Motorcycle Helmets (Arai, Shoei)


#41

Hi, all. I have ordered a few XL-XXL’s (Bell, Roof, Arai, Vega, KBC) because local helmets are unsafe and don


#42

Yes, I’m afraid that after extensive research on helmets, I have to fully agree with sandman. You probably have to spend at least 6-9 thou to get real, quality protection. The under $3K range is all plastic, with minimal EPS core (what absorbs most of the impact). The higher-end helmets, made of many layers of composite materials held together by heat-cured epoxy resin, also absorb more impact by de-laminating, and they tend to have thicker, better-designed cushioning in the soft open-cell foam of the inner liner and neck roll, too.

If you DO insist on going with a cheapie, at least get a full-face, or a solid flip-up like the Zeus 508W, which they make in up to an XXXL (3XL) size for export, even though dealers will tell you otherwise. Since they’re unavailable locally, I’m thinking of organizing big-headed foreigners to buy a dozen or so from the factory at a discount. They run about $2500 NT retail.


#43

I don’t believe the urban myth that if you drop a motorcycle helmet it is no good any longer or compromised. Common sense tell you that this could not be true.[/quote]

If it’s ABS plastic, your common sense is good. But composite helmets are made of layers of epoxy resin holding together millions of tiny fibers of fiberglass, kevlar and/or carbon. Upon any moderate impact, they start to delaminate (the layers start to break apart at a microscopic level), by design, although the overall helmet holds its shape. This delamination, which you may not be able to see if minor, absorbs a significant amount of the impact, thus protecting your brain (and face) from injury. But in a severe impact, you don’t want to be wearing a helmet whose delamination has already begun, because then it’s not as strong. So, to be safe, you should wear only composite helmets, preferrably fiberglass and kevlar (as these (espec. kevlar) have the best impact resistance, better than carbon); furthermore, if you do have a crash and strike the helmet on a car or road surface, you need to replace the helmet, even if it appears to be undamaged or merely scratched. The experts say that you should replace it even if you just drop it 3 feet onto concrete.


#44

I’m afraid I have to disagree with this description. Based on my understanding, it is visors, not shells, which are polycarbonate. The “plastic” shells are typically referred to as “thermoplastic high-impact resin”, which is a fancy way of saying “strong plastic” (like ABS). They are durable, take minor knocks, but are affected by solvents. Almost all Taiwanese helmets are of this type.

The second, high-end type is not “glass-reinforced plastic” but rather fiber-reinforced resin, in this case the resin usually being an epoxy. The fibers are usually but not always glass. This type is called fiberglass. But they also make versions which weave together fiberglass and poly-aramid fibers, aka aramid aka Kevlar, and/or carbon fiber. Fiberglass is the cheapest of these, and provides good structural strength and moderate impact resistance. Carbon, while structurally strong, has the lowest impact resistance of the three, and is better suited to airframes and canoes than to helmets. Kevlar is the toughest, impact-wise, but is very expensive. A combination of fiberglass and kevlar is good, and is often the choice of the top-end hats, although you can find some mid-range helmets using this combo.

The fiber strength is maximized when the fibers are tightly bundled together, with just the minimum amount of resin joining them, and no air bubbles or dry spots (i.e., spots lacking resin). In order to achieve this, top-end helmets use a difficult and laborious process involving strong vacuum, called “vacuum bag-molded”. Doesn’t sound great, but it is what allows them to achieve super strength with a minimum number of layers. It also sucks out the extra epoxy, which is heavy. Thus, you get a super lightweight, comfortable helmet. Pick up a top-end Shoei or Arai and you’ll see what I mean. Light.

True, the composite helmets are unaffected by solvents, so can be repainted; but it is these helmets, not the plastic ones, which can be affected by minor impacts (on the order of a 3+ foot drop to concrete), which damage can be invisible. This is because of delamination of the layers. They are equally or more effective in an impact, but are one-use-only.

I hope this helps.


