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Thread: Helmets -- the great and not-so-great

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  1. #1
    R1100R "Traveler" DesertRider's Avatar
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    Helmets -- the great and not-so-great

    Over the weekend I had the opportunity to visit The Helmet Harbor, a moto-gear vendor that sells mostly over the Internet, but happens to have their retail store here in the Phoenix area. It was a very pleasant experience -- the store is small, but very well stocked with lots of helmets of many brands, the store staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, and they allow you to take any helmet they have and go test-ride it around town. Not as good as the money-back guarantee on helmets from CycleGear, but probably the next best thing. It also helps that Helmet Harbor has stunningly low prices, often 25 - 30% below other discounters. I'm not sure how they manage that and still make money, but apparently they do because they just moved to a larger location.

    I presently ride with an Arai Quantum/f, a very nice helmet, well made, very comfortable, and reputedly one of the most protective helmets made. But wonderful as the Arai is, there are some areas that could be improved: I wish it had more ventilation (here in the desert there is no such thing as too much or even enough ventilation), and I wish it were quieter. I wear earplugs just about all the time, but even then after 45 or 60 minutes I have a buzzing in my ears. So I set out to find a helmet as comfy and protective as the Arai, but quieter and with more ventilation.

    And I think I may have found it: The new Shoei X-11. This is a very high-tech helmet with a very complex set of vents, internal ducts, and other gizmology, all of which work together to make this helmet not only better vented than the Arai, but significantly quieter. It's also substantially lighter than the Arai, though I must say I've never found the Arai too heavy. The only area in which it was not quite as good as the Arai was in comfortable fit -- it's probably the second most comfortable helmet I've ever tried on, but the Arai is still a bit better. For comfort I think it's still true that you can't beat an Arai. So I'm still undecided -- a like a lot of things about the X-11, but it's not a hands-down decision over the Quantum/f.

    The X-11 is a fairly expensive helmet. CycleGear has it for $650 and it's a special-order item, MotorHelmets.com has it for $572. To my amazement, Helmet Harbor has them for $399. I really don't know how they manage to offer prices like that.

    Another helmet I tried is the Shoei RF-1000, Shoei's former top-of-the-line model. Nice helmet too, but I tried it after the X-11 and that sort of spoiled me for it. I found the RF-1000 fairly comfy, but the ventilation wasn't as good, it was noisier than the X-11 (though about the same as my Arai), and I had a bad problem fogging -- it fogged even while I was rolling down the street at 20 - 30 mph, and that was in temperatures over 60F and fairly dry.

    But that's only my opinion. My wife tried the RF-1000 and was very taken with it, may go back and buy one if she can get one in bright yellow. She also liked a lot the AGV Rossi-replica XR2, but I think that had a lot to do with the way-cool graphics and Rossi's number on the side. (MY wife and I are both very avid fans of motorcycle road-racing.) I told her that if she got a helmet with Rossi's "46" on the side she would have to get a bike much faster than her F650, but I don't think she's going for it.

    I also got a chance to try out a Suomy (cool graphics, OK helmet, seems better for racing than street use) and several flip-ups, including the one I liked most, the Nolan 100. I like the idea of a flip-up, but I'm not convinced they're as protective as a solid full-face, and none of the ones I tried were as comfy as my Arai, though the Schuberth came close.

    Anyway, thought I'd pass along a bit of helmet wisdom gained over the weekend. If you're in the market for a helmet I'd recommend taking a look at the X-11, and definitely recommend the Helmet Harbor, both for their prices and for the very helpful folks there.

    ---

    Standard disclaimer: No, I have no interest of any kind in Helmet Harboer except as a shopping customer (haven't even bought anything there yet) -- just passing along what I found.
    DesertRider in sunny Arizona, USA


  2. #2
    Registered User Kenny2's Avatar
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    Desert Rider,
    I have a Arai, Quantum. I also wear glasses. I bought the Nolan 100E. GREAT Helmet!! The fit is tight and secure. There is minimal wind noise that I get with the Arai, the vents on mine whistle at speed. I also wear plugs and listen to my Ipod. The Nolan is great and it has a positive all metal latching system on both sides of the helmet hinge. It has one latch opening, leftside. The venting is complete where the Arai I would get a cold spot. Also, the Nolan has the no fogging insert, which has worked, no problems.

    The disclaimers in place. Just a happy and whistleless rider.

  3. #3
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    Flip-up helmet

    Interesting report on all those helmets. I wear glasses and when shopping for a helmet I was most interested in the flip-up types. I tried the Nolan 100 but ended up with the HJC Symax helmet. I like it very well and have only had a little fogging when temps were in the 20's and 30's so far. The fit is good and as far as noise I can't comment on that as this is my first full face helmet. Noise hasn't ever been a factor in my riding. After riding harleys with a half shell plastic flower pot on my head for 25 years the issue of noise doesn't come to mind. I personally find it difficult to pay $400 to $700 for some of these helmets out their today. I need electrics more than a pricey helmet. I paid $180 for the HJC and it works for me.

  4. #4
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    Helmets

    I've been riding with the Nolan for a few years now and got no complaints. I'm kind of looking for a new one now. like the buckle system, but it would be nice if they coud attach a little D-ring so I could fasten it to a helmet lock. Other nit to pick, the face shield wont lock in the one-click open position, which is just enough air. Keeps sliding closed.

    Here is a good comparison of modular helmets:

    http://motorcyclecruiser.com/accesso...r/fliphelmets/

    I like to buy local rather than over the internet, but the last store I looked in the helmets were more expensive and had less selection than any of the sites I've visited. I got no help. If bricks and mortar bike stores want to compete, they need to add some value.

