Smart helmets are coming and they are getting smarter by the day with the latest calling emergency if you crash and fitted with blind spot detectors.
For several years smart helmet concepts have been been revealed with hi-tech features such as the ability to display vital motorcycle information on the visor or a small periphery screen like in a fighter jet pilot’s helmet.
It has an array of colour-changing LEDs that link to the brakes and indicators for improved visibility.
The Bluetooth function allows music, calls and navigation instructions as well as making an emergency call in the event of a crash.
Several other smart helmets have included similar functions which have a manual override in case you drop the helmet.
Other features are GPS, an app with a geofence alert if the helmet is stolen, photochromic visor that adjusts tint to the available light and is compatible with voice command such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
The planned price is $US1200 (about $1750), but it’s not quite ready yet.
Tali plans a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to get it produced.
Given the controversy with the original Skully helmet, we would advise caution in supporting this venture.
The Australian Motorcycle Council had lobbied tirelessly for years behind the scenes for uniformity of these rules across the states.
However, the rules had to be implemented by State Regulatory Authorities.
Victoria and the ACT were the first to implement the rules in July 2018.
However, Victorian Police still persist with fining riders for having a helmet camera and the ACT added the amendment that helmet attachment mounts must be ‘frangible’ which means they break off in a crash.
Queensland followed in November 2018, while Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory followed last December.
Despite this apparent interstate harmony, there still remain variances in lane filtering rules, such as Queensland’s “edge-filtering” rule.
Before you hop on your motorcycle or ATV, you want to make sure you have the best helmet possible. Among all of the ATV accessories on sale you find, a helmet is the first one you want to purchase. It will protect you in the event of a collision, and it may just end up saving your life. A new CST CU02 Abuzz rear tire may be nice right now, but for the time being, your attention should be on finding the best helmet possible at the lowest price.
Make Sure the Helmet Still Meets All Safety Standards
It makes sense for riders to not want to spend a lot of money on a new helmet. However, you never want to sacrifice quality in the hunt for a good deal. There are plenty of cheap helmets you can find, but many of these were not designed to handle a full-force impact. You want to make sure your helmet was thoroughly tested and meets the standards set forth by the Department of Transportation.
You know when you have something good when the product description says that an item is a “D.O.T. Helmet.” This test will check for criteria based on severity and impact. Some cheap helmets out there will crumble up at the slightest impact, but you want something that will actually protect your head. A traumatic brain injury is not worth saving a few bucks at the moment.
Check Online Often for Deals
You can frequently find deals on great helmets online. Some stores simply need to get rid of a back catalog of helmets when a new shipment is imminent, so you could get a great deal that way. There are also some sites, such as RetailMeNot, where you can find coupons for a wide array of online retailers. Coupons come up often, so keep checking to see if the helmet you want finally gets a deal.
Another good option is to wait during parts of the year where a site is more likely to have discounts. If you do not plan on riding your ATV again for the winter, then you could wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to find the deals you want. Additionally, you do not want to overlook the saving power of cashback deals. You make your purchase now, but you get money back on your credit card later. Some sites also offer a service discount where you can save money if you are a first member or a member of the United States.
Get the Best Deal on the Best Helmet
You can find plenty of helmets and ATV tires on sale online, but the trick is finding the best products at the lowest prices possible. In many cases, you do not even have to sacrifice on quality to find a great helmet that offers ample amounts of protection. That is honestly the most important part of a helmet. Price should come second to safety, but with the right ATV accessories retailer, you can manage to get a good product at an affordable price.
As much as we like the idea of wire-free vibration technology to introduce sound into a helmet, we just don’t think it works very well in the Domio Moto or Headwave Tag bluetooth units.
Both stick to the outside of your helmet and pump the sound into your helmet via vibrations. At $A264, the Domio Moto is cheaper than the Headwave Tag ($A329).
Our 2016 review of the Headwave system found it was too quiet, had poor sound quality, there was no stereo effect and the sound was drowned out by wind noise at anything over about 60-70km/h.
In June we published an article about Domio launching a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for their similar unit.
Not only did we express some concern about the sound quality based on our Headwave experience, but also the complaints about delivery from annoyed customers.
TheCanadian company contacted us and said they had since updated the product, production had started and they were satisfying orders.
They also offered us one for review, but it has taken about five months to arrive.
Domio Moto review
Let’s start with the positives.
The advantages are that you have no messy wires and there are no speakers uncomfortably pressing against your ears.
Sadly, the Domio Moto audio system isn’t any better than the Headwave system.
Sound quality is dull and mono only, there is little bass, and the sound is drowned out by wind noise at speeds over 60km/h on a bike without a windscreen and 80km/h on bikes with screens.
I also tried them with filtered earplugs to drown out the wind noise. These are very effective with traditional Bluetooth units where the speakers are next to your ears as the filters are directional.
However, in this case, the sound is non-directional, so with the earplugs in I could hardly hear the music even at slow speeds.
Domio sits in a cradle and they provide you with two so you can swap from helmet to helmet, while the Headwave unit sticks directly to the helmet, so it will only go on one helmet.
After my Headwave review, the makers accused me of not sticking it on properly, yet I had followed all their instructions.
Again, I followed the instructions this time to the letter: I found a smooth surface on the helmet with no joins or vents; I cleaned it carefully; and I firmly stuck it on with the supplied cradle.
Since it comes with two cradle fittings, I was able to trial it on two full-face helmets.
You can stick it anywhere on the helmet, they say. I tried one on the top and one on the back, but you could also put it on the side.
The poor sound results were the same for both helmets.
The legality of stick-on attachments is still up in the air. Also, there is some concern that stick-on units could cause head rotation and subsequent spinal injury in an accident. However, test results on such attachments will not be available until next year.
The Domio at least has a lower profile than the Headwave.