#45

I got a Brosh - super lightweight, being made of Coolmax mesh. Almost TOO cool for May evenings. Cool enough for summer evenings, certainly. The fabric doesn’t offer protection, but it incorporates hextech high-density foam armor in the shoulders, elbows and forearms and back, so you can wear armor up to about 33 degr C. But it’s so light, it’s really May-Oct only. Brosh has very good service too (online, Brosh.com), and other nice products like casual pants with foam armor under the knees and mesh knee-backs.


#46

Two places in Taipei:

First, on the south side of Bade road, 20 meters east of Jilong (Keelung) Rd, there’s a big helmet shop. They have a limited selection of Arai’s and Shoei’s on display, but at least one or two XL’s last I checked (but no XXL’s, which is what MY 61cm head needs). I didn’t find them too helpful, though.

Second, and more highly recommended, is BERLIN 柏霖 on Ruiguang Rd in Neihu, #588. From the China Times (Zhong1guo2 shi2bao4) building on Min2quan2 (Minchuan) Rd, turn north on Ruiguang and go a good 7-8 minutes north, well past the flower market, and look for the big showroom windows on your left. Store manager is Lewis, aka Xiao3 Li3, very nice guy, very helpful. Phone 27995430, email berlin88@seed.net.tw. They have some XL-XXL’s and carry only the better, imported helmets. And I think he’ll give you a good price; one price he quoted me on an Arai once was around $3K lower than others. They carry armor, good gloves, and high-end stuff in general.

I’ll try to find my info on the specialty Nolan shop and contact info for the Zeus distributor in case you want a Zeus 508 3XL, and I’ll add that here if I can.

K


#47

Sounds like most of you guys are in Taipei, does anyone know of a good place to get a helmet in Taichung?

stare


#48

For a cheap, reasonably safe helmet, get an M2R full face model. They’re around 3000NT. I believe there are quite a few places that sell them. One helmet shop I can think of is on Beituen (Beitvn) road, on the east side, somewhere between Taiyuan and Dongshan/Wenxin. (Have you got the free Compass map I mentioned yet?)

If you want a more expensive, lighter, more comfortable and slightly safer helmet, go to the Gochen shop;
gochen.com.tw/
on Henan Road (go up Gongyi, cross Wenxin, then turn left when you hit Henan. It’s a big shop on your left with lots of BMW bikes.)


#49

there’s quite a few in Tai-chung

Go-Chen (guo-zhen) claim to be the biggest bike shop on the island, although that’s debatable, they are the BMW agent and they have what is probably the widest selection of lids in Taichung… The shop is at 433 He Nan Rd, with Wen Xin Rd. way behind you, turn left off Gong Yi Rd past a pharmacy on the corner and keep your eyes open for the huge BMW showroom on your left had side about 50m down He Nan Rd from the Gong Yi intersection. The downside is they are ignorant, extremely arrogant and fairly overpriced… You could do worse than the HJC CL-14 discounted at go-chen to NT$4000 it’s the best bang for your buck helmet by far, third only to Shoei and Arai…

another pretty good option is the “M.A.R.S Racing” shop which in on Wen Xin Rd. if you’re riding up Wen Xin Rd with Zhong Gang Rd behind you, it’s on your right about 20m before the intersection of Xi Tuen Rd. The owner and his wife are friendly and helpful, they’ve been in the business for years, and their prices are reasonable… if you buy a lot of kit from them they start throwing in discounts too… only problem is you’ve got to make your own decisions 'cos he’ll tell you “that’s the one, perfect fit!” no matter what you try on, no matter how retardedly too big / small it is…

if those don’t do it for you there’s a fair few more around Tai-chung although most are pretty amateur hour stores…


#50

Thanks for the tips Plasmatron. I’ll check out that OOXX shop.

[quote=“plasmatron”]You could do worse than the HJC CL-14 discounted at go-Chen to NT$4000 it’s the best bang for your buck helmet by far, third only to Shoei and Arai…[/quote]HJCs were the wrong shape for my head. I got an AXO from them – 10,000NT but a good fit. Wish I hadn’t rolled it down a hill. Plan to replace it soon.

Arais and Shoeis are great helmets, but I wouldn’t say they’re the best value for money. Suomys are supposed to be roughly the same quality but a bit cheaper. Don’t know whether there’s anywhere in Taiwan that stocks them though. I posted the importer’s address above – if anyone’s interested they could try that.

