Eyeglass Update

By Gerde Applethwaite

Shorter: I took a couple of helmets with me to the optician and wound up with conventional frames anyway.

This is just a quick note about my visit to the Costco opticians. They were great and really friendly. They didn’t giggle when I came in with the helmets, instead the woman who helped me was nonchalant and said that they get motorcyclists in there every once in awhile and they often bring helmets with them. Bring your helmet/s.

Bottom line for me is that I wound up with a rather conventional frame. I looked at the prices and I went with something inexpensive and traditional in shape because I know I am going to be rough on these frames and I’ll be back soon enough for a replacement. Why replace an expensive frame just to bang it up again? My approach to the selection process is utilitarian and not fashion oriented. Mind you, its not that I am not tempted by a vintage pair of rhinestone encrusted Auntie Mame sunglasses but that’s for the Playa and its just not the done thing under one’s helmet.

How do they fit into my helmets? I took my Arai RX-Q and I grabbed a Scorpion EXO-900 modular helmet too. The Modular is clearly easier to work with when it comes to getting glasses off and on. No question.

I have been wearing straight templed Smith sunglasses with my Arai RX-Q for some time but since I got myself set up with the Pinlock shields on the Arai RX-Q I haven’t worn sunglasses. The eyeglasses fit in the helmet more awkwardly than the sunglasses did because the ear end of the temple arm is curved (like a regular pair of glasses.) Its a snug fit and bending the glasses up and into that area between my head, my hair and the thick foam padding is a bit of a challenge.

On the other hand the modular helmet makes this task much easier. On the Scorpion EXO-900 I press the red button on the chin bar, flip up the front piece and I am now afforded much more room to wrangle the glasses onto my head. Its true what the eyeglass wearers say about flip-ups. This still mandates the dance of wedging the frame in beside the padding and my head but it is made all so much easier with the additional room afforded by the flip-up. I have never worn a modular helmet before but I could get used to this pretty quickly. I cannot envision riding with the modular unit in the open position but the combination of being able to pop it open when stopped and then quickly dealing with the glasses or talking to toll takers and gas station attendants makes a flip-up tempting. On the other hand if I wanted to ride with the helmet in open-face style I could because Scorpion has designed the EXO-900 Transformer helmet so that the entire modular front end can be removed (while it retains its CE rating.) My next post will be a rider’s review of the Scorpion EXO-900 Transformer.

There is a Shark modular helmet, the Evoline 3 ST, I want to look into because it too is rated CE 22.05. More about this helmet in the not too far distant future.

Get on out there.

Gerde Applethwaite

The Merits of Going Topless …

BigGuy82

I’m a believer in voluntary helmet use – I live in New York State where the law demands helmet usage but I believe that adult riders are capable of deciding for themselves.  While I often times don’t wear a helmet outside of NY (because I do love the wind in my face and through my hair), I strongly suggest that you determine how much risk you are willing to accept, because regardless of what type of accident you may become involved in (hopefully none), your chances of survival are increased by helmet usage.

During a recent trip, I passed through 14 states that don’t require motorcycle helmets.  Some mandate them for the passenger.  At times, I wore my helmet and chose not to wear it at other times.  Why?  Well, for me, helmet usage is determined by how I will be riding that day.  For instance, whenever I’m on the highway for extended periods of time, I wear a helmet.  I do it more for comfort than safety, but I also believe that wearing it increases my chances for survival in an accident.  While it may look “cool” to cruise down the interstate at 75 mph with your hair blowing in the breeze, what’s not cool is the wind blasting your face for extended periods.  This causes your eyes to water (even with a windshield and/or sunglasses) and after a while, they dry out and get itchy, which in turn is very distracting.  You dehydrate more quickly because wind is blasting your eyes as well as your nasal and oral passages.  Another consideration is the noise level, even with earplugs.  When you wear a helmet, it is much quieter and the chance for long-term hearing loss is reduced. Wind noise is also just plain annoying after many hours on the road.

