Motorcycle Helmets

I have been riding a motorcycle for some 35 years now. Throughout my riding experience, I have acquired, owned, and used a number of motorcycle helmets.

Before I bought my Harley-Davidson Road King in 2008 that comes with a built-in windscreen, I had a H-D Low Rider, which is a cruiser that does not have a windscreen. All of my previous bikes also were a cruiser type without windscreens.

Because wind is not a biker’s friend when cruising down the highway, I would wear a full-face, DOT-approved, helmet. I found of the different models out there that Shoei helmets fit best, were well-ventilated, and comfortable. Particularly for long rides, comfort is important. Nothing like getting a headache from having the head squeezed by an ill-fitting helmet.

When I got my Road King, my partner got me a new helmet painted to match the bike’s colors. It was a great gift!

But as I looked around and spoke with my biker buddies who ride Harleys that have windscreens, I noticed that almost all of them wore 3/4 helmets because the windscreen takes away the full frontal assault of the wind. These types of helmets cover the sides of the head, but are open in the front. One wears motorcycle glasses (like sunglasses but with rubber fittings around the eyes to keep the wind and bugs out) for eye protection when wearing such a helmet.

I did some research, and spoke with some motorcycle police officers, and found that Seer (see-er) helmets were highly recommended and worn by many cops. So I visited the SuperSeer website and ordered a 3/4 helmet — and had it custom painted to match my bike’s colors.

I like that helmet a lot. It is comfortable, well-fitted, and well-ventilated. It accommodates a microphone attachment for my radio so I can communicate with other bikers when I am on group rides. It also has two speaker fittings inside so I can insert speakers to hear the radio. Using earbugs is against the law, and also a pain in the butt. Speakers inside the helmet allow me to hear the radio but also hear sounds while riding (like other vehicles, sirens, etc.), which is important.

I will wear my full-face Shoei helmet that my partner got for me when it is really cold out. It keeps my head warmer and provides better protection from cold, biting winds. (I know, some bikers wear a neck and face fleece warmer, but I don’t like feeling choked as those things make me feel when I put one on then zip up my jacket and close the neck opening tightly.)

You will never catch me riding without a helmet, even in states where helmet laws are not in place. I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid. To me, riding without a helmet is both “uncool” and idiotic; begging for death or permanent brain damage if struck by a cage driver. Also, I don’t wear a half-helmet, because I don’t think they block wind noise that well, and I don’t want to wear ear plugs. And I’d never wear something stupid like a “skid lid” (aka “beanie”) that provides as little protection as not wearing a helmet at all.

A little-known fact about motorcycle helmets: the interior shell degrades with time. The shell is made with soft foam and resins that can be affected by vapors of gasoline. I do not store my helmets in my garage, because gasoline vapors from my truck and my partner’s car can cause the helmet interior to degrade faster than it should. I store my helmets inside the house, away from the potential damaging vapors in the garage.

Also, helmets don’t last forever. The industry recommends replacing them often. I get a new helmet about every three years. I may use an old helmet for an occasional passenger.

Following are some more photos of me riding with my favorite helmet.

Life is short: ride with a helmet secured to your head — always.