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Thread: Helmet Thoughts for New Rider

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    jaxthedog jaxthedog's Avatar
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    Helmet Thoughts for New Rider

    An RN with whom I used to work greeted me with something more like angst than chagrin, reporting that her son, after reading a few motorcycle posts, went out and bought himself a Honda 750 Shadow upon his return from Africa. She asked me about the gear he should wear to maintain as much of a safety margin as possible.

    I put together some thoughts and resources about helmets and posted them here:

    http://thechurchoftheopenroad.blogsp...e-helmets.html

    Your learned thoughts, comments and most important: corrections would be appreciated. Thanks!

    I'm hoping to follow up with something on boots, gloves, jackets and pants, so resources in those regards would be appreciated as well.

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    Registered User WalterK75's Avatar
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    I always recommend a serious rider training course and the Proficient motorcycling books . Gear from top to bottom but also get the brain working on the skills of riding and the mental aspects of riding.
    Walter

    All government, of course, is against liberty.
    H. L. Mencken

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    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    You've gotta take the course. I know that lots of us here didn't have that option when we started to ride 40+ years ago, but it was the first thing I did when coming back from my 30 year break from riding.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

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    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
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    A MSF course is a great place to start for the new rider and the RN. Many of the RN's fears will disappear if the course is taken. Who knows, maybe we would gain another rider. Many RN's are anti bike because of what comes through the ER.
    Most of the time, an anti-bike attitude is because of the actions and attitude of the 10% (or less) that give us a bad name.

    And for the gear, ATGATT.
    Buy the best gear that you can afford. This does not mean the helmet with the fancy graphics or the jacket with Honda's name on it. There are some great buys on super helmets if you purchase one that is a single color. Safety is is more important than fashion.

    YOU BUY WHAT FITS-NOT WHAT YOU WANT. My wife bought me a great helmet that is the same color as my bike. It is my back up helmet because even though it fits, my other helmet fits better.

    If you no choice but to ride today and YOU KNEW that someone was going to hit you, you would wear all of your gear, right? Gear and attitude should go hand in hand.

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    For helmets buy the best quality that fits your head
    I wear a C3 and a Shoei 1100 neither is cheap but they fit that's the most important to me

  6. #6
    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
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    Main helmet is a C3, back up is Nolan.

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    jaxthedog jaxthedog's Avatar
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    My Shoei 1100 is my "go to." Bought a Nolan which is a nice lid, but doesn't fit my melon as well as I would like. Should have worn it around the sales shop for a full 30 minutes before purchasing. Still, it might be perfect for somebody else.

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    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaxthedog View Post
    My Shoei 1100 is my "go to." Bought a Nolan which is a nice lid, but doesn't fit my melon as well as I would like. Should have worn it around the sales shop for a full 30 minutes before purchasing. Still, it might be perfect for somebody else.
    Yeah, that brings up a good point. You really need to try on the helmet before you buy. Wear the helmet a while. If the salesman does not check for correct fit, or at least ask, you are at the wrong place.

    Buying online just does not cut it, unless you have full rights to return it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ARGENT BRICK View Post
    Main helmet is a C3, back up is Nolan.
    What exactly is the purpose of a "backup helmet" ? I only have one you know what...

  10. #10
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    From the linked article:

    "Mine is white in color because it shows up better and because it is cooler on hot summer days."

    That's important information for everyone. White helmets make you easier to spot in traffic, black helmets the reverse.

    The Wells study from New Zealand quantifies it: a 24 percent reduction in accident rate by switching from a black to a white helmet.

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

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    Morning Person
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    You've gotta take the course. I know that lots of us here didn't have that option when we started to ride 40+ years ago, but it was the first thing I did when coming back from my 30 year break from riding.
    Ditto this post. Sounds like my experience exactly! The course taught me that I didn't know as much as I thought I did about motorcycling. Come to think of it, I probably didn't know much at all! Learned a lot...probably as valuable as safety gear, if not more so.

    Regarding helmets: My BMW salesman had me try 4 different types of helmets, and had me take a lot of time with each (like 15-20 minutes wearing them in the store). That was key...wearing them for a time. By doing this, it was obvious that for my head the Shoei Multitec was the best fit, and most comfortable. So whatever you do, have the person spend a good couple of hours wearing a selection of helmets. The salesman, if he's good, will demonstrate how a good helmet is supposed to fit. And be prepared to spend money...it's not worth it to scrimp on this item.

