Arai? All right!

We hope you are all as excited as we are for the new Arai helmet arrivals! These helmets are teeming with cool features, different designs and more personality than your cat! So let’s cut to the chase and get right to it.

Introducing the first in line is the Arai Signet Q Zero series. A notable difference is the Long Oval Shell Shape, which is very long front-to-back and very narrow side-to-side. The interior head liner has 5mm peel-away pads on both sides for additional forehead room. The Signet Q Zero series is available in silver and red. For the more bold who can’t be tied down to one color, we also have the Signet Q Bomb.

Arai Signet Q Bomb

Next up is Arai’s Defiant Chronus and Defiant Chopper helmets. The Defiant Chronus boasts FCS, Multi-Density one-piece EPS Liner, Dry-Cool liner material, micro fitting interior padding and a pull down spoiler. Created to be the street helmet, it offers comfort, stability and ventilation. The Defiant Chronus comes in red, green, yellow and black while the Defiant Chopper is in black/red.

Arai Defiant Chronus in Black

Arai Defiant Chopper in Black/Red

Arai brings two new designs into the Corsair V family to acknowledge and celebrate the past and present motorcycle racers Tetsuya Harada and Jonathan Rea. Harada, a former racer, won the 1993 FIM 250cc World Championship and inspired the Arai Corsair V Harada Tour. Rea was a runner-up in the 2007 British Superbike Championship and 2008 Supersport World Champion. He currently competes in the Superbike World Championship and has helped spur the Arai Corsair V Rea 3 helmet.

Arai Corsair V REA 3

Want recommendations? Need help in finding a helmet? Not sure what to look for in your next helmet?  Then check out our friends Best Motorcycle Helmet for more information!

Scorpion Leather Jackets – Serious Riders Only

Helmet City is pleased to announce its latest additions in apparel from Scorpion! We now have even more to offer both our male and female riders in leather jackets. (Sorry, you’re on your own in the love department).

Ladies, say hello to the Scorpion Women’s Vixen Leather Jacket.This jacket offers the perfect fit, form and flexibility for female riders with various stretch panels, adjustable waist belts and multiple perforation points for maximum ventilation. The Vixen is available in three different colors: white, black and pink.

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white

For gentlemen, we have the Scorpion Men’s Clutch Leather Jacket. Similar to the Vixen, the Clutch is superior in comfort and fit. It also offers Powertector GP AIR HUMP for even more airflow, additional padded panels, internal pocket storage and external hard warmer pockets. The Clutch comes in three flavors: black/neon, black/white and white/red.

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black/white

clutch-jkt-white-sm

white/red

Made from top-grain leather, the Vixen and Clutch are meant for serious riders with only the best in mind. For riders seeking the thrill of the road while maintaining safety and comfort, be sure to check out the Vixen or Clutch!

 

The HJC CL-17: Next Generation of Quality and Comfort

The CL-17 is new to HJC, with significant improvements over its predecessor, the CL-16 design. The CL-17 comes fully equipped with a new ventilating system designed to give riders more aerodynamic capabilities than previous CL models designed. The ventilation system has improved from previous models in that are now four additional vents, including an eyebrow vent which is completely new and provides greater air flow for riders.

While the shell material is familiar, we do see that there have been some changes to the shape of the helmet. HJC describes the shape to a neutral oval fit.  Another new element to the CL-17 is the improvement made to the liner. The liner snaps are now more durable and easier to locate within the helmet. The padding system is still interchangeable, giving riders the option to change out pads for a custom fit.

Customers are very satisfied with the comfortable interior and excellent ventilation this helmet provides. Although this is one of the more affordable helmets available, don’t let the low price fool you. The HJC CL-17 delivers excellent the quality and comfort we’ve come to expect from HJC.

The HJC CL-17 comes in a wide selection of graphics and colors. Riders can choose from six solid colors, or four different graphics in a variety of colors.

HJC CL-17 Mystic

The CL-17 Mystic design comes in two different color options. The graphic on this helmet plays with an optical illusion design featuring lighter color tones to really make it stand out.

 

 

HJC CL-17 Redline

The CL-17 Redline comes in five different colors. The graphics reflect a really cool racing style with an asymmetrical racing strip down the center of the helmet. All of the helmets will have the HJC logo on the back.

