This is topic The 'ideal' helmet... in forum Spec Miata Safety at Spec Miata Community.


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Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
I've been pondering a new helmet and debating what to get. Like most things, the pictures and descriptions in the catalogs look nice, but real world experience trumps.

Here is what I think is important in the helmet (in no particular order):
1. Reliable quality (not Chinese)
2. Removable lining
3. Adjustable fit
4. Visor that locks in any position but is easily adjusted
5. HANS ready
6. Good ventilation
7. Radio ready (preferably with ear cups for speakers)
8. Light weight
9. Widely available accessories
10. EJECT compatible

I was pretty set on buying a new Bell when the SA2010 buckets became available, but they are now Chinese-made.

I'd love to get everyone's insights into the 'ideal' helmet and also experiences with what helmets work and don't work (not from a crash test dummy perspective).
 
Posted by Scottie (Member # 3779) on :
 
Kent, I am with you on this, as my snell 2000 helmet needs some replacing now!
 
Posted by Keith in WA (Member # 16099) on :
 
First and foremost is fit. A good helmet should be snug front to back and side to side but not painfully so. When I try them on, I shake my head around like mad to see if it moves with my head or just rattles around on my head. It’s both a safety thing and a comfort thing. A poor fitting helmet can come off or even strangle you.

I would never buy one without trying on at least a helmet of the same brand.
 
Posted by Greg Bush (Member # 618) on :
 
Forfive the hijack, but are SA2000 still good for next year?

I thought there was a delay in the release of the SA2010 standard...

Thanks,
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
I have been using a Sparco WTT-TK for the last few years. The cheek pads are removable and it has ear cups for radio speakers which is really nice. It's light, too. But that is all it has going for it. No adjustability for fit, parts are impossible to get (including visors).
 
Posted by Danny Steyn (Member # 7356) on :
 
As Bell used to say -

"If you have a $10 head, get a $10 helmet"

Never skimp on safety

I love my Arai GP5W helmet - best I have ever owned
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Bush:
Forfive the hijack, but are SA2000 still good for next year?

I thought there was a delay in the release of the SA2010 standard...

Thanks,

That's a complicated question. The SCCA has allowed helmets of the current and previous standard to be used in the past. SA2005 will remain a 'current standard' by all reports, so SA2000 will remain just one revision out of standard. Unless I'm mistaken, the current GCR specifies that the SA2000 helmets are legal.
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Keith in WA:
First and foremost is fit. A good helmet should be snug front to back and side to side but not painfully so. When I try them on, I shake my head around like mad to see if it moves with my head or just rattles around on my head. It’s both a safety thing and a comfort thing. A poor fitting helmet can come off or even strangle you.

I would never buy one without trying on at least a helmet of the same brand.

I find I can't really assess fit until it's been on my head for 2 hours, but I agree that a good snugness is important. My current bucket is comfy for about an hour and then begins to hurt right above my forehead.
 
Posted by fishguyaz (Member # 3927) on :
 
denny,
from reading the first post it sounds like bell are now being made in china.

maybe someone can translate the bell slogan into chinese.
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Danny Steyn:
As Bell used to say -

"If you have a $10 head, get a $10 helmet"

Never skimp on safety

I love my Arai GP5W helmet - best I have ever owned

What makes you like it... this is what I'm trying to find out.
 
Posted by Danny Steyn (Member # 7356) on :
 
Kent

hope this helps - these are my observations after using and trying several helmets


* it has a WIDE eyeport - great for HANS restrained helmets
* its light - Carbon/Kevlar/FRP mix
* it fits really well - you have to open it up to put it on, then it clamps around the noggin. If you jump up and down and violently shake your head it never moves.
* this also helps keep the earphones securely in place
* good distance away from mouth - gives plenty of room to run microphone and drinks bottle line
* excellent parts availability
* great warranty - they completely replaced the liner on my first one after I complained about a seam
* different colors of visors available as well as the DTM style peak
* easy to modify internally to run a vented forced induction system


Unfortunately it is now no longer made - the new top of the line ARAI helmet is the GP6 and I do not see a GP6W - not sure how wide the GP6 eyeport is. I suspect that you can still get the GP5W from several retailers
 
Posted by Keith in WA (Member # 16099) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
quote:
Originally posted by Keith in WA:
First and foremost is fit. A good helmet should be snug front to back and side to side but not painfully so. When I try them on, I shake my head around like mad to see if it moves with my head or just rattles around on my head. It’s both a safety thing and a comfort thing. A poor fitting helmet can come off or even strangle you.

