Nov 24, 2007

Motorcycle Helmets: What has rearset worn and loved/hated?

My first lid was a Vega Formula HP
This was before the shell size came down, and it was a hefty helmet, pretty heavy and good-looking too in a menacing sort of way. The chin vent was a b*****d and needed to be taped up for the northern Indian winters. The visor quality was crap and you couldn't get dark visors at all. Crashed once, but didn't touch the helmet down. A friend rode, more or less, into a tree at nearly 120 kph and walked away wearing his Formula HP, though. Oh, and the interior material turns brown and shiny pretty quickly. But hey, I paid Rs 550 for the lid.

My second and third Bieffe BR15s, both Stefan Everts Replicas
Again, impressive helmets compared to what was available before it. Very heavy too. But decals and shell were both great. Venting went unnoticed, so must have worked. Visors were quite good compared to the old ones and were polycarbonate. Quite liked these lids, actually.

My fourth one was a Bieffe BR16, Biaggi Replica
Worn only twice before I replaced it with my fourth one. More or less the same as the Bieffe BR15. The one I got (unlike the pic) had a diffuser type of thing built into the shell shape. This the rear parts stuck out in a pointy sort of ridge.

My fifth lid was a Shoei RF800
Spectacular! This helmet looked mean in a plain, glossy black. It cost about seven times as much as the Bieffes, but was light, airy and felt great to wear for hours together. With a black visor, it looked as cool as Ghost Rider. The venting worked amazingly well and the visor is legend. It was Rs 4,500 to replace a visor but at the end of the mandated five year period, the visibily scratched clear visor was still, um, clear. No glare, no stars around street lights. Brilliant! Fixed interiors meant that the insides got pretty grimy (my commute included loads of trucks) and the RF stood up to a six-monthly dunking without a whimper.

Then came the AGV Pacific, numbers six and seven
It was quite a comedown from the Shoei, but still above the Bieffe. The AGV fitted better than the Steelbird and the visor quality was good enough for me to compare with the Shoei (which was, of course, still better). Both had finish quality problems, though. The foam on the inside of the chin area was cut very crudely and the vents, effective, though they were, broke. The chin vent is especially irritating because the filter material is extremely porous. Ride behind a truck, and you'll soon be chewing grit. Visor didn't seal properly, though, so you get rain drops on the inside during a wet ride. Thankfully, the visor was pretty easy to remove and remount, so cleaning and swapping with dark (and now reflective blue as well) wasn't too hard.

I still don't like the fact that the first design (the one with the eyes) was only partially brought to India. The back of the helmet wasn't complete! The same pattern abroad looked better because the rear of the lid didn't look empty.

My ninth helmet is a Shoei X-9
Fits snug and looks great. This is one of the quietest helmets I've ever worn. Visor quality is absolutely superb and with luck, this will be another blissful five years to come.

My tenth helmet is a Shoei X-11
This is currently the top Shoei helmet on sale. The venting is absolutely beautiful and you can actually feel the air run through your hair inside this. I bought this one size smaller than the X-9 and it feels great to wear. Racetight fit means no squiggle-shake in fast lifesaver checks, no wind buffeting at 180 kph-ish speeds. This is just perfect.

Related links in this series:

Other links on helmets

1 comment:

Revhard said...

First helmet was Vega Interstellar. Seemed good in its days . Next came a Bieffe BR15 , the deep blue one. I liked the colour scheme , was comfy enough but poor visor which scratched easily.

Now on AGV (eyes one) , changed the visor after 2.5 years. Best visor I have seen yet ( cant say of the imported 'mets like Arai , Shoei , HJC , etc )but it could have better. Love the look of the AGV though.