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Posts Tagged ‘motorcycle helmets’

Motorcycle helmets have become a necessity, often a legal requirement when riding a motorcycle or scooter. But not only do helmets come in all shapes and sizes, and more importantly, in good or poor quality, helmets have a reasonably predefined shelf life.

How long do you keep a helmet? A lot depends on the materials used inside the helmet, and the way you treat them. The older helmets used polycarbonate as base material inside the helmet. They were subject to ultraviolet light (UV) and deteriorated quite quickly, so you will not see many of these in circulation anymore. Nowadays, an anti-UV material is used to protect the helmets, but more importantly, helmets are mostly made out of fibers, which are highly resistant to UV light.

Insides of a motorcycle helmet

Insides of a motorcycle helmet

The inside of the helmet is made in great parts out of polystyrene which is a great material to reduce the impact your head will receive in case of an accident. But the material reduces effectiveness over time.

Research has shown that polystyrene loses 2% per year in its effectiveness due to simple evaporation. So with basic mathematics, in 5 years, you’ve lost 10% of your protection, and in 10 year, you’ve lost 20%.

The reduction of the helmet’s effectiveness due to evaporation is a simple rule of thumb. More importantly is how do you treat your helmet, and how often do you use it. If the helmet is used daily, it will deteriorate more quickly then if you leave your helmet in your cupboard for days on end. Not only is there a reduction in the protection, but also the mechanisms deteriorate due to wear & tear, like for flip-up helmets. Leaving your helmet on your motorcycle fuel tank as many people do, will reduce its effectiveness more quickly thanks to the fuel evaporation. The fuel vapors that evaporate attack the materials inside your helmet, and the inside starts shrinking.

Cleaning your helmet is good, but if water gets inside the helmet, specially water with soap mixed in (never ever use anything but water and soap to clean the outside), it will again reduce your protection effectiveness. If you can, get a helmet with a removable liner. That’s easier to wash. Applying a hair dryer to the inside is nice & easy to clean and dry the helmet, but any temperature over 140° F ( 60°C) will deteriorate the helmet.

As you can see, helmets deteriorate by themselves even without using them, but taking care of the helmets will go a long way.

Helmet manufacturers used to state that you needed to change your helmet every five years. But if you treat your helmet carefully and with respect, you can always use your helmet for longer periods. Or if your head is precious to you, get a 2nd helmet and alternate. A 10% loss of protection is survivable, but 20% is not.

To look after your helmet, here are some easy tips:

  1. When not in use, place your helmet inside a dark and dry place (a cupboard for example)
  2. Never place your helmet on your fuel tank, preferably as far away as possible from the tank
  3. Clean the outside with water & soap, taking care that water does not enter the inside of the helmet
  4. If you drop your helmet hard on the floor, seriously consider replacing it

Remember that all helmets are not equal. An expensive helmet is not necessarily better than a cheaper one. One of the main sources for the quality of a helmet is maintained by the British government. The SHARP database is the reference for most helmets. Thanks to a rigorous testing protocol, a comprehensive listing of helmets and their associated quality, is maintained on the site for all to see. And best of all, it’s a free access to all.

So before you splurge on a new helmet, check SHARP to see how good the helmet is. And treat your helmet nicely. This way your helmet will save your life.

Click here to check out the SHARP listing.

 

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This year if you want to give a great gift to the biker on your list and you have either really deep pockets or you just love them a whole bunch and you want to really splurge, there are many gifts you can choose from. I’ve compiled a short list of some great gift ideas that are $100 or more. Check it out and find the perfect gift for your favorite biker.

1. Motorcycle Helmets. This one item is too important to not be at the top of any gift list. A good helmet is literally the difference between life and death. Helmets come in various styles and prices but make sure to get one that is DOT approved. Helmets can be as inexpensive as less than $100 all the way up to over $800.

2. Leathers. A set of leathers can consist of pants and a motorcycle jacket or it can be more racing oriented with protection sewn in at the most vulnerable spots like the elbows, shoulders, and knees. No matter which option you choose this is a great choice for anyone who is an avid rider. It will keep them safe and they can look cool at the same time!

3. Motorcycle luggage. You have quite a few choices when it comes to luggage for your bike. You can get saddlebags that hang over the back fender, these can be permanently attached or just slung under the back seat and easily taken off when you need to. Or you can get sissy bar bags that mount right on your sissy bar. And last, but not least, you can get tank bags…pretty self explanatory! They come in either leather or man made materials and the prices can vary significantly depending on what type you get, but for a whole set you will most likely spend over $100.