I would never buy one without trying on at least a helmet of the same brand.

I find I can't really assess fit until it's been on my head for 2 hours, but I agree that a good snugness is important. My current bucket is comfy for about an hour and then begins to hurt right above my forehead.
What I've found makes a big difference is how dense the foam padding is. Some have a thicker softer foam that seems to create less pressure points. I used a Shoei on my motorcycle that felt like stuffing my head between the couch cushions. I could ride 10 hrs w/o discomfort. My Pyrotect has denser foam that does the same thing as yours.
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Keith in WA:
quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
quote:
Originally posted by Keith in WA:
First and foremost is fit. A good helmet should be snug front to back and side to side but not painfully so. When I try them on, I shake my head around like mad to see if it moves with my head or just rattles around on my head. It’s both a safety thing and a comfort thing. A poor fitting helmet can come off or even strangle you.

I would never buy one without trying on at least a helmet of the same brand.

I find I can't really assess fit until it's been on my head for 2 hours, but I agree that a good snugness is important. My current bucket is comfy for about an hour and then begins to hurt right above my forehead.
What I've found makes a big difference is how dense the foam padding is. Some have a thicker softer foam that seems to create less pressure points. I used a Shoei on my motorcycle that felt like stuffing my head between the couch cushions. I could ride 10 hrs w/o discomfort. My Pyrotect has denser foam that does the same thing as yours.
I'm afraid that's a basic difference between SA and M helmets, but I only have experience with a Simpson Voyager ($) and the Sparco WTT-TK ($$$$).

By the way, money really isn't an object in this discussion for me until we invoke Schumbert or Stand21/Toulouse.
 
Posted by Keith in WA (Member # 16099) on :
 
Not necessarily. My Pyrotect is "almost" a Bell helmet. Same shape and even came with Bell literature in the box. At my last race, I tried on a Bell that looks identical to mine and is the same size. The Bell had much softer padding. Not quite like the Shoei but night and day compared to the Pyrotect.

Unfortunately I don't have much experience with many other brands in SA rated.
 
Posted by GROOTS (Member # 4089) on :
 
I have heard that the OMP helmets are very comfortable. Has anyone had any experience with them ?
 
Posted by Gatoratty (Member # 15983) on :
 
I have been very happy with my Arai GP-5W. My dilemma is that I am installing a helmet blower with my coolshirt system and am trying to decide whether to have my Arai adapted for a side air intake for $200 or just buy a new Top forced air helmet. I was looking at the Bell Infusion TFA as the SA-2005 models are being discounted and I believe they were not made in China.
 
Posted by iambhooper (Member # 25235) on :
 
Interesting, I started a similar thread over in the Sandbox, earlier today. My Pyrotek is a SA2000, so it's time to replace it.

I can't afford top of the line, but am looking in the $6-700 range.

hoop
 
Posted by Brian Ghidinelli (Member # 2327) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
By the way, money really isn't an object in this discussion for me until we invoke Schumbert or Stand21/Toulouse. [/QB]

I ran a session at Laguna with the Stand 21 test helmet after a custom fitting. As a point of reference I have a Bell M3 with the large eyeport and this was the Stand 21 IVOS Double Duty. Absolutely incredible helmet; didn't notice the much smaller eyeport as soon as I got on track and the trackside support was awesome. Cost ~$1800. [Eek!]