While both systems use vibration to send the sound into your helmet, they call them different terms.
Domio say they use “micro-vibration technology” and Headwave Tag call it “surface transduction”. It’s basically the same thing.
It’s difficult to explain, but the sound certainly surrounds your head because there is no discernible source such as from speakers next to your ears like in conventional Bluetooth helmet systems.
So it doesn’t really matter whether you put it on the back or one side.
However, it does not have any spatial or stereo effect because it’s coming from one source which is transmitted throughout the helmet via vibration.
The simple controls only allow switching on/off, pause/play and volume up/down. To select, advance or replay tracks, you would need your music source or phone within reach on the handlebars.
Like the Headwave Tag, the Domio Moto doesn’t have a microphone, so it is speakers only. That limits its use to listening to music and satnav instructions.
However, Domio Moto Pro ($A338), scheduled to ship in January, includes a wireless, noise-canceling “air mic” that, like the sound unit, sticks to the outside of the helmet. It uses “beamforming” technology which is a process that focusses a WiFi signal.
While traditional bluetooth systems have lots of messy wires and uncomfortable speakers next to your ears, sound quality is usually pretty good.
Domio and Headwave may be tidy and comfortable, with reasonable sound, but they are almost useless once over 60-80km/h, depending on whether you have a windscreen.
The most recalls this year was six for Yamaha; followed by 4 for BMW, Ducati and Triumph; Harley, Honda, Suzuki and Triumph on three (if you count the aftermarket accessories for Harley and Honda); and one each for Kawasaki, Indian, Piaggio, KTM and O’Neal helmets.
That compares with the previous year where Ducati had 6;Indian, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, KTM and Triumph 3; BMW, Harley, Husqvarna and Moto Guzzi 2, Aprilia and MV Augusta one each. There were no other product recalls.
Triumph Street Triple S and RS
The official ACCC notice on the 2018-2020 Street Triple RS and S says it could get “false neutrals”, which can be common on many bikes.
“The Quickshifter assembly, TSA body may come into contact with the gear change Clamp Linkage aAssembly, potentially impeding a smooth ‘assisted’ gear change, resulting in a missed gear or false neutral,” the notice says.
“If a loss of acceleration without warning occurs, this may lead to an increased risk of an accident and injury to vehicle occupants and other road users.”
Triumph Motorcycles Company dealers in Australia will replace the Clamp Linkage Assembly, free of charge (parts and labour) to vehicle owners. The new Clamp Linkage Assembly will provide a wider clearance from the Quickshifter Assembly, TSA.
Owners of affected vehicle will be contacted asking them to arrange recall repair by their authorised Triumph dealer.
A list of Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) for affected bikes is included at the end of this article.
O’Neal 3 Series Hybrid Fidlock helmet
“There is a possibility that the chin strap retention system may fail in the event of an accident,” it says.
“If the chin strap retention system fails, the helmet may not provide adequate protection to the wearer in the event of an accident and may increase the risk of death or serious injury to the wearer.”
Owners have been advised to “immediately stop using the helmet” and return it to the place of purchase for a refund or replacement.
For more information, consumers can contact Cassons Pty Ltd on 02 8882 1900 or [email protected]
Even though manufacturers and importers usually contact owners when a recall is issued, the bike may have been sold privately to a rider unknown to the company.
Therefore, Motorbike Writer publishes all motorcycle and scooter recalls as a service to all riders.
If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.
To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites:
Many riders like to get into the holiday spirit by wearing Santa, elf, Elmo or reindeer novelty helmet covers.
However, they could be a safety hazard, they may void your insurance and some police say they may be illegal.
Safety aspects of novelty covers
While novelty helmet covers may be fun and potentially protect your helmet from dust, scratches and chips, they could also be a safety hazard.
They can come loose and obscure your vision or become a choking hazard, especially at high speeds.
Most suppliers recommend they not be worn on the highway, but only at city speeds.
Since most are only worn in charity parades, speed should not be an issue.
But be aware that they can reduce ventilation which would make them stiflingly hot on a summer’s day in a slow-moving toy run procession.
They may also suppress important surrounding noises such as emergency sirens or the sound of screeching tyres.
Legal aspects of novelty covers
While we cannot find any legal reference in the Australian Road Rules to these novelty covers, police can still issue a ticket if they believe it is an offence.
So we contacted them for their interpretation of the road rules.
VicPol say it is “not possible to provide a blanket yes or no answer to your query, as it must be assessed on an individual basis”.
They suggest the following points could impact on the compliance:
The correct fitment is highly unlikely as the covers are “one size fits all’ and not manufactured for specific brand / model helmets.
The cover has the potential to impede vision through the visor when fitted or whilst travelling.
The cover may prevent the rider from securing the helmet correctly through the helmet buckle.
The cover has the potential to move / fall off at speed.
Queensland and South Australia police say novelty helmet covers are legal:
Novelty helmet covers are not illegal, as long as the rider is wearing a motorcycle helmet that complies with Australian standards and is securely fastened. Riders will need to ensure that the novelty cover does not obscure their vision.
WA Police did not respond, but the Western Australia Road Safety Commission says riders are already vulnerable road users and “wearing gear that might potentially make it harder for riders to spot other road users would not improve this situation”.
ACT Police say they would “take action against the user of the helmet cover if it contributed to an incident or collision (for example, if the cover impeded the vision of a rider)”.
“It is concerning to police that the manufacturers openly identify significant risks to the user of the product on their website,” they say.
Since most riders wear novelty helmets as part of a fund-raising or at least fun-raising ride, it would be a particularly belligerent Scrooge cop who fined a rider over a helmet cover!
Speaking of Scrooges: If you crash while wearing a novelty helmet cover, your insurance company may use it as an excuse to void your policy.