On helmets and saving money.

Five years ago I got rear ended at an intersection and got catapulted over the bars and onto the road … luckily there was nothing coming.  Other than doing about $5,000 worth of damage to the bike, I ended up with some hero marks on my leathers from a bit of tarmac surfing and a helmet needing to be replaced.
 At the time I questioned whether I needed to replace my Arai with another $700+ helmet as there were lots of other good cheaper helmets on the market that should be just as good.  And save me some money. So I walked out of the bike shop with a Shark vision R helmet which had a number of nice features.

Shark vision R – used for less than a month

I remember riding out of town a couple weeks after buying it and commenting to a traveling companion that we must be riding into a really stiff headwind as I was getting a lot of pressure on the helmet causing my neck to get quite sore. But there was no headwind. After that I took my new Shark and old Arai out for a back to back comparison. Actually that’s not fair – there was no comparison. It was night and day! The Arai was just so much nicer to ride with and didn’t create any of the drag that I experienced with the Shark. Next week I went in and bought a new Arai Vector 2. 

Arai vector 2 – this is a great helmet that has seen over 160,000km in the last 5 years

So my plan of saving money ended up costing me over $300 and a new helmet to sit on the shelf to collect dust.  

Fast forward to today and we are heading overseas in a couple of weeks which will include over a week on a bike so I’ve been tossing up which helmet to take with me. I was leaning towards the Shark as I could potentially ditch it if I ran out of room coming home.  As it’s been a few years since I’ve worn the Shark I took it out over the weekend on our ride to see whether it was really that bad, and within 30 minutes I remembered why it sits on the shelf and doesn’t get used. After a short 250km ride I couldn’t wait to get it off and this morning my neck is still stiff and sore. That’s in contrast to the Arai that I can wear all day everyday. So it looks like the Arai is going on a plane ride.

An old Bell helmet advertisement once stated that – “If you have a $10 head buy a $10 helmet”. 

A quick caveat – my neck is a bit fragile … something about running into cars and hitting the ground too many times I suspect

11 thoughts on “On helmets and saving money.

  1. I love my Arai lid, it’s so comfortable – they say once you’ve had an Arai nothing else will do. If you’re touring overseas you’ll definitely want to be thinking about the scenery rather than your sore neck!

    Somewhere in the back of my mind I keep thinking I’ve had a comment from you on one of my blogs, saying you would be in Spain and riding a BMW F800? Am I going mad?! I can’t find the comment. If you are, and if by chance you end up in France as well, and are in our area, give us a shout, we love showing bikers around.

    My hubby and I started a new blog a while back: https://abikersguidetothedordogne.wordpress.com/ it may be useful.
    Have a safe trip


    • You’re not going mad. I replied back to you under my “about” page.

      I’m doing a self-guided MotoGP Catalunya tour with these guys IMTBike. I’m not completely sure of my route but it will be around the France border. I may have a bit of scope for a side trip as there is a free day at Sallent de Gállego but that’s a fair way south of you guys. I’m also open to suggestions around that area. I have a bike, I will be in the mountains, so I’m not going to be doing much walking!


      • Thanks Glen – for reminding me where I wrote that comment! Yes you’ll be a long way south of us and we won’t be down that way. But have a great trip, and maybe we’ll see you on another visit. Will look forward hearing how it went.


  2. Well that didn’t go to plan did it let me start again.

    I recently went through the same thing after I wore out my XR 1100 Shoei. I must have tried on every helmet around Brisbane, nothing fit.

    I end up getting another Shoei an NXR this time, and wore it on our trip to Tasmania recently.

    Best helmet I’ve ever had.


  3. I believe the “$10 helmet for a $10 head” is true to a point. If one is going to buy a $150 helmet, well, you get what you pay for…crap. But once up to the $300 to $500 range, my experience has been that there is much less return on investment on any helmet over that amount, unless buying some carbon shell super helmet. Sure, it may be a bit quieter, a bit lighter, and a bit more ventilated. But one gets just as much safety (crash) feature in a $400 helmet as a $700 one. At this point I think it comes down to personal preference, as it should.


    • You’re right. The main point of the ad was to say – if you value your head don’t put a crap helmet on.
      Here in Australia a helmet needs to meet a minimum set of standards before it can be sold (which I’m assuming is similar in most places) so even a cheap helmet will provide an appropriate amount of protection. So while you can get a helmet that will do the job for $150 would you want to wear it all day, everyday, not likely.

      The trouble with helmet purchases is that you can only buy them based on fit and comfort. The reality is that every helmet acts differently in the real world, for different bike styles and riding positions.

      When I replaced my helmet a friend was surprised that I didn’t like the Shark as he had a Shark evo. I lent him my old Arai for a couple of weeks and after a few choice words of ruining him he went out and bought a Shoei. He was surprised at the difference.

      Liked by 1 person

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