Where can we best buy modular helmets

Everything about motorcycle helmets

With the right motorcycle helmet you do a lot for your safety, because in the event of an accident it will protect your head from life-threatening injuries. We have put together everything you need to know about helmets.

Different helmet shapes

Motorcycle helmets are offered in different designs. These are the forms at a glance:

  • Closed full face helmet: classic design with fixed chin guard, head always completely enclosed, has the largest market share among motorcycle helmets

  • Flip-up helmet: like a closed full-face helmet, but with a chin bar that can be folded up, the head only fully enclosed with the chin part folded down

  • Cross helmet / Off Road Helmet: closed like a classic full face helmet, mostly without a visor, alternatively cross goggles required, with a helmet peak

  • Jet helmet / Open Face Helmet: helmet without face protection, head not completely enclosed, face free, is mainly used by scooter riders and riders of retro and classic bikes

  • Modular helmet / crossover helmet: design can be varied according to requirements, head is either completely or only partially enclosed, has only a small market share

  • Brain-Caps: simple plastic shell with chin strap, without ECE approval, low protection potential, some areas of the head uncovered, only suitable for show purposes, does not meet the requirements of the StVO (last point is controversial)

Tips for buying a helmet

With the right motorcycle helmet, you can do a lot for your safety. Therefore, it is not an accessory that you just buy in passing. We have put together which aspects you should consider when looking for the ideal helmet:

  • Make sure you plan enough time for the purchase.

  • Find specialist dealers who have as many helmet brands as possible on offer. This increases the likelihood of finding a suitable helmet quickly.

  • You can determine the approximately right helmet size by measuring the circumference of your head in the area of ​​the forehead, above the ears and at the back of the head. The head circumference in centimeters usually corresponds to the numerical helmet size. The helmets from different manufacturers still vary in size. Therefore, only a fitting can decide on the right helmet.

  • Your helmet must fit snugly all over your head without pressing. You can recognize the correct fit by the fact that the scalp on the forehead shifts when the helmet is turned. The interior gives a little when you use it, so don't choose a helmet that is too big.

  • Ask your dealer about a customized interior for the helmet. With some helmets, for example, cheek pads or pads on the top of the head can be adapted to your needs.

  • The helmet padding should also lie completely on the top of your head in the area of ​​the crown. Otherwise, try a larger helmet.

  • If you have any doubts as to whether the helmet is the optimal size, try to put the same helmet model on a size smaller. Only if this is not possible or if the helmet in question is unbearably pinching do you know that you have chosen the smallest possible size.

  • There is only a small selection of suitable helmets for people with a particularly large head. Individual manufacturers such as HJC offer models that go up to size XXXXL. This corresponds to a head size of 67 to 68 cm.

  • When the chin strap is closed and correctly adjusted, it must not be possible to pull your helmet forwards from your head, even with great effort.

  • The chinstrap should not rest on the larynx and the chinstrap lock should not press against the lower jawbone.

  • If you wear glasses, you should put on your motorcycle glasses in the helmet. Instead of sunglasses under the helmet, choose helmets with a built-in sun visor.

  • Wear the helmet in the store for at least ten minutes. This period is sufficient to identify possible pressure points and possible skin intolerance of the food.

  • Make sure you take the opportunity to borrow the helmet for a test drive. This is the best way to check the individual conditions on your motorcycle.

  • Prefer helmets in bright, bright colors.

  • Make sure that there is sufficient air exchange when the visor is closed. Check the visor properties such as fogging tendency and optical quality when the visor is completely closed.

  • Make sure that the inner lining can be removed for helmet care.

  • Read the instructions for use supplied carefully. It often contains important information on assembling and maintaining the helmet parts.

  • Think service when buying. Customer-oriented helmet manufacturers offer a comprehensive repair and spare parts service. You can obtain details from your dealer or from the instructions for use.

Legal information on the subject of helmets

In Germany, helmets have been compulsory for motorcyclists since 1976, and for moped and moped drivers since 1978. Even moped drivers have had to wear a helmet since 1985. Since August 1980, an offense has also been punished with a fine.

