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Discussion Starter #1
I've been riding 7 months now and finally feel ready to put my wife on the back of the XCT. She always wanted me to get a bike and is a willing participant.
We'll do some slow speed stuff at the high school then head out for a good freeway run.
We need to gear her up. A friend who stopped riding (Husband became an EMT, sold his bike after transporting too many bikers) is going to lend her jacket & boots to start out with.
But we are going to buy her a helmet Saturday morning. I'm typically of the "buy once cry once" crowd when it comes to important gear.
I'm not going to worry about Sena or other comm systems for now.

I do want her to have a quality helmet that drowns out much road nose. If that's the $600 Shoei modular or similar I'm fine with that. Half helmets won't be considered.

I'd like opinions here. We may have days of riding 4 hours on the interstate - say SLC to Jackson WY. I'd guess most of our rides will be 1 - 3 hours.

Also, if anyone here cares to share any valued links for riding 2 up I'd appreciate it.

Mah bike

 

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I've been riding 7 months now and finally feel ready to put my wife on the back of the XCT. She always wanted me to get a bike and is a willing participant.
We'll do some slow speed stuff at the high school then head out for a good freeway run.
We need to gear her up. A friend who stopped riding (Husband became an EMT, sold his bike after transporting too many bikers) is going to lend her jacket & boots to start out with.
But we are going to buy her a helmet Saturday morning. I'm typically of the "buy once cry once" crowd when it comes to important gear.
I'm not going to worry about Sena or other comm systems for now.

I do want her to have a quality helmet that drowns out much road nose. If that's the $600 Shoei modular or similar I'm fine with that. Half helmets won't be considered.

I'd like opinions here. We may have days of riding 4 hours on the interstate - say SLC to Jackson WY. I'd guess most of our rides will be 1 - 3 hours.

Also, if anyone here cares to share any valued links for riding 2 up I'd appreciate it.

Mah bike

The whole reason I got a XC was because my new girl fiend liked riding. Many of my previous rides were more sport oriented because I knew I would be alone and I didn't care. We have used the Scala G7 intercom for comm and music. Works great and love it.

Basically heads fit shoie helmets or arie helmets, much of the others are of the same type. If they are certified and are comfortable I'd say get it. I will say there is big advantage to having removable internal pads that can be occasionally washed.

The Scala system can be installed on most helmets.
 

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Since all helmets sold meet the DOT safety standards and the helmet is not used for racing, fit and comfort should be your wife's main focus. That said, more pricey brands like Shoei or Bell typically have better of both. Also her head shape will have a lot to do with how comfortable a helmet is, no matter how expensive a brand is....some just do not work with certain head shapes. So make sure she wears the helmet for some time in the store and pays attention to pressure points and any other little annoyances, they get much worse after an hour on the road.
 

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We have the Shoei modular with J & M headsets in them , so far the best helmet we have owned. Prior to that we had 2 Nolans and Scorpion helmets, the Shoei is by far the quietest and for us the most comfortable.
 

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I agree with the comment about head shape. The pricey Shoei and the like helmets just don't fit my head. I have an HJC head, so my full face is a pretty basic $150 helmet. Totally purchased on comfort, nothing more. If the lid isn't comfortable, you won't wear it.
 

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There are a lot of good brands out there now with various pros and cons. I'll break it down based on what I have personally worn and add some comments about other brands that good friends of mine have made.

Arai: Expensive, typically quite loud, VERY light, good ventilation. There are several different models, each has it's own unique shell shape. Don't ignore the brand entirely just because one model doesn't fit, try them all.

Shoei: Less expensive than arai in general but still quite pricey, a bit heavier, a bit quieter, still good ventilation. Again, each model has it's own unique shape. I personally have the GT Air right now and love it. Ventilation is good, it's VERY quite, drop down internal visor is nice, and nice deep ear pockets for comms system later. I've also worn an X12 and an RF1000 for several years at a time and both were great helmets (crash tested them both actually)

Kabuto: My sponsor for the 2014 race season. Less expensive than arai and shoei, on the quiet side of things, very good ventilation. Between shoei and arai for weight. Shell shapes vary by model but are all "round" ish. This year may be different but as of last year they did not have any true oval shells. Liner fabric isn't great. On par with KBC and HJC. It wicks well but it's not terribly soft

HJC: Can be cheap or expensive. Approaching heavy, not terribly loud but not quiet. ventilation isn't great. Lining wicks well but is a bit harsh on the skin. (disclaimer, I have't worn an HJC in close to 10 years so things may have changed)

Things I haven't actually worn other than to try on:

Bell: Cheaper still, but still expensive. approaching heavy. Quite and interior lining is INCREDIBLY comfortable. Probably the most comfortable lining I've ever experienced. Fabric doesn't wick for **** though so on hot days you will be sticking your head into a humid swamp. Don't know about different shell shapes, I've only ever tried one.

