I really like Shark helmets. There, I said it. I want to make it clear that I might have some bias towards these lids and I feel that bias is well earned. Shark may not be the most well recognized helmet manufacturer (in the USA, anyway) but they have been around a long time and their products compete well against their peers.
Recently I had the chance to review the Shark “Spartan” helmet for webBikeWorld.com and I leaped at the opportunity to handle a new bucket from Shark. The Spartan is their top helmet for sport touring, touring, and commuting use with a design geared towards upright and mild forward leaning riding positions.
Using a fiberglass shell, the Spartan offers lightweight while including comfort features like a drop down sun visor and a very comfy interior. This is all contained within a shell that shows the excellent paint and clearcoat finish that one should expect at the price point.
ADVRider.com member S21FOLGORE recently posted up a very informative thread on the popular adventure riding discussion board site detailing ways to deal with helmet “Hot Spots”. His post includes very detailed instructions on how to measure one’s head to determine the shape in a more specific way than simply round, oval, intermediate oval, etc.
He also details the issues with hot spots and demonstrates ways to address them. I am fortunate that my head shape fits in the general mold for most motorcycle helmet brands so I personally have not been affected by these issues. For those of you that do find most helmets uncomfortable to wear for more than 45 minutes or so I highly recommend reviewing the thread.
Even if you don’t have issues it is still an interesting read and the illustrations by the author are quite good. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find that your heads shape is different than you thought and you could end up making your current lid that much more comfy.
Scorpion continues to improve their class-leading 400 series helmets with EXO R420 and webBikeWorld recently sent me one for review. The R420 is more than just some new graphics and colors but instead is a rethinking of the 400 series from the inside and out. The internal shape has been changed as well as the lines of the exterior shell.
Solid construction combined with a Snell rating means one is getting good protection for around $150.00 (USD) and it looks good doing it. The EXO-R420 has a lot to live up to with the EXO-400 series helmets offering very good value as well as fit and finish that bests many helmets costing significantly more. My initial impression when handling and examining the helmet out of the box is that the EXO-R420 might very well be a worthy successor.
A great little strip of asphalt called Fairview-Kingston Springs Rd. Short but sweet!
I just realized how badly MotorcycleWords.com has been neglected by me over the past couple of months. Seeing as the weather has been less than “motorcycle-friendly” in my part of the country it is likely not surprising. Still, that’s no excuse for the emptiness and quiet that has descended on my humble little blog. So to get things warmed back up I thought I’d share some info on upcoming products I have in for review for webBikeWorld.com as well as some teasers for things on the way.
First up, I have one of the new Elipsol Air jackets from Pilot Motosport in house for review. This addition to Pilot’s lineup is a mashup of adventure styling and mesh airflow. I really like the styling of this jacket and in addition to light grey, dark grey, and Hi-Viz colors, they have a new “Sand” color which I totally dig. I’ve managed two short rides with it during the brief periods when it was warm enough but Spring is on the way and this review will be hitting wBW soon.
Sitting on the shelf waiting for warmer temps is a pair of riding jeans from Trilobite out of the Czech Republic. Their TON-UP riding jeans take a different approach than other riding jeans I’ve reviewed in the past as they do not have a separate lining for abrasion resistance. Instead, the denim used in the jeans is made from UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene) thread making it not only very durable but also much lighter than typical motorcycle specific jeans. The material is also very cool against the skin so I’ve been patiently waiting for Spring to show up so I can give these a full test.
In news not related to my wBW reviews, I’ve got a more installments of my “Risky Business” series of riding skills articles coming for 2018. I also am looking forward to announcing a new riding skills course that will (hopefully) be available later this year from a highly skilled motorcycle riding coach/instructor I’m lucky to be friends with. I’ll be posting up news about that as it gets closer to launch. If this is something you might be interested in attending please let em know so I can let you know when this is available.
If there were an official “household” name in motorcycle helmets, HJC would/could likely be that name, especially here in the in the United States. According to HJC, they have been the number one selling motorcycle helmet brand in the States since 1992 and has achieved this by offering a balance of good quality and reasonable price. As such, HJC has not been the most expensive or inexpensive choice around and has excelled at dominating the mid-range market.
