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Helmets & Protective Gear
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2017EX Offline
1st Service Completed

Posts: 65
Joined: Jul 2017
Post: #1
Helmets & Protective Gear
I thought I would throw some thoughts out there about helmets and protective gear for discussion. Back in the day we had to piece gear together from what little there was available, as I mentioned in my "Blast From The Past" thread, but now there is a lot of good gear to choose from. I certainly do not claim to be an expert on the subject, realize that some if not all of what I am posting here is already known to the reader, and consequently offer my thoughts as a food for thought sort of thing.

Helmets: When I was young and foolish, I occasionally rode without a helmet, just wearing sun glasses. Now, I would no more ride without my helmet on, than I would think of riding in shorts with flip flops on my feet. Yes I have seen people riding like that, and cringe every time I see it. For a long time I wore a 3/4 helmet, but got to the point where I wanted protection for my face. I tried a full face helmet, but in the Texas heat of summer, got hot and sweaty every time I stopped for a stop light or stop sign. Then I tried a modular, or flip face helmet. What a joy it is to get air on my face during stops for traffic signals, as well as keeping my helmet on with the chin bar raised when stopping for gas.

I learned a few things about modulars. My first modular was an HJC CL-Max, which at the time was about a $200 helmet. While modulars offer more protection than a 3/4 there is a bit less protection than a full face. This is due to the chin bar hinge, and latching mechanism. This is also why modulars are DOT certified, but the only SNELL certified modular at the moment is the Schuberth C-3. My HJC had a plastic latching system back then, and I should have paid more attention to that aspect. Current Schuberth and Shoei use an all stainless steel latching system. The newer HJC modulars may have an updated latching system now, but I cant verify that at the moment. On the upside and in addition to the air on the face during stops thing, by opening the chin bar first, a modular is easier to pull on and take off, just like a 3/4 helmet. In addition, once the helmet is pulled on and before I take it off, with the chin bar open, I can easily put on or take off my glasses. I have not found modulars to be particularly noisy, and wear ear plugs on longer rides anyway.

Currently, I have the new Shoei Neotec II modular on order. It is pricey, but my head is worth it. I had thought to buy a first version Neotec on close out, but then discovered something I had not previously thought about. I found a new first version Neotec on EBay at a substantial savings, but then asked the seller for the date of manufacture. The response was manufactured in 2013! Shoei warranties their helmets for 5 years from date of purchase, or 7 years from date of manufacture, whichever comes first. This seems to be pretty common, give or take for most helmet manufacturers. Then too, after 5-7 years the energy absorbing materials start to degrade. From what I have seen, all helmet brands have a date of manufacture sticker on the Styrofoam energy absorbing liner, under the padded cloth liner. This sticker can be seen without removing the cloth liner, by manipulating slots of the cloth liner around the inside of the helmet. So the bottom line is to check that date of manufacture sticker before using a new helmet ( enabling exchange or refund ), as there is no telling how long a helmet sat on a dealer shelf or in a warehouse.

Jackets: Back in the day, all we had was leather jackets. Now we have leather and textile jackets, with and without armor. My jacket is a textile and mesh hybrid, in order to adapt all the different temperature ranges Texas has. It came with a vest style zip in liner for cooler weather, but I was able to find the same brand full sleeve zip in liner on EBay. The choice between no liner, vest, or full sleeve liner fits most all temperature ranges where I live. The shoulders, elbows and fore arms have removable CE level 1 armor, and I replaced the foam back pad with a Forcefield Pro CE level 2 back protector. When it gets brutally hot, I use a Dianese armored vest instead of the jacket with long sleeve jersey and gloves. The vest has both chest and back armor, CE level 1.