Although I have several helmets, I knew that the 6,000 mile trip I was planning would need a special one.  I wanted something that would fit perfectly, give me a great view of my surroundings (eliminating a full face or modular helmet), had a built-in sun visor so I wouldn’t need to fool with sunglasses and regular glasses, give me excellent hearing protection (meaning a thicker internal padding system) and protect me from wind buffeting.   After a lot of research, I decided on the new Shoei J Cruise because it has everything I wanted and more.

It’s an open face helmet that has an optically correct face shield, giving me a full picture of my surroundings (unlike a full face or modular helmet) while still protecting my face, eyes and ears from wind and other elements.  For those of you who get a little claustrophobic inside a full face or modular helmet, this wide face shield really opens things up.  Another great feature is the retractable, optically correct sunscreen, allowing use of prescription glasses while offering full protection from glare.  The Shoei sunscreen is special because it doesn’t smack into my glasses when I lower it like most full helmets with this feature.  Shoei designed the shell around it … they didn’t just add a sunscreen to an existing shell.  Thick padding provides excellent protection and the best noise reduction of any helmet I have owned.  It has outstanding ventilation even on the hottest days (I wore it on a 104 degree day in Oklahoma).

Whether you are a fan of helmets or not, there are times when it makes very good sense to wear one.  Whatever brand you choose, make sure it offers everything you’re looking for, regardless of price.

BigGuy82

Futuristic Motorcycle Helmet from LiveMap

There’s a lot of buzz around this new motorcycle helmet being brought from concept to reality by a Russian company called LiveMap. Headed by CEO Andrew Artishchev, the company is driven to create a street helmet that features “augmented reality for easy and user-friendly navigation.” So what does that entail and why is this worth all of the fanfare it’s been receiving?

How many times have you been out on the road and realize you made a wrong turn or don’t know how to get to your destination? Every wanted to know what places of interest are around you while riding? The creators of the LiveMap motorcycle helmet had these questions in mind and are hoping to answer it with their groundbreaking helmet with heads up display. Only slightly larger than a standard street helmet (the interface and components, while minimal, will necessitate this), the LiveMap helmet will meet DOT safety standards as well as a slew of other international safety requirements. With a light sensor for adjusting display brightness according to external light conditions, as well as an accelerometer, gyroscope, and digital compass for tracking head movements, it is sure to be an amazing innovation. If it gets funded, that is.
Currently the project is being featured on indigogo, a crowdfunding site much like Kickstarter. With an ambitious goal of $150,000, it happens to be well under that as of now with about two weeks left for funding.

We hope that this project makes it or at least that other companies try to innovate much like LiveMap. Perhaps the other competitors can also have a slightly smaller price tag as $2000 is a deal-breaker for most. If interested in seeing this go into production or having one of these street helmets before anyone else, visit the project here. Whether you end up funding it or not, what do you think of this idea? Would you wear one or buy one?

Dad’s Day Options

My friend Marianne has a dad who rides. He has been riding motorcycles for a long time and he has all of the gear he needs. He doesn’t want a new helmet. He likes his jacket. His boots fit just fine thank you. We gave it some thought and she decided to go for a Bluetooth set. The idea was that when she occasionally rides with him they can talk about where to pull over for coffee and wot not or how beautiful the trees are  or…that her feet itch. When he rides with their mom he can talk about his itchy feet. Hmmm, I somehow just managed to make this sound a little less appealing, didn’t I? Thing is – she’s not sure he’ll like it. His hands signals are fairly well evolved and he always leads so it isn’t hard to figure out what he wants. He will smile politely and it will stay in its box. Then we realized that this thing will give her a chance to say to him stuff like “did you see those cops over by the overpass?” Or maybe she could even say “we’re pulling off at this offramp cuz I have to pee.”  For that and that alone its worth getting him the Bluetooth gear.

Dads who ride invariably need stuff for to make their ride just a little sweeter. It may not be a big ticket item like a new helmet (although if his helmet is more than 5 years old it should be replaced.) How are his face shields? Scratched? Get him a new one. Even better, if his helmet manufacturer makes them try stepping him up to a fog-free pinlock shield and a couple of differently tinted lenses. No fog, sun shade – sweet.

