Friday, March 26, 2010

Essential Motorcycle Gear: A Great Helmet

I might be guilty of talking about helmets too much. I just love my helmet, a Shoei TZ-1. It’s comfy. It’s quiet inside (compared to a half-helmet or not wearing a helmet). It protects my face from those annoying little rocks that trucks kick up off the road, bugs, and rain. It has a few other benefits as well, such as hugging my head exactly the right way when I have a headache.

A decent brain bucket doesn’t have to be expensive. The cheap HJC and similar-brand helmets were actually found to do a darn good job of protecting your delicious brain from trauma, possibly even a better job than SNELL-rated helmets.* The important thing is finding one that fits you well. You’re going to have it on your melon for many, many many hours, so you’d better darn well like it. My Shoei seems to be shaped perfectly for my head, and even when it was brand new it was very comfortable. HJC helmets, in my particular case, press in exactly the wrong way in exactly the wrong spots.

I have heard that a white helmet is more visible to traffic. I don’t know if that’s true. My helmet is white because that’s what the store had and it fit so nice that I wasn’t going to leave without it. I have to admit it’s sorely lacking in style. I’ve considered getting an eye painted on to the back of it (I’m looking at YOU, buddy), but never got around to it.

Now, as much as I like my full face helmet, I have to admit I’d really like to get a 3/4 helmet, a pair of aviator goggles, and a selection of bandannas to cover my nose and mouth. One of these days I might break down and do just that. After all, I am about due for a new lid.

Anyway, a good helmet is a good friend. Get one, wear it.

What are your thoughts?

*Check this article comparing DOT-only and SNELL certified helmets.