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RideFast Dec 2020 online

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HELMETS HELMETS KNOW

HELMETS HELMETS KNOW YOUR STUFF... Our favourite helmet ad of all time went something like – if you have a 2 dollar head – wear a 2 dollar helmet. Selecting the correct helmet is not only about selecting a brand. It’s also about the correct fit – and the features on offer. Sean Hendley shares some knowledge… He Says: There is a lot of miscommunicated information out there when it comes to helmets. What to look for, correct sizing and fitment, design versus safety, full face versus flip-ups, double D rings versus ratchet or clip fasteners, pricey versus cheap helmets… just so much to take into consideration when it comes to protecting your head. So, what is the primary and essentially the most important , if not the only purpose of a motorcycle helmet? TO PROTECT YOUR HEAD!!! IT’S THE ONE THING THAT DOCTORS CANNOT FIX. Here are some of the common mistakes we all make when buying a helmet: •Believing all helmets are the same … “A helmet is a helmet is a helmet” mentality. Well here are the scientific facts: To understand how helmets function, a little bit of physics is helpful. For the laboratory tests, a test speed of only 28 km/h is used. This is about the speed of a fast bicyclist. Not a very realistic speed for motorcycle use and under real world circumstances, there is no limit whatsoever to the severity of a single impact or even multiple impacts. Real world circumstances are simply much more demanding than any test lab standards can simulate. So, what happens when the speed is increased to a more realistic 100 km/h? The results are spectacular: When the speed is increased by a factor 4, the impact energy will increase with a factor 4^2 = 16!. So in layman’s terms the force of a direct impact in g-force is around 16 times the speed the object is travelling at … or that is how we understand it, so that sudden stop against an immovable object from 100kmh is around 1,600 G-forces. To put that in perspective, a modern day jet fighter can pull around 9 G’s, with the pilots having to wear G-suits in order not to black out. No helmet is able to sustain such a direct impact or guarantee absolute protection. The wearer of the helmet may be moving much faster than the drop speed of the impact tests, yet in the real world most riders walk away from crashes at even much higher speeds. How is that possible? By minimizing the impact energy that is directed into the helmet. This is achieved by letting the helmet slide over or glance off objects as well as absorbing the impact energy into the softer inner lining before it reaches the riders head. It’s important to know that the impact energies the helmet needs to absorb may be dramatically reduced if it can glance off obstacles and slide across uneven surfaces, diverting impact energies and this talks to the design of the shell as well as the inner shell and padding technology. Some manufacturers use a “soft” or thinner outer shell technology with crumple zones just like a car to displace the impact energy. The advantage here, is a lighter helmet with great ventilation for our hot summers and some very clever tech in it, but mostly only good for a single impact scenario including accidently dropping it off your bike and watching it bounce down the side of an embankment. Other manufacturers use a hard outer shell with a soft inner shell, the disadvantage here is the helmet is heavier on the riders neck and warmer to wear, but the advantage is that it can withstand multiple impacts and significantly harder impacts while still cushioning the riders head inside the soft inner liner and padding. We can’t really say which way is better, but suffice to say your skull doesn’t have crumple zones. •Fitment … Would you believe it if we told you that the majority of riders wear a helmet that is usually 2 sizes too big for them? Because it felt comfortable in the dealership when they tried it on when purchasing it and the recommended size by the dealer sales person felt too tight and claustrophobic. What we all forget is that over the space of a few rides the inner lining generally settles by a minimum of 5 to 7mm making the helmet 5 to 7mm bigger in a few rides. That is just the nature of the materials available to manufacture the helmet internals. So, now suddenly your helmet that was comfortable when you purchased it is now dropping over your eyes or lifting against the strap and trying blow off at speed. Head shape vs helmet shape also contributes to this problem. There are basically 3 head shapes and helmet shapes and that is why some helmets fits different riders more comfortably than others. The 3 shapes are oblong from the front to the back of the head, oblong from left to right and then round. So, firstly check the shape of your head and then measure it and purchase your helmet accordingly. The correct way to measure your head is where your cap/hat would sit above your eyebrows and ears, generally somewhere between 53cm (extra small) to 64cm (double extra large) for most adults. •Warning: On a very personal and extremely sad note, not to garner sympathy or scare anybody away from motorcycling but as a warning as to how critical helmet sizing is. One of us had to bury an 18 year old family member because of incorrect helmet sizing. The youngster was involved in a very small accident and ended up sliding across the tarmac on a rain wet road, because the helmet was too big for him it moved up his head, exposing the back of the head just before he hit the sharp corner of a kerb stone fatally injuring the back of his head. Had he been wearing the correct size helmet he would have survived the accident with nothing more than a bit of road rash. •Double D rings buckles vs quick release … It is generally accepted that the D-Ring system is the safest option. The D rings might be a bit more-fiddly to tighten and loosen, but there is a reason they are homologated for racing. They very rarely come loose in the event of an accident and allow the helmet to come off. The double D rings are also more compact and comfortable against the riders neck when tucked up under the screen. The quick release systems on the other hand are more convenient and quicker to loosen and tighten, generally with gloves still on. All quick release systems are certified and tested to withstand tonnes of pressure. •Full Face vs Flip-Up/Systems/ helmets vs Open Face helmets … Now this is a point of great contention and you may have noticed we have not included those silly little brain buckets that a lot of the Cruiser riders seem to opt for. We aren’t aware of anywhere in the world where they are considered safety or protective wear, most of them come with disclaimers on the inside stating it is a toy or for display purposes only. So, open face helmets … well our Great Granddads wore them in the earliest forms of motorcycle racing, yeah but they weren’t hooking along 200kmh plus. They are okay on scooters and the like but do leave the riders face very exposed. That being said most riders generally understand this and adjust their riding style accordingly. HELMETS