This isn’t really the season for heated gear but a pair of heated gloves is most welcome on a cold morning start or at the end of a long day when the sun has gone down. Keeping your hands warm on a ride can make all the difference between the miles tripping pleasurably by and hand cramps that harsh dad’s buzz completely.

Take a stroll through the accessories pages. You’ll find something there for even the most seasoned dad.

Le Sneezola Du Printemps: Riding in Allergy Season

I live in California and we have, for the most part, had a pretty benign winter. The riding season is about eleven months and three weeks long here. In other parts of the country they are still playing hide and seek with the cold and the wetness while the motorcycles remain under wraps. Spring has yet to arrive for them  but when it does they will be going through, once again, what I am going through with this rain of pollen.

My sister isn’t  bugged by allergies. I most certainly am, its genetic roulette.  When riding a bicycle, scooter or motorcycle during springtime you are in essence turbo-injecting pollen into your sinuses. There are two conventional ways to lessen the effects of  pollen Rhinitus. One is to wear a filter mask over your mouth and nose while the other is the resort to chemistry.

There is guy in my neighborhood who rides a black Sportster; he dons a beanie helmet and a skull face mask on his head. Whenever I catch him out of the corner of my eye I am always slightly startled. Yeah, I know, that’s the idea. If you wear an open face helmet or a beanie helmet you can wear a face mask that will act as a filter to keep the pollen from your mouth and nose. A Freddie Kruger All Hallow’s Eve party mask is not gonna do it – you need a filter.

There is a company that makes a mask for motorcyclists which has a replaceable charcoal filter inside. Clever.  They come in all flavors from a shade of delicate pink to a Halloweenesque skull mask. I have forgotten where this company is but if you know about them please post a link. When I ride a bicycle during that period when the gods of hay fever are in high dudgeon I wear a standard 3M (or substitute) H95 dust mask. It works pretty well but doesn’t help the itchy eyes much – more about that in a minute. I cannot wear a mask with my full face helmet because the fit is pretty tight so I resort to chemicals when on the moto.

If you don’t want to go the face mask route you can try the chemical regimen. There are anti-histamines and anti-allergens out there that do not make you drowsy. Before you go riding you should absolutely know how any of these products will affect you. Needless to say do not take anything that will make you drowsy or in any way disoriented. I leave it to you to do the research on this because there is a lot of good information out there. Here is an excellent start: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/living-with-allergies-11/rhinitis

My personal tea is a generic version of Flonase for the sinuses and Patanol eyedrops for the itchy eyes. It works reasonably well for me. YMMV. Once again, if you know who makes those masks with the filters let me know. I want to try one out on the bicycle rides – and soon.

Gerde Applethwaite

New for Spring 2013 Part 1 – The Arai Defiant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With so many exciting motorcycle helmets hitting the market, and so much new gear, we weren’t’ sure where to start! So we will fill you in one post at a time to bring you up to speed on all the amazing new stuff from Arai helmets, Scorpion, Icon, HJC and more!

First things first. Arai helmets released a new model: The Arai Defiant. This is big news!
Designed for urban riders who want a more aggressive style, the Arai Defiant has been called the “ultimate street helmet” by Arai. It has an Intermediate Oval shell shape and traditional Arai quality. However, the Defiant also has a unique feature – a front air dam to minimize buffeting and wind noise.

Another great feature is the hydrophobic neck roll and cheek pad bottoms. They will not absorb water, even in a full on down pour. The Dry-Max material will stay just that- dry to the max! It will not soak up water and add weight to the helmet. Very cool.

 

 

With 5 solid colors and 6 graphics to choose from, you can see that style was considered in the creation of the helmet.But it wasn’t the priority. The Arai Defiant is an Arai through and through. And with a price point close to the Signet-Q, you can believe it!

 

The Defiant will range from $619.95-$759-95. Get ready for high functioning coolness!