The problem is, I think it's worth it, I just don't know how to pay for it. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by W. Bonsell (Member # 14917) on :
 
I've been using a Pyrotech and it's okay for what I paid...pretty comfortable and not too heavy. But,

Bought my son a Simpson SA2005 which was on sale at OG Racing at a very nice price, and I have to admit it fits better and is lighter than my Pyrotech.

Bill
 
Posted by KeithSE (Member # 31095) on :
 
I just purchased a new helmet and went through trying many on. For me it is all about proper fit. I tried to keep the cost down and buy a large, medium, small helmet. They did not fit me properly. I had to get one that is fit with hat sizes. I got the Bell M4 Pro and it is fine for me. It was predrilled for Hans posts. I don't use a radio so don't know how that would work, I would guess it could be done ok. I know this one doesn't smell like my old one [Smile] .
 
Posted by Teamfour (Member # 6000) on :
 
I use a Bell M4 and it is super comfortable. The wide eyeport is a crucial feature for me since I wear glasses. I will buy another when it is time to replace the SA2005.
 
Posted by B Boutz (Member # 31238) on :
 
Groots, I had tried an OMP helmet on and found it to be a little on the small side. That was a shame because I liked how it was built.
 
Posted by Keith in WA (Member # 16099) on :
 
One thing to remember when anyone says a helmet is comfortable, fits well, etc. That's their head. Outside of car racing, I've used many different brands for many different silly sports. Many of them also make car racing hemets.

There seem to be two basic headforms they model the helmets on. One is a longer narrower head. The other is a rounder head. If you have one shape head and they have the other, it may fit them well but you terribly. Sizes tend to vary a bit from brand to brand also. If you buy a fitted baseball cap, they come in 1/8" increments. Helmets tend to merge a bunch of those sizes into a "large".
 
Posted by cnj (Member # 13716) on :
 
Kent,

Thanks for starting the thread. I also have to replace my helmet and have the same priorities you have listed - and so I am starting my hunt. This info is useful.

I gather that you would be happy with a Bell except that it is made in China and as I remember from your previous posts, you don't believe in their quality control. Of course I type this on an Ipad with my new Mac Air sitting next to me and my Iphone nearby, all of which were built in China and have yet to burst into flames. I wonder where Bell fits on the QC curve.

Craig J
 
Posted by Jeff Wasilko (Member # 10235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
Here is what I think is important in the helmet (in no particular order):
1. Reliable quality (not Chinese)
2. Removable lining
3. Adjustable fit
4. Visor that locks in any position but is easily adjusted
5. HANS ready
6. Good ventilation
7. Radio ready (preferably with ear cups for speakers)
8. Light weight
9. Widely available accessories
10. EJECT compatible

I was hoping to wait until the end of the year to pick up a new 2010 helmet, but I broke down and bought a new Stilo helmet since my old SA2000's visor was unrepairable.

I bought it mostly because it was light and had built-in mic and earcups. It's made in Italy, and is very well built. It also has provisions for air and water. It comes with multiple thickness of pads and earcups, so the fit can be altered quite a bit.

My only complaint is that it's got a somewhat small eyeport.

It was around $900 with speakers/mic/cables.

http://www.stilo-usa.com/?gclid=CI-ppv_nkqUCFQo65QodD0bbQA
 
Posted by Dusty Bottoms (Member # 594) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kent Carter:
I find I can't really assess fit until it's been on my head for 2 hours, but I agree that a good snugness is important. My current bucket is comfy for about an hour and then begins to hurt right above my forehead.

+1
 
Posted by Gatoratty (Member # 15983) on :
 
If you can make the trip to Orlando in December the PRI show is the place to try on every type of helmet made and sold in America. You can also talk to the factory reps and find out things like the fact that Simpson will make a helmet to fit your head size, or you can order custom colors. Last year I looked at the Stilo helmets at the show when they were still searching for a US distributor. You can also look at just about every other type of racing equipment as well.
 
