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Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: (vikm)
Date: August 19, 2006 06:56PM
Am in the process of acquiring a vintage Vespa scooter and one of the things I need to do is also get a helmet. I've questions regarding such as well as looking for suggestions from experienced forumites (just made that up, I think).

First, a little info... as stated it is only a scooter and not a full on motorcycle with no intentions of getting one anytime soon. Said scooter is not going to be a daily rider or ridden on freeways, etc. It will however get up to 60-65mph but I don't anticipate doing so (see previous sentence). It will mostly be for around town (40mph zones max).

Ok, on to the helmets. I know everyone that is very safety conscious says "full face only" and has numerous examples of stories where someone ate pavement (or would have had they not had a full helmet on). I totally get it. That said, I'm considering the possibility of getting a full face and maybe an open face 3/4 as well for just the short, slow run down to the 7-11 or whatever.

My first question is, are the modular/flip up helmets relatively as safe as a regular full face? I really like the flip up aspect and am leaning towards one of those unless convinced otherwise. I've read where some listings say not to ride with the face flipped up. Is that because it defeats the purpose of the full face or because it weakens the overall design of the helmet, etc.? I'm mostly curious about that and not asking because I'm planning to do it.

Another aspect is cost/brands. I'm familiar with the big name brands and have spent much time looking over their product lines. I'm familiar with the "$50 helmet for a $50 head" mantra. Well, I'm not a moron (shut up ;) ) but I'm not a rocket scientist, either so I won't be dropping $400+ on a helmet. Some of the helmets I've seen are anywhere from $150- $250 that I like and I'd be comfortable with from a safety standpoint. I've even seen some stuff on closeouts that are a little less just to move product. All are Snell rated or at least DOT.

A specific brand I've come across that is new (out of Canada) is Zox. They sponsor racers and meet DOT standards. They are among the low end pricewise (between $100 and $150-ish). They make a couple of good looking designs and like I said, the price is nice. What I don't know is, are they junk? I'm looking for some designs that don't look all "Darth Vader" or too outlandish. Just a nice solid color, basic design that will match the aspects of a vintage scooter but also is a bit more stylish than an old school Bell.

If you've read this far, you are either an enthusiast or are possibly just bored enough to have nothing better to do. In either case, your opinions/suggestions are welcomed. Thanks!
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: earache
Date: August 19, 2006 07:04PM
Congrats on the vintage Vespa. I've got two modern day scoots, but have always wanted a vintage. I'm a proponent of full face helmets and wouldn't wear anything but. I own a Nolan 100E flip up and love it. I never ride with it flipped up, but have seen people do it. I think it defeats the purpose since you're not fully protecting your face. The rest of the helment should work as designed, but your chin will be hamburger.

All helmets need to be DOT or Snell rated in the US, including flip ups. Most are DOT. If I were to buy a new one today it would probably be a Nolan 102E. I think they run for about $250. Small price to pay to save your face/head. Check out this thread on modernvespa.com [www.modernvespa.com]



earache



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/19/2006 07:06PM by earache.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: D-Rod
Date: August 19, 2006 07:15PM
I posted a similar request a little while ago and received some good advice and links.

[forums.macresource.com]



Formerly known as Dennis R
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: (vikm)
Date: August 19, 2006 07:16PM
Thanks for the input (and yeah, I'm looking forward the getting the scoot). I like the new Vespa PX 150 but you can't get them in CA. I think i like them mostly because they resemble the old stuff the most. What do you have? Just curious.

I actually came across that thread you mentioned at that forum during my extensive search. I looked up the Nolans you mentioned and I actually like the styling of the one you have. I could do that. The updated 102e is starting to get a little too "pointy" in the chin for me. Personal preference... LOL!

I did read a review however about the 100e and a guy mentioned that the strap hit his Adam's Apple and eventually became irritating. I do plan on going and trying some stuff on but just haven't had the time and thought I'd ask here while I had a chance.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: (vikm)
Date: August 19, 2006 07:23PM
Ahh, Dennis. That "search" feature that everyone is always suggesting woulda come in handy on this, eh? oops. Thanks for the link.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: August 19, 2006 07:47PM
It is the little runs to the 7-11 where folks crash the most.

BGnR
Hate to lose you, hate for relatives have to visit a drooling idiot in the hospital.