 

Motorcycle Helmets on Sale: Weekly Specials

If you’re into bargains, here’s a good place to check every week: Our Weekly Specials page has all the best motorcycle helmets on sale! We put our top inventory items up as they go on sale to make sure you have access to the best prices. These items are brand new in box but at reduced prices as they move way to make room for the newest lids on the block. You can find awesome motorcycle helmets and jackets at much lower prices if you check in from time to time. Sign up for our newsletter too and be notified and these items drop in price! Here’s a sample of the offerings:

Shoei Qwest Helmet – Goddess TC-6

MSRP: $492.99

Your Price: $358.99

HJC RPS-10 Helmet – Ben Spies Monster

MSRP: $549.99

Your Price: $414.27

River Road Race Leather Jacket – Black

MSRP: $199.95

Your Price: $135.99

 

The new Bell Mag-9 Sena Bluetooth Helmet: Cutting edge technology at its finest!

ell Mag-9 SenaGet ready for the next big thing! The Bell Mag-9 Sena helmet was designed specifically to be used with the Sena SMH-10 Dual Bluetooth Headset, a device that won webbikeworld’s Best Product of 2010.

Sena Bluetooth Headset

“Our Santa Cruz design/engineering team spent countless hours studying the market and potential Bluetooth partners before developing this new design that provides an unmatched riding experience in both terms of both sound and comfort” said Chris Sackett, Business Unit Director for Bell Powersports.

“Unlike many communication systems, there is no cutting, drilling or tearing apart of your helmet, and riders who already have the Sena SMH10 can simply transfer it to the Mag-9 Sena.”

The Mag 9 Sena is an open face design and offers a convenient drop-down sunshield. The liner is removable and washable and the cheek pads are contour style for an excellent fit.

Bell Mag-9 Sena Red

This gorgeous lid is offered in several classic colors as well as a “rally” graphic.

For touring riders, this helmet will reinvent your ride with it convenience and awesome Bluetooth capabilities. With superior comfort, great volume and sound quality, the Mag-9 Sena helmet offers it all!

 

 

The all New Shoei GT-Air and J-Cruise Helmets!


 Shoei has once again “wowed” us with their new Shoei GT-Air helmet.  The Shoei GT-Air helmet includes several features that enable riders to adapt to ever-changing conditions.

A built in sun shield is distortion-free and blocks 99% of UV rays.  The Shoei GT-Air’s pinlock system offers the most effective anti-fog protection.  Additionally, the CNS-1 shield has a wind and waterproof seal.

The Shoei GT-Air helmet improves cool-air intake and eliminates hot-air with its ventilation system.  Three upper vents improve air intake while exhaust outlet vents reduce pressure suction.

 Shoei will also be releasing another impressive model in their 2013 helmet line-up, the Shoei J-Cruise.  Many have mentioned this is not your average open face motorcycle helmet and we agree! Shoei packed the J-Cruise helmet with several innovative features that keep riders safe and increase overall rider comfort.  The Shoei J-Cruise helmet reduces road noise and wind turbulence with an advanced shell, shield aerodynamics, as well as liner components.

The J-Cruise helmet includes an internal sun shield for instant relief from bright sunlight.  Like the internal sun shield, the CJ-2 shield protects against 99% of UV rays.  A distortion-free CJ-2 shield provides a wider and taller field of vision.

Solve your sweaty hair problem with the Shoei J-Cruise motorcycle helmet.  The J-Cruise’s EPS liner allows cool air to flow through tunnels created in the material for increased ventilation performance.  Shoei’s exclusive Max-Dry liner material prevents heat buildup around the head by absorbing sweat and dissipating moisture quickly.

Shoei strikes the balance between airflow and silence with their new GT-Air and J-Cruise Helmets.

Introducing the Brand New Icon Airmada Helmet!

The Icon Airmada helmet is available in a wide array of different graphics and solids and we think it is about time Icon released a new model jam-packed with upgrades.

Icon Airmada Stack Helmet - Hi-Viz Yellow

We all know helmet fit is important and the Airmada has so many options that give riders a better, more personalized fit.  Icon gave the Airmada a new low profile shell that comes in four separate sizes made out of polycarbonate.  The dual density EPS liner is an oval shape and comes in five additional sizes.  Getting plenty of ventilation in this helmet will not be a problem.  The SuperVent system has been improved with exhaust ports across the helmet.

To sum up this awesome new helmet: the Icon Airmada is bringing rider comfort to a whole new level!