 

HJC Victory

 

The CL-17 Victory can be found in three different color options, all very bright and designed with the HJC name running along the side of the helmet into the back. There’s definitely a bold choice in color representation of this helmet.

 

HJC Mission

The CL-17 Mission is a really cool design, especially small details along the helmet. The sudden choice of light grey, red or green to the overall dark grey tones the helmet displays really presents a sleek look for riders.

Bell Qualifier- Hi-Viz Rally in Black and Yellow

 

New to the Bell product line is the Bell Qualifier. Offering comfort and style, the Bell Qualifier takes the safety and durability of a helmet to a new level for riders. Having replaced the Bell Arrow, the Qualifier now features a new shield and ventilating system. The most noticeable change you’ll see to the Qualifier is the oval shaped helmet design, inspired by racer style helmets.  The change in shape provides riders with more aerodynamic capability. Staying true to the quality of Bell products, the Qualifier also comes with the exclusive Bell Click-Release system for a fast and simple way to remove shields. Definitely one of the stronger helmet design to show quality, presentation and safety.

The Bell Qualifier Rally in Hi-Viz Black and Yellow is one of our favorites in the new line of colors and designs to choose from. This style reflects a cool racing strip down the middle of the helmet, showing off detail in the reflective silver and yellow-tech graphics. Displayed in a rubberized style, the color is great for showing a sleek aesthetic of the Bell Qualifier. 

The Not So Helmet, Helmet

There’s a new voice in the ongoing debate between helmet advocates and freedom lovers: Wear a helmet that isn’t really there. We’re not sure we should even call it a “helmet” but for now we’ll use that word to describe this new twist on head protection.

The simplicity of the Swedish bike helmet design is brilliant. Prompted by a skeptic who said the helmet “would have to be invisible for me to actually want to wear it,” two Swedish women created a helmet that is actually a collar that is worn around the neck. When it senses “abnormal” movement, it inflates with helium and stays inflated for several seconds.

Although the Hövding is currently only approved for bicycle use, the implementations and future applications seem very promising. The pair has already won the “Epilepsy Innovation Seal of Excellence” by providing a new solution for people who suffer from seizures.

What role might this helmet play in motorcycling? The Hövding (which means leader or role model) claims to have 3 times the shock absorbancy of a traditional helmet and is able to take multiple hits in a single accident. We’ll have to wait and see if these strengths stand up to strict motorcycle helmet safety testing for ratings like ECE and Snell.

Some criticisms include the fact that it’s single use only. The obvious response is that every helmet needs to be replaced after an accident.

At $540, it is expensive for something you don’t even see. But that’s the point! For riders concerned about looking uncool as they walk into a bar or restaurant after a fast paced ride, the freedom of letting your hair blow in the wind without receiving criticism from helmet law advocates is going to cost you!

So what do you think? Does this look like something you could see yourself wearing at 60MPH or does your full face helmet have your unwavering loyalty?

Join the discussion on Google+: http://bit.ly/18ZZ0Bo

Motorcycle Safety in the Bathroom

Overheard in the bathroom stall this morning: “If I had been a better rider, I probably wouldn’t have gone down. It seemed like the car came out of nowhere!” I wanted to jump out and say, “I’m Sarah from Helmet City, how can I help you?” But I assumed the poor woman had been through enough.

As I washed my hands, I watched as she wiped the fingers that extruded from the cast and explained to her friends that she had surgery scheduled for Thursday to repair a broken bone in her wrist.

I wondered if she would ride again. Not her bike, I gathered, as I heard her telling her friends it was totaled, but ever again.  And I wondered, “What could have happened differently to keep this woman from going down after only 8 months of riding?”

How prepared are new riders after basic motorcycle training?

I know riders that have many years and thousands of miles under their belts that are still surprised by motorists and challenged by tough riding conditions. So what is the answer?

  • More classroom time?
  • Required riding with an experienced motorcyclists?

Knowing the requirements for a motorcycle helmet (which is the #1 question on the CA DMV test), being able to identify the nine important parts of motorcycle and ride in a small figure 8 is important for motorcycle safety. But how can these new riders be properly prepared for scenarios they will see on the road? How can they have the most knowledge possible under their belts before they make that difficult turn or come up against that distracted driver?