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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: davester
Date: August 19, 2006 08:02PM
If you want full face protection, then you need it all the time. 30 mph vs 60 mph does not mean that you will hit the pavement (or a fast moving vehicle) with your face any less hard. Oftentimes it is the velocity of the vehicle hitting you which is the deciding factor. I was on a bike ride a couple of years ago and one of the guys who was riding with the group slammed into a runner from behind while going 40 mph downhill. The runner's cheek and chin was totally hamburgered and he required significant plastic surgery to reconstruct his face. His velocity was approximately 10 mph before the crash. Also, several years previously I was hit from behind while standing still on my bike by a car going about 40 mph. I fortunately avoided face/head injuries, but the differential impact velocity was on the order of 40 mph, sufficient to completely destroy my bike and tear tendons and ligaments.



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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: (vikm)
Date: August 19, 2006 08:16PM
I appreciate the safety concerns fellas. Really, I do.

I suppose what I meant when I related the specifics behind the interest in the open face was that on the shorter, putting around town at considerably slower speed type rides there is considerably more reaction time to avoid a potential accident. I also realize that there are new problems like people blowing through intersections, etc. but I'm comfortable in my awareness as a driver/rider to compensate for it. I'm an ultra-aware driver in a car and that will translate to the scoot as well. Another thing that will be less of a concern around town is the lesser likelihood of rocks (or insects) flying into my face from either myself or someone else driving at higher rates of speed.

In reality, I'll probably use the full face at least 75% of the time and that is my primary focus (for the reasons you all and others have mentioned). I'd eventually still like to pick up a 3/4 open face, though.

Thanks again for the input.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: earache
Date: August 19, 2006 08:36PM
You definitely want to try the helmets on. Unfortunately, local shops don't usually have a good selection. In my area, all the big cycle shops had Shoei, but no Nolans. Took me some time to find someone who had Nolans in the style and size I wanted. I don't have any trouble with the strap and think it's extremely comfortable.

I ride an Aprilia Mojito Custom 150, kitted to 190cc with a Scorpion pipe. My wife has a stock Vespa LX 150. We love them.



earache
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: Gareth
Date: August 19, 2006 09:56PM
One reason not to ride around with a flip helmet up is wind buffeting. I can feel the wind push my head around more sometimes with just the visor up on my full face helmet. I've never ridden my flip helmet flipped up (although I have seen people do it).
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: MacArtist
Date: August 19, 2006 11:05PM
I always bought Shoei helmets. I was out of motorcycling for 8 years and recently got back into it. I have a Shoei RF-700 full face helmet. Bought it for $150. Snell and DOT approved.

Do yourself a favor and avoid the cheap line of helmets. The critical thing is to buy something comfortable. If it's not comfortable, you won't wear it. And like others said; wear it all the time. You can't plan when you will have an accident. It will be when you least expect it.

I live in a state with no helmet or eye protection laws. Seems absurd to me but there is a strong anti-helmet lobby in this state (ABATE). I don't care if it's 120º F outside; if I am on my motorcycle, my helmet will be on my head.



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(1828-1910)

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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: August 19, 2006 11:45PM
read this, you will be better-informed:
[www.motorcyclistonline.com]

and, if i were you, i'd go for the FF helmet, gloves, boots/shoes that cover your ankles and possibly a padded jacket. sounds like overkill, but if you fall, you will wish you had it all on.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: August 19, 2006 11:48PM
oh, one more thing - NEVER, ever ride to the right of traffic in the city like a bicyclist might (don't know where you live). a scooterist was horribly killed by an 18 wheeler near my house a couple years back. he was riding to the right of said truck when the truck took a right onto a ramp, got on the highway and dragged him and the scooter many yards down the highway.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: (vikm)
Date: August 20, 2006 12:21AM
Oh man... that sounds horrible. Thanks for the tip. And yeah, that was a pretty good article. I'd found it earlier as well. It's actually noted on many different moto boards. Many seemed surprised that the mega expensive helmets weren't necessarily providing better protection. Seemed the extra expense was more towards the comfort than protection.

Thanks again to everyone who has added their input. Much appreciated.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: Racer X
Date: August 20, 2006 01:22AM
Quote
MacArtist
Do yourself a favor and avoid the cheap line of helmets. The critical thing is to buy something comfortable. If it's not comfortable, you won't wear it. And like others said; wear it all the time. You can't plan when you will have an accident. It will be when you least expect it.

I live in a state with no helmet or eye protection laws. Seems absurd to me but there is a strong anti-helmet lobby in this state (ABATE). I don't care if it's 120º F outside; if I am on my motorcycle, my helmet will be on my head.

this pertains to a bicycle accident, but the same issues. I posted it last month

"We did see quite a 2 car/2 bike wreck. The cyclists were OK (last I heard). There were these 2 cars really close together at the edge of a parking lot, waiting to cross traffic and head down the road. There was a group of maybe 6-8 cyclists several hundred yards away, and the dumb-ass in the first car decides to slowly pull out. WTF? No way to have missed the oncoming traffic, even if they are cyclists. So he continues to creep out slowly, and when he is almost to the turn lane, and the cyclists are about 10 yards away, the rope pulls taught and come up to about waist height. The mother effers were towing the second car, and had pulled out in front of a bunch of cyclists!

