drew (both stated and implied.) They've been less than forthcoming about their deliberate (in my view) attempt to sensationalize this issue, coincidental to their remake. This is particularly true of their misuse of Snell in the piece. Nowhere do they justify their "oh and by the way" treatment of this recognized and longstanding expert in the field.

They ran a test and collected certain data, then they weaved a story about the relevance of their data, veering wildly into an unscientific validation of their theory. This could all be uneducated, it could all be spot on, or it could all be a deliberate way to boost circulation.

This month's filtered letters give some credence to the third conclusion and none to the first or second.

Oh, and by way of full disclosure, I'll duke it out with the best of them on boards where that is the culture. But I too, like this little island of civilization. 8)
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Old 07-19-2005, 06:14 PM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

I have to chime in here. I dont believe that the article in queston was done as a "subscription booster" as it was previously mentioned.

I personaly dont know of anyone that has had too many g-forces applied to them in a accident.

However phisilogically this does make sense. When you get into a accident there are two impacts. 1) Your body hitting the road and 2) The brain hitting the inside of the scull (granted the impact is severe enough).

I do have a acquaintance that this happened to. They had to go in to the scull and drain the fluid because the brain was swelling. (he was not waring a helmet at the time).

I have wondered about the snell test requirement for years.

I think the fact the no one from the DOT or SNELL has commented on the article rases a few eyebrows for me. Normally if someone says somthing that isnt 100% correct someone will very quickly correct them.

Scientific data is data, if it is repeatable and controlled it is a true scientific test. Energy is transfered in a accident. Sheet metal bends, frames twist. Where the energy is transferred makes all the difference in the world.

In the mean time I will still be wearing my AGV DTV2.
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Old 07-19-2005, 07:05 PM
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Where did you get the idea that Snell hadn't commented. Go to their website.

While you are there, have a look around.
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Old 07-20-2005, 11:30 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

I think helmets these days are severely overkill. Arai high end helmets are now $1,100 plus Cdn.

When I was 16 I went down hard on the freeway and smacked my noggin good. The helmet I was wearing was a POS and sustained only minor scrapping. I put it to you that if you ever used all that these helmets have to offer, then your head may live but your body will die.

IMO buy the most comfortable helmet you can find as cheap as possible.
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Old 07-20-2005, 02:08 PM
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Motorcyclist Magazine has posted a rebuttal to SNELL's comments. Read it here: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/hatz

Consumers have very short memories. The last big helmet test I read in one of the motojournals showed DOT approved, polycarbonate helmets with better results than fiberglass SNELL approved helmets in real-world tests. Of course the SNELL helmets did better on the battery of tests specific to that standard...which, of course is totally out of touch with real statistics regarding motorcycle crashes. DOT approved helmet sales will spike for a while, but this article won't stop commissioned sales people at bike shops from telling customers how inferior a Z1R or Fulmer is to an Arai. How many times have you heard "...if you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet..."? A year from now this article will have faded into oblivion, and nothing will have changed. Those who know the truth have known it for a decade or more, and those who don't know the truth will continue to overpay for the perceived safety advantage foisted on them by lying salesmen.

I've always considered a helmet a consumable, perishable, disposable piece of gear. Yes, I can afford to buy a new high-end Arai every couple years, or whenever it falls and hits the ground too hard for my comfort...but who wants to? And here's a very realistic, very scary scenario; a middle-class rider saves his/her pennies for a couple months to be able to afford that $800 Arai Hayden Replica. That rider tips over in a parking lot and the helmet saves him/her a nasty headache. The shell has minor scratches, and the EPS liner is compressed. Do you think that rider is going to stop wearing that $800 lid and throw it away? Hell no! So when the BIG crash comes, that rider's safety is compromised because he/she couldn't afford the outrageous price of a replacement helmet from Arai. I personally think Shoei and Arai should be ashamed of themselves for the prices they charge. My buddy Pete, a WERA racer, high-sided in his last race. He broke his back and ankle, but his Arai saved his head, albeit with a concussion. He still wears that helmet on the street, because he refuses to throw away such an expensive piece of equipment. He's spent a couple grand fixing his bike to get back on the track, but now his budget is blown and he can't afford a new Arai. His next race is this coming weekend, so I bought him a new HJC, because I hate seeing him on the track in a helmet that I know is compromised.