I still stand by M2R as a rather heavy but cheap and reasonable safe helmet. The go-kart place up on Dadushan uses them, and the boss knows what he’s doing with regards to safety.


#51

Maoman

Get your lid through a club. These shops that’ll sell you a 2002 model Aria for NT$19k have probably left it out in the sun and dropped it several times. I presume you’re looking for a top class lid to go with your 250 crotch rocket ?! :lol


#52

[quote=“hexuan”]Maoman

Get your lid through a club. These shops that’ll sell you a 2002 model Aria for NT$19k have probably left it out in the sun and dropped it several times. I presume you’re looking for a top class lid to go with your 250 crotch rocket ?! :lol[/quote]Huh? At the time when Maoman wrote his original post, a 2001 model was the latest he could get. If you read the third post in the thread, you’ll see he bought a brand-new Arai for 16,000NT. And I believe the 250 Majesty’s gone, to be replaced at some future date.

However, this continued as a very interesting and useful thread. I would not have thought to check the date on a helmet before you mentioned it.


#53

Yeah, the manufacture date is on a sticker inside the shell, underneath the liner.

BTW, hexuan and Joesax, I honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with picking up a helmet that’s been sitting in the box a few years. This is because the five-year lifespan that pricey hat makers give you is not based on natural degradation of the shell; it’s based on degradation due to use and abuse (which can cause an accumulation of invisibly small hairline fractures and delamination of the composite shell), heat and sweat causing unpleasantness in the liner, and UV light (which degrades vinyl trim) over a five year period. Also, you want a helmet to fit very snugly (more snugly than most people realize) if you want maximum safety, both for impact absorption and to prevent it from coming off in a collision (which can happen). After wearing a helmet 5 years, it is significantly looser.

If a helmet has been in the box in a store, it should be fine even five years later; it would still have a useful life of 5 years. But you would be getting the features of a year-2000 model, for example (which in the case of Arai Signets were still very nice).

For comparison, I opened up a box that had been in storage since 1985, twenty years, and the Arai helm had spider webs in it. The shell, visor and trim were perfect, but the foams used in the liner had begun to degrade, and so the liner needed replacing. So I would put a storage limit of, say 7-10 years on them, personally. Also, going back that far, the Arai had screwpost sideplates, and so on.

Note that by picking up a closeout 2000-3 model from the right source, you can save some serious bucks. Fyredad@hotmail.com is a retired fireman in the US who handles closeouts like this, brand new, not showroom models, and the prices are awesome, around $5-$7K NT for top-end hats.

I totally agree with Joesax that it isn’t just a choice between a $100NT piece of crap and a $16000NT Arai or Signet, and I certainly don’t wear Arai’s for snob appeal. Nor could I afford a new one at that price.

The complex composite laminate shells of the pricier helms are, of course, going to absorb more energy in a high-speed collision through the process of delamination, which is why you won’t see racers wearing anything else. But for low-speed impacts, which is the typical situation in city traffic, high-impact thermoplastic resin shells are also adequate. This is what mid to low-end shells are made of. But equally important is the impact-absorption capability of the styrofoam core and the cushioning effect of the lining. In these areas, you’ll find that the thicker cores and thicker, plusher liners on Arais (for example) are slightly superior to mid-range helms, and vastly superior to the half-inch thick deathcaps that now come in candy colors and/or have eyes or cartoons on them. I don’t care if they claim Snell approval, I just don’t believe those thin little caps would really protect you, even if the impact did occur in the small area they cover! And I wouldn’t trust makers of such minihats to be honest in their labelling, either.

In mid-range helms, I personally like the Zeus flipup 508 and 508W, which retails for what, $3k? Unfortunately, like all local makes, they run very round, so I can’t wear them. I’d strongly recommend you spend a minimum of $2-3K, anyway. I have to carry my helms into the office and apartment with me since they’re worth five to six times that, and it’s a real pain, but don’t trust your life to a nightmarket special, guys!

