Hey, everyone! Welcome to part three of my Cheap Vs Pro series. In this series I’ve been covering Motorcycle Helmets and why helmets have different values- The differences that make one helmet worth more and superior to another.
I’ve already covered the shells, the liner, the padding and the visors in the last two parts so in this part I’ll quickly go over some of the extras including, internal sun visors, ventilation, fastenings, the finish/graphics and ratings and qualifications.
Internal Sun Visors
Internal Sun Visors are a common thing these days. A much less legally frowned upon alternative to dark tinted visors, you can shield your eyes from the blinding sun with the simple operation of a lever or mechanism of sorts. Just having a sun visor, sometimes referred to as an SV, can affect the price of a helmet- but I’m not just going to leave it at that. That would be cheating.
The different mechanisms that the Internal Sun visors work with could be a lever or slider that just uses simple, plastic mechanism. Or it could be an instantly responsive, spring-loaded trigger mechanism that brings the sun visor back up quickly with the push of a button. Different methods with different costs.
Another aspect that is almost always overlooked whenever I see customers in the shop wondering about helmet costs but this mostly just applies to full face helmets. A cheap helmet will provide a basic ventilation system with, usually, two or three open/close vents on the front and a couple of open exhaust vents on the back.
More expensive helmets will have more thoroughly researched ventilation systems, some even going as far as having custom air channels sculpted into the EPS liner to give the best possible airflow.
There’s two main types of fastening that you’ll come across on Motorcycle Helmets- the Micrometric Adjustment Buckle and the Double D-Ring. It’s not so much the monetary value to be mindful of here, unless they’ve done something fancy like adding a magnetic strap retainer to keep it from flapping about. It’s part preference, part safety. As far as securing methods go- there’s a reason the Double D-Ring method has lasted for so long. It works and there’s nothing else that compares. But the micrometric adjustment buckle is fast, it does the job and it makes getting the helmet on and off so much less hassle. But it does make it harder for helmets to pass safety tests for track use.
I have two helmets- one with the double d-ring and one with a micrometric buckle. The latter is excellent for getting out of the house quick to get to work and means I’m not fiddling around in the cold with numb fingers. But the double d-ring feels more secure and it’s on a Gold ACU Approved lid. In some cases, mostly I’ve only seen it in Motocross, but there are also magnetically fastened helmets as well that use a “fidlock” system. I’ve tried many times to pull it apart but never could, it surprisingly works very well and it’s a much more secure system than it looks.
Finish and Graphics
I don’t really need to go on about this for too long, it’s pretty simple – Putting fancy designs and pictures on a helmet is more expensive than making the helmet just one colour. Makes sense, right? Some helmets even have limited edition graphics like the HJC helmets with Marvel Graphics.
Qualifications and Ratings
And lastly we have qualifications and ratings. This is everything to do with the tests that a helmet has been through in order to have earned certain accolades. A basic helmet will at least be ECE 22.05 approved, meaning the helmet has passed tests that make it legal to wear on the road in the UK and Europe. Or at least be a DOT approved helmet so it’s legal to wear in the USA, if you’re one of our friends from across the pond. An ACU Gold Approved helmet has ticked all the boxes to be trusted on tracks and in official events in Britain. All of the road helmets we sell at Ghostbikes have met the ECE 22.05 standard, so they’re all safe, completely legal and while a lot of our helmets are cheap as in “low cost” – they are not “cheap” as in the worst meaning of the word.
There are some other safety ratings out there too, SHARP being one of them. Many helmets have a Sharp rating but just as many don’t as not all of them have been tested and it’s mostly road helmets. But if a helmet does have a high Sharp rating, that helmet is usually held in high regard for it.
Bonus Point! – Marketing
A lot of the higher priced helmets also spend a lot more money on advertising, you won’t really see video adverts for an entry level helmet- you’re more likely to see quick adverts in magazines, newspapers or on Facebook. But brands like Shark and Shoei have made videos to showcase their helmets, well-produced mini features with fancy effects and even riders performing stunts. So, naturally, the cost of their advertising has been factored in to the price of the helmet as well. A lot of the bigger brands even do sponsorships, which is why pro-riders usually wear the helmets that they do on the track and why they have so many logos on their bikes- they’re advertising as well.
And that’s it for this Cheap Vs Pro series! I probably haven’t covered every little grain of what adds to a helmet’s cost to make but I feel like those are the broad strokes of what contribute to a helmet’s worth. I hope you’ve found this informative and that now you’re able to more easily identify the differences between that £30 newbie rider lid compared to that £300+ racer’s helmet you’ve had your eye on.
Thanks for reading, everybody! Until next time!
-Matt W at Ghostbikes