I'm glad the SNELL safety myth has been publicly debunked. I'm glad the perceived correlation between price and protection has been disproven. Now if consumers would just remember the lesson, maybe Arai and Shoei would lower their prices and move to the ECE 22-05 safety standard in the US when their sales plummet.
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Old 07-20-2005, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by v2weapon";p=&quot View Post
And here's a very realistic, very scary scenario; a middle-class rider saves his/her pennies for a couple months to be able to afford that $800 Arai Hayden Replica. That rider tips over in a parking lot and the helmet saves him/her a nasty headache. The shell has minor scratches, and the EPS liner is compressed. Do you think that rider is going to stop wearing that $800 lid and throw it away? Hell no! So when the BIG crash comes, that rider's safety is compromised because he/she couldn't afford the outrageous price of a replacement helmet from Arai.
So why don't we wear american football helmets? They take hundreds (thousands?) of hits more violent than your scenario with only the occasional concussion (usually to the QB).
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Old 07-20-2005, 02:35 PM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

Well I'll be dammed. This is the first I've heard of all this. Someone's getting rich off ignorance.
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:11 PM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

Originally Posted by NOrrTH";p=&quot View Post
Someone's getting rich off ignorance.



Gee that never happens in the good old USA
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by superbling";p=&quot View Post
So why don't we wear american football helmets? They take hundreds (thousands?) of hits more violent than your scenario with only the occasional concussion (usually to the QB).
They wouldn't keep the bugs out?
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Old 07-20-2005, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by superbling";p=&quot View Post
So why don't we wear american football helmets? They take hundreds (thousands?) of hits more violent than your scenario with only the occasional concussion (usually to the QB).
Hmm...let's think about this; two 300 lb men colliding, each going approximately 3-4 mph. If Force = Mass x Velocity, a 180 lb rider would have to ride around everywhere at 13 mph or less to make your statement true. As soon as he exceeds 13 mph the cumulative force at the point of collision, with the pavement providing a static velocity (0 mph), would be greater than any hit a football player would ever take, unless he was playing chicken with a dump truck. Your statement that a football helmet takes thousands of hits more violent than what could be achieved in a parking lot tip-over on a motorcycle is incorrect. But your point is well taken. Maybe we could petition the DOT to consider those sexy football helmets for approval.
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Old 07-21-2005, 06:22 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

3-4mph? Maybe in pop warner leagues but pro athletes are capable of nearly 20mph. Consider an open field head on tackle (recently made illegal) between two and the forces would be more or nearly equal to your scenario. These guys occasional break necks in these impacts.

And remember, they do it over and over and over during a season with the same helmet. Check out the forehead section of, say, a linebacker's helmet at the end of a tough game.

I actually contacted Ridell helmets about this a few years back and did receive a reply. I wished I'd have save it. They basically said (in very techy terms) those helmets were built to different "specs" and to very high quality but don't use them for other than their intended purposes, blah, blah, blah. Reading between the lines I "inferred" that they were saying these top of the line helmets were built to the same high level as m/c items but again that's just an inference.

Please don't miscontrue this to mean I advocate football helments for m/c use. I don't LOL. But I do question the logic of a simple drop like off the bike at a gas stop that necessitates a new helmet that some riders are quick to advise. I'd really like to see some testing on that; what's the threshold for permanent liner damage?
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Old 07-21-2005, 08:49 AM
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LOL. I'd like to see the average overweight couch potato 40 year old motorcyclist take a 20 mph knock to the noggin. Most of those players have necks like tree trunks. You could put a Jack-In-The-Box sized helmet on the typical rider and a hit like that would still snap their neck like a toothpick. Have you seen the national health report lately? We are a nation of pork chops. The general populace gets winded raising their arms above their head. And you compare them to pro athletes?

The shop where my g/f works has a 6 foot Arai display rack. A while ago a customer knocked one of the helmets off the top shelf of that rack, onto the concrete floor. From where I was standing, it looked like a pretty solid hit. We looked over the helmet and couldn't find a scratch on it...but the shop owner has a policy that any dropped Arais go back to the sales rep for inspection. The sales rep sent it back to Arai, and they sent it back to the dealership with a note that said there was absolutely nothing wrong with the helmet. That's a pretty good example of how hard the shells are on SNELL approved helmets. The difference is when there's a head inside the helmet when it collides with something. The only way to tell how compressed the inner EPS liner is would be to measure the depression. Since I don't have the proper tools to do that properly, I don't feel qualified to judge, from the outside, whether a helmet is safe or not. So my policy is to err on the side of caution. If the helmet hits anything with any kind of significant force with my head inside, it gets replaced, period. A fall from the seat at a gas station doesn't really concern me, unless it scratches my pretty graphics...then I'm pissed, but not too worried about the safety of the lid. The way I look at it is like this; I've got hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the brain inside this skull. Do I really want to risk that for the price of a new helmet? No sir. $80 for a new Z1R? I can't even have dinner out at my favorite restaurant for that price. I'm seriously tempted to buy a CASE of them, since I know the price will soon go up, in light of the Motorcyclist article.