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    Gear is certainly a good thing - full face or flip up helemt of course, plus jacket and pants with CE armor and good gloves- but all the gear on the planet won't keep you alive in a high speed impact.
    I'd be spending more of my time with that RN talking about developing skills and attitude for survival on 2 wheels. Simply, cagers don't have anything near the skills needed on a bike and until one develops appropriate defensive driving skills, the risk level is much higher.
    I don't consider MSF courses all that helpful for street riding though they are an OK part of full education. A better method is to spend a day or two with a coach with a communicator on the road, being talked through the issues as they appear. Can be harder to find such courses but they do exist. I'd put Hough's text and MSF courses next on the list but those work best for folks capable of learing from written material or classroom, which does not apply to everyone..

    Takes only a minimal lapse to get dead and that is what makes it so different from cages that encourage crappy habits. A few days ago one of Obama's motorcycle escort guys got killed being scrunched into a guardrail by a pickup while on escort duty- it can happen to anyone at any time and the only defense is 100% vigilance all of the time.

    The good news is that any rider has a significant measure of control about his future safety. The odds can be stacked for or against by personal choices and behavior. That'sa bit unlike some activities like skydiving where you will surely die if your redundant gear fails- such deaths are the reason I've kept my jumps out of functioning planes to a minimum.

  13. #13
    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    What exactly is the purpose of a "backup helmet" ? I only have one you know what...
    I know a couple of riders that use two helmets. One uses a full face helmet except when taking a MSF course. Then he dons a "shorty" like the HD guys seem to like. Another wears a full face helmet some of the time, but likes the HD style and wears it nine times out of ten. Go figure. Full face is the only way to go, my good looks are important.

    I have a second or "back up" helmet because I bought a Schuberth C3 when I got my K75 and my wife bought me a Nolan for my birthday. Both are very comfortable, but the C3 has the edge with more features and better comfort. I like the controls of the Nolan better but the C3 is my choice for distance riding. Having a second helmet allows me to continue my ride if one gets damaged or I can have a passenger.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommcgee View Post
    You've gotta take the course. I know that lots of us here didn't have that option when we started to ride 40+ years ago, but it was the first thing I did when coming back from my 30 year break from riding.
    Same here. And I was amazed at how much I didn't know when I was riding back then.

  15. #15
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walterK75 View Post
    I always recommend a serious rider training course and the Proficient motorcycling books.
    I'm still amazed at the lack of a (mandatory) driving course and a decent driving test to get you license in the US. Over here in Europe it's getting increasingly difficult to obtain a license. Which is a good thing, because it prepares you for the world outside. Even mopeds (50cc) require a driving test these days (but not so strict as a motorcycle).

    I'm not sure if you need to take driving lessons, but the exams are quite rigorous so without any training it would be hard to pass. There are 3 exams:
    - driving code (theory). This is a multiple choice exam. You get a bunch of slides depicting certain traffic situations and questions about it.
    If you pass this exam you can move on to the next exam:
    - driving test part I: the circus tricks. This part is where you have to show you can control the bike. So figure 8, emergency braking test, turning in a narrow street, pushing the bike by hand (really!) and more stuff like it. There are lots of exercises and the exam guy picks a few.
    If you pass part I, you can move on to part II:
    - driving test, the real world. You get to drive with a headset. The exam guy follows you in a car and tells you left and right. I even think that nowadays they tell you to program a route in a GPS and follow that. Since 'everybody' has a GPS nowadays, they want to teach you how to use it. I know for a fact that they do it for the car exams, not sure if it's also for the motorcycle exams.
    This part takes about 45mins and if the guy is convinced you're ready to go out, you'll pass.

    It took me 2 times. The first time I was just too nervous and made some silly mistakes. I even bodged my tricks part, which I never did wrong in training.

    And even with all these exams, there are people who are no good. But at least we're better prepared to go out on the open roads. We also have advanced driving classes, but they're not mandatory and I'm not sure lots of people take them. Most people think that when they've got their license, it's over with learning. Such a shame. I took the advanced course when I bought my current RT. I didn't ride for some time and this big trip was coming up. So I thought a little refreshing was in place. It was a very good decision. I learned a lot of usefull stuff.

    It's a shame that it's so (too) easy to get a drivers license in the US. I'm sure it would be a lot safer with good training and strict exams. But I know how Americans are with governement telling them how to do things. So I'm afraid it's never going to happen...
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

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