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Posts Tagged ‘Helmets’

We’ve talked a few months ago about a new technology helmet coming from Russia, the Livemap helmet. But in the mean time, several other companies have announced the design of these kind of high-tech helmets.

One of the latest is from California and is called Skully Helmets. Skully Helmets, like Livemap, is stuffed with technologies; Heads Up Display, GPS, 180° video camera, Bluetooth connection, etc. (but it’s not limited to Skully; Nuviz, BikeHUD and even Reevu)

Skully Helmet

Skully Helmet

Jetfighter HUD

Jetfighter HUD

The technology used is what you will keep seeing, either integrated inside the helmet, or standalone like Google Glass. The idea is to provide essential information to the rider without overloading the biker.

Safety-wise it’s a double edge sword; the technology allows the rider to receive important information, like telemetry data (speed, revs, temperature, etc), navigation instructions (GPS), road & traffic data and other information without their eyes leaving the road. It’s safer since the rider can concentrate on the road and traffic.

But on the downside is the fact that there is more and more information given to the rider, with is not only a distraction but also an information overload. And furthermore, developers will not stop there. What about that important email from your boss? Shouldn’t that be displayed as well? Or the latest stock prices?

It is one of the reasons that Google Glass has been forbidden to be used while driving almost everywhere in the world.

So on one side, it’s handy to have a Robocop-like helmet, but on the other side, it the development is not strictly controlled, it will become a danger.

Robocop

Robocop

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At the Italian Eicma motorcycle exhibition, the world’s largest, Bell helmets made quite a splash with its recently announced Bullitt helmet. More and more motorcycles are being produced nowadays that have that retro look; the shape and design of yesteryears but with modern technology, so it goes without saying that the same fashion should come to our helmets.

Bell Bullitt Helmet

Bell Bullitt Helmet

The Bullitt helmet looks very much like an old fashion helmet, dating back a couple of decades ago. With a bubble visor, you in fact get more breathing room, so on its own, not a bad idea. But it is only the exterior that looks “old”; the helmet itself is high tech and fully DOT certified.

The shell is made out of a fiber composite, the inside is removable and washable, there are 5 air intake vents and the inside has precut areas for loudspeakers for those of you who want to install a Bluetooth communication kit.

Bell Bullitt Helmet with no visor

Bell Bullitt Helmet with no visor

And to make matter even easier, you can remove the visor and place goggles. Now how looks like Steve McQueen? Or just ride around with your sunglasses.

The helmet weighs 1400 grams, and three colors will be offered (metallic blue, matte black and cream/red).

The Bullitt helmet will be available next year in March 2014 and should cost around $399.

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Despite the English name, the famous helmet brand named “Shark” is a French brand and has been in operation for some 25 years, so no fly-by-night. This innovative brand is now available at Jafrum.com.

Shark is very active in motor sports, supplying helmets for the road racing, motocross, rally and endurance categories. The names of famous racers adorn their trophy cupboard; big names like Tom Sykes, Alex Espargaro, Carl Fogarty, Troy Corser, Scott Redding, Stefan Bradl, Cyril Despres, and the list goes on and on.

A lot of the development done in the racing world finds its way to consumer helmets and it shows. Many Shark helmets are high tech with an innovative design. Easy to use, light, comfortable and most important, safe. All helmets are approved by world’s safety agencies, and the helmets have all received 4 or 5 stars in the Sharp helmet safety rating.

Shark has four main helmet ‘divisions’. Each division has its own style and use:

Shark Racing

Shark-Racing

This is the helmet used for racing. They are top-end helmets developed with professional racers like WSBK racer Sylvian Guintoli. Helmets that you can buy, some even as replicas of the racer’s helmet. These helmets use the latest technology, like the Race-R Pro Carbon helmet.

Shark Pulse

Shark-Pulse

These helmets have been developed by Shark’s R&D department for areas like stunt riding or just plain street riding. All have been made to be very light and comfortable.

Shark Discovery

Shark-Discovery

The Discovery division looks after helmets meant for long distance riding. The helmets have been developed with assistance of one of world’s leading movie stuntmen, Jean-Pierre Goy. Helmets are light, comfortable for long distances, and used off-road. The modular helmet Evoline series3 is very popular thanks to its innovative design.

