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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have three trackdays booked already for this year and have been invited to take my Saab along to trackdays organised by a non-Saab club.

At the Saab trackday event at Anglesey, helmets are INCLUDED in the cost of the day.


Given that I am also planning on taking my bike test, I am thinking that I ought to get my own skid lid.

Does anyone have any advice on what I need to look for when buying a helmet?

TIA
 

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Um, I'm not an expert but I'd have thought that perhaps the requirements are not the same.

I won't comment on bike ones expect for a brilliant comment I saw on one the other day:

"If you're not a paramedic please don't take my helmet off"
or words to that effect

Bikes seems to favour full face designs, whereas for comfort inside a car, I'd have thought open face would be better.

My advice- get a good quality bike helmet and a cheaper (they can be had from around £55) open face one for track days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have heard that from 2003 onwards for all Octagon circuits, all car drivers and passengers will need to have BSI 6658 Type A helmets. Type B helmets will no longer be permitted.

Helmet info here: http://www.motorcycle-training.f2s.com/safety.html#Helmet

All road legal motorcycle helmets sold in the UK must conform to British Standard 6658 and will be either categorised  as Type A (blue label) or Type B (green label).  These stickers are normally located on the back of the helmet and will also include a batch identity number.  If it doesn't have a sticker, don't buy it, it may be an import and will not be legal on British roads.  A recent article suggested that most Traffic Police were not interested in the safety stamp, providing the helmet was a recognisable brand and model.  However, this may change in the future.
The BSI 6658 standard is one of the toughest tests for motorcycle helmets in the world.  It is generally accepted to be better than the American DOT and European CE standards.  The standard doesn't just test new helmet designs, but mandates testing of a %age of all batches manufactured.  All this helps to reduce the risk to you in the event of an accident.  Recently the European Union have addressed this by creating EC 2205 which is accepted as an equivalent to BSI 6658.

A Type B (green) label -  ensures that the helmet meets the minimum criteria for a road legal helmet and has been tested for general riding use.
A Type A (blue) label -  helmet exceeds this criteria and has been tested to withstand maximum impact (including a chin bar tests, etc.).  The Type A test is aimed at helmets which may be used for racing.

In addition to your Blue or Green BSI sticker, your helmet may also have an Auto-Cycling Union (ACU) gold or silver badge.  The  ACU is the governing body of motorcycle sport throughout the British Isles, excluding Ireland.  ACU accreditation is different from the BSI standards, however they typically match the standard, with ACU gold going to most Type A helmets and Silver to Type Bs.  The price of a type B will range between about £40 and £100, while a Type A will range around £70 to £400. Always try to go for a type A/gold if you can afford it, as it will give better protection and should last you longer. You will also be allowed to use it on a track day if you wish.
While it is not a legal requirement to have a visor, if one is fitted it must comply with the BS 4110 ZA or YA test standards.  These standards define impact and scratch resistance as well as tint.  Blacked out visors are not road legal as is any visor not marked with the BS stamp.[/b]
 

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/john – Mark E is right, the requirements are very different, and I’d also advise getting the cheapest permissible open-face for car trackdays, while spending rather more on a full-face for bikes. I really wouldn’t want to drive in my bike helmet [too cumbersome and heavy, peripheral restriction not quite so good etc], given that we’re talking about being inside a car [i.e. rather than carting etc].

Confining myself to bike helmets, which are all I know about... The passage you cite contains all you need to know on the spec: as it advises, basically you should get a BSI Type A, which will almost certainly also be ACU Gold approved. Counter intuitively – because you might think that the more expensive the helmet the lighter it ought to be – you’ll find that these are actually heavier than the type Bs, since they have fibre glass rather than polycarbonate shells [or something like that].

Arai and Shoei are the top brands but there’s an element of fashion here and if they’re type-approved it scarcely matters: the only criterion is fit, and some people have Arai heads, some people have Shoei heads, some people have Shark / Roof etc etc heads. It ought almost to be too tight when you first try it on, since there’ll be some give in the padding over time and you don’t want it to be lose. Obviously the shell itself shouldn’t need to deform when pulling it on, and shouldn’t feel as if it’s digging in; but the cheeks should pinch [some modern lids have adjustable padding which helps in this respect] and it should have no give all round. If you shake your head from side to side the helmet should hug and shouldn’t wiggle. If you can pull the helmet off either way [i.e. with the chin strap done up, tugging at the front / back of the helmet and trying to pull it back / forward] it’s too big.

Also consider whether you’ll wish to wear a balaclava under the helmet [I like to, bit like wearing socks inside shoes for me, keeps the interior fresher, and also worn over the nose helps keep the visor mist-free], and if so try the helmet over one. You can buy very thin silk ones. In respect of the misty visor issue I’d also look for a lid with a breath deflector over the nose.

A final tip: buy a white helmet rather than a dark one. They’re far more visible, and [ii] white reflects while black absorbs UV-rays, so white helmets actually ‘last’ twice as long, in the sense that their shell does not age and become brittle too quickly.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Excellent info, NedLudd - much appreciated.

My only set criterion for a helmet, so far, was that it was white.