What has been the most important lesson to you to keep you safe in your motorcycling career?

And what would you say to the woman in the bathroom?

After she exited, of course…

We would love to hear your thoughts.

Helmetselfie Highlight: Scorpion Helmet in Action

Sarita

George Ferreira was the first only one to submit a helmetselfie in the the short amount of time after we announced this week’s #helmetselfie project on Google+. We know it takes some time to get those action shots with helmet on and bike revving and we will hope that more pics roll in for next week’s blog highlight.

In the meantime, we want to take a minute to thank George for all his amazing contributions. His gorgeous pictures of his Scorpion helmet are so dramatic with the reflection in the iridium shield . We have come to admire his photogenic helmet (and his skill in taking awesome selfie pictures on his bike). The scenery always looks spectacular and his composition is mototastic.

 

George has shared pictures with us from rides that cover lots of miles and lots of road. This picture was near Mono Lake in CA, but George has ridden on both coasts and many places in between.

 

So THANK YOU George for all the colorful contributions. We dedicate this week’s “Helmetselfie Highlight” to you!

Ride and safe and keep those amazing pictures coming!


 

 

New Shoei RF-1200 Released Today!

With a thinned down design, a lighter and more compact shell and amazingly increased performance, the new Shoei RF-1200 may sounds like an iPhone 5. But this helmet’s technology is more than smart, it’s a completely brilliant redesign. The Shoei RF-1200 carries with it all the knowledge Shoei has built up over the years.

Shoei is calling the RF-1200 the “next generation of technology.” The first update to the model since 2009, Shoei has completely redesigned the RF 1200 with a focus on aerodynamics, shell structure and the EPS liner.

The shell has a completely new shape and size that is lighter than the RF-1100 (3.46lbs for the RF-1200 compared to the RF-1100 at 3.54lbs.) This makes the RF-1200 Shoei’s lightest full face helmet with Snell approval. (The GT-Air is lighter and includes an internal sunshield, but is not Snell certified.)

The shell has a more compact, aggressive, streamlined design. The unique contoured lines along the bottom of the shell are not just elegant, they’re functional. The Shoei RF-1200 is designed to accommodate an Alpinestars neck brace.

The shell itself is a Multi-Ply Matrix AIM+ shell that is hand laid with six layers of organic fibers, making it incredibly tough and light.

The Dual layer EPS has varying density in the foam in key areas and work in conjunction with 14 total vent points. The Shoei RF-1200 will be quieter than its predecessor and will vent better. (Get ready for a new level of riding comfort!)

There will be four shell sizes and all the cheek pads will be interchangeable. This will make it possible to get the ultimate custom fit in the RF1200. The liner is completely removable and washable, of course, and has a new, improved 3D Max liner that will wick moisture twice as fast. (Get ready to ride dry!)

The Shoei RF 1200 will have a new improved base plate system called the QR-E that will allow you to change the shield faster than ever before. The spring mechanism is stronger and the detents are no longer on the shield, they are now part of the base plate system. The new 5 stage dial rotates so you can get the proper seal and  better fit on the gasket.

The RF-1200 comes with a Max Vision Pinlock Anti-Fog shield that boasts zero distortion! The shield technology on the CRW-1 shield (unique to the RF-1200) was first seen on the Neotec and then the GT-Air. The tab on the left makes for easy one-handed operation. This simpler, more stream-lined locking shield system has “ribs” on the top and bottom edge to make the shield strong and resistant to bending from pressure.

With so many improvements to what has already been a strong seller for Shoei, the RF-1200 is truly a revolution in helmet technology. We think you’ll be more impressed than you were with your friend’s iPhone 5. And no phone, no matter how smart, can help you experience the freedom of the open road like a revolutionary new lid. So hang up and hit the road in the new Shoei RF-1200!

The Big Picture: Peter Biondo on the Psychology of the Starting Line

 

So here you are in round 7 of the Spring Fling 20’s against one of the elite racers. Your reaction times in round one to six have been between .008 and .014. The big question; do you make any changes to the delay box?

