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My wife has just started riding motorcycles (she is on a Shadow 750) and wants to switch over to a full face helmet but I have only worn 1/2 helmets (or none) my entire life. I have absolutely no idea what I should look for and am drowning in a sea of information, most of which is geared toward racing and sport bike riders. She is only looking for something that will provide good protection and be lightweight and comfortable without crazy graphics all over it! Hell, she even has me thinking about it for long trips, so any information that I can get for us would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
ahook
2011 Hammer 8ball
 

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There is a lot to know, and the product quality greatly varies.

First off, check out sportbiketrackgear.com and look through their helmet selection. In most cases they do video reviews which are full of the details you need and without the fluff you don't.

Here's the criteria you need to search for:

Fit: Many brand's models will have multiple shell sizes. The more shell sizes, the better for a custom fit. Cheap stuff (like say HJC) will use the same shell for small, medium and even large as well only changing the shell for XL and up. Whereas a brand like Shoei will usually have 3-4 shell sizes so someone wearing a small isn't carrying around a large sized outer shell on their noggin. Scorpion is also good about this for a medium pricepoint brand.



Weight: Heavy is a pain in the neck. Literally. Sometimes we sacrifice because we want inner flipdown sunshields and whatnot, but in general you want as light as you can get. Cheaper stuff is generally heavier, it costs more to produce a lightweight helmet.



Safety Rating: DOT means absolutely nothing. The helmet you buy that says "DOT" on it wasn't actually tested. This is your squash we're talking about here... protect it right, go with a Snell Approved helmet. Also ECE is a step above DOT (and both will also be DOT is sold in the USA because Snell and ECE go above and beyond the minimum DOT requirements)



Shell material: You want composite. You don't want fiberglass. Strength and rigidity is paramount and composites are the way to go.



Airflow/Ventilation: Let's face it, full face helmets are hotter than half-shells. But one will save your life while the other does nothing more than hold your hair in place... for this convenience, you must sacrifice. Watch all the review videos you can because they will always discuss this. My Shoei RF-1100 flows AWESOME, almost feels like I have a series of fans inside the helmet when I am riding. My Scorpion EXO-900 flows "decently" but there is a noticeable difference. Cheaper helmets will flow less, almost always.

Sidenote: They all claim anti-fog faceshields but its bullshit... they all fog up and you'll be venting them at every light, or riding with it slightly vented anyway. The cool thing is now you don't need sunglasses, you either buy an extra shield thats tinted, or buy a model that uses self-tinting photochromic shields that tint and un-tint in available light. Bell makes four models that use this and Akuma makes one that does.



Quietness: If she falls in love with a particular helmet, it fits her head perfectly and fills the other requirement... just wear a good set of earplugs. It's not so much the exhaust, but the wind buffeting that can seriously damage your ears. Higher quality helmets will be quieter, cheaper gets much louder.


Aerodynamics: Nothing worse than doing a headcheck and BAM the wind nearly rips your head off because you turned it sideways. Yeah, it sucks.... be sure to get a quality helmet, they will be tested for aerodynamics.



While in SOME rare cases you can spend $200 or under and get most of that, it's the exception rather than the rule. Quality means a LOT of research & development, expensive components, and higher cost of labor. Helmets aren't cheap. One way a helmet can give you most all of the above but still be cheap is by cutting corners in the padding. HJC make a decent protective lid... but the insides break down by the end of the season, so you're buying a new helmet each year. So that $189 HJC will cost you $945 over the next 5 years. That $489 Shoei/Arai/Shark/whatever will cost you only $489 over the next 5 years because it is made of better quality components.



Fit can be tricky. She may be say a small in the first ten helmets she tries, but a medium in another brand. Even within the SAME BRAND, different models might change her size. Find a BIG shop that carries a wide variety. Try them all on, write down which brand & model fits in what size... then shop online for the best price. OR find a good e-tailer like sportbiketrackgear that has a killer exchange policy, and you'll have no worries.


