Spring is officially over, autumn is on its way. You’re probably beginning to count down the last few motorcycle rides of your season, tearing up at the prospect of winterizing your pride and joy and settling in for a long, boring winter on four wheels.
Now, then, is a perfect time to revisit the other old faithful you’ll miss this winter – your motorcycle helmet.
Here are five very strong reasons you should throw your motorcycle helmet out, right now.
Maybe you’re a seasoned rider with years and years of riding under your belt, maybe even decades. You love your helmet, it fits your head right, you remember the time you let your five-year-old son try it on and how happy he was.
But he just started high school, and that old helmet has too many memories. Over time the foam and adhesive material inside it, all designed to save your noggin, degrades and deforms. Your helmet, at five years old, is nowhere near as effective as it was new.
Put this one on the shelf, grab a new one.
Did you have a perfect season of riding? No drops, no falls, no crashes? If so, fantastic! That’s the best type of riding season. But if you didn’t, no matter. Next year you’ll have a better time of it, probably having learned some new lessons.
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One thing that shouldn’t join you next year though – your helmet. Impacts aren’t supposed to be happen repeatedly on helmets, the invisible damage done in even minor drops can have serious repercussions.
My much-loved AGV helmet is now a cactus after my crash in the Kawasaki Ninja 300 Series. It’s now a shelf ornament despite bearing very little physical damage.
Use your head, save your head. Get a new lid.
You Bought it Second Hand
If this was your first season of riding there’s a good chance your bike was second-hand. Maybe the seller threw in a helmet. If they did, and you’re still wearing it: stop. You don’t know the age or the history of that helmet. The only helmet you can trust is the one you bought new yourself.
If your helmet was a second-hand job, turf it. Now.
It Doesn’t Fit You
There are too many people out there buying improperly fitted helmets. This is especially true in the world of e-commerce and online shopping. Not all helmets are created equal, not all helmet shapes fit everyone. I personally feel most comfortable in an AGV helmet, one of my closest friends refuses to wear anything but a Shoei.
Regardless of the brand, the helmet should fit snugly against your forehead, should not move forward or back on your head, nor twist side-to-side. A little pressure on your head is normal when you first buy a helmet, remembering that helmets bed in a little over time. A lot of pressure is not normal, maybe try a helmet a size up. But if your helmet feels too loose, or too tight, it’s time to buy a new one.
It’s Not a Full Face – and Especially If It’s a Half Shell
This might be where I lose a lot of you, but bear with me. Dr. Dietmar Otte’s research into helmet impacts revealed what many of us who have crashed already know: 49 percent of helmet impacts happen in the visor or below – space not protected by an open-face helmet.
If you look at the area unprotected by half-shell helmets, those leave 61.4 percent of impacts unprotected.
If you enjoy looking at your face in the mirror, or chewing food, it's time to throw out your open-face and get yourself a full-face helmet.