But not all helmets are the same. Many motorcyclists or scooters used to wear headgear that protected them from fines at best. This is why the legislature reacted: Since 2006, Paragraph 21a of the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) has stipulated that drivers and passengers of motorcycles with a maximum speed of over 20 km / h must wear a “suitable protective helmet”. This means that the use of work, fire or military helmets without adequate protection is prohibited. Anyone caught with such "bowls" not only has to expect a fine: Insurance companies can even reduce benefits after an accident, even if the two-wheeler pilot was not the cause of the accident.

Really suitable protective helmets are models that have been tested in accordance with the uniform European regulations and that wear the ECE sew-on (stands for Economic Commission for Europe) on the chinstrap or in the lining. The current version is ECE-R 22.05. In addition to shock absorption and dimensional stability, independent institutions also test the tear resistance of the chinstrap and carry out a peel test. Visors also have to meet minimum requirements in order to receive the ECE stamp cast on the edge of the visor.

Important note for the mandatory labeling of ECE motorcycle helmets: “ECE” or “ECE-R 22” does not have to be on the test label. The marking with the E in the circle and the test number sufficiently indicates the application of the test standard ECE-R 22.

This is how helmets protect

Motorcycle helmets provide double protection. Regardless of the material (see below), the outer shell distributes a point force effect through high elastic deformation energy and is intended to prevent the penetration of sharp or angular objects. The actual cushioning is done by the inner material between the outer shell and the lining. This is usually made from special EPS rigid foam materials of the Styrofoam family that absorb impact energy. But only once, as an impact leads to compression and thus permanent deformation of the material. That is why helmets have to be replaced after accidents or falls, even if they appear to be undamaged on the outside. Our experts urgently advise you to follow this manufacturer's instruction.

Two groups of materials are used to manufacture helmet shells: thermoplastics and thermosets. Thermoplastics such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polycarbonate or polyamide can easily be shaped under heat. They are therefore suitable for the injection molding process, because large quantities of helmets can easily be produced inexpensively with them. Duroplastics and composite materials (e.g. aramid fibers, glass fiber reinforced plastic, carbon, Dyneema), on the other hand, require a complex laminate process. Shells made from these materials are particularly hard and break-proof, but more expensive.

As long-term material tests show, thermosets age less quickly. With good care, their lifespan is at least eight years. Thermoplastic helmets that do not have an additional layer of lacquer can become brittle earlier in the event of strong ultraviolet radiation and other influences (solvents, petrol). Our experts urgently recommend replacing such helmets after around five years because the protective effect is diminishing. However, this period is recommended for helmets of all types in the event of heavy use, as the insulation material also yields and the helmet then no longer fits optimally.

If you drive with the chin strap open, your helmet will lose its protective effect because it can fly off your head. Flip-up helmets may only be used when they are closed, otherwise the wind has fatal consequences. Exceptions are helmets whose chin part can be pushed completely behind the helmet - but only if they have an additional certification as a jet helmet.

Very important: motorcycle helmets should not be pasted or painted. Solvents contained in the adhesive or in the paint can impair the stability of the helmet shell. An exception are the stickers from the Institute for Two-Wheeler Safety (IfZ), which inform first-aiders about opening the helmet or the locking system of the chin strap in emergencies: They have a solvent-free special adhesive.

Maintenance of the helmet

  • Modern, high-quality helmets age much more slowly than helmets from earlier years of construction. Because of this and because of the adjustment of the current test standards, you should no longer use motorcycle helmets that have not been approved according to ECE R 22/05. This can be recognized by a small label that is usually sewn onto the chin strap. If the approval number starts with 05, the helmet has been tested according to ECE R 22/05. The P after the slash indicates that a standard-tested chin guard is installed here.

  • If the helmet is used regularly, five years are generally considered to be an appropriate period of use.

  • The inner padding of helmets settles with regular use of the helmet. This can impair the originally tight and secure fit of the helmet on the top of the head. If possible and provided by the manufacturer according to the instructions for use, you should then remove the inner lining and clean it. The lining or the foam rubber must not be wrung out or pulled too tightly or pressed, otherwise the lining will be overstretched and will not fit adequately into the helmet shell. It is essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions and, if in doubt, entrust the dealer with this work! After cleaning and the correct assembly of the lining, the helmet will, in the best case, fit as tightly as when you bought it. If cleaning the inner lining is not enough to restore the helmet's tight fit, the inner lining may have to be replaced with a new one.