The guy in front hits the rope and his wheel stops instantly and he goes over head first and cartwheels about 30 feet maybe shoulder height and lands on his shoulder and hip. He wasn't wearing a damn helmet, the idiot! The second rider, a young woman, slows enough to stop and she falls over, as the towed car is still rolling right for her. Several others dump their bikes and grab hold of the towed car and are able to slow it down enough so she can roll away.

The first police car shows up in about 3 minutes (many cyclists carry cell phones in races like these) and within maybe 7 minutes total, an aid car, a fire truck, and a second patrol car shows up. The two cyclists are pretty beat up, but don't need to go to the hospital. But the cops, the EMTs and the firemen give the guy without a helmet so much grief, I don't think that will ever happen again. He had one, and had taken it off, and bungeed it to his handlebars so he could cool off a bit. His bike is toast. I have never seen a chrome-moly bike frame fold and crumple like that. Hers is pretty beat up as well, but neither should ride home anyway. And of course during all this, our "team" rides by and my wife suddenly recognizes me and almost falls off her bike she did a double take so energetically. I call out everyone is OK, and wave her on.

We get to talking with them, as most everyone else had to continue with the race, and it turns out that they weren't riding the STP, they were riding something called the PCP. The PCP is a Portland to Centralia (mid-point of the STP) and back to Portland. Same distance as the STP, but you end up where you start, and those that live in Portland don't have to drive to Seattle for the start. So now these two are stuck maybe 60 miles from home with bent bikes, and no way to get back. That's where we come in. It turns out that the girl slept in and got a late start, and she met her friends about 25 miles into the race, and left her car not too far from one of the pit stops. So we load up the two bikes on my friend's Jeep, and we each take one of the cyclists with us to meet our team at the next appointed spot, and then on to their car. During the ride, we talked to our passengers to asses whether they really were OK, and if one was able to safely drive.

She works at a Portland triathlon supply shop, and he builds custom bike frames from scratch (his bike is probably rebuilt by now) so we now have a bike builder and a triathlon shop clerk who REALLY REALLY owe us. They asked why we went so out of the way, and I just replied that we just hope that if our partners ever get in a jam somewhere where they need help, someone will do the same.

Anyway, the cops ticket the tow car with failure to yield, and then they discover that the driver of the towed car doesn't have a license! But wait, it gets better. HE argues that since the car doesn't have an engine why does it matter? Arguing with a cop like that shows you what types of "characters" these two are. (That and they hiked up their "jailers" and tossed away their cigarettes when the cops showed up. I thought that was rather comical) The second cop wanders over and looks at the towed car to verify that the car has no engine, and sees that the car has the brakes disconnected (no master cylinder or brake booster) They are towing a car with no power, and no brakes! That's why the girl was almost run over by the rolling car, no way to stop it. So the cops cite the towed car's driver with operating a motor vehicle without a license, and they also gave him an equipment violation ticket for malfunctioning brakes. They then tell him if he wants to contest them, he is free to tell the judge all about it. It would make the judge's day, they assured him. "

when you take all the precautions, and pay attention, there are always idiots trying to kill you because of their own sheer stupidity.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2006 01:24AM by Racer X.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: tuqqer
Date: August 20, 2006 11:07AM
Quote
mrbigstuff
read this, you will be better-informed:
[www.motorcyclistonline.com]

OMG, someone is finally addressing the duh! part of making helmet material hard as rocks, where in fact, they should be softer, softer, softer.

Thanks for that link, mrbigstuff. I'm just amazed that it's taking this many years for someone to come out and realize, "Hard helmets don't prevent as many injuries as one with a soft interior." What helmets need is soft padding, to slowly absorb the G forces. Not rock-hard material that is designed solely to not crack in an accident. Kudos to that site for waking up the issue.



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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: Psurfer
Date: August 20, 2006 11:34AM
Riding w/visor flipped-up: You won't want to do it much unless you're going Really slow. As mentioned, the wind will feel like it's pulling your helmet off. Which brings up Eye Protection- also mentioned above, but worth repeating. -Even if you must go helmet-less on a short ride, always ALWAYS wear that eye protection.
I don't know if you've ridden much; if so, you've already found that even just tooling around at 25mph will get you bugsintheeyeballitis!

