Helmet Designs for Tomorrow – Today

By Gerde Applethwaite

Bell recently announced that they are designing a helmet with an EPS liner that can be custom shaped to your individual head. I do not know whether or not this will be more comfortable on a long ride but intuitively I would think so. It also seems that in the event of a crash it would distribute and cushion the impact across your head better than a traditional unit. This got me to thinking about the future of helmet design and what we might have in store.

I like the idea of a custom molded helmet liner but more than that I would like to have an off the shelf helmet with a D3O or Sastech liner. The molecular armor would be more effective than the ubiquitous EPS foam in helping insulate your head bone against the shock of an impact, albeit a bit more expensive. D3O makes a helmet liner but I have never seen one in a helmet.

Reebok is making a small electronic device called the Checklight that installs into football helmets. It determines the shock force of an impact and reads it out. That’s clever. The notion of having some more objective way to evaluate the extent of an impact after your crash might be useful to the folks in the ER and it also might give you pause to think before you jumped back on your bike after what you thought was a small get-off.

Fighter jet style heads-up displays are already being designed for motorcycle helmet use. They are an interesting idea but they are not for me. I don’t want anything in my visual plain that will in any way distract me from scanning the road although I would consider one that displayed a visual warning if, say, the oil pressure dropped suddenly or the water temperature rose suddenly on my bike.

Photochromic face shields are available on some new Bell and Shoei helmets and I intend to test them out sometime this Summer. I like the idea of a shield that will change its shade in response to the light but I don’t believe that the current photochromic shields are polarized. I would like to see the polarized shields become more available across product lines.

The state of helmet communications systems improves with every season. Not that long ago they were scratchy and sounded like a bad walkie talkie but today the sound is markedly better and you can also hook up your phone and music devices. Things will rapidly change and become more even more innovative with these systems – and quickly at that.

Helmet shell plastics technology only gets better with every passing season.  Carbon fiber and Kevlar are still only available in the more expensive offerings but as the manufacturing techniques develop further we will see carbon and Kevlar migrating into lower priced helmets. New types of helmet shell materials are right around the corner and these new materials make my first helmet seem like a real antique bucket.

If you have an older helmet I recommend that you take a look at some of the newer helmet designs – whether it be comm. systems, drop down inner shields or pinlock setups the future is now… or at least soon.

Gerde Applethwaite

Shark Frenzy

Shark truly goes above and beyond in putting their riders first. This continues to be shown through their helmets and more recently in the two newest additions to the Shark Evoline 3 series: Moov’Up and Arona.The new helmets feature a quick chin bar release system, noise and sound reduction, improved ventilation and a easily removable and washable liner. The visor is also equipped with anti-scratch and anti-fog treatment. However, one of the most unique features that these helmets have to offer is the planned SHARKTOOTH location which gives you the option of installing the SHARKTOOTH technology. SHARKTOOTH is Shark’s very own Motorbike Wireless Entertainment System which comes with an array of awesomeness like a Bluetooth hands free kit for your cell phone, a bike to bike intercom system with other SHARKTOOTH riders, audio information from your bike’s Bluetooth GPS navigator and stereo Bluetooth A2DP music streaming. Lastly, the Moov’Up and Arona come in a variety of colors suitable for every rider.

SHARK EVOLINE 3 MOOV’UP

White/Black/Red

White/Black

Matte Black

Black/Orange

SHARK EVOLINE 3 ARONA

Red/Black

Matte Green/Black

Orange/Black

Silver/Black

Hi-Viz Yellow/Black

 

Wherever your head’s at, we’ve got it covered.

-Helmet City

Marc Marquez Madness

2014 MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez receives Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year award

Marc Marquez made history on March 23, 2014 when he beat nine-time world champion racing veteran Valentino Rossi at the MotoGP in Qatar. At twenty-one years old, Marquez is the youngest-ever champion to secure such a title. It doesn’t stop here though, at the 2014 Laureus World Sports Award ceremony in Malaysia, Marquez was also awarded the distinguished Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year award. Marquez continues to make headlines in motorcycle road racing and our hearts.

Take a look at these SHOEI helmets made in his honor.

Shoei X-12 Motegi Marquez

Shoei RF-1200 Marquez

Shoei X-12 Montmelo Marquez

Shoei X-12 Helmet – Marquez 2

 

Wherever your head’s at, we’ve got it covered.