Once you've owned a QUALITY full face, you'll never go back. No wind, no bugs, rain doesn't sting, and you know it'll be as safe as it can possibly be. Many folks who detest full face helmets did not use a high quality one.


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My wife has just started riding motorcycles (she is on a Shadow 750) and wants to switch over to a full face helmet but I have only worn 1/2 helmets (or none) my entire life. I have absolutely no idea what I should look for and am drowning in a sea of information, most of which is geared toward racing and sport bike riders. She is only looking for something that will provide good protection and be lightweight and comfortable without crazy graphics all over it! Hell, she even has me thinking about it for long trips, so any information that I can get for us would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
ahook
2011 Hammer 8ball
Go to revzilla.com or helmetharbor or webbikeworld for reviews. There is a ton of info on those sites. The Nolan n90 may be up your wife's alley. It's a simple high quality flip up.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
wow thanks for all the info!
It really is amazing the price difference for FF helmets. Anywhere from $50-$600. My major concerns are weight, noise, ventilation, and buffeting but never thought about liners deteriorating and having to buy a new helmet after one season. I'm gonna check out those sights and specifically Shoei and Nolan. One thing that really suprises me is the lack of information on a lot of sites. J&P doesn't have any real info on their FF helmets. Thanks again and please anybody else feel free to chime in if you have suggestions, especially if you have a personal experience (good or bad) with a specific helmet!
Thanks!
ahook
 

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I have worn full face since the day I started riding. My best advice is that you have to put them on in the store and wear them around for 20 to 30 minutes. If you don't have any hotspots or discomfort by then it should be good to buy. If you do have any discomfort at all don't buy that helmet. If it has a hotspot after 20 minutes it will be a blister after a couple of hours on the road.

I would never buy a helmet online for two reasons. First, The sizes don't have any comparison between helmets. I have a Shark that is an XL and I have a Fulmer that is a Medium. You have to try them on to see if they fit. The sized don't even match between two different models made by the same company. The second reason is just because they fit doesn't mean they are comfortable. If the helmet is not comfortable then you won't wear it. If you aren't wearing it there was no reason to get it in the first place.

Once you get a helmet that is comfortable they are like an old pair of half wore out shoes. I don't mind putting on my helmets at all. In fact I feel uncomfortable NOT wearing one.
 

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I have worn only Shoei’s my entire life. They are damn fine helmets.
But I have to say that I like my new HJC FS-15 carbon fiber lid as much or more as any of the Shoei’s. I ordinarily wouldn’t give HJC a second glance but after finding one on E-bay for $200 shipped I couldn’t pass it up.

It’s very light, aerodynamic & snell rated. Haven’t noticed any degradation of the liner but I also wear a skull cap under my helmet.
 

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First off, FF is the way to go. Modular is not due to weight and less protection no matter what anyone says. The inner mechanism of the modular can cause a lot of injury when you actually need the brain bucket.

FF protects the jaw, teeth and a lot of other stuff. Read this:

http://www.calsci.com/motorcycleinfo/Helmets.html#Helmets

Shoei is the answer.

Of the Shoei helmets, your wife wants a QWEST in the smallest size she can handle. Bigger feels better in the store but will allow too much wind noise and a lot less protection. Not too tight; but damn snug.

QWEST over RF1100 because the Qwest Shoei is for riding with head up. RF1100 is sport bike head down.

Had an RF1100 in XL and put up with it for a year. Bought the new 2011 Victory Kingpin 8 Ball and treated myself to the black Shoei Qwest in size "L" and much better...way better. Light years better.

You both need custom ear plugs. If you don't think so look at all the hearing aides on guys in their 50's who have been riding for a few years.

Get her good gear. Over the ankle boots. No blue jeans. All the gear all the time (ATTGAT) is a pain in the ass but so is road rash. This guy makes the correct gear:

http://www.motoport.com/

It ain't cheap but neither is road rash. Get her black jean style and some kind of mesh top that will be cool that she can layer under. Do the same for yourself.

Factory gear and leather looks great. Doesn't work anywhere near as well as the Motorport stuff.