Posted by SCCA_Racer (Member # 24816) on :
 
I will add my experience as limited as it is since I have only owned two helmets. My first helmet was an Arai and I loved it as it fit great and was lighter than my friends open face helmet. Just this year I upgraded to a new helmet hoping to get a 2010 but then as some of you know SNELL 2010's did not come out unitl now. I ended up with a HJC Si-12 as it is lighter than my Arai and it was on sale through SoloRacer.com The only thing I have to say about the helmet Si-12 that I occationally notice the chin strap feeling as through it is closer to my neck than my Arai helmet chin strap fit. Other tha that minor fit issue I love my helmet. Keep in mind a heavy helmet only gets heavier as the race weekend goes on. I put helmet weight high on my selection list with fitment right next to it. Good luck helmet hunting!
 
Posted by Ken Wilkinson (Member # 17809) on :
 
I am putting together a group buy for SA 2010 helmets from 6 different manufactures for delivery after the first of the year.
If you are interested, let me know and stay tuned for details.
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SCCA_Racer:
I will add my experience as limited as it is since I have only owned two helmets. My first helmet was an Arai and I loved it as it fit great and was lighter than my friends open face helmet. Just this year I upgraded to a new helmet hoping to get a 2010 but then as some of you know SNELL 2010's did not come out unitl now. I ended up with a HJC Si-12 as it is lighter than my Arai and it was on sale through SoloRacer.com The only thing I have to say about the helmet Si-12 that I occationally notice the chin strap feeling as through it is closer to my neck than my Arai helmet chin strap fit. Other tha that minor fit issue I love my helmet. Keep in mind a heavy helmet only gets heavier as the race weekend goes on. I put helmet weight high on my selection list with fitment right next to it. Good luck helmet hunting!

Those are nice looking helmets... where are they made?
 
Posted by Mike LL (Member # 16255) on :
 
My son has an Arai and an Si-12. The Si is amazingly light, it is made in Korea by HJC. The Arai is heavier overal but alot of the weight is low so it doesn't seem as heavy when it is on. But he says the same as Joshua, it feels sometimes like it wants to choke him if he doesn't have the strap tight. It is closer to the neck than the Arai. HJC is the largest helmet maker in the world, according to them.
 
Posted by Howard (Member # 22885) on :
 
Does anyone have advice on a good helmet for people who wear eyeglasses? I have trouble getting my glasses into my full face helmet, through the balaclava (which I have slotted)and over my ears. It's usually so difficult that I have to get it done before I go to the grid and end up setting there sweating while everybody else waits until the 5 minute board before putting their helmet on. Another problem is fogging up my glasses with the visor down on cooler days. Any suggestions?

Howard
 
Posted by Tom Kirkham (Member # 25970) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Howard:
Does anyone have advice on a good helmet for people who wear eyeglasses? I have trouble getting my glasses into my full face helmet, through the balaclava (which I have slotted)and over my ears... Any suggestions? Howard

You might want to try eye glasses with bayonet temples. Bayonet temples were designed for military pilots to fit comfortable under head-gear and enable them to quickly place or remove their eye wear.
See http://www.amazon.com/RANDOLPH-ENGINEERING-AVIA...TF8&qid=1289493771&sr=8-1
 
Posted by Danny Steyn (Member # 7356) on :
 
I wear regular sun glasses with the GP5W all the time with no problem
 
Posted by Trevor McC (Member # 12466) on :
 
Kent,
I bought a new helmet this year, see link below (HJC HX-10):

http://www.hjc-motorsports.com/hx10.htm
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevor McC:
Kent,
I bought a new helmet this year, see link below (HJC HX-10):

http://www.hjc-motorsports.com/hx10.htm

Meet any of my wish-list criteria?
 
Posted by Trevor McC (Member # 12466) on :
 
Most of them but don't know of any that meet the "whole" list...

My key items:
- Removable lining
- Visibility
- HANS ready
- Good ventilation
- Light weight
 
Posted by Greg Bush (Member # 618) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Howard:
Does anyone have advice on a good helmet for people who wear eyeglasses? I have trouble getting my glasses into my full face helmet, through the balaclava (which I have slotted)and over my ears. It's usually so difficult that I have to get it done before I go to the grid and end up setting there sweating while everybody else waits until the 5 minute board before putting their helmet on. Another problem is fogging up my glasses with the visor down on cooler days. Any suggestions?

