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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking into buying my first helmet and I'd appreciate some advice / recommendations. Needs to be full face, meet ECE 22.05 standard if possible ( read somewhere it was better than Snell or DOT, is that correct?), having a sun visor would be a definite plus, and if possible not break the bank - as I understand it the $600 helmets are not necessarily safer than $100 ones, but obviously I could be wrong because it's not like I have a ton of experience: do the $300+ helmets cost more because they are truly safer, or is it only that they offer more in terms of comfort and features, durability, quality (like they're less likely to have small parts like visor hinges break), etc...?

I read somewhere that only Schuberth actually publish their safety tests results. I'd imagine that's a definite plus, but at the same time it doesn't look like other brands like Arai, Shoei or Nolan have any issues safety-wise.

I saw the Bilt Speed Air Pump at cyclegear.com for $80, instead of ~$200 supposedly, which seemed like a good sale (sorry, can't post link), the reviews are generally good (on average), I was wondering if anyone has tried one or is using one?

Also, does anyone have recommendations for a good place to buy one online? As I understand it's best to go try some to check the fit and then order online. I bet the people in the shops are tired of dudes coming in for a fit but not buying. :biggrin:

I guess the bottom line is: Arais, Shoeis all seem to be $500+ and out of my price range. Schuberth seems to have a couple around $375, Nolan and Bell seem to have some for a little less. Maybe these two brands would have offerings that would be a good compromise? I think I'd be OK spending up to $250-$300 or so if it got me a product that is both safe AND very comfortable as well as good quality, etc...

Thanks for the help.
 

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I got a Shoei Qwest full face in July for around $300, but it doesn't have a built-in sun visor. And you don't have to spend that kind of money to get a good helmet. I got a good deal, but if I had it to do over again, I'm not sure I'd make the same purchase... not sure that I wouldn't.

UPDATE: My wife's helmet is a Gmax that was less than $150, and does have a built in sun visor. She loves it. If I was still in the market for a helmet, I would look at the Gmax, starting with the GM78. That said, I am pretty happy with my Shoei Qwest, other than the $300+ price tag.

I guess the bottom line is: Arais, Shoeis all seem to be $500+ and out of my price range.
 

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I have a Bilt helmet that l bought a year and a half ago for my class. After riding for a month or two, l was very ambitious about buying a new helmet. It is cheaply made, and you can tell by wearing it. The padding inside is thinner, and not real stable...it moves around quite a bit when l put my head in. This bothered me.

I bought an Arai Vector II. Yeah, it was a little over $600. The difference is amazing. The padding is thick and dense, yet soft and comfortable against your head and face. The level of confidence was way higher in it. The vents are fantastic...you can set them to where you have a nice breeze around your head in the Summer.

Do you need a $600 helmet? Absolutely not. You can find a very good helmet for half of that. I do believe that you get what you pay for, to a point. At some point, you are just paying for bells and whistles. I believe that you do need to spend a couple hundred bucks at least to get into a quality hat though.

Also, fit is huge. For instance, Bell makes great helmets, but l have a small, narrow head, and they don't fit me at all. So l would never buy a Bell helmet no matter how good a deal it was or how many great features it had. I went to Cycle Gear and tried on different helmets. Arai and Shoei both fit me very well, so l wrote down the models that fit me best...this is important, because different models are for different head shapes...then once l found a few models that fit well, l went home and scoured the internet for designs that l liked, found my fav and bought it.

Also, l bought a couple of different tinted visors for my helmet...they range from $40 to $100. Which leads me to my next point. I don't mean to discourage you in any way, but please know this...motorcycling is not cheap. It is not cheaper than driving a car and if your idea is to get a bike to save money, l am here to tell you that it will not work out that way. Gas is cheaper, and sometimes insurance...that is where the savings stop. Gear, maintenance, tires...it adds up and you always need something. Tires alone cost almost as much for a set as it does to put 4 on a car, but car tires last 3-5 times longer. So what you are doing, pricing and looking for deals and the best prices, is a good thing. But also know that sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and spend good money for good products. A helmet is one of those times, IMO. Gloves and boots also qualify. This is just my opinion of course. Many guys ride on the cheap. To each their own.
 

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HJC makes good helmets at good prices. That's my go to recommendation if anyone is looking for inexpensive but good helmets.

I've heard good things about Gmax and Scorpion but don't have personal experience with them. I have owned one Speed & Strength helmet, and it's decent.

Personally, I wouldn't buy a Bilt helmet just from my experience with other Bilt products. Just my opinion.

There is a U.K. organization that test helmets independently called SHARP. They won't have all helmet models tested, especially those that are only available in US (like Bilt). But you can look up many popular helmets. You may be surprised to see that a budget HJC helmet get a higher safety rating than a Shoei or AGV. It's not a be all, end all of ratings, but it's a place to start.

Here's another place with good info: webBikeWorld. Scroll about halfway down the page and you can read all about helmet safety standards like ECE, Snell, etc.

For place to buy online, try:

Dennis Kirk - free return shipping on helmets
Cycle Gear - 7 day return policy on any brand
Revzilla - Call them and they can help you find a helmet. Seriously. They are very helpful.
MotorcycleGear - Good deals if you know what you want.
 

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Hawk is right, spend as much as you can afford on the helmet. Safety may not be an issue but fit, comfort, quality, weight and especially noise will be.

I use a Shoei GT Air which is on the expensive end but it comes with a built in sun visor and a pinlock anti fog insert, and it is very good.

My experience over many years is that each manufacture tends to make for a different head shape. I cannot wear an Arai or AGV for instance but Shoei is OK and I've had 6 of their helmets now.
 
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