Choosing the correct type of helmet
sources will tell you to buy the most expensive helmet you
can afford. This is true up to a point i.e. certainly do not
spend less than R1500-00 (150 USD) and make sure that the
helmet is safety approved for your country e.g. DOT. However
the main difference between a helmet costing R1800-00 and
one costing R3500-00 is that of weight. The more expensive
one offers similar protection, but with less weight and, perhaps
more comfort and, maybe less wind noise.
• Full face and Motorcross helmets protect the facial region as
well as the head, in particular the jaw.
• Three quarters, Motorcross and cruiser helmets leave the face
area open and thus a pair of goggles is needed to keep dust out
of the eyes.
• A Flip up helmet is a full face where the chin guard can be pushed
right up exposing the face.
At maximum speeds a fixed, full face helmet is the only option.
Beside the obvious protection they offer, they keep icy wind out
and prevent flying bugs, bees etc from entering the helmet. When
travelling in excess of 100kph, flying insects can only be described
mini scud missiles.
One of the major advantages of the flip-up design is for people
who wear glasses - a flip up is just a lot easier. It also offers
convenience when stopping briefly e.g. for petrol. You can get some
fresh air and can communicate without having to take the whole helmet
off. (This is important when talking to traffic officers!). The
disadvantages are an increase in price, weight and wind noise level.
They are also not as watertight during a downpour and the hinges
are prone to wear.
Choose a helmet that offers a variety of ways to ventilate your
head and face - you need it on hot, summer days.
Zany-wacky coloured helmets are very cool but not half as visible
as a pure white one. (Most accidents happen when a driver does not
see the motorcyclist.)
Is is common to see riders who use a cruiser helmet (generally the
Harley crowd) wearing a bandanna over the face to give some measure
of protection against insects and sunburn. Most cruiser owners who
sport a cruiser helmet on Sundays have a full face helmet as well
for the longer rides.
If you own a helmet where your face is exposed you must use sun
block during the summer months.
correct size of helmet
|A correctly fitting
new helmet will have the following attributes once on.
1) As you initially pull it on it will feel much too small. Use the chin
straps to pull the sides of the helmet apart as you pull (not slip!) it on.
2) Once on, it will still feel a bit too small. People new to biking will
naturally want to choose a helmet one size too big as they are unaccustomed to
the closed-in sensation. This sensation will go away!!
3) Once on, grasp the helmet with both hands and try to move it side to
side and up and down. Your skin should move with the helmet.
4) A correctly fitted helmet will start directly above the eyebrows.
the chin strap. Leave the helmet on for a least 5 minutes in order to feel for
excessive pressure at particular points. A well fitting helmet should place even
pressure throughout. In the shop you may feel claustrophobic doing this. Don’t
worry! this sensation will probably vanish once you are on the road.
6) The soft inner of the helmet will mould to your head and face over time
- this is why it is important to choose a snug fit when you purchase it.
7) Try on a number of different makes as each have their own particular
idiosyncrasies - just like the shape of your head. There are basic dimension differences
between European, American and Japanese heads - there are reasons for this but
we won’t go there!!
Examples Of Helmets
full face helmet (Fixed)
Note the very smooth lines. This type of helmet is the only choice for high speed
Note the very aggressive jaw protection. Choose this type only if most of your
travelling is less than 120kph on dirt roads.
helmet) This attitude cruiser helmet is usually only used for short distances.
Flip up full face helmet