Tell me about helmets! - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-21-2016, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Tell me about helmets!

I don't mean for this to be the "what oil or tires should I use?" type of post...I'm mostly looking for some reviews from other people that have used different brands and models of helmets. I'm in need of a new one since mine is getting old and beat up, and since I need it for racing it has to be newer than 5 years (which mine isn't anymore).

I'm obviously trying to do this on a budget, but when I say that I mean I won't buy some shitty Icon or Fulmer helmet or some junk brands, but I also won't be getting a $1000+ carbon fiber helmet. Ideally I would like to not go over $400. The brands I'm looking at are Arai (currently have an Arai Quantum 2 that has been awesome), Shoei, Bell, and AGV (but in that case I'd probably only want a Rossi replica which means lots more $$$).

So for you track day junkies and racers that have experience with any of the above, what are some pros/cons to them? What do you like and don't like? I feel like the reviews that I usually watch from STG are informative, but biased towards positiveness...in other words, EVERYTHING they review ends up being classified as awesome! Which I can't blame them for, they're trying to sell their stuff. But it's harder to tell what's more awesome and less awesome, hence I want to hear it from people that are unbiased.

Also, what about safety certifications? My understanding is Snell 2015 came out last year so new helmets have started being certified to that. Is there much of a difference from 2010 to 2015 standards or not? I've been really looking at some of the Bell Star helmets because STG still has some on clearance, and I could get them for a discounted price, but those are the previous generation. The new Bell Star helmets are about $500, but they're certified to Snell 2015. Aside from that I'm not sure if they're better than the previous ones and if so, in what way.

Another thing is sizing. Anyone buy helmets online? Are the sizing charts pretty accurate or not? Since I can't try them on, all I can go by is the circumference of my head. Is that good enough, or is buying a helmet online without trying it on first a big "no-no"? The 2 helmets I've had previously were bought in stores, but my options are very limited here. I can drive an hour and try on some Arai's, but that's the best I got.

2007 ZZR600 (sold)
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-21-2016, 07:54 PM
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Dillon's has Shoei so you can try the RF-1200, Qwest and GT. Shoei is the only brand they have that fits me good. The have the Bell Qualifier but that feels cheap to me like most of the HJC helmets they stock. I thought Star City had a decent selection but I was only there once to test ride Kawasaki's.
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post #3 of 23 Old 06-21-2016, 08:39 PM
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I've tried on a couple of bell helmets. Qualifier, vortex, star, they all got my head shape fit the best. Mostly because they have the typical oval head shape that I have. I find them to be great quality and at a great price. About the snell thing I have no idea but if I could id pull the trigger on these close out helmets!

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post #4 of 23 Old 06-21-2016, 09:15 PM
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Bit of an old 'review' of the Star, but hope it helps... Ownership Review: Bell Star Carbon

I also have the RS-1, and I think this is way more comfortable than the Star... for street riding. I'd take the Star for track days any time.

I've crashed in a Shoei Qwest (probably not what you are looking for if you're into track days), and that saved me from a concussion, at least. My head hit a rock and throbbed for days.

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post #5 of 23 Old 06-21-2016, 09:29 PM
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What size is your head? I have a Arai Jolly Roger II I could let go for cheap. I paid retail for it on sale. But I could let it go for less. It is under a year old. 5 year warranty. The liner though is starting to come apart. I have not worn it since I purchased my Shoei GT air. I would sell it to you for much less than you would expect to pay. PM me if you are interested. It is a large. Comes only with the dark smoke faceshield as I lost the clear one when I moved. Sure it's probably in a box somewhere. But I'm not looking for it lol.
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 12:50 AM
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Wear one! Anything is better than nothing....find something comfortable
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 05:17 AM
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What is your current helmet and size? that will give me an idea of what may fit you. The most important thing is fit and that is hard to say without trying it on.

IF Bell fits your melon (again, that is rule #1) then we can look further...

I am currently wearing (and sell) Bell helmets. Right now I am using the regular Star model as the Race Star and Pro Star are not coming out until August 1st.