Conventional wisdom would say no. Conventional wisdom says to “race your own race”. Conventional wisdom says stick with the .011 reaction time average that got you this far. I am here to tell you that I agree with conventional wisdom in a lot of areas of life but racing is one area where I put “playing the odds” before conventional wisdom. By playing the odds I am not talking about overestimating or underestimating your opponent as that is one of the leading causes for people losing rounds. Playing the odds in racing means you put yourself in the best position to win a certain round based on the history and the current situation. If you are in round 7 of a big buck bracket race against one of the best in the business chances are he is going to have a very good reaction time. Taking .003 or .004 out of your delay box would be a smart move and could very easily make the difference in winning or losing that round (especially if it is an 1/8th mile race where reaction time plays a big role). If you are a non delay box racer you can bring your rpm up 100 rpm. You get the point here. You are now setting up “tighter” on the tree based on both what you know of this elite opponent, and the fact that you are deep into eliminations and both you and your opponent have had a lot of looks at the tree. So increase your odds on winning the round by taking some out of the box. In the following journal I am going to get specific and into detail about what I call “situational racing” and how to increase your chances of winning “that round” whether that round be round one at a $200 to win local race or the final of our Spring Fling 20’s. It all has to do with stepping back, looking at the big picture and taking calculated risks with the ultimate goal being turning on more win lights.

A lot of times in drag racing we get in a zone. This is a good thing. But it is not good if we are so much in a zone where we lose sight of the big picture or the current situation at hand. There is a lot to be said to being a robot and zoned into the tree and being one with the car but if you are too extreme and not paying attention, it could cost you a bunch of rounds and can even cost you that one ‘big’ round. Let’s say Tiger Woods has 7 shots to get the ball in the hole to win the US Open. He knows he can most likely make the hole in 4 shots if he plays his normal game. His caddy is going to tell him to take the safe way to the hole and make it in 5 instead of trying for 4 and taking a risk of hitting it in the pond. The caddy is looking at the big picture here for Tiger. In racing, most of us do not have a caddy or coach. We have to “be observant” as Troy Williams once said and pay attention to the situation so that we can better figure out what gives us the best chances of winning “that round”.

Now what if I told you that you can raise your chances of beating a guy who knowingly has more talent and more seat time than you? That’s right. The reality is… he has more seat time, is more talented and can drive both ends of the track better than you. Reality is you have less than a 50% of beating this racer when you line up against him. Let’s say you have a 40% chance of beating this racer when you line up against him/ her.

Let’s put all this talk into a real life scenario:
You are about to race against a heavy hitter (let’s refer to him as HH) who you know holds a bunch of numbers. The big question is “how do I race against HH”. Before I answer this question that is very commonplace throughout the pits, let’s talk about the reasons for “holding numbers” or “dialing up”. The answer on whether to hold a bunch of numbers in general (or dial “honest”) should be based on three things. The first and most important is how comfortable are you doing this and does it fit your driving style? If you aren’t comfortable doing this I would suggest not to do it until you get comfortable and I want you to get comfortable sooner than later because there are going to be rounds later in your career where you can dramatically raise your odds on winning if you have some in your pocket. On the other hand if you are not comfortable doing this you will only lessen your chances of winning the round by making a plan and then not executing properly. Secondly, how good is your car running on a particular day and how well are you hitting the tree? If your car is running within thousandths of a second (the track is tight and the air/ weather isn’t drastically changing) and you are killing the tree then that is less of a reason to hold some in your pocket. In most cases in this scenario, you can put down good enough numbers without doing much at the finish line and let’s face it, this is a numbers game and good numbers/ tight packages is what wins races above and beyond EVERYTHING else. On the other hand if the track is loose and the weather and wind are changing by the minute and your car isn’t stringing tight runs together, than that is a situation where you are better off to hold a few. The third (and probably most interesting factor to most of you) in whether to hold numbers or not would be; who is your opponent on that particular round? Is he/ she a heavy hitter that tends to hold a bunch of numbers and is going to size you up at the finish line? If this is the case and you feel comfortable about dialing where you are holding a few hundredths, you should do so. This is what I call situational racing and it can increase your odds of beating this racer quite a bit. In fact, your chances of beating HH just went from 40% to 60%. That’s right, if you make the right plan (hold some numbers) and execute it properly the odds of beating your bracket racing hero just swung in your favor. Let’s step back and look at the big picture here. The reality of the numbers looks like this. You are running well and your car just ran 7.422, 7.427, and 7.426 in the previous rounds at 180 mph. You are confident you can be between .006 and .014 on the tree. If you dial honest against heavy hitter chances are the race and odds of him winning will look like this:

