We have already stressed to you for several times now how important safety is when you are riding your motorcycle. In the last article, we talked about comfort and style in purchasing motorcycle accessories and gears. Now, we will discuss how to choose these important safety gears one-by-one.
Let’s start with the motorcycle helmet.
This is the most crucial motorcycle gear of all. This will save your life. During an accident, your helmet will protect you head – from a simple contusion to severe head injury. In a lot of states, wearing a helmet is required before you can ride a motorcycle.
Here are some tips on how to choose the best helmet for you.
Choose a helmet that perfectly fits you right. Remember an uncomfortable helmet is a major distraction during a ride.
How to know if a helmet snugs your head perfectly?
- The entire interior comfort liner makes contact with your head. If it only touches the top of your head, the helmet will be uncomfortable.
- A full-face helmet should grip your cheeks, jaw, and the top and sides of your head.
- It should enclose your head with even pressure and without pressure points. It shouldn’t press uncomfortably against your temples, forehead or cheeks.
- A helmet should remain stable when you shake your head vigorously up and down and side-to-side.
- If your nose or chin touches the face shield, the helmet is too small.
- The face shield should not contain areas that distort your view.
- Look for a full-face design that has removable cheek pads. You can try different size pads to improve a helmet’s fit.
Keep in mind that a helmet will not protect you if it doesn’t stay on your head when you have an accident. You may also try the “roll-off” test to see if the helmet stays in your head during crash. How to do the test?
After putting on the helmet and lock in the chin strap, grab the helmet’s rear lip where it touches the back of your neck. Try to lift up and roll the helmet forward off your head. If the helmet comes off — which is most likely to happen with an open-face model – this means you should continue searching for one that stays put.
Moreover, before you try a helmet, first make sure it has the Department of Transportation certification decal. Some also bear a Snell certification decal. The best motorcycle helmets usually have these decals.
DOT determines the minimum safety standards in the US that all motorcycle helmets must meet. Snell, on the other hand, sets voluntary motorcycle helmet safety standards. This means that a helmet doesn’t need to meet Snell standards to be street legal. However, if both DOT and Snell put their stamp of approval on a helmet, it signifies that the manufacturer has gone an extra mile to have its product meet the highest protection standards.
You will know that you will be comfortable in a helmet you are considering of buying when it has:
- Comfortable padding around your head
- A firm seal around your ears but not touching your eyes
- A full neck roll that hugs the back of your head and neck
- No protrusions that could poke or press against your head or face
The helmet ventilation systems in a helmet will keep your head and face cool, and your face shield without fog. Unfortunately, you couldn’t test the effectiveness of your helmet vent system until you start driving.
What you can do at the retail store is to make sure that you can easily open and close the helmet vents with your gloves on. This is a major feature that you should not take for granted. You can also check if the helmet has breath deflector to keep your face shield free of fog.
Some riders preferred a helmet that has graphics on the shell. These are okay as long as the graphics help you highly visible to other drivers especially during night ride.
A light, bright helmet will really make you stand out. You can also put reflective patches to your helmet if it is required by your state.