The Miglia II is sturdily built and has a long oval form, as well as the one of the few helmets that has an external sun visor. Interestingly, this appears to be the only difference between the original Miglia and this II model. Both have a plastic shell construction, metal latches, and meet the DOT standard. Though the silver metallic paint isn’t very cool, the Miglia II’s … [Read more...]
Modular Helmets: Guides and Reviews
Practically every manufacturer of motorcycle helmets these days are offering a flip-up modular motorcycle helmet, and each one are at each other’s necks for their share of the market by providing more comfort and utility. Back in the 90s, modular helmets weren’t even a thought in people’s minds, and the only riders who bothered to use them were long distance riders. The average guy or gal with a bike wouldn’t even know it existed. Fast forward to today, and practically everybody is wearing one. Whether they only ride in the city, travel long distances, ride sports bikes or just ride casually, everybody owns one.
This is all due to manufacturers loading their helmets with a laundry list of features and benefits that have enticed riders to keep buying them. When selecting a modular helmet, most people have to take into consideration factors like ventilation, fit, noise-level, and price. Once these basic needs are satisfied, the non-standard requirements a rider may want will usually cost a premium. Once all of this research has been conducted and evaluated, riders can find excellent modular helmets at nearly every motorcycle shop. Online retailers also have great selections available for users to peruse.
There’s lots to like about modular motorcycle helmets. First, they offer similar weather protection as a full face helmet would when fully closed, keeping rain, wind, and snow from reaching the rider’s eyes and face. With the chin bar raised, modular helmets provide the same amenities as open face helmets. These include the ability to eat, drink, and talk to other riders without removing the helmet, as well as extra wind to freshen up a sweating face. Generally, modular helmets are not as tight on the temples and cheeks as many full face helmets, making it possible for one to wear glasses or sunglasses if needed.
The biggest complaint most people have with modular helmets is the increased weight from the hinge components. Though seemingly insignificant, when wearing a helmet for hours at a time, the extra weight will start to make an impact. Though modular helmets provide superior protection compared to half helmets and open face helmets, unfortunately it does not match up to a traditional full face helmet. This is due to the fact that the chin bar of the modular helmet is made from plastic and may only sometimes be padded with rubber. On the other hand, full face helmets use EPS foam throughout the entire helmet, including the chin bar, providing superior shock absorption and cushioning in case of an accident. In a modular helmet, this cushion will not hold up as well due to the chin bar release mechanism.
Another negative of a modular helmet is that riders should avoid riding at top speeds if the chin bar is raised to the open face position. The elevated chin bar and face shield act like a wind sail, putting excess pressure on one’s neck. Fortunately, this is not an issue with all modular helmets, just most. Shark and Nolan both currently manufacture modular helmets that can be used in either full face or open face configurations.
What to Consider
There are many factors one should consider when looking for a suitable helmet for their needs. First, helmet ventilation is crucial for those riding in muggy and hot climates, and noise levels should be taken into account as well. The size and fit of the helmet is important for safety and comfort, and how much you pay for your helmet is always a concern.
In hot and humid climates, helmet ventilation should not be taken lightly. Helmets need to have an intake vent somewhere, usually on the top of the helmet, but at the very least it should be somewhere that the majority of the wind will reach for it to be effective. Higher quality helmets may have exhaust vents at the back of the helmet for air to escape, but most budget helmets do not have rear exhausts, opting to let the air escape from the neck opening.
Size and Fit
When choosing a helmet, the fit and size of the helmet are the most important factors you must take into consideration above all other features and specifications. Why? If a helmet does not properly fit, then its protective capability is greatly reduced. To illustrate, if a helmet is too small, it can put pressure on a rider’s temples and other areas of the head, leading to dizziness and headaches while simultaneously reducing the helmet’s ventilation abilities. Furthermore, it can press too hard on the jaw and cheeks, causing jaw soreness and fatigue. If the helmet is too big, the head can bounce around the helmet or twist inside the helmet. In the event of an accident, this will cause further injury.
Similar to how clothing size is different from country to country, a helmet’s size may have differences from manufacturer to manufacturer, and perhaps even model to model. For example, riders should not assume that an extra large modular helmet is the same between all helmets. Sometimes one manufacturer’s large is another manufacturer’s medium, or vice versa.