Shark Metro

Shark-Metro

Shark RAW

Shark RAW

These helmets are designed for clean looks, used in the city. This is where you will find open face helmets and helmets used predominantly by scooter riders in the city. The Shark Raw helmet has caught the fancy of many riders recently.

Depending on the usage, Shark uses many different technologies inside their helmets. You will find helmets made out of carbon fiber, helmets with air pumps or with Shark’s own built-in wireless communication system, Shark Tooth.

Click here to see the full line of Shark Helmets available at Jafrum.com.

You won’t believe this epic commercial by none other than Shark! Enjoy

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Motorcycle helmets have been unchanged for decades. Apart from new materials, and even new designs, not much has changed. But if one Russian designer, Andrew Artishchev, were to be believed, that is now going to change.

Called LiveMap, the idea is to give the motorcycle rider all the information she or he needs without requiring the biker to look away from the road. Navigational instructions, telemetric data, performance, maybe even that important email from your mother.

LiveMap uses a technology that fighter pilots (and upmarket cars) have had at their disposal for many years now; HUD, or Heads Up Display. The important data is projected inside the helmet’s visor, but obviously not 100% but just enough that it’s transparent but you can still read the data and see the road:

LiveMap-1

This way, while riding your motorcycle, you can see where you need to go without looking at your GPS, and you can see at what speed you are traveling. It’s therefore much safer for everyone involved.

LiveMap-2

The helmet would incorporate all the technology; display, electronics, batteries and even microphone. Why a microphone? Because you will be able to talk to your equipment. The helmet will be able to receive your vocal instructions to change, for example, a destination on your GPS. For example, while riding to Sturgis, the GPS is showing you the way, but then on the display you notice that you are running out of fuel. You simply tell the helmet to route you to the nearest gas station. All that without your hands leaving the handlebar and your eyes leaving the road.

LiveMap-3

The helmet will be equipped with G-sensors, gyroscope and even a digital compass. You move your head, the image on your visor changes, very much like fighter pilots in their cockpits. With light sensors on the outside, the display will brighten if there’s more outside light and dim at night.

Does this sound farfetched? You think it’s not going to happen shortly? Well think again. The Russian designer has already receive a 1 million $ grant from the Russian government, and he is currently looking for additional funding at the crowd-funding site Indiegogo.

The idea is to start making the helmets and sell a basic version for $1500 to $2000. They hope to have North American certification by mid 2014 and European ones by 2015.

Have a look at the video below for much more detail and examples:

Click here to read more about LiveMap

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If you have been using your motorcycle for a few years, and you have been riding safely with a helmet, you know that after a while, your helmet starts to smell.

The odor has nothing to do with your personal hygiene, but from the fact that your skin and hair breathe and at the same time ooze an oily substance. There is very little you can do about it, and after a few years, you will be able to notice it inside your helmet. Even wearing a bandana will not prevent your helmet from smelling, it just takes longer.

So if you like having that “new helmet smell” you can either buy a fragrance especially made for helmets, or you can just clean your helmet. I much more prefer to clean my helmet and not put in some chemicals.

There are two types of insides for helmets, one is very easy to clean, the other requires a bit more work.

Removable Lining

The easy one is removable liners. This means you can remove, usually by gently pulling out, the cheekpads and lining. They are mostly held by Velcro or push-buttons, so just pull out.

Helmet Inside

Then your next step is put the removed linings and other bit & bobs into your washing machine (laundry) and set it to the “delicate” cycle. This will ensure that the linings don’t get boiled. Don’t forget to add your detergent before starting the washing machine.

When finished, just hang out to dry. Do not put in the dryer. That’s all there is to it.

Not Removable Lining

In some helmets, you can not remove the insides. For those you need a bit more work. For best working conditions, I recommend doing this in the shower.

CheekpadRemove all removable parts like your visor, cheekpads, or anything that moves. Get a big basin or bucket that is big enough for your helmet to fit in, fill it with lukewarm water and put a generous portion of good shampoo in it. Stir the water so that soap suds appear.

Use your shower to wet your helmet, in and outside. This rising operation will ensure that a) bits & dirt are removed and b) it’s ready to be cleaned.

Now place your helmet, bottom first, inside the bucket or basin. Make sure it is all in. After soaking it in, pull out the helmet and turn in around so you have access to the inside.

With your hand rub the inside. It should be covered with shampoo suds, so easy to clean. Rub the shampoo all over the inside. Be gently but firm.

