Monday, April 9, 2012

Motorycle Helmets - Diffrent Types

One can tell a lot about a biker by his helmet..

We Indians have it in us to turn our humble bikes for "multi purpose" use. Be it a Super Sports replica like the Yamaha R15 or cruiser replica like the Bajaj Avenger, the end use most of the time turns out to be nearly similar. For example, we use the same bike for riding on good/bad roads for "Touring", "Racing", "Stunting" or "Commuting". Bikes like the Yamaha R15 and the Bajaj Avenger have actually been designed keeping in mind certain specialized kind of riding.

Similarly there are Helmets which are specifically designed keeping in mind the kind of motorcycles that you ride. Posted below are different type of helmets which are designed keeping in mind specific motorcycle styles and which go along with specific kinds of motorcycle design / motorcycling activities.

1. Race Track Biker: Full face Helmet

Full face helmets with its chin bar and sung fit offer maximum protection to the rider. These helmets are aerodynamic in design and goes in tandem with bikes which are meant for the race track.

Pros: Maximum protection, aerodynamic

Cons: Isolated/Claustrophobic feel, fogging of the plastic face shield during heavy physical exertions, increased heat inside

Manufacturers have started to add ventilation vents on these helmets to keep the rider's scalp cool and ventilated.

Also “breath deflectors” are put at the top of the chin bar to deflect the exhaled air from the nose in order to prevent the face shield from fogging.

Note: There is no hard and fast rule that one always needs to stick to a particular type of helmet for a particular kind of bike.

But using a proper helmet that has been designed to perform a particular activity, goes to show that you know your motorcycles quite well.

2. Off Road/Motocross Biker: Motocross Helmet

Motocross sport demands high physical exertion, therefore to eliminate the problem related to face shield fogging, the face shield is not added on a motocross helmet. This also lets in airflow.

A sun visor is characteristic of these types of helmets. It is fitted to keep the sun away from the eyes of the rider and also when the head is dipped, it keeps away the dirt. An elongated chin bar provides protection in case of a crash.

Pros: An elongated chin bar and absence of a face shield means no issues with fogging, provides unhindered air flow, an airy feel and a good all round visibility

Cons: Need to wear goggles (with an elastic strap) to protect the eyes from the dust. The visor deflects air at high riding speeds throwing around the riders head (not an issue for off road riding as the speed is not too high).

The design also doesn’t go well with all kinds of motorcycles.

3. Stunt Biker: Motocross Helmet

Stunting involves for activities which involve a lot of physical exertions.

Therefore a motocross helmet suits the sport of motorcycle stunting perfectly.

Pros: Perfect for stunting

Cons: None (in terms of stunting)

4. Adventure Tourer/Dual Sport Biker: Dual Sport Helmet

Adventure touring motorcycles are designed to take the rider over all kinds of terrain with comfort. As the kind of riding involves good as well as bad roads, dual purpose/sport helmets have cropped up which caters to the need of these kinds of motorcycles.

These types of helmets have taken the design features of a full face and a motocross helmet. These helmets have a roomy interior with slightly elongated chin bars and a sun visor to keep the sun off from the eyes.

These helmets can also be worn with a pair of goggles with an elastic band. But like a full face helmet these helmets also are attached with a plastic face shield which can be pulled over the face depending on the rider’s need.

Pros: Combines the best of both a full face and a motocross helmet.

Cons: The sun visor would deflect the air at high speeds, styling might not suit all kinds of motorcycles.

5. Cruiser (Easy) Biker: Open Face Helmet

Riding a cruiser bike is an expression of freedom and a relaxed attitude. It is in fact the diametric opposite from riding a fast track bike or an aggressive off road – stunt biking. An open face helmet suits the free spirit of a cruiser bike.

Open face helmets are fited with face shield to keep off the wind from hitting the face.

Pros: Goes well with the cruiser bike design and attitude, provides and unhindered view of the road ahead

Cons: Protection to the facial area in case of a crash is not there, too much wind noise because of the open face design.

6. Modular / Flip up Helmets (for guys who can't decide)

These type of helmet is a hybrid between a full face and an open face helmet. It has a chin which can be “flipped up” and retracted back.

Bikers who feel claustrophobic inside a snug fitting full face helmet but also don’t like the open face variety, can opt for this type of helmet.

Pros: Can lift the chin instead of removing the helmet for a drink or to converse with someone

Cons: I am not really convinced about the facial protection that the movable chin bar can provide

7. Commuter: Pick up anyone.. it doesn’t matter

There is no specific helmet for street riding. Usually a full face helmet suits all kinds of bikes/motorcycles. But then I have seen guys wearing all kinds of helmets on all kinds of bikes in India. Hence it’s not unusual for dudes to be seen wearing motocross helmets on a Yamaha R15.

It basically shows how most Indians buy the bikes for its attitude but actually don't know to put it to its intended use. In the end reducing every bike to a commuter.
Wearing the appropriate gear can give the impression that you know your motorcycles well.. even if you basically are a commuter (which is actually nothing to be ashamed of).

And who knows, if you have a specialized bike, then sometimes it might actually be used for its intended activity.

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