You go .011 on the tree and run a 7.428 on a 7.42 dial (wide open/ no brakes). Chances you win the round against “heavy hitter” is 40%. Heavy hitter is .007 RT and is beside you for the last 300 feet putting a wheel on you and snugs the stripe up to .009 and runs a 7.323 on a 7.32 dial. You get back to the pits shaking your head and telling your friends, “man he made that look easy”. Now let’s step back and look at the big picture here and try to increase your odds on beating HH. Why did he just make that look so easy? The answer is because you gave him a stationary target (and enough room) to size you up making it easy for HH. From HH’s eyes the race and his decision was easy (despite you putting down a good run), in his brain he says this during the race “I am catching him early enough to kill the amount I need to kill and still take the stripe”. And because HH is such a good driver he can do just that without blinking and eye. How can you help your cause here? By first making the race appear different to him, and secondly and more importantly, giving him a moving target to work with. Take it from me, the combination of these two things will make heavy hitters job much harder. Hold 2 or 3 numbers and pick your spot on the track that you (have learned) to kill that amount where let’s say you go mid to high dead on your dial but this time on the brakes. In this case let’s dial up to a 7.45 and hit the brakes (safely of course) 20 feet before the first cone and run a 7.458 on a 7.45 at 166 mph. You have the same .011 tree and he has the same .007 tree BUT you have just dramatically increased your odds on beating HH. Now your chances of winning that round are 60% instead of 40%. That’s right, you are now a favorite to beat your “hero”. Why are you a favorite? Because you made the race look totally different to HH. HH catches you much later in the run, he knows he is dialed to break out and either A) decides to snug the finish line up and does a good job until you dump and give him a “(backwards) moving target” forcing him to take too much at the stripe and break out by .01 or .02, or B) he decides to dump and give you the finish line hoping you break out and in this case he is .01 over the dial and you are dead on. Either way, you have greatly increased your chances on beating the HH. Sure you still have to execute and be disciplined to pick your spot on the track that you have learned to get rid of .03 but taking this calculated risk in this scenario will turn the percentages in your favor and lead to many more win lights against this style and caliber of driver in the long run. On the flip side to this scenario let’s assume you are dialed a 7.30 and you are running against a 10 second car. In this situation, chances are, he is not going to be able to judge you (size you up) because of the mph difference and how fast you are coming on him. Therefore there is much less of a reason to hold numbers and to give him the “moving target” because it’s hard for him really to judge you, “the target” anyway. You are still the target in his eyes as he sizes you up but because you are closing in at such a rapid pace, you are already a moving target. In this situation you can actually decrease your odds on winning the round by throwing the extra variable of you holding numbers/ having to get rid of numbers into the mix. Luke Bogacki wrote some columns on “Spot Dropping”. There, he made a point to harp on safety, and I’d like to do the same. Being able to safely “kill” some ET and “Drop” at a given point on the race track takes a little practice and getting used to. We’re certainly not advocating any method that causes you to lose control of your vehicle. Your particular “spot drop” or method of killing ET can be very personalized. First and foremost, you need to develop a method that you feel comfortable with that does not endanger you or your opponent.