If you’re making your list and checking it twice you might want to add some of these items to it. Of course, there are many other great gift ideas for the rider in your life, but hopefully you can use this list as a starting point. No matter what item (s) you choose, the biker in your life will love you for it!

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MAY IS MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AWARENESS MONTH

Has YOUR Representative Signed on to H. Res. 339
Supporting the Goals of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month?

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month officially got the green flag on May 1st in Washington, DC. This year Congress saddled up at the starting line to show their support by introducing H. Res. 339 which highlights the safety guidelines that all bikers should know by heart:

  • Have a legal license
  • Get motorcycle rider training
  • Always wear a good quality DOT approved helmet
  • Wear protective leather motorcycle riding gear, boots and gloves
  • NEVER drink and ride

But H. Res. 339 goes an extra mile: focusing on the need for automobile drivers to not only share the road but also to be on the alert for motorcycle riders. In too many motorcycle accidents involving automobiles, the drivers stated that they didn’t see the motorcycle.

Really? Okay bikers, how can we change that?

  • Use your headlights — even during daylight hours
  • Wear helmets and gear with reflective red and white markings

Why red and white? Because these are the colors used in railroad crossing signs: automobile drivers associate them with danger. Respect your life: make your presence on the road easy to recognize and hard to ignore.

LET’S BRING THE NUMBER OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS DOWN.

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JAFRUM serves the motorcycling community in North Carolina and has a passion for the safety of every biker. With regret we learned that Cameron Wagner, a 20 year old student at Western Carolina University died in a crash when he lost control of his bike last week.

Time and again we hear these stories: inability to maintain control of the bike is one of the significant factors in many motorcycle accidents and the other is insufficient training/experience. Unfortunately many bikers allow their ego to choose bikes that they ill-equipped to handle and overlook the need for continuous riding skills training.

First, get the right bike and riding gear. A new rider must have a bike that is easy to handle, for instance the Suzuki VanVan 125 or the Kawasaki Eliminator 125. Let the Harley-Davidson 600+lb. Fat Bob be your object of lust and dream of the day you can ride it. But this is definitely NOT the bike an inexperienced rider should buy. Wear a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218 helmet and bright reflective clothing to be as visible as possible.

Second, get the training. The 15 hour Basic Motorcycle Rider Courses is the mandatory starting point; then pump up your training with the techniques that the professionals use. Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider’s Handbook Politics aside, if you have ever seen a police motorcade on the move, you have witnessed the result of superior riding techniques that every biker can learn to use to steer clear of danger and stay alive.

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Thanks to our loyal Jafrum customers who said: “Bring back the Blog!” It’s dedicated to everyone who loves motorcycles and the biker lifestyle.

So what can you expect to see when you drop by to take a read? Jafrum is located in North Carolina so of course we want to let you know about the events coming up in our part of the world. Folks that love their hogs like to know how to take good care of them and we will feature new stuff that will help you.

Bikers are a brave, independent crew; our view of the road, our lifestyle and all the stuff that goes with it will be discussed here. In a car-dominated world there’s a lot you need to know to stay on top of your game safely. We’ll pass along information on how to handle things when a problem rears its ugly head.

It’s all about lovin’ the ride and how to make the most of your time on the road. Reviews of bikes new and old, cool gear, safety tips, events of interest with the focus on you the biker are up next: let us hear from you.

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For a new rider or an experienced rider who is replacing the old helmet, choosing a helmet may be more confusing than buying a bike. Finding the right helmet may be time-consuming, but it can be a rewarding experience.Studies have shown and riders have reported that helmets not only save lives but can drastically reduce the amount of injuries suffered to the face, head and neck.Some people claim that helmets restrict your vision, it’s not true. Manufacturers design helmets to not obscure or block peripheral (side to side) vision. Others claim it reduces your hearing, it actually helps you hear over the engine.

StandardsDOT is the Federal Government’s Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT sets minimum standards that all helmets sold for motorcycling on public streets must meet. The standard is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (FMVSS 218) and is known commonly as the DOT standard. The division of the Department responsible for such things periodically buys helmets and sends them to independent labs for testing to assure that they actually do meet the standard. A helmet that meets the DOT standard offers significant protection if you crash.The Snell Memorial Foundation is a private not-for-profit organization that sets voluntary standards used primarily in the US for motorcycle helmets, bicycle helmets and auto racing helmets, as well as other kinds of protective headgear. Snell standards are the world’s toughest and demand quite a bit more protective capability in helmets than anybody else on the planet.