  • Regardless of how clean the helmet lining is, you should check the fit of the helmet and the length of the chin strap from time to time. Both when driving (fast) and in the event of an accident can have a decisive influence on your safety.

  • No general statements can be made about when the protective function of the helmet can be restricted by an event. However, if a helmet has been involved in an accident, it should definitely be replaced - regardless of its external condition.

  • Check all seals - especially the visor seals - on the helmet regularly. Even with heavy rainfall, it is possible with good, fog-free visors to drive continuously with the visor closed. Visors with an anti-fog inner coating (no inner visor) require constant, albeit slight, ventilation to ensure lasting freedom from fogging.

  • Allow helmets to dry well after long rides in the rain. If possible, do not use any heat sources (heating). If the interior of helmets remains damp for a long time, it can falter or even mold and smell unpleasant.

Everything about visors

The range of visors on offer is large and technical progress is often confusing for motorcyclists. Most of these panes are made of polycarbonates, the most popular are Makrolon and Lexan. For a transparent plastic, they are very hard, impact and splinter-resistant. According to the European standard for motorcycle helmets (ECE-22-05), in addition to size, optical quality, size of the field of view and surface quality, the scratch resistance of visors is also tested. In the ADAC helmet test, our experts found that the standard double-pane visors, which offer the best protection against dangerous fogging, were in some cases only insufficiently scratch-resistant.

Mirrored and heavily tinted visors must have an E-mark for road traffic and may only be used in daylight and good weather conditions. They are already forbidden on twilight journeys and of course in the dark, in some (holiday) countries even generally. If this prohibition is not observed, legal consequences and, in the event of an accident, even recourse claims by the insurance company can be expected. Self-tinting visors have also been available for a number of years. But even fast molecules in plastic need time to darken or lighten - which can lead to problems when driving through tunnels, for example.

Since visors not only fog up easily in the rain, you should choose models with double-lens visors with a permanent anti-fog coating when buying a helmet. If necessary, you should retrofit your helmet with such a visor, even if it causes additional costs. This investment in your safety is money well spent.

Some manufacturers offer additional inner visors to prevent fogging. Cheaper interchangeable visors without special coatings fog up quickly, especially in rainy weather. Available sprays against fogging are usually only a short-term solution. The same applies to the old trick of preparing uncoated visors with mild detergent and then polishing them with a woolen cloth. A small layer of the agent remains on the visor and releases the surface tension of the exhaled water vapor, which is evenly distributed as water on the visor surface.

Anyone who retrofits an expensive anti-fog film is quick to find the price that a good visor with an anti-fog coating costs. In addition, air pockets often form when gluing, which blinds the visors more quickly. Other accessories such as breath deflectors, which direct the air downwards after exhaling, can also reduce fogging, but not completely prevent it.

Cleaning the visor

  • Keep the visor as clean as possible. Insects and other dirt on the visor can severely restrict the view in rain or twilight or even lead to deceptions, especially when there is backlight. Regular cleaning is recommended on longer tours, e.g. during breaks. To do this, run as much water as possible over the closed visor to soften and loosen stubborn dirt. A wet paper towel placed over the visor also fulfills this function.

  • When driving on wet roads, splash water from vehicles in front throws dirt onto the visor. If the rain does not wash away this dirt, you should not wipe the visor over a large area, otherwise it will be severely scratched. It is better to increase the distance to the vehicles in front or to stop so that the visor can be cleaned with enough liquid. The situation is usually defused during heavy rainfall, as in this situation the dirt is washed away.

  • If the visor is heavily soiled by insects, it is more time-consuming to clean: the animals' chitin armor is very stubborn. Trying to rub them away could damage the visor surface. Use soft microfiber cloths, soak dirt for longer and use special cleaning agents. Do not use abrasive sponges when cleaning the visor. Also, do not use the hard window cleaning sponges at petrol stations, which often carry dirt or oil with them.

  • You should be particularly careful with interior coatings. It is best to strictly adhere to the manufacturer's recommendations when it comes to cleaning. For a thorough general cleaning, our experts recommend removing the visor.

  • In principle, do not remove the scratches: Treating a visor with abrasives or dissolving chemicals does not completely remove the scratches and can lead to the plastic becoming blind. If possible, you should replace the visor with a scratch-resistant visor, even if there are slight scratches in the field of vision. Scratched visors can seriously impair your view, especially when there is backlight.

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