Howard

Bayonet temples and a helmet blower are your answer.

I wear glasses from Rudy Project with prescription inserts. Not cheap, but work great.

Having the blower makes it easier to keep the visor down 100%. I worry about glass coming into the car (seen it first hand) and don't want it in my eyes.
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Trevor McC:
Most of them but don't know of any that meet the "whole" list...

My key items:
- Removable lining
- Visibility
- HANS ready
- Good ventilation
- Light weight

Good info... thanks!
 
Posted by Robert G (Member # 27140) on :
 
I been using Simpson & I love them. I started racing Quarter Midgets and I took a shot to the back of my head with a Simpson Helmet equivalent to a pro baseball player taking a full swing at the back of my head. This is according to Simpson who I sent the helmet back. The shell only cracked in a small section and I was ok, only had a major migraine afterwards and finish 1st in that race. I love the way the Simpson fits me, snug. I have the AIR INFORCER SHARK and I love it, even though I haven't hooked the Air.
 
Posted by Juan Pineda (Member # 1581) on :
 
I'm in the market for a new helmet too.

I have a 2005 Stand 21 helmet that I got 5 years ago mostly because it was really light, and I considered that an important safety consideration. My helmet gets a lot of use, and at this point the insides are completely gone. I could have the helmet refurbished for a cost of $300. But I'm considering replacing it for two reasons.

1) From what I'm seeing, I think the 2010 helmets will be a lot lighter. For example, the large Pyrotect 2010 helmet weighs 3.3 lbs, vs 3.1 lbs for my medium Stand 21.

2) While I liked the Stand 21 removable insides, ultimately, I'm unsure whether they are secure enough. The interior pads are actually rather small and are Velcro'ed into place.

Funny, but I actually liked the Pyrotect construction when I looked at it 5 years ago. And the liners come out so you can wash them, but seem to be better design than Stand 21. Haven't worn one for any extended period, so I don't know how they would feel.

The one thing I'm pretty sure about is that the 2010 helmets will be better, and it's probably worth getting one over any 2005. Probably even vs. refurbishing my Stand 21 for $300.

-Juan
 
Posted by Keith in WA (Member # 16099) on :
 
I hate small pads attached with velcro. They tend to fall apart in my experience. When they've fallen apart while I'm wearing the helmet, I've had the pointy side of the remaining vecro still stuck to the helmet take all the skin of the middle of my forehead as the helmet rattled around for a while. It wasn't pleasant.

At least with larger pads attached with multiple pieces of velcro, if bit of velcro goes bad the remaining bits keep the pad from falling out.
 
Posted by Brian Ghidinelli (Member # 2327) on :
 
@Juan - you're unlikely to find anything significantly lighter than your 3.1lb Stand 21 (is this with HANS anchors, radio, etc? If so, that is LIGHT). The HJC Si-12 is one of the lightest helmets out that isn't a full carbon lid right about 3.0lbs in a large. There's not many helmets that break the 3# barrier and meet the SNELL ratings.

@Kent Carter - look at Stand 21 and Stilo helmets. I think both will meet your country of origin, customizable fit, HANS, ventiliation, radio and weight requirements. Neither have accessories available everywhere but both have US importers so I'm not sure what else is needed. Here are two links:

http://stilo-usa.com/helmets/st4w-composite
http://www.stand21.fr/casques/ivos%20-%20DA/ivos-DA-2.html
 
Posted by Juan Pineda (Member # 1581) on :
 
My Stand21 is 3.1 with radio and Hans clips

I don't need to the absolute lightest helmet. A few ounces is not a big deal if other factors are improved.

Curiously my 1995 Bell (M4?) weighs 3.1 same as the 2005 Stand21 w/radio. I'm wondering if the foam could have desiccated and lost weight over the years? Or whether it was actually that light when new.
 
