Tag Archives: Motorcycle helmet

Fluid-filled helmet protects your brain

Fluid-filled capsules inside a motorcycle helmet could prevent damage to your brain in a crash by acting like the liquid that surrounds your brain.

Fluid Inside has developed their Fluid Pods after 25 years of research into how the liquid around our brain helps protect it from impact.

Their first helmet is the Fox V3 motocross helmet (pictured at the top of the page) that includes the pods in the lining instead of the usual EPS foam.

This innovation may soon be coming to a range of other motorcycle helmets after Swedish brain safety technology company MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) recently acquired Fluid Inside’s patents.

Fluid Pods

Fluid Pods helmet
Fluid Pod

Fluid Inside head of product communication Mike Chiasson says the pods are filled with a low-viscous, organic, oil-based liquid that mimics the cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) around the brain.

It apparently disperses the impact in a crash to isolate the brain from crashing into the skull.

Such impacts have been known to cause serious brain damage.

However, the pods may also protect riders from memory loss, vision impairment and even Parkinson’s Disease by protecting the brain from the small and frequent impacts riders may cop when riding over bumpy surfaces or off-road.

The pods could be integrated into a helmet at production or inserted as an aftermarket addition to the lining.

They could also be used in other helmets for other sports such as cycling.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Another state may allow helmet-less adults

There soon may be another state in the US that allows adults to choose for themselves whether they wear a motorcycle helmet or not.

Missouri recently voted to repeal both its helmet and abortion laws, although the former is yet to be signed off by the Governor.

If it does, there will be 19 states with motorcycle helmet laws for all riders.

They are: Alabama, California, DC, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Only Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire have no helmet use law.

Adults only

The remaining states have varying laws requiring minors to wear a motorcycle helmet while six of those states require adults to have $10,000 in insurance and wear a helmet in their first year of riding.

Adult riders are varyingly considered 18 or 21. Missouri says riders over 18 should be all.owed to decide on helmet use.

There has been a steady move toward liberalising US helmet laws in recent years.

But here’s an interesting example.

In 1977 Texas moved from a universal helmet law to an adult helmet option like Missouri wants.

There followed a 35% increase in motorcycle fatalities. Texas reinstated its universal helmet law in 1989 and deaths dropped by 11%. The law makers changed their minds yet again in 1997 to cover only riders younger than 21 and deaths leapt 31%.

As Dudley (William H Macy) tells Woody (John Travolta) in “Wild Hogs”: “62% vof all motorcycle fatalities could be prevented with the use of an approved DOT helmet.”

Liberal helmet laws adults
Wild Hogs

According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for every 100 motorcyclists killed in crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 could have been saved had they worn helmets.

Yet, the use of motorcycle helmets in the US continues to decline to about half from 71% in 2000.

While the US public health institute the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found the most common injuries in motorcycle crashes are to the riders’ feet or legs, the next most common location for non-fatal rider injuries was to the neck and head, accounting for 22%.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Readers support helmet scanning service

More than 70% of respondents to a survey have supported a $40 helmet scanning service to check for hidden fractures in your helmet.

The Helmet Doctors who developed the helmet laser-scanning invention say it would give riders peace of mind that their helmet is safe to use after a drop or crash, or whether it needs to be replaced.

The Sunshine Coast family business asked Motorbike Writer in February to publish a link to a survey about their service and received more than 430 respondents.

Federal funding

Brayden Robinson, who founded the venture with this father, Scott, says the Federal Government is considering some funding for the safety service but needed to know if it would be well received by riders, racers and the motorcycle industry.

“Just over 72% (of survey respondents) said they would be prepared to pay for the scanning service once a year or after every accident and some even said twice a year,” he says.

“We’ve had both really positive and negative feedback from people which is all very helpful.

“AusIndustry commercialisation advisors told us that if we received 100 responses it would be good, 200 would be convincing and 300 would be conclusive.

“Well, we’ve now had more than 430 respondents and the survey is still open.”

You can take part in their quick 10-question online survey by clicking here.

The scanning service has stalled while the Federal Government is in caretaker mode, but Brayden and Scott are confident even a change in government will not affect funding.

Crash starts study

helmet doctors scanning
Brayden is taken away in the ambulance

Scott and Brayden began researching a helmet scanning system after Brayden was hospitalised with a fractured skull from a motocross crash.

They developed their device with the help of a Belgian company and the Composites Research Group in the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering at The University of Queensland.

“We found this laser scanning technique can categorically guarantee that, if there is any damage to the helmet’s outer shell, our technique will identify it. It’s ground-breaking, proven science,” Scott says.