KBC: see HJC

Nexx: RIDICULOUSLY light weight. INSANELY loud. Between shoei and arai for cost. HUGE eyeport. AWESOME ventilation. Nexx is a race helmet and is built as such. It's a helmet of extremes for people who need those specific extremes. Rounder shells only

Bilt/Seven zero seven: cheap. I have no other info on them because no one I know is willing to risk their lives in one. They might be good or they might be junk.
 

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I'll give you some passenger suggestions, based on having my wife out back for almost two decades now, and having occasional guests on board:

- Have them mount holding your shoulders firmly. (I get on first, get off last.) It's pretty high getting on, and the whole thing may get awkward, and they may not be used to it. You give the OK nod for them to get on and off, i.e., you're ready, your feet are down, your hands on the bars, the front brake grasped.

- Have them mount by putting that first foot DOWNWARD. That is, new passengers often tend to want to pull the bike toward them, which is hard on your legs. Instead, instruct them to be putting their weight, using that first foot, in a downward direction, NOT trying to pull the bike toward them.

- After that mount or dismount, remind them that your shoulders are a no-no, i.e., off-limits. Grasp your waist, or passenger grab rails, or their hands in their laps (if you have a trunk or backrest).

- They should, in, um, Zen terms, "be the bike." That is, they should lean with or merely along the bike, or even lean inside (as they get more proficient), and the head/shoulders goes/looks on the INSIDE of turns. The worst thing they can do is try to sit upright when you're leaned over; this will cause the bike to lean more, running out of ground clearance earlier.

- They should relax.

- They should wave to other bikers, kids, etc.

- You have to be smooth in shifting and braking, to minimize passenger anxiety and helmet clunking. So, you want to plan ahead more than usual.

- Save the demonstrations of your maximum cornering skills, stop-light drag skills, etc., for solo riding.

- Immediately before or after parking, or possibly before U-turns, you may want to have the passenger dismount, especially if your slow-speed capabilities aren't top notch on a big bike.

- No passenger squirming or otherwise repositioning allowed during cornering or slow speeds, or possibly even when stopped at a light. Repositioning should be saved for straight-line riding at speed. By now my wife is well aware that I like to "ride ahead," i.e., slowing for lights well in advance, such that I may not have to actually stop and put my feet down. At slow speeds, you don't need any challenges to your balancing the bike, such as passenger squirming.

- Speaking of that sort of thing, when coming to a stop, it's extremely difficult -- harder than usual -- to go from 4 mph to 3, to 2, to 1, to 0. Those really, almost negligible, slow speeds are a challenge to keep the bike from wobbling. At some slow-speed point -- perhaps 2 or 3 mph -- you have to bite the bullet and just stop (i.e., skipping that last bit of really slow speed).

- If you stop on a hill, you'll probably want to do it with both feet. If you're used to getting going by "riding through" the rear brake, you might want to practice hill-starting by using the front-brake and throttle, simultaneously, in combination with clutch-feathering instead.

- Watch out for off-camber, dropping-away, pavement (or gravel, etc.) at any stops. You'll be supporting a lot more weight, and so you'll want to keep the bike straight up.

- Pump up the rear shock, but don't go overboard. Get attuned to frequent shock-bottoming (not enough air) or too harsh a ride (too much air).

- If you don't do an intercom just yet, develop some signals for potty stops, rest breaks, look at that, etc.

[Edit: forgot this one (and I really do try to tell all of these to new passengers... if I remember everything) : ]

- In the event of a tip-over or crash, try to stay on the bike, hands and feet in. That is, try to let the engine- and saddlebag-guards do their thing, absorbing the brunt of the fall.

Those are my thoughts. Here's a page with four articles of passenger-hauling tips from a professional:

http://www.msgroup.org/Articles.aspx?Cat=3
 

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Just like Butts - heads are all different! My ole lady is in love with her Bell Mag 9 ( however she liked the Mag 8 better?). It is a 3/4 helmet with a fold down full visor / when it's really hot out she can move visor up as needed to get more air and it's not clostrophobic. The thing she likes best is the Bell's have removable / washable inserts and they come in different sizes! So you find a helmet that fits your head size then get the cheek insets to correct for tightness. Also it has speaker pockets and a cut out for Sena headsets. Go figure we use Scala???
 

