A helmet – essential riding gear for me. I wouldn’t think of even going around the block without one. For the past 12 years, I have used “modular” helmets, ones that you can push the chin piece up and out of the way when you stop. It’s convenient, but I always wondered what would happen if I landed on my face in a modular helmet, like I did with a regular full-face helmet, a Shoei. In that mishap, “nothing” happened. I had to get checked out for a concussion, but I walked away from the accident. The Shoei saved my life.
Several years ago, this helmet saved my life. It has the scars to prove it:
My helmet for the last 4-1/2 years, a Shoei Multitec, was getting worn out, and I felt it on the way home from my latest trip. I can always tell when a helmet is “done,” it starts vibrating and being super noisy in a crosswind. Also, some of the small pieces start to break, or become too worn to use anymore, for example, the snap on the throat strap, and the plastic on the chin “curtain.” The throat strap end starts to flap against the helmet and makes an irritating snapping sound. On a long ride, it drives me crazy.
It was time. I had been thinking of going back to a standard full-face helmet, and now it was time to make that decision. When I went to the local Cycle Gear, I was in luck! They actually had a size XS Shoei GT Air, which was going to be my choice. That helmet was calling my name, so I bought it. Hal, my riding partner, got one, too, at the same time.
On the left, the modular Multitec, on the right, the standard full face GT Air:
A week later, last Saturday, I finally got my comm. gear switched from the old helmet to the new helmet, and off I went. How did it feel? Although the new helmet isn’t actually lighter, it feels much lighter, and its shape is more aerodynamic. It has more vents. I also think it is quieter. Of course, it felt a little tight, but that’s how new helmets feel until they conform to your head. There is a slight break-in period, kind of like shoes. In other words, I wouldn’t take a brand new helmet on a long trip unless I had to.
I know you can buy cheaper helmets, but for me it’s worth the extra money. I will gladly pay for things like safety, superior design, comfort, and quiet. I sometimes spend 12 to 14 hours traveling during a day on the road, and during that time I am wearing a helmet. In all the years that I’ve worn Shoei helmets, I never have had an issue with comfort even during long days.
So far, I have only worn the GT Air one time, but I am sure it will work out great.