Pants: Some old habits die hard, and I just like riding in jeans, as opposed to motorcycle pants, or over pants. So, I have a pair of Scorpion Covert Kevlar jeans, and a pair of Draggin Kevlar jeans. The Scorpion jeans came with pockets for soft hip and knee armor. I think the hip armor would stay in place in a crash because of the location and fit, but I have yet to see knee armor in those pockets in any pants that I thought would stay in position in a crash. I have also heard good things about Diamond Gusset Defender Kevlar jeans, but have not tried them yet. Diamond Gussets appeal is an extra piece, or gusset material added to the crotch to create more room and comfort in that area.

Boots: I had a hard time finding the right boots. I found that most brands I tried fit narrower feet than mine, and that seems to be a trend in most Italian and other European brands. I wanted leather, as opposed to synthetic, and I wanted TPU and Kevlar armor reinforcement. A good friend of mine lost a toe when he took a slide at speed, which ground through the leather of his un armored western boots. I settled on the Daytona Road Star GTX boots. Daytona is a water proof hand made Goretex and leather boot, made in Bavaria. There is TPU armor at the ankle bones, toe box, heel cup, and shin, as well as a Kevlar layer between the leather outer, and soft inner lining. It is also one of a very few brands that are available in narrow, standard, and wide widths. I usually wear a D width in most shoes, and the standard fit me perfectly. There are a lot of top rated boots out there, but Daytona was the only one that fit me correctly, comfortable right out of the box, and had all my parameters. They are pricey, but my feet are worth it.

Knees: I have been looking for something to add some knee protection for quite a while. Here, as in most gear, the best in the world is of no use if it is not comfortable, or a pain to put on/take off, and consequently lives un used in the closet. I have tried tube type pull on knee armor under my Kevlar jeans in the past, but I found that style to be hot, uncomfortable, and time consuming to put on and take off. Then too, as earlier mentioned, knee armor in pockets built into jeans did not seem likely to stay in place in a spill. Recently I discovered Icon Street Knee Guards . This armor straps on OVER your pants. The outside has a TPU over the knee cap, and inside the guard textile carrier, is D30 molecular armor. The D30 armor is soft until there is an impact, which instantly turns it hard, then returns to soft after impact. The guards are held in place with one Velcro strap above the knee, and two criss-cross straps below the knee with quick release buckles. Qiickly, easily put on, quickly, easily taken off when off the bike and stowed in a back pack or saddle bag.

Gloves: Even in the hottest weather, I never ride without armored gloves. The natural reaction in any fall is to put a hand down to break the fall. There are a lot of very good glove choices out there. The gloves I use are Scorpion Klaw II. The Scorpion has armor at the knuckles and fingers, extra layers of leather at strategic points, and extra padding in the palms. Lots of gloves have similar features, but I just happen to like the Scorpions.

Ear Plugs: I used to ride with solid silicone ear plugs, but they cut out what I wanted/needed to hear, right along with what I did not want to hear. Now I use No Noise Motorsport Noise Filter ear plugs. These plugs use a ceramic filter that brings down noise to well below damaging levels, while at the same time the things that need to be heard like horns and ambulance sirens can still be heard. They come with an aluminum storage cylinder to carry in a pocket or attach to a key chain.

Once we got past being young and stupid, my old riding buddy's favorite saying became "never ride naked". I dont know anyone that has ever ridden a motorcycle for any significant length of time that has never laid a bike down, and I have laid a bike down a time or two in the 48 years I have ridden. Then too, a couple of times an ignorant car driver hit me through no fault of mine. Fortunately in every case, I was wearing the right gear, that did its job, and I was able to walk away un injured. My gear choices work for me, but may be something different for others, just dont ride naked. Food for thought?
03-13-2018 12:59 PM
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The ferret Offline
Forum Moderator

Posts: 19,470
Joined: Apr 2013
Post: #2
RE: Helmets & Protective Gear
I think most motorcyclists these days realize wearing gear is better than not wearing gear, even if they don't wear it. I think each individual has the right to wear what they feel comfortable riding in. For some that is only full Storm Trooper, for others it's more like Rollie Free setting a land speed record on his Vincent. For most it's somewhere in between. One thing for sure, if you are in a wreck, any gear beats no gear.

