Help Choosing A New Helmet (Long & Detailed)
Hello Everyone. K1200s Rider here in New England. I have my bike set up as an 80% touring outfit. Large bags, handlebar risers, touring windscreen, cruise control, etc.
I am in the market for a new helmet. I have been wearing a Shark RSR for last 7 years. Comfy helmet in general, but a bit too big because the Sharks' sizing is off for my head. Medium is unwearable and large is just a bit too big. Decided that it was time for a new helmet when I scratched my visor and the top vent lever broke. The shark was nice, but VERY noisy. I have a weird head size and vary from Large in some helmets to small in others.
As a NE tourer and commuter, the weather conditions can range from 28 degrees F to 100 degrees F with 100% humidity. I will ride all the way down to mid 20's as long as there is no ice on the roads. My daily ride has me heading into work mid day and not coming home until after dark, and regular commutes from Boston area into Upstate New York (Catskills and Adirondacks) see pretty varied conditions.
1. Helmet must have a great sealing mechanism (no leaking), pinlock, etc. to deal with fogging.
2. Must be on the quieter end of the spectrum. My ears are very sensitive, and whistling noises/ heavy wind noises are an issue.
3. Must either have a photo-chromatic visor option or good smoke / tinted visors available. (I will not wear sunglasses inside of the helmet)
4. Must have great ventilation.
5. MUST have a large viewport and easy head-check visibility and control (no sail while head checking). I have a neck issue that has been surgically corrected and have limited ability to turn my head. Large viewport and aerodynamics for head checking is VERY important.
6. As per #5, safety and having ECE cert or some of the newer technology for dealing with twisting/shearing force during low / mid level crash is important, but not deal breaker per se.
I do not care about comm systems compatibility.
What I have tried/narrowed down to:
I tried the Schuberth C3-pro. Great helmet but FAR to stuffy. Ventilation is very poor and I will not be happy. Cannot wait for the C4: I need a helmet sooner than the C4 is avilable.
Shoei Neotec is nice, but the modular thing does not appeal to me in general, and the internal visor does not extend down far enough (see the GR Air below), and there are not tinted visors available.
Shoei RF1200 has not impressed me. Noisy, mediocre ventilations, and I had the chance to test ride one (friends helmet), and the guys I know who have them wish they had gotten the GT Air or something else.
1. Shoei GT Air (M) fits perfectly. The drop down visor is nice, but does not extend far down enough and allows light leakage. I said "oh, well, I'll just buy a tinted visor and not use the drop down", but then found that tinted visors/ photo-chromatic visors are not available for the GT Air (presumably because of the internal visor). That was a deal breaker for me, and a bummer, as just about everything else on that helmet was perfect. Downside is that visor swapping is a PITA, and the Shoei has the least-efficient mechanism that I've ever seen on a helmet.
2. Arai Quantum-X (S) fits perfectly as well. No photochromatic shield available. Their dark smoke visor is a little bit too light, and their shield change system is also a bit of a PITA, and since I will be changing shields at least once on every ride, the convenience is not there. Field of view is not great for me and my neck.
3. Shoei X-14 (M) Fits great. Field of view is HUGE. Photochromatic visor is available as are various levels of tint. Downside: As a nearly pure sport helmet, I have HEARD that the venting does not work well during upright riding, and that head-checking during regular street riding creates a LOT of sail. This is just second/third hand. If anyone has feedback about regular street / touring riding using this race-bred helmet please chime in.
4. Bell Race Star (M-L) Beautiful helmet by virtually every standard I can think. Photochromatic visor available. Shield change mechanism is quick, simple, and easy. Almost as easy as Shark. Field of view is MASSIVE. Their new system for safety is AMAZING, and they're one of the only helmets available in USA that has DOT, ECE, and SNELL rating PLUS their proprietary system for lessening rotational/shear forces at low and mid range impact. Downside: Helmet is HUGE and I don't know about the Sail issue. Sizing is weird. Medium fits very good in general, but has hot spots at the temples. I am going to try a large and see if that helps.
If anyone has any suggestions/feedback I would be welcome to hear them. At the very least, I hope that maybe others who are looking can take some of the info from my helmet search and use it for their own searches. I have tried on all of these helmets, so please feel free to ask questions about them and I will answer if I can.
Last edited by Ju-Jitsu; Mar 30th, 2017 at 8:34 am.