On mesh jackets, if you don’t want a spangly silver or racer-colors model, you can get them in solid black from Brosh.com. Great service too.

OK, new idea, what do you think of glow-in-the-dark spray paint for helmets? I’m thinking of making a few this way. High visibility for sure. Might cause more accidents than it prevents, though! :laughing:


#54

I was told by the bloke who sold me my Shoei not to paint it or it could affect the lamination and make it unsafe.


#55

You can paint a fiberglass or composite laminate helmet that uses epoxy resin, no problem. The solvents in paints do not affect fiberglass, carbon, kevlar or epoxy, which are the only ingredients in most composite helms like Arai’s. The only concern is that some solvent-based paints may harm plastic helmets.

My understanding of Shoei’s process is that they use “organic” fibers, which I believe means carbon fibers, plus fiberglass, and “hyper performance fibers”, which I believe to be kevlar, and bonded with polymer, which in Shoei’s case is a thermoplastic. I believe that the use of thermoplastic in a composite here (with a steam-inflated balloon instead of an inner mold) sets them apart from other, epoxy-resin-based processes such as Arai’s, which have a curing period and, in Arai’s case, use vacuum bag molding to remove excess epoxy. They (Shoei’s) are then painted (!), which means that painting is possible, but you must know what kind of paint will not harm the polymer they use.

Acc. to mxdirtrider.com/h-resources/s-ab … ei-faq.htm,
“Q: Can I paintbrush my Shoei helmet?
It is possible to repaint your Shoei helmet. You can use any colours which are not Nitro based. Please make sure that no aggressive fumes will enter the inside of the helmet.”

Of course, there’s a bit more to know about painting helmets (do’s and don’t’s).


#56

[quote]Acc. to mxdirtrider.com/h-resources/s-ab … ei-faq.htm,
“Q: Can I paintbrush my Shoei helmet?
It is possible to repaint your Shoei helmet. You can use any colours which are not Nitro based. Please make sure that no aggressive fumes will enter the inside of the helmet.”

Of course, there’s a bit more to know about painting helmets (do’s and don’t’s).[/quote]
Cool. So I guess the bike shop guy was just doing a spot of CYA.
So, what are the do’s and don’ts? I’m thinking, for example of painting mine green and cream to maatch my bike, using the exact Yamaha paint colours if I can get 'em.
So would that kind of auto paint be OK? WOuld I need to rub the helmet back and apply primer first? I have an airbrush and I 'aint afraid to use it. :wink:


#57

I’m not sure about paint varieties because my helms are Arai


#58

Ok. I need a lid. My old old Shoei RF200 doesn’t cut it anymore and my local helmets are stinky and cheapos.

Looking for a flip up, etc. but not familiar with the local market.

Should I be waiting for Snell 2005 helmets or am I kidding myself and should just be happy with a Snell 2000 helmet.

Also am I going to get a better deal going to some local tiny place or I’ll be fine pricewise getting the helmet from gochen?

Thanks


#59

Go Chen have the biggest range in Taichung, perhaps on the island… BUT they are arrogant and they are fools and they will rush you into whatever is the most expensive model you pick up… Also they are about 35% more expensive than other stores around town… they try to justify it by saying they have high rent and they are the best shop etc. but in a word… fuckem…

take a look at Tony’s place… I think it’s still called OOXX… it’s on Wen Xin Rd. if you’re riding up Wen Xin Rd with Zhong Gang Rd behind you, it’s on your right about 20m before the intersection of Xi Tuen Rd. The owner and his wife are friendly and helpful, they’ve been in the business for years, and their prices are reasonable… if you buy a lot of kit from them they start throwing in discounts too…

case in point, Dainese mesh jacket NT$9,500 at Go Chen… Identical jacket at Tony’s place… NT$7,000…

As for Snell '05 vs. '00… not the end of the world, your choice really… If you want the best flip up money can buy check out the BMW range of flip ups… Otherwise HJC do a pretty good mid range flip up as well… (problem is both of these would probably only be available at Go Chen, well the BMW ones anyway)


#60

Tony’s place on Wenshin rd is called M.A.R.S Racing…cheers