The Helmet Doctors have a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application that allows them to enter their patent application into any of 152 jurisdictions by 23 June 2020. 

At present the application has been examined by the international PCT body and all but one claim has been found to be novel over identified existing technology.

Need for scanning

Helmet Doctors laser scanning helmets
Helmet scanner

Scott says very few riders know exactly when to replace their helmet.

Manufacturing safety standards say a composite helmet has a lifespan of five years and, if used frequently, about three years.

But what if you drop it or have a crash?

“We have all heard how if you drop your helmet once you should replace it. But very few do this,” Scott says.

“No one knows how much impact a composite helmet can tolerate before the shell is critically weakened.

“Composite materials have many layers and tiny fibres that can be damaged in a fall.

“The impact energy is dispersed among the fibres and away from the brain which it is designed to do.

“This is why a dropped helmet may still look ok.

“However, the impact could have led to a small crack or splintering which you can’t see with the naked eye.

“Our device can view, read and record the helmet 100,000 times better than the naked eye and find if there are any cracks, splintering or deformations which would make the helmet defective and unable to withstand another impact.”

Helmet scanning scheme

Helmet Doctors laser scan helmets scanning
Helmet scan identifies a flaw

The Helmet Doctors plan to test their service first in South East Queensland.

Riders would take their helmet to a participating motorcycle dealer where they would leave it and pick it up a few days later.

The helmet would be sent to the nearest scanner depot where it would be scanned, assessed and returned.

Scott says the Federal Government is considering some funding for the safety service but needs to know if it would be well received by riders, racers and the motorcycle industry.

“As you could imagine this experimental laser camera is very expensive, but our goal is to make this service accessible and cheap enough for everyone to use it,” Scott says.

If the project is successful, they hope to extend the service to other states and overseas.

If you have a few minutes, click here to take this short 10-question survey and help the Helmet Doctors.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Does your head crush like a cabbage in a crash?

If you believe your head will crush as easily as a cabbage if you crash, then this video of some helmets being crushed will be of interest.

Crush test

The video from the “Hydraulic Press Channel” on Youtube shows a cabbage in several types of helmet including half and full-face motorcycle helmets, an army helmet and a cycle helmet.

Advance to the 4:20-minute mark and you will find the full-face motorcycle obviously holds up the best to the 150 ton (136 tonne) hydraulic press.

It doesn’t really tell us anything useful about impact resistance, but it’s good to know there is some protection if a 136-tonne truck runs over your head in a crash.

If you want to know the real-world safety rating of helmets, we suggest two sites.

The NSW Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmets (CRASH) crash-tests 30 helmets a year and releases the details every November.

It is not as comprehensive as the similar British SHARP helmet safety scheme which has tested and rated hundreds of helmets, almost all of which are now available for sale in Australia.

Click here if you want to know if helmet safety is related to the cost of your helmet.

Crash stats

Icon Airframe Statistic motorcycle helmet modular crush
Icon Airframe Statistic motorcycle helmet shows impact areas by percentage

Meanwhile, the Icon Airframe helmet (above) shows the percentage chance of parts of your helmet suffering an impact in a crash.

The crash statistics come from the 1981 Hurt Report and show that the most common area of impact on motorcycle helmets is the chin at 19.4%.

The least vulnerable place is the very top of the head at 0.4%, as shown in the crushing video above for the half helmet, although it is the cabbage that crushes before the helmet!

Both the video and the statistics helmet are good arguments for wearing a full-face over an open-face motorcycle helmet.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bargain Biltwell Gringo helmets tested

Biltwell retro Gringo helmets have been around for about six years and have only now received Euro approval that allows them to be sold in Australia.

The American motorcycle helmet manufacturer sent me their Lane Splitter urban/enduro helmet last year which was their first to be Euro approved.

Biltwell Lane Splitter Rusty Butcher retro motorcycle helmet motorcycle safety
Lane Splitter

Gringo bargain lids

We loved the helmet, so Biltwell’s Australian distributor, Monza Imports, sent us an antique white visorless Gringo ($249.95) and a gloss black Gringo S ($299.95) with a clear flip-up visor to review.

Like the Lane Splitter, the quality of finish is beautiful.

The gloss paint is thick and lustrous like much more expensive helmets than these bargain lids.

And if you can’t find a colour or graphic to suit your taste, then you really are fussy as there is a big selection.

Biltwell Gringo S
Biltwell Gringo S

Visors

We did have a problem with the clear visor delaminating on the inside after fogging up.

