Motorcycle Crash Helmets - Choosing the right one

Motorcycle Crash Helmets

If you are going to ride-out on a motorcycle, then you are going to need a motorcycle crash helmet


Choosing the right helmet is one of the most important decisions a motorcyclist will ever make. Choosing a helmet which ensures the best protection, safety and comfort is absolutely crucial and with many brands at different price points on the market today it can be a minefield of confusion for the consumer to know which one to select.

All motorcycle helmets manufactured for the European market have to conform to the current ECE 22.05 standard. This standard is a minimum and there is no official way of identifying to the buyer if a helmet exceeds it, thus giving even better protection. It would be like booking into a hotel without knowing its star rating. The price is probably the only indication that some helmets are better than others.

Many manufacturers have their own standard that exceeds that of ECE 22.05 and the American Snell standard , this is because they believe in producing a helmet that offers the best protection possible to every one of their customers irrespective of whether they are a MotoGP rider or somebody using a scooter to go to work. As Mr Arai once said “How can you say that one person's head is worth more than another’s?”

ECE 22.05 requires a helmet to survive one single impact on five specific points at a speed of 7.5 metres per second (m/s), equal to 16.77mph, Snell require two impacts. Some manufacturers test to four impacts on the same point and at nine different areas and added to this they still conduct a penetration test which ECE 22.05 does not require. This is to ensure that you as the rider purchases the best helmet for you, offering maximum safety.

Fit is very important and should always come above price when you are looking to purchase a motorcycle helmet. Whether you are spending £50 or £500 you should always ensure the helmet you are buying fits correctly to your head size and shape.

If you look at a crowd of people you will notice that everybody has a different head shape, long and thin, short and fat, oval or even square - the variations are vast. Most helmet manufacturers produce a helmet that will fit the average shape within the size you are looking for. Some companies use two shell sizes giving a better fit to the smaller and larger head sizes. Companies like Arai for instance use five shell sizes which enables having two helmet sizes per shell size giving an even better fit no matter what size helmet you need.

When buying a helmet always get the dealer to measure your head as it is quite surprising that most motorcyclists wear a helmet one size too big as at the point of sale they think it feels right. How many times have you bought a pair of leather shoes that fitted “perfectly” when you bought them yet after a few weeks of use they become loose through bedding in?

The shell shape is also important as it has to fit the full head correctly. Helmet makers know that over the world there are different head shapes so many make three different types, European, American and Asian. A medium helmet will fit differently in all of these countries and this is another reason why you should always buy a helmet from a dealer that takes the time out to ensure it fits you correctly.

A motorcycle helmet should act as a second skull with no excessive movement on the head left or right, up or down, when fitted. This ensures that if you ever have to try it out it will give you optimum protection. A poorly fitting £500 helmet is worse than a £50 helmet that fits correctly.

When you have bought your helmet you need to look after it. Avoid putting your gloves inside it as you don’t know what they have been in contact with. Always clean you helmet using warm water and do not use products with aggressive additives in them. Carry your helmet using the fastened strap or in a helmet bag. If you ever drop it get your dealer to check it is still OK to use and if you are still unsure get it inspected by the appropriate helmet distributor and finally remember they do not last forever; a polycarbonate helmet should give you up to three years of use whilst a fibreglass helmet should last up to five years.

So when you are looking to buy a helmet the simple steps are, consult a dealer that knows his products, buy a helmet that fits first, makes you look good second and always look after it ready for when it needs to look after you.

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