Then using your shower, rinse out the shampoo thoroughly. Make sure that you have removed all shampoo, because if you don’t, you’ll have dundruff…. ;)

Place the helmet, bottom below on a surface that is well aired and let it dry naturally. I do NOT recommend using a hairdryer.

Cleaning The Outside

Although it has nothing to do with the smell you may experience when you are wearing your helmet, since you are in a cleaning mood, why not spend some time cleaning the outside?

Use a mild detergent, usually a shampoo or even a mild dish-cleaning liquid. Wet a cloth, (cotton or microfibre) put some drops of the detergent on it and gently wipe the shell. Once you have cleaned off all the dirt and dead bugs, use another wet cloth to wipe the helmet.

Helmet-Fresh-SprayRemember to clean the outside of your visor, although I prefer to do that with paper towels since they don’t leave any marks.

Using a spray cleaner

If you don’t want to spend the time cleaning your helmet, get a spray cleaner that eliminates odors.

It is not the same, but it does work, though you will need to at one time do a proper cleaning.

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Bell Star Helmet

Bell Star Helmet

I had stayed away from Bell Helmets for a while since their build quality had been dubious, but after hearing a lot of good things about their Star helmet I decided to give it a try. So I went to the shop and borrowed a Bell Star helmet.

When you have it in your hands you notice that it’s a quality product, something that in the past Bell was well known for. At first glance it looked like they got their act together. So let’s see how they stack up.

The Star helmet is a full face helmet which can be bought in one of three colors (black, matte black or metallic silver), I went for the black model. The helmet itself is made out of lightweight TriMatrix Composite material and Kevlar combined with Carbon and Fiberglass making it very strong but also very light (1550 grams). Despite being a full face helmet, it feels very light in your hands, and once you put it on, you can barely feel it.

Putting it on was quite easy. Make sure you pull the straps wide open and slip it on. The cheek pads fit me very fine, but I have read somewhere that you can get different cheek pads in case yours are too tight. I have to say, the fit was very comfortable with very little top pressure.

The helmet has a clear visor, but you can buy different kind of visors, liked a smoked one (and even a photochromatic one). I prefer the clear one. The helmet has the Bell patent pending magnetic strap keeper, which is a magnetic holder for the end of your strap; it might sound like a gadget, but after having been hit by the end of the strap at high speed because it was flapping, I know it’s not. It’s a great idea making the helmet just that touch better. Just “click” the end of the strap onto the buckle holder and it stays in place.

Once I hit the road with the helmet it was time to find out how good it really was. Temperature was high 40′s, pleasant sun and a bit humid. First thing I noticed was that my ears were very comfortable. I hate it when a helmet presses very hard, specially when riding, on my ears. The Bell helmet has a recess for the ears, meaning your ears are not squashed.

Since it was sunny I put on my sunglasses. I had to remove the sunglasses before putting on the helmet, but once I put on the glasses, they fit fine. I have to say there’s a slight pressure on the glasses, but hardly noticeable on the face.

Noise levels, even at high speeds were very good. The helmet is very quite, maybe not the quietest I’ve had, but very quite nevertheless. In fact, it’s quite impressive.

The visor/shield can be set to three positions, something you’ll love when riding in traffic, or when riding on a track. You can set the shield to open a crack to let air in when you are riding in the city or at lower speeds.

Ventilation is no problem whatsoever. You can adjust the air flow giving you exactly what you want. Remember that the Bell Star helmet was born from motorcycle racing so Bell understands airflow and aerodynamics. Ventilation options are plentiful and excellent.

After a 5 hour motorcycle trip, the helmet stayed comfortable (which is not always the case, since things can start hurting or itching) and quite.

Bad points: In fact, I can’t really find one except the price. It’s in the higher price range for motorcycle helmets, but you pay for quality. If you want something that is really good, be prepared to pay a price. On the other hand, the helmet has a 5 year warranty.

Check out the video below for a more detailed explanation about this awesome helmet.

Click here to buy the Bell Star Helmet

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Tennessee is going to be the 32nd state to pass a law that allows bikers to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, unless it gets held up at the last moment. But it’s not likely.

The new bill will allow bikers to ride in the fair state of Tennessee without a helmet if a) they have $25,000 in additional medical coverage, b) a minimum of 2 years motorcycle license, c) have taken a motorcycle training course and d) are at least 25 years old.