I have been on the track with open helmet, at Goodwood, and with full-face helmet at Anglesey. I did not find full-face helmet to particularly be a problem.

Thanks for the advice
 

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A nice thin balaclava seems a good idea, especially if you are hiring a helmet at the site that has been used many times by many people


I have used some fairly cheap silk ones (£7.95). I've not worn one under a crash helmet, but under protective cold weather clothes. Got mine from Patra . Click on "Accessories" then "Hats".
 

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As a safety item , you must buy the best , check with an expert before you buy , a cheap helmet can be very dangerous . Check also the year .
 

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john,

Have you concidered the dual type. By that I mean the full face d ones the open up to form an open faced helmet. BMW make this type along with many other companies now. Police like them --I think it's illegal to ride with them open --but not sure . They ride with them open in Europe but why I don't know. Maybe cooling .
As a bike rider I would only use a full face I don't want my chin bouncing along the road. I came off on a corner covered in 3"of gravel and went along on my face . It is a strange effect seeing the ground that close. I had an Arial lid it was expensive but well worth it. I still have my male model good looks.
 

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A friend of mine was knocked off his 1200 bantum 2 years ago wearing a very nice shoei lid.

Just as well, when they gave it back to him 3 days later when he woke up (no bones broken just bruised and unconcious), it was both cracked, and in one spot, worn through the fibre glass and just beginning to wear the polystyrene in a 2" circle.

He was very very pleased it was a £300 lid!

Andrew
 

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I agree with the general consensus of opinion that you should buy the best. If it's £350+ or whatever you'll feel it's money well spent the day you do come off. As NedLudd says some people have Arai shaped heads, others Shoei etc. so try many helmets before purchasing.
The fit should be extremely snug, certainly shaking your head should not cause any movement to be felt, moreover you should grasp the helmet or preferably get someone else to hold it while you attempt to move your head side to side etc. You should not have any movement of your head inside the helmet.

As an aside I've not found a full face helmet to be a problem during a trackday. The seat belts in road cars are nowhere near as good as the harnesses that racecars have and I wouldn't wish to have my face contact the inside of the car.

Nick.
 

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Having spent many years in motorsport (rallying/sprinting/hillclimbing/trackdays) and being a biker as well...IMHO,

Don't use your bike helmet in a car, have two helmets, the best possisble full face for the bike and a comfortable open face for the car (unless the car is open topped or single seater - then full face preferable). The requirements for a bike helmet are different to inside a car, but one good reason is when using in a car enviroment, it's quite easy for the helmet to get knocked about, which is not something you want to happen to your expensive bike lid, as any knock could affect it's ability to do the job it's supposed to do when your on the bike or rather if you came off the bike.....
Don't compromise the your bike safety, buy an adeqate open face for the car (from a motorsport supplier not a motorcycle shop), and keep the bike helmet for the bike.

Of course, as you will be renewing the bike helmet every 3-4 years anyway regardless...
, you could use the 'old' bike helmet on trackdays after that....
 

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For track days, this is the helmet I bought from Demon Tweeks (price doesn't include VAT because VAT not charged on helmets). There is a limited amount of impact that the helmet will be required to take if you crash a modern closed-cockpit road car and I didn't think it necessary to buy an expensive one.

This one is quite light and doesn't get in the way while driving. It also has a removeable tinted visor which has come in handy on the odd sunny day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all of the advice. Initially I thought a decent bike helmet would do for both, but you have convinced me that an open face helmet for trackdays and a separate bike helmet are the way to go. I don't want to be knocking the bike helmet in the car.

Bill, thanks for the link - I had been looking at this site.

Three trackdays are planned but the motorcycle course is not (yet) so I shall go with the recommendation of the panel
 

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Nice lid
Helmet Sizing

Carefully measure around your head, above the ears.

They only go up to 62cm will that be ok.

Whats next car to pits radio and laptop downlink kit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Originally posted by asgard:
[qb]Whats next car to pits radio and laptop downlink kit?      :thumbsup:  [/qb][/b]
Now, there's a thought

Seriously, just a lid for the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Originally posted by BillJ:
[qb]For track days,  this is the helmet I bought from Demon Tweeks (price doesn't include VAT because VAT not charged on helmets).  [/qb][/b]
Hmmm, am I likely to find this helmet in a bike shop save me having to buy online? I'd like to try it on before buying?
 

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John,
Very unlikely.....you'll need to find a motorsport supply shop.
Not sure whats in your area, but there's Grand Prix Racewear in Chiswick, Croydon Race & Rally in Croydon
, probably Autocross in Bracknell.
Is there a dealer list on the Sparco website..?
 

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I went to SCA Race and Rally in Norwich this evening and ordered myself open faced helmet.

Strangely they do the Sparco ones just like in Demon Tweaks catalogue, at the same £55 price and in my size it will be in next Wednesday..

For once I'm only a Large.


Also, while in there a chap came in with his young son and said.

Do you have a bleed valve for a Saab 9000 Turbo.....[/b]
A white F reg is about to be mullered.

Andrew
 

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i used to have £300 head insurance from Arai for my old ducati.. and having been in cars going upside down and knowing you can never quite choose when they do go upside down.. i'd stick to a full face bike helmet of decent make
 
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