Each organization has rigid procedures for testing:

  • Impact – the shock-absorbing capacity of the helmet.
  • Penetration – the helmet’s ability to withstand a blow from a sharp object.
  • Retention – the chin strap’s ability to stay fastened without stretching or breaking.
  • Peripheral vision – the helmet must provide a minimum vision of 105 degrees to each side. (Most people’s usable
    peripheral vision is only about 90 degrees to each side.)

There is the European standard, called ECE 22-05, accepted by more than 50 countries. There’s the BSI 6658 Type A standard from Britain. Just by looking at the published requirements for each standard, you would guess a DOT helmet would be designed to be the softest, with an ECE helmet very close, then a BSI helmet, and then a Snell helmet.Novelty helmets may offer you the best comfort but it is not DOT or Snell approved and will not protect your head.There are so many makes, models and styles. But which one?

Of course each type of helmet has it’s benefits and disadvantages. It also has to do with the bike you ride and the type of person you are.

  • Half Helmets: They are also known as Shorty/Beanie helmets and are the simplest form of a helmet. There is no side and chin protection. They look best when riding a cruiser or custom bike. Easy to put on and take off and can leave the helmet on in many cases.
  • ¾ or Open-Face Helmet: Protects the head, neck, ears, and eyes. If you use an open-face helmet, you should have a snap-on face shield in place when you ride, or buy a pair of goggles that can withstand the impact of a stone or other debris. Offers the third most protection over any other type of helmet (other than full face and flip-up full face). Lifting off the face shield for a photo or taking off the helmet for a snack or drink is easier and more convenient. These helmets are aimed to protect the ears and the side of the face. However this kind of helmet doesn’t have any chin protection.
  • Full Face helmet: Protects the entire head, neck, ears, eyes, face and chin. Offers the most in protection over any other type of helmet. Also aids in keeping the rain, wind, bugs, rocks, dust and cold out due to its wrap around design. By cutting down ambient wind noise, helmets can actually help you hear other sounds better. By reducing fatigue from the wind, they keep you more alert. By protecting your eyes from the wind, they allow you to see better.
  • Flip-Up helmet (modular): Protects the entire head, neck, ears, eyes, and face. Offers the most in protection over any other type of helmet. Also aids in keeping the rain, wind, bugs, rocks, dust and cold out due to its wrap around design. Eliminates many of the negatives that normal full face helmets have such as removal, taking it off to drink/eat and to put on/off glasses. May not be as good in a crash as a full face helmet because the chin can come open on impact.
  • Motor Cross helmets: These off-road helmets include a sun visor, an area to strap on your goggles, and graphics that give you some style.

Getting the right fit

A helmet that is too loose may come off in a crash, and one that is too tight will be uncomfortable. Slightly snug is better than too loose, since the interior will tend to settle and compress a bit, molding to your head.Determine the circumference of the widest part of your head by wrapping a flexible tape measure around it. Generally, the widest part of a person’s head is the area one-inch above the eyes and ears. Retention: An essential test before buying or using a helmet, is the roll-off test. With the strap securely fastened, grab the rear lip of the helmet and try to roll it forward off your head. Don’t stop just because it hurts a bit. If it comes off, you need a different helmet.Tips The fact that you wear a Medium in one brand and model does not mean that another model will fit you best in the same size.

An extra faceshield (a tinted one to complement the standard clear) is a nice feature. You might want to buy one if it is not included. An extra shield and a quick-change faceshield mechanism are the best convenience features. A yellow tinted faceshield for cloudy and rainy days is also a good option.If your helmet is a bright-colored visible one, you will be more conspicuous in traffic, making it easier for other motorists to see and avoid you.Depending on the helmet manufacturer, it is recommended to replacing your helmet every 2-4 years. If your helmet is damaged or showing extreme wear it should be replaced. Replacing your helmet every few years is a good idea as its protection may deteriorate with time and wear. Also as newer materials and helmet designs become available, helmets become stronger, lighter, and more comfortable.

Never hang your helmet on the motorcycle’s mirrors, turn signals, or backrest. The inner liner can easily be damaged from such handling.

Jafrum helmets available online are light enough that they do not bother your neck. But, the helmets constructed with Kevlar and/or carbon fiber are ultra light and feel extra comfortable on your head.

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