Archive for the ‘motorcycle helmets’ Category

Rain Riders

Monday, June 9th, 2014
Rain On Motorcycles

Nothing like a little moisture to liven up your day on the bike.

You may have noticed we’ve been having rain lately. I do ride in the rain but lately I’ve seen some people who are much more hard-core than I am.

I rode to work one day recently when rain was predicted and sure enough, about 20 minutes before I was planning to leave it was coming down in buckets. I had brought my rain gear in off the bike so I was prepared to head out in the downpour if necessary.

To my good fortune, by the time I did leave the rain had stopped. I still suited up because I knew that with water on the street I’d still be getting wet.

What really surprised me on that ride home was how many other people on bikes I saw. And what really surprised me was how many of them were the cruiser types with no helmets and no rain gear. I mean, unless all these folks headed out as I had, right after the downpour stopped, they must have been riding in the rain. I’ve ridden in the rain with no helmet; I don’t like it. It stings! Those little drops are like needles. And no rain gear? Yeah, I’ve gotten soaked before, even got a bit of hypothermia one time, but that’s why I own and use a good rain suit. As I say, if you’re going to get out and ride with no helmet and no rain suit you’re a lot more hard core than I am.

I’ve also seem some people who weren’t as hard core, but they at least were out in it, though some looked miserable.

The one that really caught my eye, though–and boy do I wish I could have shot a picture–was a couple on a sport bike. Not sure what the bike was; I was looking at them. It was pouring and he had no helmet and just a regular riding jacket. She had no helmet, just a winter coat that looked soaked, and a huge backpack strapped on her back, also soaked.

Were they really happy to be out riding? Or was he in for some serious crap once they got where they were headed, about “I’m never riding with you again unless . . .”?

You know what I like? I like a jacket that seals snugly at the (high) collar, a helmet that comes down below the top of the collar, serious rain jacket and pants, rubber booties, and waterproof mittens that allow me to slip my gloved hands inside. A nice full fairing helps, too. I can ride all day with all that stuff because I’m warm and dry.

Apparently some people are OK with less. To them I just say, “Wow. You are hard core.”

Biker Quote for Today

Not knowing where you are going is part of the adventure!

UN Pushing Global Helmet Mandate

Saturday, April 19th, 2014
weird helmets

Proof that wearing a helmet doesn't necessarily keep your head safe.

Bureaucrats really should mind their own business. This is no joke: the United Nations General Assembly voted to urge all its members to enact mandatory helmet laws.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m all for helmets, and always wear one myself, but I do not believe government has any justification for requiring everyone riding a motorcycle to wear one. Yeah, I know this is beating a dead horse; either you agree or you don’t and nobody is going to change anyone else’s mind.

Of course, you know it doesn’t stop at motorcyclists. We were up in Breckenridge last weekend and I saw a lot of skiers wearing helmets. How long will it be before either the government decides to mandate helmets for skiers or, perhaps even more likely, the ski operators start telling people they can’t ski their mountain without a helmet?

And then there are equestrians. Many people who ride horses now wear helmets, and helmets are showing up at rodeos now. How long before those are mandatory?

And then the bicyclists. Of course many of them wear helmets now but those excuses for helmets are only effective if you go down and hit a particular way. Good luck on that. My sister-in-law was wearing one when she got hit by a truck and she suffered permanent brain damage. So do we mandate that all bicyclists must wear real helmets, helmets like those we motorcyclists wear, that actually offer protection? They’ll be happy to have that extra weight won’t they?

And to all those who say, “yes, but if it saves even one life it’s worth it,” I say, then let’s require people in cars to wear helmets. How many thousands of lives a year would that save? That has to be really worth it!

Or we could all just agree life is inherently dangerous and we’re all going to die sometime, so in the meantime, let’s just all enjoy life in the manner we see fit, providing of course that we don’t do harm to others. Shouldn’t the UN be doing something constructive, like keeping Russia out of Ukraine, rather than worrying about my head? No one cares more about my head than I do. I’ll take responsibility for it. You go do your job in Eastern Europe.