My first motorcycle helmet was an HJC full-face model in 1993. I don’t recall much about it except it was black, full-face, and it did the job. I believe it was right around the $100.00 mark which fit well in my meager budget at the time. Since that first helmet I’ve had some other helmets from HJC but haven’t owned one in the past few years. When HJC provided a RPHA 70 ST for review, I jumped at the chance to check it out and see their latest and greatest.
So what is it? The Visor cat is a device one attaches over their left glove. This places a sponge, under a rubber squeegee/cover, on the back of the rider’s hand. Swiping to the right and then left, the squeegee/cover is opened exposing the sponge to the visor surface. Pulling back to the left brings the squeegee piece into contact with the visor clearing the fluid and grime soaked by the sponge. Within the Visorcat is a reservoir of cleaning solution that wicks toe the sponge to keep it soaked and ready to clean.
That’s basically the Visorcat in a nutshell. It’s not something I thought I would want myself but after seeing it first hand, they might have changed my mind. The only downside at the moment is that for riders here in the USA, there isn’t a distributor and so far. I did find that one of the UK distributors, Cupar Motorcycles is selling the Visorcat on eBay and will ship it to the States.
Dubbed “The Classic”, this helmet bag doesn’t look or function like your typical lid carry-all. Most helmet bags I’ve seen are pretty simple affairs made from nylon, polyester, or a similar textile. The Classic is made from full grain leather (there is a waxed cotton version too) and uses quality hardware like YKK brass (or gunmetal) zippers as well as heavy duty D-rings. The interior is lined with black twill cotton and an optional hounds-tooth pattern will be available for a bit of extra style on the inside.
The materials aren’t the only thing that set this helmet carrier from the rest. Neo and Sons make use of the empty space within the helmet for additional storage. I often carry my gloves in my helmet when I carry them around but this carrying bag has an integrated storage pocket that protrudes into the open helmet space from underneath.
My review of the Vemar Zephir helmet is posted today over at webBikeWorld.com. The Vemar Zephir has entered the ring to slug it out in the sub-$200.00 helmet space and it packs a wallop! To start with, the feature set is comprehensive with an internal drop-down sun visor, provision for a Pinlock Max-Vision insert, and a unique port for communications devices.
The Zephir also comes out its corner swinging with a comfortable liner and accurate sizing. If that’s not enough, the finish and overall build quality has this helmet punching well above its weight (or price!). All is not perfect but the minuses are definitely minor compared to the pluses. So is the Vemar Zephir a contender for your next helmet purchase?
Rick and “Burn” have just wrapped up their review of the newest addition to Shoei’s helmet lineup, the RF-SR. The new RF-SR is now the lowest priced member of the full-face lineup coming in at $399.00 (MSRP). Despite the low price you still end up with a lid that has the feel and fit that Shoei wearers have come to expect over the years.
While $399.00 might not sound like a budget helmet, it still is quite the bargain for those looking to move into Shoei for the first time. Despite being on the low end of pricing you still get great features like four shell sizes and excellent ventilation that are typical of the brand.
The initial offerings for colors is a bit thin with just solids available in black, grey, white, blue, and “tangerine”. Black and grey offer a matte finish option as well but no Hi-Viz or other bright colors are shown right now. Hopefully more will be on the way later this year.
Being a bit of a riding gear “nerd”, I recently started following some discussions on ADVrider.com regarding neck braces. These aren’t the kind one gets put in after an accident but rather the opposite. These are the kind that attempt to prevent the need of the “post-crash” ones.
Off-road riders have been using the collars and braces for years but there hasn’t been much on the consumer market for the street rider. Over the past fifteen years or so, there have been a lot technological strides in the neck brace area due on no small part to Christopher Leatt, who patented his design for the Leatt neck brace back in 2003.
Where once there were just padded collars (or “donuts”) the Leatt Brace had a framework of flexible and rigid parts designed to keep a rider’s head from flexing to the point of causing injury. This design requires that the rider be wearing a full-face helmet and it works by presenting a surface around the rider’s neck that physically stops the helmet from moving beyond a certain point. Continue reading
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