So bikers don’t just get to ride without a helmet, they need to fulfill a certain set of criteria. But is this good or not?

The helmet debate is a heated one in the USA (in most other countries it’s not a debate, since it’s mandatory), with as many pro-helmet and anti-helmets opinions. On one side, people say you need proper protection because if you don’t, medical bills for everyone will rise, and on the other side, people want to be left alone to decide themselves what they do to protect their own lives.

Total ATGATT

Total ATGATT

Myself I’m more in the you-can-never-protect-yourself-enough corner. No matter how experienced a rider is, an accident can quickly happened. It doesn’t need to be your fault, it can be anything from a SUV driver who is not paying attention to a bird hitting you in the head (I could say a helicopter crashing on top of you, but that doesn’t matter if you have a helmet or not, you’re going to be very dead).

But there are limits. We’re not going to ride with a metal suit of armor to protect ourselves, so how far are we planning to go to protect ourselves? If we really want total protection, drive an Abrahams tank.

And that is where opinions differ. For some, you don’t really need protection, for others it’s ATGATT.

The Tennessee helmet bill seems like a reasonable compromise. They’ll not let anyone ride without a helmet (particular youngsters), but if you want to, and fulfill the requirements, you can do so at your own (medical and financial) risk. But does that mean only wealthier or well-off bikers can ride without a helmet?

So what do you think? Should this no-helmet law be more widespread, or should it be more like the rest of the world?

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Many of us do not have the luxury of going to a store to purchase a helmet. Either the stores are too far away, or shopping for a specific brand can take a lot of store visits. But on the other hand, fitting a helmet is easier and you know immediately if you have got the right one. However, shopping on the internet has many other advantages; it saves money (just for the travel alone) and a lot of time, plus you have much more choice.

But you’ll need to get the right size helmet. You do not want the hassle to have to return the helmet because the size is wrong, so let’s get it right.

Follow the red line

The process is quite easy, but there are a few hints that will make this go smoother:

  1. Use a piece of string long enough, or if you have one, a measure tape (the soft kind tailors use)
  2. Roll the string (or tape) around your head, some ½ inch (10 mm) above your eye brows, and keep the string at the widest part of your head. If at all possible, ask someone to do this for you.
  3. If you are using a measure tape, write down the length, if not use a ruler to measure the length of string.
  4. For a best possible result, repeat the process once or twice to get a good average.
  5. Next wait a day or two, and repeat the process. This is because a head expands and contracts slightly depending on heat or cold.
  6. Look at the results, and take the largest measure.
  7. A good and responsible web site will be featuring the size charts of that manufacturer (manufacturers have different charts). Take your measure and take the one that is the closest to your, always making sure you round off the result upwards,
  8. Order your helmet

Once you have gotten your new helmet just make sure it fits snugly, that there is some movement, but that it is not tight. You should be able to move the helmet with your hand, but only slightly. Too tight is not good, and too loose neither. That’s why it is important to follow the steps above.

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Motorcycle Injury Areas

Motorcycle Injury Areas - Source: Unknown

Riding a motorcycle is thrilling, but it entails a certain degree of danger. It’s almost impossible to ignore the inherent perils, but unfortunately, some bikers do ignore it. It’s often the thrill that attracts us to riding, but best is to be prepared. If the professionals anticipate problems, who are we to ignore it? Professionals known what’s best, so let’s not ignore what they have to say.

To reduce potential problems, there are a certain amount of steps we can undertake. Mind you, we can never eliminate them. Apart from learning properly how to control the bike under difficult circumstances, riding alert and pro-active, the only other thing we can do is wear a certain amount of protective clothing and gear. Ideally, we’d we wearing a protective bubble, but that’s not realistic. 

Your Egg

Obviously the biggest protective gear we can purchase is the helmet. There are many debates about the use of helmets, many bikers want to have the freedom of not wearing one. But the same bikers have no problem wearing a helmet when playing football! Many see the helmet on a motorcycle as only good for when they have an accident, and since they are “great” riders, they never see themselves having an accident. And it’s not just protecting your head from accidents, but what do you think about your hearing. You may be deaf to those arguments, but that’s probably because of the wind and engine noise in your ears. Not to mention all those bugs hitting you in the face. Add to that sunstroke, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

But numerous bikers have died from head injuries because when they arrived at their destination, or at a stop, their foot slipped from under them, and the bikes went down, taking the rider with it. All you need to do is hit your head on the pavement from your seated position, and you can injure yourself badly, or worse.