On your list, this is the only one that I have first hand experience with so here is my summary after wearing it for half a year.

PROs

Huge field of view/vision port. You can see literally everything, even peripherally.

Lots of airflow; the vents are large and move a ton of air.

Each size has its own shell size; meaning that if you are a L you do not get stuck in an XXL shell with thicker padding. This prevents the bobble head syndrome and means it is a lot more aero on track. AFAIK Bell is the only company to currently do this but don't quote me on it.

No buffeting; the folks at Bell did a fantastic job with the modeling of this lid. It is very stable at speed.

Interior is comfortable; fairly plush, has ear pockets cutout so that they arent mashed into the side of your head.

It just feels like quality; I know that is a bit vague but all I can say is that when you have it in your hands or on your head, it doesn't feel cheap.

USA based company; while the helmets themselves are not made domestically (currently there are no helmets made in the USA), at least the design staff, executives, and office staff are here which means that a good portion of my money is being kept in the USA. I would prefer all, but I will accept some.

CONs

It isn't the lightest lid out there; It is a composite shell made from carbon fiber, aramid (kevlar), and fiberglass so it is very strong but it is also a little heavier than the pure carbon fiber lids that I am accustomed to. Now, I am talking a few ounces, and I don't even notice it when it is on my head but it has to go into the CON category as there are other CF lids available in this price point.

It is a bit noisy; Not the loudest but certainly not quiet. Any lid that moves this much air is going to have some noise and frankly I would rather be cool on track since I wear earplugs anyway.

The viewport is 'street' oriented; It has never obstructed my view but there are times when I wish that I could see 'up' more. I know this seems confusing as I listed the viewport as a big pro, and it is so let me explain. There is one spot on my local track where I am in a depression and having to look ahead and up. Due to the elevation change the apex that I am looking for is at the upper left of my field of view. I can see it fine, but not much past it (I don't really need to). I mention it because in other lids I hadn't noticed this. That turn is the only time where this comes into play and it is due to the 30' elevation in very short space.


Overall

It really is a great lid. Also, since the model was just released this spring whatever helmet you get will have a 2016 manufactured date so it will be good for the full 5 years. These retail between $449-$499 and if you decide to go through me, I offer discounts for licensed racers which would bring this a little more in line. Also, since you are a racer, I include vinyl numbers, name, and whatever you want on your visor with your helmet purchase.

Now, all that said IF you have the luxury of waiting til Aug1 AND you can swing a bit more $ I would really consider looking at the Race Star.

All bullshit aside I am REALLY impressed with this helmet and cannot wait to get mine. It has the FLEX liner which is designed to actually help prevent concussions, will be pure CF and lighter, interior has a treatment on it that feels like magic and actually lowers your temperature, and has a more 'race' oriented viewport. Price point is where you would expect to see the top of the line offerings from the other manufacturers, somewhere in the $700 mark (retail).

Normally I do not follow the 'most expensive = best' rule but with the flex liner that goes out the window. It literally is the most advanced helmet out there. I have had a few concussions and as you know, the more you get, the more dangerous they become. I would gladly spend the extra $ for the extra protection.

All of this assumes that Bell is a good fit for you, and that has to come first. Hope this helps and good luck with your search.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XPyrion View Post
Dillon's has Shoei so you can try the RF-1200, Qwest and GT. Shoei is the only brand they have that fits me good. The have the Bell Qualifier but that feels cheap to me like most of the HJC helmets they stock. I thought Star City had a decent selection but I was only there once to test ride Kawasaki's.
Star City has some Shoei's as well. I tried out the RF-1200 and the GT yesterday. I wish they would've had some X-14 Shoeis, but they didn't (not like I could probably afford that anyway). The RF-1200 didn't seem to fit me well. The shape was ok, but it felt like I'm between sizes. Medium was way too tight, and large fit fine in the store, but I know they break in an loosen up a bit which would end up being too loose. I've made that mistake before with my very first helmet.

