Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Silence is Golden

In my case, silence is silver.

I'll post up a review in the future as this post is more of an entry so I remember when I bought it and when I need to replace it.

I have read articles and heard from other riders how comfortable and quiet a good quality helmet can be. I've always worn earplugs with my HJC helmets in the past and I've used a Scorpion for the past three years. All of them are decent helmets for the money but unfortunately they are also very loud even with earplugs. I may not be able to blame the helmet, but my own head shape. It seems the majority of the population have round heads, I can't blame helmet manufacturers for designing their product to fit the majority of the population. It does however make it very difficult for the minority, those of us with a long, oval head shape to find a well fitting helmet, a proper fitting helmet. I've actually filed and sanded the Styrofoam in my helmets to alleviate the pressure point on my forehead.

I made it through the winter with my Scorpion EXO400, the rain, the road spray and grit, the fogging visor, poor ventilation and noise but I wasn't going to ride another summer without a new helmet.

I went to many shops and tried on many helmets from the Shoei RF-1100, to Schuberth, Shark, HJC, Nolan, HJC and the new Scorpion helmets with no luck. I tried on modular helmets that allow the chin bar to flip up and helmets with fighter lenses that flip down, helmets with the air pump inflatable cheek pads but I kept going back to the Arai Profile. I was even looking at the Arai before I purchased my Scorpion, I just couldn't justify the price and promised myself the next helmet was going to be an Arai.

I'm glad I did, all the reviews were true. I've only put on 20 miles in it but it's quiet, well built, ventilated, comfortable silence...now I can really hear myself singing and that may not be a good thing.

So what are you wearing, how did you decide on your helmet and would you buy the same helmet again?



  1. HJC Symax II, and no, I wouldn't get it again. I think that it is designed for someone with a round head and I guess I don't have one. No problems with quality and I like the flip down sunshade but I just ordered it online without trying anything else. It is also it seems really noisy.

  2. NOLAN N-43. The helmet is available as a crossover with a removable chin bar, and comes with a clear shield to the chin plus an integrated sun shield on the inside of the helmet. It is considerably lightweight, and the chin strap has a quick-release lock. As with all open face brain buckets (I wear it as a 3/4 helmet) considerable noise can be expected but I wear a balaclava or bonnet, which reduces the noise level significantly. Colour choices are limited but that should not be the deciding factor to buy a helmet anyway. And yes, I would buy the same all over again!

  3. I have been wearing an HJC something-or-other fullface for the last three years or so, because it was all I could afford. The wind noise seemed to have gotten worse after I repaired the faceshield hardware. So far, I don't ride long enough distances to make ear plugs necessary, but I plan to ride from Bellingham to Spokane in September, so I might have to do that, much as I don't like the idea.

    Your new lid looks nice. I'll have to check one out...

    Scootin' Old Skool

  4. I am back wearing a SHOEI, but my helmet before that was a Arai, and it was also excellent. i have been through a few cheap ones, but when it comes to helmets cheap is not always good and be frustrating.

  5. I have a Shoei TZR. It was my first helmet, and Premiere Motorcycles helped me find one that fit well. I thought it was quiet until I got the Ninja. I didn't even bother with ear plugs before that. In hindsight, that was a mistake. I've had tinnitus for years, and I think it's gotten worse these past few years. Earplugs with the ninja is a must.

    I had to replace the first helmet and went with the same one again. I like it, but would change it in a heartbeat if I could find something quieter.

  6. Schuberth C3 - it's my second one. I use a flip front helmet because it's much easy when you wear specs, and after using a Caberg and an Arai I've found the Schuberth to be quiet, comfortable with the plus of a built-in tinted visor so I don't need to carry prescription sunglasses on those sunny days (not that we get many in Britain). The ventilation is also not that great (not that we get many warm days either...)

  7. @Richard- I wanted a modular helmet with flip down sunshade so bad, but I couldn't find one that fit. Sad Panda.

    @Sonja- I really liked the Nolan for the versatility and went to try one on at the MC show in Seattle but couldn't get one on my fat head. Great looking helmet, glad you like it.

    @Orin- It was cost that kept me from upgrading my helmet for so long. I had enough of entry level jackets, pants and other gear that I've been slowly buying higher quality gear as I can afford it. I wear earplugs all the time, it has just become habit and now feels strange not to.

    @Raftnn- I nearly pulled the trigger on the Shoei more than once, but I feared buyer's remorse and knew that I would always wonder about the Arai. I'm glad that you enjoy the Shoei, I may buy one in the future as an extra and to give it a try.

    @Bluekat- I really like the design of your pink helmet. I am empathetic to your troubles as the Tiger screen is the bane of every Tiger owner. I am about to switch mine to the lower sport screen for summer as it is much quieter. Weren't you experimenting with windscreens on the Ninja?

    @El Diente- I just tried on the Schuberth last weekend, a very nice helmet indeed, but again too round for me. I'm jealous of the tinted visor. I tried on a Caberg years ago but couldn't afford it at the time and now can't find anyone around here who carries them.

  8. Troubadour

    You've touched a very interesting and complex subject! I've tried a lot of different brands and the most comfortable one for my head first up was a Nolan flip front about 10 years ago. Trouble is, the foam went soft about 6 months later and it was hopeless after that. Now use the Shoei brand and am pretty happy.

    It's a real minefield!

  9. I have two windscreens for the Ninja, the stock one, and a Puig that is a couple inches taller. I'm not satisfied with either, but I'm not sure if it's the screens or just the nature of a sportbike to be loud. Both are noisy, but I think the Puig is a little worse. Last summer I removed the screen and went for a short ride. Seems like it was quieter, and less buffeting. I kind of liked it that way. :)

    So I'm left to wonder how to lessen the wind noise. Taller? Shorter? Get one with a different shape that changes air flow? I'd love a really short one for summer.

    I didn't know about the Tiger screen issue. I hope switching it out quiets the ride for you.

  10. In my limited experience, the brand doesn't matter quite as much as the fit. Fit, fit, fit. Most brands tend to skew toward a particular headshape (Shoei for round heads, Shark for oval heads, etc) but it's really a crapshoot. Those who are helmet shopping owe it to themselves to get into a store and try the lid on, preferably for longer than 15 minutes so the hotspots have time to develop.

    A "premium brand" helmet does have some advantages; namely, better fit and finish, better paint, and plusher interior padding. But if it doesn't fit, the bonus features are worthless.

    I have a Shark RSi. It fits perfectly, and I've purchased two of them so far.

    Lucky you, Brad -- you have a premium head! :P

  11. Thank you for this post. I have been looking at new helmets and one of the unknowns is how loud they are. I started to use custom fitted earplugs that I bought in OR last summer to dampen out the wind noise but they block out just about everything. I can barely hear the engine.

  12. I have a SHOEI, precursor to the RF-1100. Really like the fit and style...except that my head just happens to be the perfect "in between" size. Tried purchasing new pads, but the dealer sold me the wrong size. Now I wear a hair cover and it fits perfectly. I would like a quieter helmet and would love to try some on for size. Just not that many options under $500. I mean, I don't want to skimp on quality and saving the noggin. But $1000 is just not my style. Of course, I could change my tune in the future...

    Good discussion and I hope the helmet is everything you need it be. Looking forward to a review.



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