-Helmet City

Icon believe it!

We are thrilled to unveil the latest that Icon has to offer – the Icon Airmada! Now better than ever with the following features:

  • twin channel supervents and oversized intake and exhaust ports so cool air flows in and warm air flows out
  • injection molded polycarbonate shell for strength and durability
  • Fog-Free Icon Optics shield with Prolock shield locking system
  • removable and washable Hydra-Dry lining to keep you dry and cool
  • comes with a Dark Smoke Shield

These helmets come in a variety of graphics to please your wild side. Take a look below and good luck picking one.

 

Icon Airmada Spaztyk

The Spaztyk is available in five colors: red, blue, gold, purple, and green.

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Icon Airmada Spaztyk Blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon Airmada Chantilly

The Chantilly comes in black rubatone and white gloss.

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Icon Airmada White Gloss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Icon Airmada Black Rubatone

 

Icon Airmada Hard Luck

The Hard Luck is in black rubatone and red gloss.

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Icon Airmada Hard Luck Red Gloss

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Icon Airmada Hard Luck Black Rubatone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icon Airmada Lucky Time

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Icon Airmada Lucky Time Black Rubatone

 

Icon Airmada Ravenous

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Icon Airmada Ravenous Black

 

Icon Airmada Bioskull

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Icon Airmada BioSkull Chrome

 

Wherever your head’s at, we’ve got it covered.

-Helmet City

Get-Offs In Slo-Mo

By Gerde Applethwaite

A guy falling off his motorcycleI was watching the Olympics a while back and the crashes of the downhill skiers caught my eye.  The slo-mo replays of somebody biffing it on a downhill run have some resonance with a motorcycle get-off. You got to see the way in which the body automatically, in the absurdly brief time available, attempts to set up for the fall.  Arms and legs splay akimbo but there is often just enough time to put out your hands or feet in a defensive posture.

The yootoobz be full of slo-mo viddys of motorcycle get-offs. They run the gamut from CCTV of Chinese scooter accidents on busy streets to wobbly Isle of Man TT high-sides or the fixed camera setups of weekend riders who go wide out of a turn on Mulholland. There is a similarity between many of the bike get-offs and the downhill skiing fly-offs. Basically, in both you have yer low-sides and yer high-sides. The low-side skiers (if they maintain consciousness and are fortunate enough to remain unbroken) are attempting to push against the slope in a braking maneuver. The high-side skiers, when slowed down enough, often have the look of an old slapstick cartoon where the poor boffo is swimming in air.  Also the high-siders will put an arm down to broach the distance between themselves and impending doom. Its an automatic reaction – skiers do it, skateboarders do it, bicyclists and motorcyclists too. If you watch professional football you will all too often see a receiver on the edge of the field catch a pass and then step one foot out of bounds to maintain balance. The pass is ruled ‘not a reception’ because you need 2 feet inbound at the time of the catch. The better players have trained themselves to drag that second foot keeping 2 feet inbound and just taking the fall. It is counter intuitive to just take the fall. The football players earn 6, 7 and 8 figure salaries and train for this sort of stuff constantly but on the day they will still, instinctively, put that foot out to brake the fall or prevent it.

I recently wrote a post about road rash and one of the pieces of information I decided not to include in that post (not because I deemed it uninteresting but in a rare attempt at keeping the post brief) was Dr. Flash Gordon’s* information about the ways in which infection can cause serious permanent damage to your body.  If you have a full thickness road rash on your hand or you have torn up the area around a joint be very careful; infections consequent to this can cause permanent damage to your hand.  So there you are in mid-air in the midst of your soon-to-be expensive high side as you and your CBR part company and you reflexively (in the micro-seconds afforded to you) stick one or both of your ungloved hands out toward the approaching pavement. You snap a wrist or two, tear open the skin and then pivot onto your t-shirt covered shoulder; some sliding …. and you stop – let’s say partially under a parked car. Just for the purposes of full disclosure I should say that something similar happened to me. The details are a bit different: it was a parked semi-tractor trailer, it was raining, and I was all ATGATT’d out but the sense is the same – one second you are riding blissfully along and then somehow you are the star of your own brief, slo-mo, get-off cartoon.

