Sunday, February 23, 2014

Size does matter for your helmet

Ever since I started my lessons on motorcycle, I bought a helmet out of impulse because I didn't want to use the school's helmet. Well, I knew I need a good and COMFORTABLE fit, but I didn't know what is meant by getting a good fit.

So, after such a long while, I've decided to get another helmet, one with chin-guard, and while going through some articles on the internet, I realised I've been using a wrong helmet all along!

I find this website SHARP has a good database on helmets, and even a good animated guide on understanding the helmet fitting. 

Wrong helmet from the start
I didn't measure the size of my head, or I didn't think it was necessary because I didn't do that when I was buying a cap or hat!!! Who would've done that when buying a fashionable cap or hat anyway!!! Hahahahaha!!!! Well, back in the Singapore Armed Forces days, I would be wearing around 7 1/4 or 7 1/2 sizes comfortably, but I didn't note that as well.

While I was at HelmetBoyz, the kind person at the store assisted me to try several sizes. Thinking back now, he has a very keen eye for sizes straight away. He did gave me the correct size though, but since I was impulsive and wanted comfort, the good fit was rather uncomfortable to me. It was an alien feeling of compression, like something pressing too close to my head that I just need space in between. So, I got a size larger and was very comfortable with it.

Almost a year later now, I put this helmet on, when I do the left right up down shakes, it frightens me now because its very loose. I thanked the lucky stars shining on me so far.

Having measured my head again (using the animated guide), I'm always a 59cm or 7 1/2 size head.

Knowing what I want (Improved safety from open face helmet)
There are different types of helmets we know. For a helmet with chin-guard on my concern for improved safety, I have quite a few choices too:
1) Full face helmets (safe helmet, chin guard and helmet is the same mould)
2) Full face off road helmets (another safe helmet, exactly the same like (1) and with additional top sunshade)
3) Flip up helmets (Chin guard and helmet are not the same mould. Chin guard can be flip up to enable rider an open face helmet experience)
4) Modular helmets (Chin guard can be detached and attached with 2 options that I've seen. Either it becomes a flip-up helmet alike, or its fixed like a full face helmet)
Well, I could be wrong or in-comprehensive for the choices, but I'm no expert in this anyway. I would either go for option 1 Full face helmet or option 3 Flip-up helmet.

Knowing what I want (Keeping me awake from zoning off)
I found that riding without music is a bit dull for me. I hope to have some music to my ears rather than hear myself humming and sing songs and ranting. If it comes with a communicator and reasonable microphone, it would be good.

So, at this point of time, communications set are:
1) UClear
2) Scala
3) Nolan N-COM
And of course there are more, but the forum posts I've read from SingaporeBikes are hovering around these few (at leasts those few posts I've read). UClear had very good local reviews and can be fitted to any helmets, no boom-microphones, and bluetooth will automatically switched off once disconnected. Nolan N-COM is another choice because its designed to fit very nicely to the helmets, although it has a boom-microphone but owners here hadn't complained that much. Hmm, nothing heard much about Scala... 

PSB approval
This little sticker can be annoying for some, but its the sticker to get your insurance claims most of the time... I think. Read the forums for ranting of this little sticker, I find it amusing for some of the threads. This is rather individual opinions, but I would go for it for insurance purpose. 

Safety, safety, safety. The angel on my right seems to be nagging at me too much on this. Once I have zoomed in to a few choices of the likes, I've also paid attention for other global / regional safety standards such as:
1) DOT
3) ECE
Personally, I also reference the SHARP website.

Brands, costs and reviews
This is the most daunting part of choosing helmets, we have many brands in Singapore!
3) OGK
6) AGV
7) HJC
and so many others. For a helmet with chin guards, I heard some can be less than $200, and can go up to $700!!! Of course, I often read some said "It depends on how much you think your head is worth". Oh c'mon, I think my pocket is burning also.

Conclusion for me
NOLAN was the choice for me. I didn't spent time to go jalan jalan see see look look. It was pretty straight forward for me. NOLAN has communication sets and they had designed to fit it nicely into their own helmets. Others said it was pricey, but hey, they did made it specifically and its proprietary. Gotta give it to them... but then again, this is my choice. :-)

The model N86 Full Face was my first choice. However, I learned that N86 was not PSB approved, only the N104 is. I liked the inner sunshade visor that helped lessen the glare of the morning sun. I would be getting the N-COM B4+ to compliment my helmet and hope this would last for sometime!

Here's an final note on safety helmets in Singapore.

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