  5. #5
    Ride Safe! MDCRUISER's Avatar
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    Desertrider, thanks for the great site! I've bookmarked it and will use it. I note, however, that they cannot post their prices for Schuberth Concepts without a phone call -- that's a pain.

    Dkandersen, my Nolan 100E does stay in the "one-crack open" position. I agree that it would be nice if there were some kind of d-ring for helmet locks, but I've purchased an inexpensive Kryptonite lock that attaches to any part of the bike, the wire threading through the visor opening. I think the Nolan is really an excellent helmet. I just got the current issue of Motorcycle Consumer News, and they seem to agree -- it was the most recommended flip helmet.

  6. #6
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Re: Helmets

    Originally posted by dkandersen
    I've been riding with the Nolan for a few years now and got no complaints. I'm kind of looking for a new one now. like the buckle system, but it would be nice if they coud attach a little D-ring so I could fasten it to a helmet lock. Other nit to pick, the face shield wont lock in the one-click open position, which is just enough air. Keeps sliding closed.
    I use a Nolan N100E helmet, and I use the $2 cheap helmet lock extender to put it on my bike helmet lock. Looks like a thin metal "T".

    Just slip it through the receiving end of the ratchet latch on the strap. It fits nicely and holds securely.

    Jim

  7. #7
    WesPeterson
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    Re: Helmets -- the great and not-so-great

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by DesertRider

    Anyway, thought I'd pass along a bit of helmet wisdom gained over the weekend. ]

    Thanks a ton for passing on the info.

  8. #8
    GIZMO
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    I too went into Helmet Harbor and also was very pleased with the knowledge and customer service of the staff. I purchased a Shoei X-Eleven from them came to $420 beans with taxes. It is my first Shoei after years with Arai and more recently with Schuberth. It fits me very well, is comfortable and love the ventilation. It is the first helmet I have had that I need to close the vents on the cool mornings in Phoenix. In the fast with other helmets, I just lefty them open all the time, never realizing much benefit.

  9. #9
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    Great experience!!!

    Hi everybody,

    Last night I was looking around on the internet to buy two helmets and a lock with a chain.
    I emailed a couple of the places that did not have a price (saying that Shoei asked them to list only MSRP prices on their website or nothing) asking for the price and the 2nd day shipping fee.
    This morning I got some very "smart" answers like "Call us to get the best price on the internet". Yeah ... ok!!!

    I also got a reply from Todd Mittness at Helmetharbor.com. He gave me a price for the helmets and said that the 2nd day shipping would not be more than $30.00 and if it was he would cover it.

    I exchanged a couple emails with him asking about the chain/lock also (because I did not see it on his website - even though they carried Kryptonite locks) and he said that he could get this for me also.

    Overall a great experience. Turns out he is the owner. Finally I emailed him saying that I will let you guys and girls know about the great experience that I had. After all I am learning so much from this website. I might as well give something back.

    By the way, I got the Shoei Z-II. I will let you know how it is.

    Later,
    Harry

    PS. :
    I guess I need a disclaimer. So here goes: I don't work for HelmetHarbor, I don't make money from them in ANY way, blah, blah, blah. I am just a happy customer!
    Last edited by HarryGR; 03-23-2004 at 12:23 AM.

  10. #10
    a1340vtwin
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    Take a look at the Ski-Doo Modular

    Hi
    If you have the chance check out the Ski-doo Modular helmet.
    its a flip up with a internal drop down sun screen .
    I like it much better than Nolans or Shoeis.
    The only proble is there is no room for thee comunications package ear piece.

  11. #11
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Re: Take a look at the Ski-Doo Modular

    Originally posted by a1340vtwin
    Hi
    If you have the chance check out the Ski-doo Modular helmet.
    its a flip up with a internal drop down sun screen .
    I like it much better than Nolans or Shoeis.
    The only proble is there is no room for thee comunications package ear piece.
    Looks like a great winter helmet! How is it in the warm weather? Have you tried it at speed? How is the noise? Looks like it might be very loud!

    By the way, the Sheuberth system helmet has a drop down sun screen also. Not to mention it is fairly quiet for a flip face.

    Jim

  12. #12
    a1340vtwin
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    re ski-doo helmet

    I rode steady do 80-90 it really quite.
    great ventaltion I havnt used it in weather over 55 yet.
    I like it much beeter than my Nolan and my Beoffe and it feels better on my head than the shoei.
    its real quiet because of the way your ears are covered it dosent have that hole were your ears sit.
    On a scale from 1 to 10 I give it an 8.5

  13. #13
    R1100R "Traveler" DesertRider's Avatar
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    Ski-doo helmet

    Is the Ski-doo helmet rated by DOT as a motorcycle helmet, or only as a snowmobile helmet? (Is there a difference?) Has it been tested as a motorcycle helmet?

    Also, what's a good price for a Ski-Doo?
    DesertRider in sunny Arizona, USA


  14. #14
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Re: Ski-doo helmet

    Originally posted by DesertRider
    Is the Ski-doo helmet rated by DOT as a motorcycle helmet, or only as a snowmobile helmet? (Is there a difference?) Has it been tested as a motorcycle helmet?

    Also, what's a good price for a Ski-Doo?
    The web site says it's DOT rated, but doesn't say if that is for the street, and it isn't snell rated. I would like to see more.

    Jim

  15. #15
    leave my monkey alone LORAZEPAM's Avatar
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    modular=no snell rating

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