What one considers to be an acceptable noise level is highly subjective and will vary from rider to rider. Furthermore, the same helmet will have various levels of noise depending on the type of windscreen used, how loud the motorcycle is, if the air vents are closed or open, and the height of the rider. As a result, noise levels are rarely provided for a helmet, and even if they are, there are so many variables that can render that number useless. However, take note of customer reviews that mention rattling, as that is simply unacceptable. Most motorcycle helmets will reduce wind noise, but higher quality helmets can do so much better than budget helmets. These higher quality helmets are also designed so as not to block out traffic sounds very much, so you can still be cognizant of your surroundings.
Unfortunately, even at the expense of safety, money is a very real issue. Not everyone has enough disposable income to get the best quality helmets, and that’s fine. For other riders, safety is the highest priority and they will shell out however much money to get the best helmet for them. In either case, it is important to know how far your dollar will go when buying a helmet. Below, this table will give you a rough idea of what to expect when considering the price of a helmet.
|Low Budget Quality||Very cheap||Just barely meets DOT safety requirements; low quality materials; sometimes poor fit|
|Higher Budget Quality||Still very affordable; replacement parts are more readily available||May exceed DOT certification; better materials and construction; better hinge component, but still doesn't last very long|
|Mid Quality||Good quality construction; some luxury features; exceeds DOT specifications||No longer a "budget" helmet, mid-range price|
|High Quality||Very good quality construction; far surpasses DOT requirements; may meet or exceed other safety certifications||Expensive for a lot of riders|
|Top of the Line Quality||Highest quality construction; meets multiple safety certifications; has plenty of luxury features||Too expensive for most riders|
As to be expected, the cheaper the helmet, the greater the possibility of experiencing issues, while more expensive helmets have more amenities and provide superior protection. Though budget-friendly helmets are not as good, all helmets are still held up to a minimum standard when it comes to safety requirements, though they may not last as long as better helmets. However, in the case of any impact (even something as minor as dropping the helmet on the ground), regardless of how much you spent on your helmet, you will probably need to replace it just to be safe.
Features to Consider
When buying a modular helmet, many features are included in mid to high quality helmets. Most of these are luxuries, and will greatly increase ease of use, comfort, and enjoyment of riding. However, do not let these optional features make you lose sight of the original purpose of helmets, which is to protect your head.
Internal Sun Visor
The flip down style sun visor provides the rider sun protection for their eyes so that they do not need to wear sunglasses. However, this does add some extra weight to a helmet.
Side Chin Release vs. Central Release
One major consideration when selecting a modular helmet is the style of the chin bar release. The majority of chin releases are found at the center of the chin, though some will have them on the sides. The side release necessitates two hands to open up, whereas the center release allows just one hand to open up the modular face. Some riders claim that side releases are much more secure, however the center release has the same mechanisms for locking but only needs one button to release rather than two.
Custom Fit Air Pump
Recently, manufacturers of high end helmets have started to include an air pump system in some of their helmets. The pump is operated either manually or by battery. The air pump can be found inside the helmet and will inflate the baffles around the neck, jaw, cheek, and crown of the head. This makes the helmet “grow” to a custom fit each time the helmet is worn, allowing it to fit more head sizes and shapes, and do so comfortably. Furthermore, this ensures even pressure throughout, eliminating helmet fatigue and offering more protection to the rider.
Over the past few years, modular helmets have become quite popular due to their versatility, comfort, and style. Many motorcycle helmet manufacturers now offer a vast array of helmet in all shapes, sizes, and colors. When selecting a helmet, riders need to weigh the benefits and shortcomings of each helmet, for example the comfort and convenience versus reduced chin padding and extra weight. Additionally, one should also take into account the noise level it allows inside, how well ventilated it is, the price of the helmet, and most importantly, how well it fits.
Lastly, if your budget allows for it, special consideration for optional features can be given, such as internal sun visors, specialized fits using an internal air pump system, and side vs. central chin releases. Once most of these factors have been considered, then you are ready to purchase a modular helmet.
With its release after a major redesign, the Sy-Max III now comes with some huge upgrades, like a revamped latch system and fiberglass main shell. The medium Sy-Max III has a neutral shell shape that provided a superb fit on our roundish head. The moisture-wicking liner and padding feels superior to most, and comes with detachable cheek pads and crown. The single-button … [Read more...]
This is Bell’s first flip-up, and the most beautiful modular we’ve encountered in awhile. This helmet’s shell is made from a polycarbonate alloy that comes with contoured cheek pads as well as a removable liner that is decently comfortable, though not plush. Wearing a medium helmet, it felt quite snug on our cheeks and temples (on a round head). The integrated sun shade on … [Read more...]