Going to Omaha is not much of an option. I need to get one before I go to HPR in 2 and a half weeks and I work every day including this weekend. If I go during a work day, I can't make it there before 6:00 when everyone closes. I think my best option would be to go next saturday, after I get back from Road America. But that's cutting it close, and then if I don't find one that works well for me, I'd be pretty much screwed.

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Originally Posted by Derrick0580 View Post
Wear one! Anything is better than nothing....find something comfortable
Solid advice man!

2007 ZZR600 (sold)
2006 CBR600 (sold)
2010 1198 (parted out across North America)
2013 CBR500R (race bike)
2009 ZX6R (race bike)
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PainfullySlo View Post
What is your current helmet and size? that will give me an idea of what may fit you. The most important thing is fit and that is hard to say without trying it on.

IF Bell fits your melon (again, that is rule #1) then we can look further...

I am currently wearing (and sell) Bell helmets. Right now I am using the regular Star model as the Race Star and Pro Star are not coming out until August 1st.

On your list, this is the only one that I have first hand experience with so here is my summary after wearing it for half a year.


Now, all that said IF you have the luxury of waiting til Aug1 AND you can swing a bit more $ I would really consider looking at the Race Star.

All bullshit aside I am REALLY impressed with this helmet and cannot wait to get mine. It has the FLEX liner which is designed to actually help prevent concussions, will be pure CF and lighter, interior has a treatment on it that feels like magic and actually lowers your temperature, and has a more 'race' oriented viewport. Price point is where you would expect to see the top of the line offerings from the other manufacturers, somewhere in the $700 mark (retail).

Normally I do not follow the 'most expensive = best' rule but with the flex liner that goes out the window. It literally is the most advanced helmet out there. I have had a few concussions and as you know, the more you get, the more dangerous they become. I would gladly spend the extra $ for the extra protection.

All of this assumes that Bell is a good fit for you, and that has to come first. Hope this helps and good luck with your search.
I currently have an Arai Quantum 2. I have more of a round shape head, rather than oval. The nice thing about Arai is that to my knowledge they use 3 types of shells (round, oval and even more oval), so not all Arai models will fit everyone well. For me, it was only the models that used the "round" type shell. Size is a Large. I actually just measured my head circumference last night and I'm right at 23 inches.

I've always heard great things about Bell helmets, I just wish I had some available locally to at least try on. Like you said, fit is the most important thing. If it doesn't fit well, you can forget about all the cool features.

The Race Star model does sound awesome indeed. STG's review on them was pretty much what you said. They praised that flex liner and basically made it sound like the Race Star is a better bang for the buck than the more expensive Pro Star. The downside is that it's still $700 which is more than I can afford right now (turns out I need new gloves too because mine started tearing themselves up in the last few months ), and I can't wait that long. If MRA tech decides to inspect helmets, mine won't pass because of the manufacturing date, so I need one before July 7th.

2007 ZZR600 (sold)
2006 CBR600 (sold)
2010 1198 (parted out across North America)
2013 CBR500R (race bike)
2009 ZX6R (race bike)
2015 R3 (project bike and future race bike)

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post #10 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbk1198 View Post
I currently have an Arai Quantum 2. I have more of a round shape head, rather than oval. The nice thing about Arai is that to my knowledge they use 3 types of shells (round, oval and even more oval), so not all Arai models will fit everyone well. For me, it was only the models that used the "round" type shell. Size is a Large. I actually just measured my head circumference last night and I'm right at 23 inches.

I've always heard great things about Bell helmets, I just wish I had some available locally to at least try on. Like you said, fit is the most important thing. If it doesn't fit well, you can forget about all the cool features.