In a low-side you will quite often not have time to pull your leg from between the side of the bike and the pavement. This is an ugly sandwich. Its the luck of the draw whether or not you break your ankle and mangle toes. It really depends upon where your leg just happens to be, the shape of the bike, the terrain of the road bed and, not least, your foot wear. The skiers often have time and free room to do that kicking, braking, steering motion but even if you could it will be of little avail to you with one leg trapped under your bike. Maybe in your low-side the bike slides out ahead of you or off to the side – that could be lucky. You see it on the race track frequently enough – Rossi slides on his back at 80 MPH and lives to sign autographs later that day. I mean it could be lucky if your chosen path did not lead toward an impact with something that will mangle you. Good luck. I find it somewhat comical when I see a guy on a sport bike wearing shorts and a t-shirt but he has frame sliders installed on his bike. He is aware that a crash might happen and he has taken the time to install something that will help minimize the damage to his costy fiberglass but he has thought not one wit about what will happen to his body in the same scenario. DOH.

Women, you’re not out of this either. You think your jeggings and cute boots will protect you in a crash? It is to laugh. The pressure on women to look good while doing anything and while being anywhere is crazy-making. It discombobulates any reasoned approach to the purchase of riding gear. When I commuted to work by motorcycle I wore an old Air Force flight suit, helmet, gloves and boots. I kept a pair of shoes at work. My commute was fully suited out in protective gear but underneath I wore my work clothes. A Joe Rocket Survivor Suit is my current kit and it does the same duty. I really didn’t care all that much how I looked on the bike although I like the look of the Joe Rocket.  I wasn’t out there to look gooey nectar on my commute. These days I am astonished at the number of women who wear clothing that will do them less than no good when they are riding. She wears the helmet and a pair of leather garden gloves and no other protective gear. Believe me they will cut those pricey jeggings off of you in a heartbeat in the ER.

I used to like one particular Italian restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach. The first time I showed up there to meet friends I was confronted just inside the front door by the maitre d’ who politely explained to me that there was a dress code and that my flight suit was not appropriate. I laughed and told him that I expected to check it and then started to doff the suit. Underneath I was wearing clothing acceptable to management and everybody was happy.  It is possible to plan an evening out on the town and still wear riding gear that will help keep you safe – they are not mutually exclusive. The maitre d’ got to know me and would make a comic flourish out of welcoming me when I came in. It was fun for us both.  Yes, my boots were a bit out of the norm but it became my look. Trust me, you can wear your motorcycle boots to the opera and as long as everything you are wearing is black you will get away with it just fine (note: boots with lotsa buckles can make a sound that is annoying to those sitting next to you.)

Take a look at the online videos of riders going down and make some reasoned decisions about how you want to look when you are the one staring up at the sky after a crash. Do you want to be she who is wearing very little riding gear and has to be carted off to the ER or do you want to extend the chances that you will not be carted anywhere and wear the ATGATT? There are ways to wear the gear that won’t inhibit your social life or your look.

*Note: Dr. Flash Gordon’s book Blood, Sweat and 2nd Gear: More Medicine for Motorcyclists is available from White Horse Press.

 

Gerde Applethwaite

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!

Arai Corsair V Graphic Release: Nicky GP Camo

BORN TO RIDE

Arai will be releasing a new limited edition graphic for the Corsair V helmet this January!  We are stoked about the new Nicky GP design.  The camo finish appears to be in the shape of a helmet with a facial depiction, just add a dark smoke shield and you will be indistinguishable from other riders.  Bullets, peace signs, and the words “Born to Ride” cover the rest of the helmet making this one unique looking lid!

Arai Corsair V Nicky GP - Camo

Arai Corsair V Nicky GP - CamoThe Arai Corsair V is one of the most popular motorcycle helmets due to it’s intermediate oval shape.  Giving the rider an optimum fit and maximum comfort.  Aerodynamics on this helmet are unbeatable with no annoying sounds or pulls.  With out a doubt the Corsair V is one of our favorite helmets and we are sure you will love it just as much as we do!

Only a few will be available for a limited time so snatch one up before they vanish: http://bit.ly/1eVZ2uO

 

Gerde’s To-Do List

By Gerde Applethwaite

When I am the only the one who finds it necessary in my cohort to get there on time I am referred to as “kkkkair-duh.” The key is to get a really good rolling ‘chuh’ sound from the back of the throat at the beginning. When I am the one who really would rather wear sweats and stay home watching Game of Thrones repeats I am called “Gertie.” Gertie needs a good to-do list. Here is part of it.

