Helmet assist - best Bang for the Buck

#1
Hey Gang!

My head spins after reading helmet reviews from here and all over and other interweb places. I just purchased a sweet 2009 KLR 650 (BMW would have had a premium over the premium with the wife :Wow1: that I dare not explore).

I am looking for a modular helmet that has the best bang for the buck and I am willing to spend the proper amount of $$ to protect my few working brain cells. Not wanting gilded edges to the visor... That includes respectable noise reduction, good ventilation (I live in the GREAT southwest- Gilbert, AZ) and a good fit for a normal sized coconut.

No, I will not be a road jockey either! Working in Globe, AZ - I have the whole Tonto and other forests as a jump off every Friday or two for a weekend adventure year round.

SO - what say you?
 
#2
I guess I will be the first to say it, but everybody else will as well:

Fit is the most important thing. Period.

Beyond that, it is really up to you for what you want to pay for features/quality. Unless somebody can find a new study, there is zero evidence higher priced helmets will protect you better. After owning a couple high end helmets, I find myself sticking to the mid-range helmets. Since I believe safety is the similar across the brands, like you, I go for bang for the buck. That said, if the best fitting helmet you find is $500, you may want to shell out that kind of dough. My head is pretty neutral and I find I have been able to fit in most helmets pretty well.

I find both Scorpion and HJC to be very nice for the price. Scorpions have incredibly fog-resistant shields. When bought on closeout, without preference to color, you can get decent helmets for $100-200. If you know your size, ordering from Europe can save you money too since the $ to Euro is to our advantage. I actually just bought a Nolan N44 (which is sort of a modular/dual sport helmet) for under $200 from FC-Moto and it is fantastic.

Webbikeworld.com seems to be the go-to source for helmet reviews. They also describe the sizing and shape of each helmet which you may find useful once you know your headshape. I take their noise ratings with a grain of salt, however. Helmet noise is so dependent on head shape, bike type, windscreen, manufacturing tolerances, etc., that you can find reviews for the same helmet where one rider says it is the quietest helmet he has owned and another says it is the loudest. That's what ear plugs are for. Revzilla is good for reviews as well.
 
#3
Best fit then the best fit and make sure it fits well. You want to be able to wear your helmet all day and not be uncomfortable. Reviews on helmets are like tire reviews find what works best for your type of melon.
 
#4
Thanks Marc and Phil.

Fit is always priority and I am glad you both were emphatic. Guess I should have been more granular with the ask. Hard part is there are no user test programs out there - for obvious reasons. Having been a Safety manager for a Fortune 100, $ spent on fit and function is much better than forcing folks to use "cheap" stuff.

What helmet has great ventilation (preferably modular or full face) low fogging issues (subjective but appreciated) and a good value. Value to me is that you can seriously justify the price without brand name mark-up. As an example, several folks may state that the scorpion Eco is the bomb at 250 and compares with a Shoei X2(retail550). However it the Shoei has a much better fit, huge difference in usable ventilation and 5 dB quieter on the road, here's my sign! I am Not afraid to lay out money where appropriate, just don't want to waste it. Bang for the buck is how I grew up.

I appreciate the comments! Keep them coming?

Hope this helps.
 

xplrn42

Adventurer
#5
Well I was exactly where you are. I just purchased an 07 KLR and went through the helmet thing since I haven't ridden in 20 years.
I ended up buying a cheapo model (I won't mention brand names) to get me by until my not cheapo helmet came in.
Both helmets fit comfortably. Both helmets have nowhere near the same comfort on the road. Noise is a huge issue on the cheapo. Put each helmet on and knock on the side, also get someone to talk to you while you have each one on, you'll be surprised.
Also if you turn your head slightly the wind catches the cheapo, the money helmet is a lot more forgiving.
This is just my observation from the last month.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
#6
I've been using a Scorpion EXO 900 modular for a couple of years now. It's my first modular, so I'm not sure how it compares to other modulars in terms of noise. I think by their nature of having so many moving parts, a modular is generally going to be noisier than a full face. I do love having a modular though, especially in hot weather.
.
While noise is an issue IMO it's one that can be dealt with in other ways, such as by using ear plugs.
 
#9
I’m in a similar position, I just realized my trusty helmet is 10 years old!
I was planning to get one with a “beak” and was thinking about another Shoei (mine is a 1000)
I tried on a new Bell and was really pleased with the fit and quality and it’s half the price or less than the comparable Shoei.
I’m going to order one soon
 
#10
I too am just getting back into riding after a long lapse. Maybe I have been watching too many ride videos, but I am also looking at a modular helmet to make it easier to talk to people on quick stops without having to remove my helmet every time.

Part of me being old and cautious, is looking for a snell rated modular, but I don't seem to be having much luck. The one I am leaning toward is DOT approved but no ECE or Snell. So three questions to add to the mix:

1) I know a lot of it depends on the crash but is one standard "safer" than the other?
2) Has anyone ever had questions about their helmet certification at a border crossing? ( I'm more likely to be riding in north and central america than the EU)
3) Does anyone have any firsthand experience with a LS2 Valiant helmet?

Thanks in advance.
 

jkam

nomadic man
#11
I don't know about bang for your buck, but I've been wearing Schuberth helmets for
about 15 years now and have been reasonably happy with them.
Concept to C2 and now using a C4, improvements along the way have been nice but the price has gone way up from
really expensive to just plain nuts. But I see many other helmets in the $7-8 hundred dollars range now.

For more off road use, people seem to like the Arai XD4, it has a visor and can accept goggles, I think.

Shoei has a modular that is popular enough, but pricey as well.

I guess for bang for your buck, I'd go to Cycle Gear and try on what they offer and see what fits me best.
 
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#12
fit and weight - after a long day on the dirt with it bumping around your neck muscles will ache. I know some guys who ride with an additional neck brace but i found them uncomfortable on top of the body armour shirt i wore. I'd rather have lightweight fibreglass/carbon full face than modular if it comes in heavier, and take it off when stopped.

Personally i have a Shoei shaped head so used them exclusively on dirt, road and track....but fit is key
 
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#13
Part of me being old and cautious, is looking for a snell rated modular, but I don't seem to be having much luck. The one I am leaning toward is DOT approved but no ECE or Snell. So three questions to add to the mix:
You will not find a Modular Helmet with a Snell and I believe the same goes for ECE. If the helmet has a chinbar the Snell test includes a chinbar impact. A flip up helmet will not meet the requirements that Snell or ECE require. Yes Modular helmets are nice.... But 40% of all accidents are face first. I personally am not willing to risk it. I dont wear a helmet to make it convenient. I wear it to save my life. And FIT FIT FIT. And I dont mean its comfortable fit. If you dont break out a tape measure to measure your head when trying on helmets more than likely you are getting the wrong size. People dont want there cheeks to be squished so they go to a bigger size. Most helmets have different sizes cheek pads. I used to work at a dealership and sold hundreds of helmets over the few years I worked in parts. I cant tell you how many macho men I took from a XL helmet size down to a M or S.

Personally I am a Shoei guy. They just fit me. As much time as I spend or have spent on a bike a few hundred bucks isnt worth the discomfort. I do think they are made better and safer also. Not saying other equal high end helmets are not. But more than an injection molded plastic helmet that weighs a ton but happens to meet DOT and SNELL
 
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