I believe that if a rider can't afford to replace an expensive Arai/Shoei/AGV/Soumy/Shark helmet the day after he/she buys it, they should be buying a less expensive helmet. It's a one-time safety device. Anybody who buys a helmet, whether it costs $30 or $1000, thinking it will last them a lifetime, is a fool. Replacing helmets on a regular basis is just one of the costs of enjoying this sport, much like replacing tires, brakes, oil, etc, etc. That's why I'm appalled at the prices on many of the SNELL approved helmets. I'd like to think the Motorcyclist Magazine article has Arai sh*tting themselves, but I'm sure they know how short consumers' memories are. And Arai/Shoei/AGV/Soumy/Shark helmets have become status symbols, much like a Hummer H2 or a Corvette. To be an attention *****, you gotta pay the price.

I look forward to the day when motorcyclists can just trade their stock skulls in for a titanium replacement that has a replaceable EPS sub-shell...or when one's brain sits in a jar at home and controls one's body via remote control. We'll all keep a spare body or two in the freezer, and safety equipment like helmets and leathers will be forgotten. I can't wait... 8)
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Old 07-21-2005, 02:24 PM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

So does anybody know of a helmet for oval "arai" heads like me? Shoei is consider round but I understand they now make one model that close to oval but that's about the same ballpark price range as arai. HJC, Scorpion, AGV?

Unfortunately the local dealers don't stock much at all just fullmer, THH (?) and the like or $700 Arai's (go figure).
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Old 07-21-2005, 02:35 PM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

Very good/interesting debate (or is it just a discussion :wink: )
Regarding the football helmet question...
I don't know to what specs they are made. Perhaps they would do well in the same test Motorcyclist ran.
One difference, I would suspect, is the POTENTIAL impact one might expect in a football game vs what one might expect in a motorcycle crash.
Comparitively speaking, the potential for a truly violent impact is much greater on a motorcycle than on the football field.

But I'd still choose to ride my motorcycle over playing football.
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Old 07-21-2005, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by NOrrTH";p=&quot View Post
Originally Posted by superbling";p=&quot View Post
So why don't we wear american football helmets? They take hundreds (thousands?) of hits more violent than your scenario with only the occasional concussion (usually to the QB).
They wouldn't keep the bugs out?
Geez, Harley riders don't seem to mind.
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Old 07-21-2005, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by superbling";p=&quot View Post
So does anybody know of a helmet for oval "arai" heads like me? Shoei is consider round but I understand they now make one model that close to oval but that's about the same ballpark price range as arai. HJC, Scorpion, AGV?

Unfortunately the local dealers don't stock much at all just fullmer, THH (?) and the like or $700 Arai's (go figure).
Helmet Harbor (http://www.helmetharbor.com) says the Scorpion EXO-700 and EXO-400 fits a wide range of different shaped heads comfortably. For the price ($130-$140), the EXO-400 is top notch, and for those who must have it, it is SNELL approved. The same applies to the HJC CL-14. Try on a Fulmer AFD4, it may actually work, although it's not as oval as an Arai. Most dealerships won't keep DOT-only helmets in stock, because there's very little profit margin on those lids.

Originally Posted by Brian A";p=&quot View Post
But I'd still choose to ride my motorcycle over playing football.
Amen, brotha.
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Old 07-21-2005, 09:48 PM
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I can add that I've used both Arai and Shoei.
And since I keep my helmets longer than I probally should and put more miles on them than most.
The Shoei's hold together longer than the Arai's.
I insides and rubber molding will start to fall apart long before the Shoei's will.
Judging from what I've seen the Shoei will hang together till the strap wears out.

~Jeffers
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Old 07-25-2005, 08:25 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

I've had....and still have.....Shoei and Arai Helmets. I like the Shoei because it's a quiet helmet....but it's heavy. My Arai is LIGHT but tends to whistle and that gets tiresome.

As far as what the lid should be made of.....my next helmet will most likely be made of a woven material. In my mind it would be much stronger. I place a value on my head and a Walmart Special $20 helmet will never go on my head.