Biker Quote for Today

Ride safe, ride often.

Hawk Helmet Partial Report

Monday, February 18th, 2013
Hawk H-6607 Glossy Black Dual-Visor Modular Motorcycle Helmet with Bluetooth

I've been using this Hawk helmet and while I like it, it has issues.

I mentioned previously that I had been given this Hawk modular, bluetooth-equipped helmet to test and review, but with winter upon us the opportunities for testing have been limited. This is an intermediary report.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a great day for riding so Judy and I were finally going to sync up the bluetooth in the helmet with the UClear bluetooth communicator she has in her helmet. The bad news is, as far as I can tell, it can’t be done. Both communicators have instructions for syncing to identical devices, as well as to your smartphone and your iPod. But as many different approaches as we took to sync them to each other we were unsuccessful. Bummer. So now all I guess I can do is call a friend with a bluetooth-enabled cell phone and give the helmet that sort of test. That’s the later report that will follow this intermediary report.

badly bent connector prong on Hawk helmet

You can see how the prong is bent improperly.

I have more to report about the Hawk helmet, however. To put things in simple, direct terms, it seems to be a fairly cheap helmet. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a DOT helmet so it should offer protection. And let’s face it, it currently retails for $160–with the bluetooth!–so it’s probably inevitable that the helmet itself is not great. So the question is, with that acknowledgement, is it a good investment if you want the communicator option (though you’d need to get one for each of you)?

This is where the inability to try out the communicator is an issue. Until I can test the sound quality I can’t answer this question. But if it is good sound quality I would say yes, it is worth it. I mean, it’s a nice enough inexpensive helmet. The modular (flip-up) aspect of it is nice. Not having to fuss with wires and speakers is nice. Having the drop-down sun visor built in is nice. All for an outrageously good price.

But there’s a caveat here. If you buy this helmet you’re going to want to inspect it carefully when it arrives and be prepared to send it back if it does not meet quality standards. Let me tell you about the one I received.

Hawk helmet with properly shaped prongs.

This is the other side, which is properly shaped.

Where the flip-up portion meshes with the rest of the helmet it is intended to meet smoothly. On one side of the helmet it did; on the other side it did not. There was about an eighth of an inch gap. Trying to figure out what the story was, I concluded the flip-up part must snap off if you’re going to replace the visor, so I snapped it off. Then I saw the problem, as you can see in the photos. Those two prongs are supposed to slide into a couple slots. On the side where you see that one is bent wrong, the slots that were cut into the helmet were much smaller than on the other side. And obviously one prong did not make it into that too-small slot, and it bent. This is a quality control issue. This helmet should never have left the factory in this condition.

Now, I bent the prong back and with a little shaping was able to get it to where it would slip in, and now it’s just fine. But I shouldn’t have had to do that.

Another issue was with the drop-down sun visor, though I believe that was tied to this other problem. As it was, the visor would not stay up. It was just too loose and vibration from riding would cause it to creep down. Now that the two pieces mesh the way they are supposed to, however, this problem seems to have been eliminated.

The third issue is with the piece–I don’t know what it’s called–that rises up in the front, on the inside, to either keep your nose from getting sun-burned or perhaps to deflect your breath from fogging the visor on cold days. I’m not sure what its purpose is, but a lot of helmets have them. The problem with this piece is that it won’t stay in place; it just falls out. I considered using some epoxy to glue it in place permanently but decided instead just to set it aside and not use it. It’s not in any way essential.

So you see what I mean about cheap. Nevertheless, I really want to like this helmet. As long as it does in fact protect my head–which is the true reason for wearing a helmet–the idea that you get all these extra features for such a crazy low price is just amazing.

That brings it down to the question of how well the communicator works. If I finally get that tested and it works well, then I will be offering this helmet a positive recommendation with reservations regarding the quality control. Till then, I do continue to wear it. After all, it’s not a bad helmet.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Motorcycle safety studies continue

Biker Quote for Today

Have maximum fun while preserving bike and body.