2014 DLX and 2006 ST 1300

It doesn't matter what I ride, where I ride, or how far I ride... it only matters THAT I ride...every day...Ferret
03-13-2018 01:51 PM
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Cormanus Offline

Queensland, Australia
Posts: 11,119
Joined: Dec 2013
Post: #3
RE: Helmets & Protective Gear
Definitely food for thought and a thoughtful post 2017EX. I've always worn a helmet—they've been mandatory since before I started riding—and now seldom go out without mesh jacket, gloves, kevlar jeans and boots as well. I've also come off and, in the horrible event that it happens again, would like to minimise both pain and injury if possible.
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2018 03:11 PM by Cormanus.)
03-14-2018 03:11 PM
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cblais19 Online
Break-In Period

Posts: 11
Joined: Mar 2018
Post: #4
RE: Helmets & Protective Gear
You posted about having hard time finding boots for what sounds like a wider foot; I’m in the same boat especially with normal footware. I’ve found both Forma and Sidi to be on the wider side, although I’m a 47 in Formas and a 46 in Sidi because boot sizing is weird.
03-14-2018 03:18 PM
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Houtman Offline
High Mileage

Posts: 993
Joined: May 2013
Post: #5
RE: Helmets & Protective Gear
My gear consist of the following :

Arai full face helmet
Aerostich Roadcrafter jacket
Helite air vest
Held gloves
Daytona boots
Draggin jeans with SAS TEC hip protectors
EVS knee protectors

Buy the best you can afford , you never will regret buying the best.
ER visit is minimum of $1000
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2018 05:30 PM by Houtman.)
03-14-2018 05:29 PM
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PowerDubs Offline
Running Like a Top

Posts: 680
Joined: Jul 2016
Post: #6
RE: Helmets & Protective Gear
I wear-

Shoei Qwest helmet
Dianese Cruiser leather jacket w/ chest pads, spine pad, shoulder pad, elbow pad (LOVE IT)
Dianese Crusier leather pants w/ knee shin pads, has thin hip pads already (LOVE IT)
Dianese gloves- have a summer set and winter set- both armored.
I forget my boots- but they are heavy duty as well- ankle guard, shin guard, toe box...

If I go down, I may be sore, might break a bone- but I should be intact as far as skin and muscle meat go...

The pants and jacket are the best I have ever owned. Extremely versatile with lots of vents to open, but the leather is waterproof, has a rain lining you can put in (never have, still stay dry) and cold weather lining (also never needed), just a sweat shirt underneath. I wear them 4 seasons.

03-14-2018 06:06 PM
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EmptySea Offline
Been There

Chicagoland, USA
Posts: 4,775
Joined: Jun 2013
Post: #7
RE: Helmets & Protective Gear
Helmet: Shoei X14 (feels safer than a modular—for me)
Jacket: Joe Rocket “Honda Racing” (Revit rain gear over this, if needed)
Gloves: Lee Parks deerskin rancher-style
Pants: Olympia textile overpants (or Levi jeans if it’s an around town ride)
Boots: Rocky work boot


2013 CB1100 non-abs
2013 CB1100 abs
03-15-2018 05:14 AM
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W/R Offline
Running Like a Top

New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 295
Joined: May 2017
Post: #8
RE: Helmets & Protective Gear
I have a bunch of different gear to mix and match depending on conditions or trip length, collected over 30 years.

Helmet: KBC FFR modular, Scorpion Covert, Biltwell Bonanza
Jacket: HD FXRG, HD Switchback (textile), Joe Rocket Gas Town shirt
Pants: HD FXRG, Scorpion Yuma, Levi's
Boots: Dianese Imola 72, Georgia Boot Company Giants
Ear plugs: cheap foam disposables work best for me

2014 CB1100A
2009 Buell Ulysses XB12XT
2007 CRF450X
2003 HD Night Train with sidecar
03-15-2018 05:44 AM
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