How to Select the Right Helmet

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How to Select the Right Helmet

Buying the right motorbike helmet is one of the most important decisions a motorbiker makes when purchasing motorbiking gear. Determining the right helmet for an individual consumer requires considering the different parts of the helmet, as well as the types of helmets available. Whereas an open-face helmet might be the right helmet for a casual street motorbiker who does not travel at high speeds, a half-helmet would not be appropriate for a motorbiker who rides on very difficult terrain. Furthermore, a lot of what goes into choosing the right helmet is dependent on a basic understanding of the different parts of the helmet.

Included in the decisionmaking process should be a consideration of various safety concerns. While some of these considerations fall squarely with the type of helmet, some of these concerns have more to do with fit and safety certifications. The right motorbike helmet is available for purchase at motorbike stores, automotive stores, as well as online at eBay. In order to purchase the right helmet, a consumer must consider the different parts of the helmet, the types of helmets available, and the many important safety concerns.

Different Parts of the Helmet

In order to buy the right motorbike helmet, a consumer must first understand the different parts that make up the motorbike helmet. The different parts of the motorbike helmet include, the outer shell, the inner lining, the chin strap, and the visor or face shield.

Outer Shell

All motorbike helmets have a hard outer shell that is made of plastic, or a combination of fibreglass, kevlar, and carbon fibre. The outer shell is designed to protect the head of the wearer upon impact. As a result, the outer shell absorbs the energy upon impact and spreads it out, or fractures, in order to substantially reduce the amount of energy absorbed by the rider.

Inner Liner

The inner liner of a motorbike helmet is typically made from a layer of moulded and expanded polystyrene foam. The inner lining acts as the second line of protection for the head, absorbing energy that is not stopped by the outer shell. With a severe impact, the inner liner condenses to cushion the wearer's head.

Chin Strap

A helmet is secured onto the head of the wearer by a piece of nylon, or the chin strap. The chin strap usually comes down from as a fastener from each side of the head, extending from the helmet's ear cups or from the side of the helmet. Typically, the left chin strap is equipped with some sort of device to allow the right chin strap to fasten securely to the left chin strap.

Visor or Face Shield

Visors, or face shields, are a popular safety accessory for the right motorbike helmet. Face shields, or visors, are used to protect the eyes from debris and other natural elements, such as extreme sunlight and precipitation. Visors, or face shields, are typically made of polycarbonate plastics and come in clear, tinted, or coloured varieties, depending on the preference of the consumer.

Types of Helmets

In addition to considering the different parts of a motorbike helmet, is it also important for consumers to consider the different types of motorbike helmets available. Doing the right amount of research into the advantages and disadvantages of each type of helmet, ensures that a buyer is purchasing the right helmet based on the type of riding and the terrain.

Full-Face Helmet

The full-face helmet covers the entire head, including the rear base of the skull and the entire chin. Most full-face helmets have a cutout that covers the eyes and nose with a face shield, to allow for maximum protection and visibility simultaneously. On the negative side, full-face helmets tend to be stuffy, reduce the ability to hear, and create a sense of isolation. However, on the positive side, the full-face helmet provides the most protection out of all types of motorbike helmets available for on-road riding.

Off-Road/Motocross

The off-road, or motocross helmet, is designed for more difficult terrain than the road. As such, it provides most of the protection of a full-face helmet, and additionally has an elongated chin and visor cutout. Further, the off-road helmet is distinguishable from the full-face helmet because it has a partially open face and chin bar. The partially open face is designed to allow the rider to wear the appropriate goggles, as well as to allow air to pass through the opening. The chin bar is typically angular, rather than round, to provide maximum protection to the chin upon impact.

Flip-Up/Modular Helmet

Flip-up, or modular helmets, are often known for their convertibility. When fully assembled they closely resemble the full-face helmet. However, this helmet differs in that the chin bar can be pivoted upward to allow access to most of the face without actually removing the helmet. Typically, the chin bar is always in the closed position while riding.

While the removable chin bar is often an added advantage, the curved shape of the open chin bar and face section has the potential to cause increased wind drag during rides, as well as stifled air flow throughout the interior of the helmet. Some motorbike riders enjoy this type of helmet because it offers the protection of a full-face helmet, in combination with the convenience of the open face helmet.

