Helmet Musings

I’ve been told that my first helmet won’t be my last helmet, so for now, I just want to get a decent protective helmet with features I know I’ll need. I don’t want to spend a fortune on a helmet, because I’ve been told that as I ride and learn what I like and dislike, I’ll probably want another helmet anyway. With that in mind, I’ve narrowed down the helmets I want to start with to two options:

The Scorpion EXO-700 Helmet

I’m leaning toward the Scorpion EXO-700 helmet, because I tried on Masukomi’s and it seems to fit me better than the HJC models she has. The Scorpion seems to have the right head shape for me – snug in all the right places. webBikeWorld says that the Scorpion helmet is pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to weight, and it seems to be a good helmet that’s both DOT and SNELL certified in this price range. It retails for roughly $160, but I found it for $109 at STG. This helmet has plenty of vents, but apparently it’s a bit noisy because of it. Again, extra points because it fits well. I’m tempted to just buy it.


The HJC CL-16 Helmet

The HJC CL-16 is a new offering for 2010, and it meets both DOT and the improved SNELL 2010 safety standards (and comes in at $92 at New Enough). It’s got the Pinlock anti-fog system, which Masukomi assures me is highly desirable. Apparently the paint on this helmet has more than the usual number of ‘dust bunnies’, which has prompted webBikeWorld to give it a Neutral rating on a product that would otherwise warrant an Excellent quality rating, but it’s got some useful features – notably the Pinlock system, and the HJC standard visor swap system that is apparely fairly easy. webBikeWorld claims that it offers a better-than-average visibility from the sides and from top to bottom, but that the venting in the helmet is “Poor.”

In all, though, webBikeWorld loves the HJC CL-16 for a value helmet with the range of features that it provides, and I’m definitely drawn to the positive feedback and features. The only reason I don’t jump on this helmet immediately is that the two HJC helmets that Masukomi has don’t fit me as well as the Scorpion helmet. I think the head shape is slightly different, and not in a way that benefits me.

I’ve decided that I want to find someplace local that carries this so I can physically try it on before I commit to buying either helmet. If the HJC doesn’t fit well, I’ll go with the Scorpion, even though it doesn’t have the Pinlock system. But I believe that one of these two helmets is going to be the first piece of gear I buy, and hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks.

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