I used to have -and miss- an old 70's Vespa Rally 200, which I found languishing in a shed at a garage sale. (Bought it for something like $35!) A very fun ride.
I've since kitted up a small-engined modern scooter to move! at very high revs, but admittedly, the vintage stuff had far more Soul. Enjoy it.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: Pat
Date: August 20, 2006 11:34AM
One problem with some of the 3/4 helmets is noise. My first one had the removable cold weather ear/neck extender. With it off, the wind noise through the straps at speed (I did take mine on the freeway) was unbelievable. Louder than anything else around, including emergency vehicles.

And I'll have to agree with BGnR, the only time I went down on my Vespa was on a quick jaunt to 7-11 for smokes. Screwing around riding wheelies, came down crossed up. Helmets were not required in CA then. As a result I made at least one dentist plenty of money, and have pretty much had a goatee for the past 20 years to cover the scars.

Why I did not wear a helmet on the street when I always wore one in the dirt is beyond me. I guess I always planned on going down in the dirt, and never on the street. Proved myself half wrong.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: August 20, 2006 12:13PM
Quote
Pat
And I'll have to agree with BGnR, the only time I went down on my Vespa was on a quick jaunt to 7-11 for smokes. Screwing around riding wheelies, came down crossed up. Helmets were not required in CA then. As a result I made at least one dentist plenty of money, and have pretty much had a goatee for the past 20 years to cover the scars.

Why I did not wear a helmet on the street when I always wore one in the dirt is beyond me. I guess I always planned on going down in the dirt, and never on the street. Proved myself half wrong.

Glad your alive to tell the story!
Chuck Woolery (Love Connection host) lost a son who was just going to the corner store, helmet was in the bikes saddlebags, nerfed a curb at ten MPH, head first into the street, DOA.

BGnR



"Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!"
"If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster."
"Near the day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky."
"A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: August 20, 2006 01:19PM
My preference is for full face helmets (my favorite is an old Simpson, no longer made for the street) but I have some three quarters as well.

Most of my bikes have always had a fairing and windshield, which makes a 3/4 very comfortable. With the 3/4, I use a visor and half-shield. I *always* were eye-protection, even when I didn't where a helmet.

I've never had a noise problem with them compared to most of my full face versions.

Also, for long rides at speed (>40mph) I wear foam ear plugs. Though not legal in CA, these provide low level isolation and eliminate most of the howling wind noise. This means I really can hear better. (Try shouting at a riding partner wearing a full-face, and lifting the visor up to "talk".

You can wear battle dress every second you're on two wheels, but even that doesn't mean much if you don't ride well, defensively.

I've very comfortable with a 3/4 helmet. Yes, any number of vortexes, confluences, gods, and idiots in other vehicles can injure, maim, or kill you, regardless of the precautions you take.

Life is a continuing series of compromises. Motor officers compromise with 3/4 helmets, whether working surface streets or freeways. Their visibility as police officers and their continuing bike training (though not as frequent as it should be) do much to offset the danger of wearing a 3/4. But somewhere, sometime some officer will/could have benefited from a full face helmet.

For most, that has never made a difference.

Again, the care you exercise will probably serve you as well or better than [which] helmet you decide on.

"Live to ride, ride to live" sounds trite, but it's a great guide.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: August 20, 2006 01:26PM
Also, in CA it's illegal to tow a vehicle without a tow bar.

People get tagged for that all the time around here. It's almost rare to see somebody using just a chain or rope.






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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: (vikm)
Date: August 20, 2006 02:49PM
Thanks for the new posts.

I wasn't aware that you couldn't use those foam earplugs. It makes total sense that you can hear better to me. I sometimes use them (as do many others) for concerts. It provides some protection from hearing loss and also makes it a bit easier to hear certain aspects of a show.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: AllGold
Date: August 20, 2006 04:01PM
No matter what helmet you wear, whenever you're on a motorcycle or scooter, drive as if you're invisible. Because all too often you WILL be to other drivers.
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Re: Motorcycle helmet questions... (long, probably too long for most)
Posted by: Racer X
Date: August 20, 2006 09:51PM
Quote
RAMd®d
Also, in CA it's illegal to tow a vehicle without a tow bar.

People get tagged for that all the time around here. It's almost rare to see somebody using just a chain or rope.

Washington State, and based on those two characters, they weren't smart enough to figure out a tow bar even if they had one. And the other obvious laws they broke weren't a deterrent either.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2006 09:52PM by Racer X.
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