Open-Face Helmet

The open-face helmet covers the ears, cheeks, and back of the head, but lacks the lower chin bar that is characteristic of the full-face helmet. In addition, most open-face helmets have some type of visor or face shield to cover three quarters of the face. Although the open-face helmet has the advantage of more airflow and ventilation, it also has several disadvantages including, the potential for debris and bugs in the face and eyes, as well as much less protection from injury upon impact.

Half Helmet

The half helmet is a popular model dating back to the time of road racers from the 1960s in the British Isles. The half helmet has the same front design as the open-face helmet, but without the lower rear portion of the helmet. Most motorbike riders supplement this design with goggles or other kinds of eye protection. This helmet is the least popular amongst motorbike enthusiasts because of the minimal protection it provides to wearers.

Comparison of the Types of Helmets

The following chart provides a helpful comparison of the different types of motorbike helmets available including a clear picture of the advantages and disadvantages of each and their general affordability. This chart should not be used as a substitute for individual consumer research.

Type of Helmet

Advantages

Disadvantages

Affordability

Full-Face

Maximum protection from impact

Minimal air ventilation

Reduces senses

Sense of isolation

€€€

Off-Road/Motocross

Maximum protection from impact

Elongated chin

Visor cutout

Reduces senses

Reduced ventilation

€€€€

Flip-up/Modular

Maximum protection when fully assembled

Convenience of open- face helmet

Convertibility

Wind drag

Stifled air flow

€€€

Open-Face

Maximum ventilation

Minimal protection to face and chin upon impact

Minimal protection from debris, bugs, and dirt in the face and eyes

€€

Half

Vintage-inspired look

Versatile with individual goggle selection

No lower rear portion of the helmet

Minimal protection

This chart provides some further insight into the positive and negative aspects of each type of helmet, as well as the general affordability. There are numerous manufacturers who make quality models of each type of helmet.

Safety Considerations of the Right Helmet

One of the most important factors to think about when looking for the right helmet are several safety considerations. Safety considerations, proper fit, as well as certain safety certifications, are all important factors to make note of when attempting to purchase the right helmet.

Proper Fit

One of the most important features for ensuring a safe helmet is making sure that it fits properly. Often times, this includes trying on a helmet before purchase. First, consumers should put the helmet on and buckle the chin strap. The chin strap should fit snugly against the chin. Second, consumers should try to pull the helmet off from the back of the head forward. The helmet should not move significantly with this pull. Lastly, the cheek pads should only allow minimal movement when twisting the helmet.

Certification

Most helmets come with some type of safety certification. Consumers should familiarise themselves with their local department of safety and find out what safety certifications have been authorised. Most certification provides that a helmet is made to absorb significant force upon impact. In addition, for consumers interested in racing, there are separate standards identified by safety certifications, such as its British Standards Institute certification.

Using the Best Sellers

The right helmet should provide the desired amount of protection to one of the most important parts of the body, the head. As a result, consumers should pay attention to helpful features on the eBay website, such as Top-Rated Sellers. Top-Rated Sellers are those sellers that eBay has identified as consistently delivering items, providing adequate descriptions, and charging fair postage. Buying the right helmet from a Top-Rated Seller helps buyers ensure that they are purchasing exactly what the seller is offering, giving you peace-of-mind in the motorbike helmet buying process.

Conclusion

Purchasing the right motorbike helmet is an important decision in the life of a motorbike enthusiast. The right motorbike helmet provides the desired protection from injury, as well as the desired amount of versatility. A basic understanding of the different parts that make up the helmet help a buyer to better understand the different types of motorbike helmets available for purchase. All of the motorbike helmets have different advantages and disadvantages, and should be thoroughly researched to ensure that a consumer is purchasing the right helmet for the right motorbiking activity. For example, a half helmet is not an appropriate choice of helmet for serious off-roading, but may be acceptable for riding on paved streets, at low speeds.

Safety is one of the most important considerations for a consumer when shopping for the right helmet, and as a result, should be given serious thought. The right fit and certifications play a large role in determining the safety of a helmet. Motorbiking is a fun and safe sport or leisure activity when equipped with the right helmet.

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