You can even match if you want to.

I live in Southern California but am on Maui now. No helmet laws...people riding HD's all over wearing shorts and flip flops. No helmets; wanted to rent one; sorry no helmets...nah we got no gear. I'll wait until I get home.

Ride safely....Yes I do have a shelf full of helmets; I know whereof I speak. Best regards.

John
 

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Helmet info

After buying a couple of helmets online, thinking I was getting great deals...only to not care for the fit...I woudld suggest taking her down to any local dealer or gear shop. have her try on any and all of the helmets she likes, then have her decide on what she likes. Spend whatever it takes. Most of the places will offer some kind of deal if you ask...everything from price matching to various discounts. Remember, if she is happy...you are happy.
 

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Shoei if you can swing the price. I currently have a JoeRocket carbon fiber helmet. It's sharp looking looks great,fits great. In my opinion it has tooo much wind noise for the money and you do not want to get in a rain storm with them. The Joe Rocket vents really good for the summer,but the rear exhaust vents do NOT close. You have to either put plugs of some time in the holes or duct tape over them in a a true down pore.
 

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This guy makes the correct gear:

http://www.motoport.com/

It ain't cheap but neither is road rash. Get her black jean style and some kind of mesh top that will be cool that she can layer under. Do the same for yourself.

Factory gear and leather looks great. Doesn't work anywhere near as well as the Motorport stuff.
Meh... for those prices you can buy much higher quality gear, street & race proven, top-tier stuff. And it won't look as cheap either. (Note that the listed priority was safety over looks)

Wearing regular jeans is totally fine if she can't find riding pants that work for her. BUT she needs to invest in armored shorts and kneepads. I wear armored shorts 99% of the time because let's face it... sometimes we DO get off our bikes, and if you can wear normal street clothes, it will make you more comfortable. If you're more comfortable, you're less likely to say "screw it" and go without gear. ;)

I wear both EVS and Fox armored shorts. You can usually find them for about $50 a pair.

EVS Undergear Ultimate Short:

http://www.google.com/search?q=EVS+Undergear+Ultimate+Short&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7ADFA_en#q=EVS+Undergear+Ultimate+Short&hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7ADFA_en&prmd=ivns&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=sLYHTuXxF8HEsQLjw6jTDQ&ved=0CDkQrQQ&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=8b3b2e8e0478ea8d&biw=1440&bih=672


FOX Racing Titan shorts:

http://www.google.com/search?q=EVS+Undergear+Ultimate+Short&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7ADFA_en#sclient=psy&hl=en&safe=off&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7ADFA_en&tbm=shop&source=hp&q=fox+racing+armored+shorts&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=8b3b2e8e0478ea8d&biw=1440&bih=672
 

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wow thanks for all the info!
It really is amazing the price difference for FF helmets. Anywhere from $50-$600. My major concerns are weight, noise, ventilation, and buffeting but never thought about liners deteriorating and having to buy a new helmet after one season. I'm gonna check out those sights and specifically Shoei and Nolan. One thing that really suprises me is the lack of information on a lot of sites. J&P doesn't have any real info on their FF helmets. Thanks again and please anybody else feel free to chime in if you have suggestions, especially if you have a personal experience (good or bad) with a specific helmet!
Thanks!
ahook
In comparison to the brands we're discussing (Shoei, Arai, Shark, Akuma, Bell)... Nolan is middle-tier in overall protection, airflow and comfort.

I own a few helmets, and while my Shoei is my personal favorite, it won't work for everyone. If you stick with the brands I listed (also include Scorpion, but nothing below the EXO-700) you will own the best... and from there you find the right model that fits the best and has the features you really want. I'm a HUGE Arai fan, Arai is generally considered to be the best of the best, and highest-tech helmets made... but they fit a round head shape and I'm a bit more oblong.

BTW: To the Shoei comment earlier... the QWEST is absolutely NOT in the same league of protection or quality as the RF-1100. It may be designed more for a cruiser seating position, but you don't sacrifice the quality for that!! My RF-1100 is amazing on my Hammer S, I've had zero issues riding at 80mph with 25mph headwinds.
 

