As this year will be my
40th of riding bikes (legally!), I thought I'd look back
at various things I've had over the years and this post will be about
helmets that I've owned.
First helmet I bought
was a Stadium Project 9.
Very cheap basic
helmet, but all I could afford at the time. Only thing of note was
that the stripe round it and the logo at the front were reflective.
This is the only open face helmet I've ridden a bike in, and I became
very paranoid about potential injuries in an accident, especially as
I wore spectacles at the time and had a real fear of broken glass
going into my eyes!
So it was replaced
within a year by my first full face helmet.
Back in the 70s these
Italian made cheap polycarbonate helemet were imported and sold under
a huge number of brand names. Mine was black and labelled as 'Griffin
Speedstar' – can't really remember much about other than it had a
rubbish visor mounting that fell to bits!
Next was a 'King'
fullface. These were advertised by Barry Sheene at the time, and were
a reasonably well made glassfibre helmet.
Mine had a 'custom'
paintjob done to advertise a painter, but a local shop that had it on
display offered it to me a suitable low price.
Only pic I have of it
is this black and white one of it on the Yamaha SR500 I had at the
Eventually the lining
in the King fell apart and I replaced it with a Nava.
Mine wasn't exactly the
same as this as it had vents on the chinbar. Didn't have it long as
it was stolen.
I had to buy a helmet
in a hurry, so bought another cheap polycarbonate 'Griffin'. This one
looked the same as their famous (and much more expensive) Clubman
Looked a bit like this.
I wanted another decent
quality helmet, so the next one was a Bell Tourstar.
This was a huge leap
forward as it was well built, comfortable, and was the first helmet I
owned that had a 'proper' visor mounting mechanism that allowed the
visor to stay partly open. Wore this for years until the lining
eventually fell apart.
Next was a Shoei RF200,
Another really good
helmet with vents that actually worked (not all hemets had these!),
very comfortable, good visor mechanism, and had a comfortable feeling
I liked it so much that
when it was starting to get a bit worn (I was doing a very high
mileage at the time), I replaced it with another Shoei, a very
This was basically an
uprated version of the RF200, and performed equally as well.
Eventually the lining started to wear out, so it was replaced with an
Another great step
forward in terms of build quality and comfort. Fits perfectly, vents
work really well (almost too well for Scotland but ideal in France in
the summer), and just oozes quality. Has the advantage that part of
the lining is removable for cleaning which hopefully means that it'll
last a bit longer (especially as I don't do anywhere as much mileage
as I once did).
So, these are the
helmets I've owned over the years. A few things I've learned:
Try on lots of
helmets before you buy one. We all have differently shaped heads, so
try to find one that suits your head shape. I've found that I've got
a Shoei/Arai shaped head, other people will have AGV, Bell, etc
shaped heads so they would be better brands to buy.
I've tended to buy
plain coloured helmets as they are cheaper than patterned ones,
especially 'race replicas'. Racers get a payment for each replica
sold, so this is added to the price in addition to the extra
You basically get
what you pay for. Cheap helmets are generally less comfortable,
lining compress more quickly, and visor mechanisms wear more
rapidly; so you end up replacing them more often.
Always use genuine
replacement visors as (in the case of Shoei and Arai) pattern ones
are much poorer quality. Genuine ones are very expensive, but the
much longer life and better quality (cheap ones tend to rattle in
their mounts), make them worth the money.
On the subject of
visors, always buy them from authorised dealers as there are a lot
of fakes out there. Always buy European spec visors rather than US
spec ones as they have much superior anti-scratch coatings to pass
However, there's one
helmet I've not mentioned yet. A few years ago I planned on taking
part in The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride
and bought a 'suitable' helmet to
wear. I found this on Ebay.
Groovy eh? However,
that's not the best thing about it – the paint is luminous!
I'd like to point out
that it was made in China, doesn't have any stickers saying that it
passes any country's safety laws, and the luminous paint probably
gives out frightening amounts of radiation, but I was only going to
wear it for one afternoon, and probably would have worn a decent
helmet for the ride to and from the event.
I didn't eventually
take part in the DGR, so I've never actually ridden a bike wearing
it, however who knows what might happen in the future!!