what helmet should you buy?:
The most important thing is to ensure that the helmet fits perfectly
and also look out for the all-important ISI mark on the helmet.
Steer clear of the helmets peddled by roadside vendors, they could
cause more harm than good. If any helmet by any manufacturer doesn't
feel like it fits properly or doesn't meet your needs, then keep
looking. The most important thing is that you are safely protected
rather than having the flashiest lid around.
There are many manufacturers who offer a variety of models in a
variety of shapes, sizes and colours. As when buying a bike the
reputation of a manufacturer does hold considerable weight, the
same is the case for helmets. The reputation of a manufacturer should
steer you in the right direction.
Another point to keep in mind is that helmets should never be stored
in direct sunlight as it affects the outer shell adversely. Never
buy a lid that's been sitting on a glass plinth for months on end
in the window of your local dealer. Helmets should be stored in
a cool, well ventilated and preferably dark area.
What size helmet should you buy?:
Generally start off with a medium sized helmet. Expand the helmet
opening with your hands and slide your head into the helmet. Pull
the chin straps only, not the chin strap covers as this may rip
them. It doesn't matter if the helmet feels tight around the cheeks,
as that is the only area of the helmet that will bed down and give
in to a certain extent.
The actual fit around the crown of the head is most important of
all. If the helmet has detachable cheek pads, take them out and
try it on without them. This takes the emphasis away from how tight
the fit around the cheeks is and you can get the head accuracy just
If the helmet feels just about right but sits down just above your
eyebrows, then the helmet is probably too big. As a rule, go for
the helmet that feels just a little bit tighter than the next size
up. The idea is to get a helmet that sits nice and comfortable about
a centimetre above your eyebrows. You should be able to feel it
grip around the important area like the temples, on the side of
your head, and also around the rear of your head. The crown fit
is all the more important for open-face helmets as there is a little
less around the cheek to grip on to your head.
the opening by pulling the chin straps and then put it on. Don't
yank the chin flaps as it will snap. If the helmet has removable
cheek pads, take it out and then try on the helmet to get a
your hands on the side of the helmet and rotate it from side
to side. A well-fitting helmet will have no movement.
the chin strap on, try to pull the helmet off your head. If
it comes off or shows appreciable movement, don't buy it.
there be any movement?:
Without moving your head, try to move the helmet up and down. You
should be able to feel the skin of your head and face being pulled
as you try to move the helmet. If you can move the helmet around
too easily, it's too big.
With the chin straps secured; put your hands flat on the back of
your helmet and try to push the helmet off by rotating it forward.
Then put your hands on the front of the helmet and try to push the
helmet off by rotating it towards the rear. If the helmet starts
to come off in either direction it is too large for you or the chin
strap is not tight enough.
Fibreglass or plastic lids?:
Helmets are made from either glassfibre or thermoplastic (polycarbonate)
shells. Controversy still rages about the suitability of some thermoplastic
helmet shells, which may be weakened by strong hydrocarbons such
as spirit cleaners, wax polishes and paint. Polycarbonate helmets,
produced under the right conditions and treated correctly, are the
equal of glass fibre ones and frequently superior.
Glassfibre comes in two qualities. The cheaper kind uses chopped
strand matt. If any gaps or thin areas of glass fibre matt are filled
with resin, a weak area is left in that spot because resin is comparatively
brittle. Top quality glass fibre helmets utilise layers of resin-bonded
glass fibre cloth or woven fabric. This guarantees a uniform measure
of known strength throughout the shell. But glassfibre construction
is expensive and labour intensive.
Fibreglass works like an eggshell, whose job is also to protect
the fragile contents. When you drop an egg the energy created by
its falling disperses within the outer shell itself so that less
of the energy is transferred through to the inner shell. Polycarbonate
works the other way round. It is so hard on the outside that it
transfers a lot of the inertia straight through to the polystyrene
liner. What you get with a glassfibre helmet is that the shell takes
a lot more of the blow and far less gets through to the rider's