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wow thanks for all the info!
It really is amazing the price difference for FF helmets. Anywhere from $50-$600. My major concerns are weight, noise, ventilation, and buffeting but never thought about liners deteriorating and having to buy a new helmet after one season. I'm gonna check out those sights and specifically Shoei and Nolan. One thing that really suprises me is the lack of information on a lot of sites. J&P doesn't have any real info on their FF helmets. Thanks again and please anybody else feel free to chime in if you have suggestions, especially if you have a personal experience (good or bad) with a specific helmet!
Thanks!
ahook
My recommendation is to buy something comfortable. It doesnt matter how great the theoretical protection if you dont wear the helmet because it's not comfortable. Revzilla has a lot of good advice and reviews and a good return policy.

Also note that most helmets nowadays provide good protection. I'd discount most of the recommendations here that suggest there's a huge difference between helmet safety from one manufacturer to the other: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/motorcycle_helmet_review/index.html

"...In spite of what one might assume, the speed at which an accident starts does not necessarily correlate to the impact the head—or helmet—will have to absorb in a crash. That is, according to the Hurt Report and the similar Thailand study, going faster when you fall off does not typically result in your helmet taking a harder hit....Because the vast majority of head impacts occur when the rider falls off his bike and simply hits his head on the flat road surface. The biggest impact in a given crash will typically happen on that first contact, and the energy is proportional to the height from which the rider falls—not his forward speed at the time. A big highside may give a rider some extra altitude, but rarely higher than 8 feet. A high-speed crash may involve a lot of sliding along the ground, but this is not particularly challenging to a helmeted head because all modern full-face helmets do an excellent job of protecting you from abrasion."

The best advice you can get here is dont take anyone's word for it on a forum like this. Just find a helmet you like and check it out in an independant test like the SHARK UK. That's unbiased and verifiable.

http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks again everyone!
My wife and I actually rode to the J&P Cycles Open House Rally in Anamosa IA today and they happened to have a SHOEI RF-1100 on clearance for $250 that fit her perfectly! Needless to say we bought it and she wore it home and loved it. Now I definitely want one, but I'll probably have to pay more than 250 bones for it...
ahook
 

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You got a great deal on the Shoei! My RF1100 was $350 on clearance...but it's the best lid I've owned. Great choice!
As for over pants, I just found Fieldsheer overs at Bike Bandit for $59 and they are great. Abrasion resistant, knee armour, but that's it. They fit great over my work pants so offer more protection than just my Dockers!
 

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$250??? Holy hell that's awesome. I paid about $480 for mine I think, but then again, the graphic models like mine cost a lot more. But still, you got a STEAL!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I went down to a local shop today and tried on both a Qwest and RF1000 and the Qwest felt roomier, but that is what I have been told to expect. The guy at the shop also said that he would choose the RF1000 at the track on a sport bike, but the Qwest hands down on the street, especially on a cruiser in an upright position. He then told me to bring my bike down and try on a couple of helmets and ride with them and see what I think. (try getting that kind of service from an online store!)
I am also looking into a bluetooth intercom/music/phone system from UCLEAR. I like the idea of being able to talk to my wife while we're out on long rides. It fits inside the helmet very easily and I have heard rave reviews from a few riders! Here is the website:
http://www.uclear-digital.com/index.html
Does anyone here have any experience with this system?
Thanks!
~ahook~
 

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Out here in So Cal; all the true techno's use Chatterbox:

http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/1/4/62/1/0/94/DEPARTMENT/ChatterBox-Street-Bike-Communicators-Accessories.aspx?SITEID=Google_chatterbox&WT.mc_ID=10001&WT.srch=1&esvt=GOUSE337884129&esvadt=999999-0-3887370-1&esvid=333786&gclid=CMWyro6F16kCFQhUgwodYUhMNQ

Everybody seems to like it. No one wants to talk to me and I don't want to listen to music when I ride as I am 64 yrs old and ruined large parts of my brain in the 60's; need all my attention for the riding.