Posted by Randy Thieme (Member # 15193) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Howard:
Does anyone have advice on a good helmet for people who wear eyeglasses? I have trouble getting my glasses into my full face helmet, through the balaclava (which I have slotted)and over my ears. It's usually so difficult that I have to get it done before I go to the grid and end up setting there sweating while everybody else waits until the 5 minute board before putting their helmet on. Another problem is fogging up my glasses with the visor down on cooler days. Any suggestions?

Howard

A few things help me. Keep visor up while in grid until underway. Leave visor cracked open. Make sure balaclava is not over the tip of my nose which redirects my breath towards the visor.
 
Posted by Gatoratty (Member # 15983) on :
 
Just bought the Bell Star Infusion TFA SAH-2010 using Saferacer 15% discount this morning.
 
Posted by DionJ (Member # 1721) on :
 
I liked my HJC AR10, especially the removable liner, but it was a bit heavy. My SI12 is super light, but no removable liner. Next I think I would get the HX10. Yes, they're all made in Korea, get 'em before war breaks out...
 
Posted by iambhooper (Member # 25235) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Howard:
Does anyone have advice on a good helmet for people who wear eyeglasses? I have trouble getting my glasses into my full face helmet, through the balaclava (which I have slotted)and over my ears. Any suggestions?

Howard

My last helmet is a Pyrotect, and I was able to get my eye glass's or my Maui's under my balaclava. Granted, I had to stick my hand between the helmet and head.

I am considering a new Pyrotect, in addition to the HJC
 
Posted by Kent Carter (Member # 2245) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gatoratty:
Just bought the Bell Star Infusion TFA SAH-2010 using Saferacer 15% discount this morning.

When you get it, would you check the country of origin for me? Bell had a press release that said they were moving all production from Europe and the States to 'Asia' and won't respond to repeated emails asking the actual country.

I had planned to buy a Bell until that.
 
Posted by TR6 (Member # 16732) on :
 
I just pulled the trigger on an SA2005 Simpson Voyager yesterday using the SafeRacer 15% code applied to the already lowered clearance price on the helmet. Got it for $237 shipped. That's less than I paid for my G-Force full face SA2005 almost 4 years ago.

I decided that I was fine with a 2005 because after seeing how nasty the inside of my old G-Force is after just 3.5 years of use sweating in the Texas heat, I can't imagine using the same helmet for 10 years as often as I use it.
 
Posted by Sean Allen (Member # 3800) on :
 
I love my GP5W... (perfect excuse for showing it off!)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45992542@N05/4664070915/
 
Posted by Mike LL (Member # 16255) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by DionJ:
I liked my HJC AR10, especially the removable liner, but it was a bit heavy. My SI12 is super light, but no removable liner. Next I think I would get the HX10. Yes, they're all made in Korea, get 'em before war breaks out...

Too Late
 
Posted by cnj (Member # 13716) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mike LL:
quote:
Originally posted by DionJ:
I liked my HJC AR10, especially the removable liner, but it was a bit heavy. My SI12 is super light, but no removable liner. Next I think I would get the HX10. Yes, they're all made in Korea, get 'em before war breaks out...

Too Late
I was in Seoul last week and the Koreans live with the reality of war about to break out at any moment. Interesting place.

I have a practical question as I consider a new helmet purchase. My previous purchases have been from a store where I was able to select the best fit. There are limited options in Dallas for that approach. I see that most are ordering via the internet/phone. How are you selecting sizes and what do you do if you are not quite satisfied with the helmet?

Craig J
 
Posted by Drago (Member # 1406) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sean Allen:
I love my GP5W... (perfect excuse for showing it off!)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/45992542@N05/4664070915/

LOOKS GOOD
 
Posted by iambhooper (Member # 25235) on :
 
I got an email from somone saying that my SA2000 helmet is now good until the end of 2011. Can anyone else confirm this?

If that's true, I may just hang on to my 2000 for another year and save some dough.

hoop