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.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.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.
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