Above I discussed starting line and finish line techniques along with ways of approaching different rounds and different situations. A big question should be “wait a second, what happened to simply playing my own game and sticking to what I do best?” Don’t get me wrong as my philosophy in racing relies heavily on doing what you do best and playing to your strengths. If a pitchers best pitch is a fastball then in most key situations, he should throw a fastball. Above and beyond every starting line and finish situation that I mentioned previous should be that you play to your strengths. BUT, if the same pitcher goes up against a batter that normally can see the fastball so well he normally knocks it out of the park, then the coach signals him to throw a curveball. This is why it is so important to grow as a racer and not get stuck in just one routine. Sure you should try and get the basics of bracket racing down pat before you try these more advanced techniques. If you don’t know how to effectively and safely get rid of a few at the stripe then don’t do it until you practice it enough in time runs where you can do it. Until then, focus on other strengths (in numbers) in your program like your reaction times and getting your car to run more consistent. Either way, good packages have a tendency to light the win light but if you are able to look at the big picture, you will, at times, see different round situations where you can greatly increase your chances of winning by mixing up your game and getting to those good packages in different ways. My suggestion? Challenge yourself. Don’t let fear get in the way of your growth and advancement as a racer. Take chances (at the right times) and you will take your driving to the next level. It’s a lot easier to stay in a comfortable place where you want to take the safe way out but believe me, by doing this you will never advance. If you do lose, don’t make excuses. Look defeat in the eye and learn from it. Look at the “WHY”. WHY did your car just fall off 2 numbers? Why did you take too much stripe and breakout (what was going through your mind and what were you seeing going down the track)? WHY were you late? WHY did you just pick up .015 in your 60’ time? Always look into the why. Most people would rather place blame rather than look into the why because it’s the easier way out and requires less effort (thought). You should be learning something every pass down the track. If you look into the why and honestly answer it, the chances are you will not make the same mistake multiple times. This leads me to my next section- the mental side of racing.

All forms of sports require a mix of mental and physical talent to be successful. I can’t think of a sport that is more lopsided on the mental side than drag racing. There is so much that can be said about the psychology of racing but because of space limitation, I will stick to the single, most important one. The single and biggest barrier that stands between you and the win light… Fear.

I can remember being 22 years old and very new at national event racing when a well known and very successful racer was paired up with me. Hell yes I was scared. On top of that he did everything he could to intimidate me and try to get in my head. He was smart, a good driver and very experienced. He knew well enough the havoc fear would play in opponents minds. Here I was a newbie to the national event scene and I was about to face the best. Yup, David vs Goliath. Fortunately I was aware enough to step back and look at the big picture and that’s when it hit me; “this is a numbers game and I can put up numbers just like he can.” As Jeg Couglin once said “preparation is king” and my car and entire racing program was prepared to do the job. That triggered confidence in me, eliminated the fear, and helped me to win the round. I also took a chance and held some numbers in my pocket, executed the plan perfectly and forced him to breakout. Say those words “this is a numbers game and I can put up numbers just like he can.” to yourself whenever you feel like you are at a disadvantage in a certain round and it puts everything in perspective and will wipe away any fear you may have had to race your opponent. Remember, this is not a wrestling match where you are 90lbs and he is 300lbs. Most of the time the cars are equal or close in the consistency department.

Really, when I speak of fear in racing I am talking about fear of losing. Worried about who you are racing against (that you will lose), scared you may redlight (and lose), worried that you may be late (and lose), scared that you may not have the car dialed in right (and lose). All in all, just the simple fear of losing. Again, when fear enters your mind, step back for a second and look at the big picture. This is a numbers game! Do your homework before the race and before the round and by the time you make it to the staging lanes you should be prepared to lay down good numbers and good numbers can beat ANYBODY! When racing without fear you WILL get MUCH better results, period. Have you ever watched someone during a test and tune go .00 something on the tree all day long? I know I have. It’s because there is zero fear on a test and tune session. The racer is not worried about red lighting and not worried about losing. The key is to adopt this mindset when the chips ARE on the table. Only thoughts of executing your game plan (regardless of who is in other lane) and what your last run was like. The biggest link I see with fear and losing a race is overestimating your opponent. Overestimating your opponent causes your inner confidence to go down and your subconscious tells yourself that you are an underdog which in turn leads to fear. This fear leads you to do things you normally wouldn’t do like perhaps try too hard which takes you out of your zone. Now your chance of winning the round just went down significantly.

There is a lot more that could be said about starting line, finish line, dial in, race strategies, and the part psychology plays in racing. For now, regardless of how new or seasoned you are to the sport of drag racing, my hope is that you will be able to tie this column together to your racing program. When you are about to line up for your next round, remember to step back and look at the big picture, run a game plan through your mind on how you are going to turn the win light on, race smart, and race with zero fear. And above all, play to your strengths. You will be surprised how many more times the win light shines in your lane.

Peter Biondo