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Monday, 12 March 2018 18:47

Helmets, they are not all created equally.

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GF Helmet Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to borrow a helmet and a friend hands you a dirt bike helmet or an auto racing helmet?

Did you use the helmet?

Did you give any thought as to whether the helmet would actually protect you?

Helmets all look similar. Most have a hard outer shell made of carbon fiber. They tend to have a polystyrene interior liner and padding, but that’s truly where the similarities end.

Biltwell Gringo F Full Face MC HelmetA motocross helmet has a funny little bill on it that is meant to prevent the mud and dust that flies up from hitting the rider’s goggles. It also provides some shade for the eyes and can protect against small branches and other debris as well. Motocross helmets however, should not be worn at over 90KPH because there is the potential for them to catch too much air forcing your head to be snapped back.

See this video as an example of why motocross helmets are dangerous on the highway:

Another reason that motocross helmets should not be worn on the highway is wind noise.   They are not padded the same way as a helmet meant for use on the highway and will hurt your hearing over time.

Regular highway helmets for motorcycling, while they look almost identical to auto racing helmets, are constructed very differently.

Here are two helmets, the G-Force GF3 from JEGS Automotive (Auto Racing Helmet) and one from Biltwell (Motorcycle Helmet). They look almost identical but they have major differences.

Motorcycle helmets do not require fire protection.  Auto racing helmets do.

Auto racing helmets are lined with Nomex and their straps are made of Kevlar.

Motorcycle helmets are lined with nylon and their straps are made of nylon, because fire is not an issue on a motorcycle. Auto racing helmets tend to be hotter to wear than a motorcycle helmet because of the fire retardant materials used inside.

Auto racing helmets have a rubber gasket around the visor opening, it is designed to melt to the visor in case of fire to prevent gas and smoke from entering the helmet.

Auto racing helmets tend to have a narrower field of view as compared to that of a motorcycle helmet.

The kind of impact a motorcycle helmet goes through in a crash is different from the impact an auto-racing helmet goes through. In a motorcycle crash the helmet generally gets skid along the tarmac and may experience a bounce or two, but in a car, the roll cage and other metal objects can become very dangerous impact items. Auto racing helmets go through puncture testing that motorcycle racing helmets do not.

So the next time you find yourself facing a challenge and needing to borrow a helmet, beside the fit being good, remember to consider the application the helmet was built for.

Belt Drive Betty

Editor & Rider

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