Agree it would be absolutely great to talk to your significant other...I'd look into Chatterbox at least.

On Qwest vs RF1100, I'd say the main diff is the placement of the vents; and I agree Qwest is mo better for upright riding.

Here is the number on the west coast for the head guru's at Shoei, ask for Pat or Don, they will know all answers:

714-730-0941

If her try on Qwest feels roomy, try one size down...Pat or Don might be able to help with pads.

I met one or the other at the big Long Beach show last winter and just scarfed their number....they are like regional high ups and at the time I was in a too big RF1100 (XL) they were going to try to fix it with pads.

Went with size L Qwest and problem got solved. The guy with the 250 buck deal on the RF1100 stole it. Can't go wrong.

My son claims he has an "ARAI" head; I have heard this stuff. He has lots of opinions too. I personally find the Shoei quality to seem more high end.

These are fun problems. Hope you find what you are looking for.
 

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I agree that Shoei makes a nice noggin bucket. However, they can be pricey $400+ for some of the newer ones. Pick up a used one that maybe a year old for $100 or $200 max. I averaged $150 for the two RF-1000's with Dragon graphics (Strife model) helmets recently so the deals are out there.

Having said this, I am in the market for a half or 3/4 helmet myself. You simply can NOT have conversations with anyone 2 feet away from the bike through a full faced helmet. Talking to passenger is no problem but a few feet away...for-get-ta-bout IT!

Also, I have the stock exhaust on my XC and ear plugs are simply NOT NEEDED as the mufflers are fairly quiet on these newer bikes.

As an FYI - Shoei helmets fit the more common "egg-shaped" or oblong head shape that the majority of people have. The Arai helmets are more "round" and put pressure in places that make them uncomfortable for many. The Revzilla reviews are pretty good but you have to try them on. Look for a local cycle gear shop or other shop that has them on display. And then negotiate them down on price.
 

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That is great service. Although, I'd hate to plunk down $500+ on a new helmet, only to be getting one some random dude tested and sweated all up.

The RF-1000 and RF-1100 are verrrrry different helmets. The 1100 replaces the 1000 with a lot of upgrades, and the new vent system is one of them.

To the earplug comment: as clearly stated earlier, earplugs are not so much about the exhaust. Wind buffeting is very dangerous for your ears, and earplugs prevent hearing aids later in life.

As I saw stated elsewhere... Go look around at a group of old-timer riders, many are wearing hearing aids because of this.


Most retailers who deal with Bluetooth systems will tell you that the Scala system is pretty much the standard by which all others are measured. The Scala 2 is supposed to be very impressive.
 

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That is great service. Although, I'd hate to plunk down $500+ on a new helmet, only to be getting one some random dude tested and sweated all up.
I doubt any of them are going to get "all sweated up" from someone "trying it on" in the store... They do offer a try-it for free program but I wasn't talking about that in my post.

The RF-1000 and RF-1100 are verrrrry different helmets. The 1100 replaces the 1000 with a lot of upgrades, and the new vent system is one of them.
The venting system is not THAT different. Go look for yourself. The newer 1100 DOES have a bit more peripheral vision but again, was not significant enough to warrant an ADDITIONAL $300 for nearly the same helmet IMHO

To the earplug comment: as clearly stated earlier, earplugs are not so much about the exhaust. Wind buffeting is very dangerous for your ears, and earplugs prevent hearing aids later in life.... As I saw stated elsewhere... Go look around at a group of old-timer riders, many are wearing hearing aids because of this.
I took that comment to be that the older gentleman had been a 'rock music' lover earlier in life and that was what had damaged his hearing but maybe that was another post. No matter, the buffeting on my bike isn't causing any hearing issues AT ALL but maybe that's just me. I've heard that others who wear 1/2 need ear plugs (maybe due to buffeting) but that FF users don't really need them unless their pipes are louder than normal.
 
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