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Excellent advise for riding two up and easing your wife into it. Always ride easy and smooth with a passenger on the back because they are helpless cargo that you are responsible for.

Regarding Helmets: I have never found a quiet one though some are noisier than others. My experience is the turbulace from the fairing and/or windshield causes the most noise. Open helments are generally quieter than full face. Modular helmets are the noisiest. ALL are better with earplugs. I suggest molded earplugs ones for the most comfortable fit and buy the Helmet that is the most comfortable on her head.

Keep in mind that the helmet molds vary between manufacturers and they have interiors with different shapes. Some are round and some are oblong, some squeeze the hell out of your face. Find one that is snug but still comfortable (If it isn't good when you try it on, it won't get better over time)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
And I just read an inference on an amazon review for the Shoei modular that one can special order cheek cushions of differing thicknesses.

We are good, "full faced" Americans and the cheek pads did indeed feel very tight when I tried one on at the store. Might have to investigate further.

But I think that Shoei modular will be our first angle of attack. I'm on a HJC 3/4 with shield that I bought to learn on but am ready to move up myself.
 

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I have a Shoei Neotech modular helmet that came with different sizes of cheek pads. If you are going to be on the bike for extended periods of time, comfort is a beautiful thing. A modular helmet, at least mine, is a bit noisier than a full faced version, and a bit heavier because of the hinge mechanisms. But I like the advantage of not having to take it off to have a drink or fill the tank with fuel or to talk with someone. I have the Sena Bluetooth headset and love it's, and I also wear earplugs for highway riding.
 

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If the lady finds one she like have her leave it on for a half hour walking around in the store.
You can't tell if you really like it in five minuets. Remember she'll have it on for a hour at times when riding.
Ask dealer if she can return it if she doesn't like it. This is a must
 

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Well, for a helmet, price means little, not nothing, but little.
It should fit. The first things to look for is fit, fit, and then FIT. Have it done by someone, not somewhere, that can do this sort of thing and all the effort to find the someone is worth every minute and penny you spend to do it. Now that she has the proper head shape in mind, find the lid that suits her fancy. Don't buy it because it is pretty or has X feature, buy it to fit. There are plenty out there with dangles, bangles, and enough gadgets to spend an evening figuring out. Name on the helmet doesn't matter as much as fit (seeing a pattern here?) Shoie and Aria make fine lids, and they are plush and top of the heap, if they fit, then go for it. Move on if they don't and don't let some counter clerk talk yo into an ill fit, because it will not be enjoyable.
As for noise, some are certainly better than others, and the fit (there it is again) will help tremendously, but all helmets are loud enough to cause hearing damage and discomfort over time. Get some ear plugs, 22-26 db reduction should suffice in most cases. That will actually let you hear the things you need to better and reduce fatigue as well.

Enjoy the ride with your new found riding partner. Lostwife has been a faithful companion for many years and miles and we have had a blast.

cheers
 

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Bill P. had some excellent advice. I have been riding over 62 years and about 30,000+ miles have been with a passenger. To Bill's great suggestions I add this; Inform passengers to keep their heads vertical in turns - and so should you. Leaning your head with the bike can cause disorientation to the point of dizziness. My brother had a crash by not keeping his head vertical. He flew off of a gentle curve that was preceded by a series of tight ones. He crashed into a tree and was wearing a half helmet that cracked and so did his skull. It was touch and go for a while there in ICU. He survived and ceased wearing half helmets. Incidentally, I wear a Shoei Neotec modular - the best I have ever had.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Today was a "good bike day" with purchase of new gloves for both my Wife and I, each got a Shoei Neotec, she got a new mesh with liner jacket.
Her helmet and jacket is white, mine black.

Then she met me at the high school and hopped on the bike. I farted around at low speed for a couple of excruciatingly boring minutes then hit the freeway onramp and took a tour of the valley. She really enjoyed herself and the Madstad system kept the wind off of both of us at the lowest setting, but I was getting air in my helmet vents so I think the set up is just right thumb up

Love the flexibility of the Neotec helmets. Much nicer than my HJC 3/4 in terms of noise and ventilation.

Thanks for the replies here. Tomorrow we are heading up to Morgan to meet some friends for lunch.
 
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