1.) I have to get the scratch out of my old Arai Corsair face shield because it is in my field of vision and it bugs me. TAP plastics has a scratch remover kit. I really have to get over there and pick one up. If that doesn’t do the trick I just need to replace the shield with a new one.

2.) My Sidi boots are due for some treatment. They have held me in good stead and I need to care for them soon. If you go to one of the touring blogs and search out the posts for boot care you will get chit-chat that hottens up nearly as much as an oil thread. I am not sure what to use. If anyone has the true ticket please drop a note here.

3.) Some of the stitches are coming undone on the side of the right knee of my main riding pants (textile.) I need to get in there and do a little sewing. then I need to test them to see if their water resisting capability is still there. There is a way to treat the threads with some goop to water proof the area. I may need to get some of that.

4.) I also want to try out a pair of suspenders on another pair of pants because i think they will stay up better that way – especially when they get wet. If I recall Duluth Trading has some good old red suspenders. Gotta go look that up. I will then be an honorary member of the red suspender crowd. All I will need then will be the traditional corn cob pipe.

5.) The taillight lens is getting dull on one of my bikes. I need to use some of that TAP plastic stuff on it. Someone told me to use toothpaste on the lens. I guess I’ll try that first because at least I have the toothpaste.

6.) I need a new bicycle helmet because mine now has a crack in the plastic. I want a helmet with a bill on the front like a baseball cap. I like that because it really helps to keep the sun out of your eyes when you are riding right into the light. I always have trouble finding a bike helmet I like. Some of the helmets that have a lot of holes in them also have a sort of forward projection that works like a ball cap bill. I just don’t like the helmets with all of the holes in them. I have to find a new helmet.

7.) My small portable air compressor, the one that fits under the bike’s seat, has crapped out. I need to find another one, a better one.

8.) I’m thinking about getting a small winch to fit into the head of the bed of the pickup truck to make it easier to get a bike into the truck. I need to design a sturdy mount for the winch out of angle iron.

9.) It would be good to have more visibility at the back of the bike at night. Texting clown car drivers have almost driven into me a couple of times while I’m sitting at a light waiting for it to change. Those license plate light setups seem to be a popular idea. I need to look into that and find one I like.

The New Year is around the corner. For many it is time to put the bike up for the winter and there are a series of tasks related to that; gasoline additives, bike stands, bike covers, etc. I am fortunate enough to live in California and we have a 12 month riding season so I can forgo those chores.

Another year nearly done – where does it go?

Gerde Applethwaite

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.

This I’d Like to See: Thoughts on Motorcycle Gear

By Gerde Applethwaite

Shorter: A random collection of things I’d like to see in the world of motorcycle gear.

1) I’d like to see all manufacturers offer a full (solid) hi-viz version of each of the helmets in their line.

2) Isn’t it about time that helmet design technology advanced beyond the simple EPS liner?

I’d like to see manufacturers come up with a helmet that replaces the conventional EPS liner with Sas-Tec or D3O viscoelastic material. I know D30 makes a helmet liner – let’s see it in some motorcycle helmets. Also, there must be new energy absorption technologies on the horizon that can be mass produced. Let’s have them.

3) I’d like to see the manufacturers of cameras that are designed to be used on helmets come up with standardized universal mount that helmet manufacturers can then universally embrace and make a space for on their helmets.

4) I’d like to see a federal standard and standardized testing for helmet wind noise so that we can evaluate a motorcycle helmet more objectively.

5) I’d like to see replaceable, drop-down helmet sun shields that come with swappable dark and light brown polarized lenses.

6) I’d like to see more Scotchlite type reflective material on the back and sides of most jackets.

7) I’d like to see an inexpensive but durable solar charger panel (about the size of an ipad) that I can mount onto the tail of the bike that will allow me to charge my phone and/or GPS while I ride or while I am parked at the camp site.

8)  I’d like to see a major manufacturer of motorcycle gear come out with an LED hi-viz vest with wireless brake light and turn signal capabilities. Do they have those already?

Aye, now that we have that all sorted next up will be my list on motorcycles and then pastry. Mmmmm, pastry.

Gerde Applethwaite