Many bikers believe if they ride safely, and don’t speed, they will be fine. The European Constructors Association (ACEM) have spent a long time researching motorcycle accidents in Europe, and they have issued a very detailed report on accidents involving motorcycles. The majority of accidents happened at relatively low speeds, typically lower than 30 mph.

60% of accident involved a car, while 9% involved the biker hitting the pavement by himself, i.e., falling from the motorcycle, often at a low or no speed. As an indication, more than half (54.3%) of all accidents happened at an intersection.

It’s not that the biker was not able to ride properly, since 50.5% of all accidents are caused by a car driver (37.4% are biker error and the remainder are blamed on the environment, like road problems or weather, or technical/mechanical problems). So no matter how good you ride, there’s always someone on the road who is not paying attention, and can cause a (fatal) accident.

So a good helmet, preferably full face, but if not, one that has a visor, and is properly soundproofed is a very first step.

The Emperor’s Clothes

Clothing makes the man, but in our case, proper clothing saves our lives, or at the very least, prevents us from seeking plastic surgery. Usually going off your motorcycle while the bike is still moving is not recommended, but sometimes you just don’t control it. An accident that does not involve another vehicle is usually survivable. The biggest physical risk is the journey you make from your saddle to the ground. After that, just sit down (or lie down) and enjoy the ride. If you’re thrown off from your bike while riding a road, you’ll make an intimate acquaintance with asphalt. If you’re wearing good leathers, both a jacket and trousers, it’s not going to be a big problem. Just hope there’s no traffic behind you and no obstacles to bump into. But if you’re wearing jeans, within a second, the jeans will have burned away and your body will be sliding over the pavement, leaving you with a nice asphalt tattoo.

Normal jeans will not stop road rash. Special motorcycle jeans, usually denim reinforced with Kevlar will prevent road rash, but no material is as resistant as leather. Just look at motorcycle races. A racer gets highsided at 120 mph, and slides along the track and gravel for 5 seconds, and the racer gets up and looks for the crashed motorcycle to get on and continue the race. Try that with motorcycle jeans or other motorcycle trousers. Of course we’re not racing on the roads, so special motorcycle clothes, though not leather, will help us remain beautiful and not scarred. Having armor on your knees is a good thing to have. Maybe not so comfortable to walk in, but if you’re going to go down, your knees will be one of the first points of impact. And knees are not as strong as you think, in fact, they are as fragile as eggs.

The same applies to gloves. Many bikers think gloves aren’t of any use. Apart from protecting your hands from bugs hitting them, and keeping our hands warm in the winter, the obvious one is when you hit the pavement. Going down while riding is going to require medical intervention if you don’t have gloves, it’s guaranteed, but even if you drop the bike while at standstill will involve your hands hitting the ground first. It’s a natural reflex, using your hands to soften the fall. Even then you can scrape your hands resulting in road rash. No matter how minor the road rash, it’s not going to be pleasant.

Jackets, reinforced with armor at the elbows and back are equally important. Falling off your bike when riding usually means the first point of impact is your hands, followed by your elbows and/or back. Your elbows are very fragile, and an elbow fracture will be the least you’ll have on an off. 

Say What?

And finally, one area many ATGATT bikers don’t think about, your ears. When traveling on your motorcycle at a speed of 60 mph, the very best helmets will let through 90 dB of noise. The noise is usually the wind turbulence mixed with engine and traffic sound. Imagine listening to 90 dB noise for hours on end. And that’s for high-end helmets, mediocre ones let through 100 to 110 dB, enough to make you deaf for the rest of your life. Having ear plugs is a good idea. They are small enough to carry in your pocket, and you can either buy generic foam one-size-fits-all, or custom-made ones. You can even buy ones with small loudspeakers in them so you can listen to music. For a few dollars, you can make sure when you get older, you’ll still be able to hear things.


Nonfatal Injuries 2001-2008

Source: CDC

So you may think that riding in a t-shirt and sandals is cool, but the consequences if you go off your bike aren’t. If you think you are too good to have an accident, I’ve got news for you: you’re a prime candidate for one. Better safe than sorry. Get yourself equipped. Read what the Center of Disease Control (CDC) have to say.

Source: CDC


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