Mike
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Old 01-24-2006, 12:11 PM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

I bought a Z1R when the article came out since I was looking for a new helmet anyway. It's awesome and I have more money in my pocket for other things.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:56 AM
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

I bought a new helmet last week. I have had Shoei and Arai both before and they are high quality. I was looking at a Shoei RF1000 the same color as my bike but didn't want to spend $365 plus tax. The problem with the HJC that I have been wearing is when I turn my head before changing lanes the shield would blow up because of the cheap mechanism that doesn't lock it down.

So I went looking at helmets and specifically the mechanism for the shield. I saw an ICON Hooligan for about $259 that was comfortable and the mechanism is good. The Shoei's have a locking lever on their sheild. I decided to stop one more place to look and I stopped at the local Honda dealer and there on the shelf was a Scorpion EXO 400 Warhawk for $139.

It has a very positive mechanism for the shield. It is polycarbonate shell design. I tried it on and it was every bit as comfortable as the Shoei and the quality looks to be excellent. It has quite a few venting options to get good airflow when the weather is hot and it has the spoiler/vent on the back like the Shoei to pull air through the helmet at speed.

I looked at the Z1R Strike but the shield mechanism didn't look any better than the HJC that I have been wearing. I will say that the other older HJC that I had been wearing before I started wearing my newer HJC didn't have the problem with the shield blowing up when you turn your head but that helmet was 8 years old and the rubber trim was falling apart and the inside was feeling pretty firm.

I bought the Scorpion EXO 400. It was $151 with the tax and I am so glad I didn't pay the $365 plus tax for the Shoei even though the color matched my bike. Although the ICON Hooligan looks to be a good quality helmet at $259 plus tax I believe the Scorpion EXO 400 is the best deal out there.

ANY helmet is better than no helmet but the Scorpion proves that you can get Shoei quality for a little more than Z1R price.

The Harley guys at work say the only difference between a helmet or no helmet is open casket or closed casket but I disagree. They have never bailed off their bike at 60 wearing a full face. I kept that helmet for years as a reminder with the big pavement burn down the front of it. And when I hit the pavement I bounced up and came down again (highside) before I slid to a stop so since then I have become a firm believer in wearing a helmet. I walked away from that one with a sore back and swelling in my elbow that took a couple of months to go down but at least I was alive.
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:42 AM
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vtrgeoff
Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

I was forced to replace my Shoei RF900 over the winter. I rashed it up in a minor high side last summer (sigh). There was no question or argument from SWMBO about replacement, nor was there argument about the cost.

I did a lot of research before I went shopping....reading magazine reviews and helmet tests, etc..

I toured the local bike shops checking prices and availability etc.

Shock and Awe at the prices. A Shoei RF1000 (White - no graphics) was $600CDN. Absolutely no bargaining, no off season specials. Nothing. Add another $100 if you want the Miguel Duhammel look. Each and every shop I was in said the same thing as I walked out the door...."Support your local dealer". If they were half way competitive with their pricing and had half way competant service departments I might.

The bike show vendors were not much better - they knocked $50-75 off the list.

Then I looked on Slease-bay, and from an online Ebay Store bought my new helmet for $270US. Shipping and taxes and currency conversion boosted that to $380CDN.

I have worn the helmet around the house a couple of times (it's still too cold here to ride) and it is signifcantly lighter than my RF900 was. I'll know better about the ventilation and noise factors once I've been out on the bike once or twice.

If you shop around there are deals to be had on the higher end items.


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Old 03-21-2006, 06:25 AM
  #29  
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

Interesting that this thread comes back to life right now.

I went to the International Motorcycle Show in Atlanta this past Sunday. Besides just wanting to look and see, I wanted a new helmet.

I currently have an HJC and have been very happy with it. The fit and quality have been nice. Good value for the price. I installed some mini headphone speakers in it and now can listen to my iPod as I ride down the hiway. My son has outgrown his helmet so he gets the HJC and I get a new one.

After looking and comparing, I bought the Scorpion EXO 400.
$129 for the mono flat black.
I bought a silver reflective shield also. I think it was $30.

Hands down the best fit and apparent quality for the money.
The comfort, features and overall impression provided by this helmet far surpass the $129 price - at least in my book.
That's $129 -vs- $300 - $500 for other major name brand helmets.
Aside from the HJC I currently wear, I have found nothing in that price range that even comes close to comparing as far as features and comfort are concerned.
Plus the Scorpion helmets did pretty well in the Motorcyclist test.

I like the shield changing system.
I like the removable liner.
I like the no-fog shield. (I tried - it WON'T fog)

Now, I just need to go riding!
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Old 03-21-2006, 07:15 AM
  #30  
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Re: regarding helmets and the article in Motorcyclist magazi

Great discussion, lots of good info. Thanks everyone

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