The Race Star model does sound awesome indeed. STG's review on them was pretty much what you said. They praised that flex liner and basically made it sound like the Race Star is a better bang for the buck than the more expensive Pro Star. The downside is that it's still $700 which is more than I can afford right now (turns out I need new gloves too because mine started tearing themselves up in the last few months ), and I can't wait that long. If MRA tech decides to inspect helmets, mine won't pass because of the manufacturing date, so I need one before July 7th.
Gotcha, and understood. Just wanted to make you aware that the top of the line is coming in soonish and yes, I agree with STG that the Race star is definitely the best bang for the buck. Pro star if you are made of cash and the 3-4 ounces makes a difference to you, or if you just want to have the best of the best of the best. Otherwise it is Race Star all day long.

If you are L in Arai you will fit a L in Bell, fyi. I have had a couple of people switch.

If you are considering Bell at all, I have this lid currently in stock in L and would be willing to get it to you at a price that is right.

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post #11 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Damn, you're making this very tempting! That's actually one of the 2 designs I was looking at from the Stars.

Give me a day to do a bit more research, and to see if I find a local source that I can at least try one (doubtful, but doesn't hurt to try), and I'll get back to you then.

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post #12 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by sbk1198 View Post
Damn, you're making this very tempting! That's actually one of the 2 designs I was looking at from the Stars.

Give me a day to do a bit more research, and to see if I find a local source that I can at least try one (doubtful, but doesn't hurt to try), and I'll get back to you then.
No problem, and I firmly encourage you to look at other brands/designs/whatever. I would much rather have a forum member be happy with their lid purchase, whatever brand that may be, than make a sale.
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 08:47 AM
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I have the Shoei Qwest and I love the fit.
I came from a HJC RPHA10 and the fit is MUCH better.
I feel that besides being slightly smaller, it kinda grips onto your head much better.
Noise levels are great. Most silent helmet I've had.

The bad is that the chin curtain is removable and doesn't like staying on so you constantly have to put it into place, and it also tends to fog quite a bit as if the breath deflector wasn't doing its job properly.
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 11:33 AM
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I suggest a Suomy SR Sport - these are their top tier nowadays and much more affordable than a few years back with the Extreme models. They are light and super comfy.

Suomy SR Sport Helmet

Suomy’s most performance oriented helmet, the SR Sport is the choice of MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso and Moto3 rider Alex Rins. Shaped in the wind tunnel and made from Suomy’s own unique mix of Kevlar, carbon fiberglass and aramidic (dubbed Tricarboco), the SR Sport shell is at home on the track where its aerodynamics, stability at speed and lightness can be fully appreciated. Two shell sizes along with a multi-density liner help keep the comfort and fit up to par and when it comes to venting, Suomy has gone for a direct approach. A large chin and brow vent pull air in and through the shell. And to wrap it all up, the thermoformed face shield is large, optically correct and thanks to the tool-less change mechanism, rather easy to take on and off.•Tricarboco shell (Carbon fiberglass, Kevlar & Aramidic blend)
•DOT Approved and ECE 22.05 Certified
•Aggressive Styling for greatest visual impact
•The lightest weight race approved helmet available
•Dynamically Variable Resistance Crush Zone (DVRC)
•Sound Absorbing Polymers
•Advanced Channeled EPS for optimum venting
•Tool-less, Thermal formed shield (no side covers for quick and easy removal) with permanent Anti-Fog/Anti Scratch treatment
•Safety Lock Shield System
•Interior made with Coolmax Active fabric: moisture-wicking, breathable fabric keeps the rider cool, dry and comfortable
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-22-2016, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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I always like the advertisement some companies use when they say "This [product] is so-and-so's choice" and they list a few pro racers who use said product. No...that's not their choice. That's called sponsorship . Pro racers don't go out trying every helmet, suit, gloves, etc. and pick what they like. They get sponsorship from a manufacturer and they have to use their products. They usually go with the best that manufacturer has to offer, but they don't have much of a choice. Why do you think Lorenzo got stuck wearing shitty HJC's for so long, until last year? lol
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2007 ZZR600 (sold)
2006 CBR600 (sold)
2010 1198 (parted out across North America)
2013 CBR500R (race bike)
2009 ZX6R (race bike)
2015 R3 (project bike and future race bike)

Sponsors: Vortex Racing, MSM, MTR Cycle
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