Monza said they had a faulty batch of visors, so they sent me clear and tinted replacements which have had no such problems.

In another bit of good news, there is a host of scratch-resistant visor styles and colours available and they won’t cost you a fortune like some other brands.

Standard Biltwell visors in clear, tint or iridium are just $49.95 and the trendy bubble visors are $59.95 no matter whether they are clear, tinted or iridium.

While the base model doesn’t come with a visor, it has five press studs to attach a fixed bubble visor which will only cost you $39.95 for clear, tinted or iridium.

Biltwell Gringo visors
Biltwell Gringo visors

Otherwise, you can wear it with goggles.

We found motocross and ski goggles were too big for the visor aperture and even some of our other goggles were a tight fit.

Unless you can find some slimline units like our Aviators Retro Pilot T2 goggles or the special Biltwell goggles at just $54.95, you may prefer to wear riding sunglasses such as Barz Optics.

You can also fit black or white sunshade peaks to the Gringo for a mere $19.95.

Comfort

We loved the interior of the $459 Lane Splitter and didn’t expect these helmets at half the cost to be quite as plush, but we were wrong.

The removable, washable and hand-sewn and diamond-stitched liner has a nice suede look and feel.

Sizing is a little askew.

Our Lane Splitter was small (55-56cm), so we ordered the same in the Gringos.

While the Lane Splitter feels a bit loose, the Gringos are very tight.

We always recommend trying on a helmet in store, so we suggest you try a size up in the Gringo.

The helmets don’t have any vents, but you don’t need it on the Gringo unless you have a visor fitted.

They also allow a lot of air on to your face through the gap between the visor and the aperture, plus there is no chin spoiler so you get plenty of air.

The liner is also breathable and the cheek pads have open-cell foam for air flow.

Biltwell Gringo
Biltwell Gringo

It’s not great in winter, but they are quite cool in warm conditions.

Safety

The seamless shell is Biltwell’s proprietary Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene plastic which has no true melting point and is the strongest of all plastics.

Its impact resistance doesn’t vary with temperature and it ages well. It can also be recycled.

They also feature a very thick shock-absorbing EPS inner shell and a secure double D-ring chin strap.

Biltwell hasn’t been assessed by the UK’s SHARP helmet rating system, so we can’t vouch for its safety level.

Noise

As expected, the Gringo without a visor is noisy.

The Gringo S also has a large gap that allows air on to your face, but I was surprised at how quiet it was.

Ok, it’s not super-quiet, but a lot quieter than I expected.

Biltwell has been making helmets in Temecula, California, since 2005 for the midrange market.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Is this the smartest helmet yet?

A British company has claimed it will unveil the smartest augmented-reality helmet yet at the London Bike Show in September 2019.

Apart from the usual intercom with phone capabilities, it will also feature a GPS, music streaming, heads-up display, photochromic visor, LED brake light, crash warning system, a 360-degree camera and “A whole host of other features”.

Adam Wilson from the Resolve Group contacted us recently about the helmet after we published an article about a patent pending on a full-length airbag suit.

Resolve Group airbag leather suit patented smartest
Resolve Group’s patented airbag leather suit

He said they would also have their full-length airbag suit at the bike show, along with the helmet and another product which they have not yet revealed.

“We are not looking for funding as we have invested our own funds into the projects,” he says.

“The helmets are being made as we speak. The suits will start to be manufactured in a few weeks.”

Smartest helmet

We have published numerous articles recently about smart helmets with head-up display, GPS, crash warnings, brake lights and even Honda’s idea for a helmet with facial recognition to act as a remote key fob for your bike.

honda helmet key fob radar smartest
Honda’s helmet key fob patent drawing

It seems a new wave of smart helmets is definitely coming.

The first generation of the Resolve Group’s helmet is a guarded secret until the launch in September.

To minimise unauthorised leaks Adam only supplied CAD photographs and said there might be some “small changes” during production.

It will have ECE.22, TUV and DOT certification and Adam anticipates offering the first generation helmet at below the £1000 (about $A1880, $US1300, €1175). 

The first generation will be made from polycarbonate shell with an eps inner moulded to accommodate spectacles.

Resolve Group smartest helmet
CAD of Resolve Group’s helmet

The visor is photochromic which means it changes tint with ambient light. It will have a built-in GPS, voice activation and voice prompts.

Cameras offering 360 degree panoramic views will provide an early audible/visual warning system of an impending collision.

It will also feature LED lighting on the front and the rear light will be activated by deceleration to act as a brake warning light.

“Other functions are a guarded secret,” Adam says.

“Safe to say it’s the most advanced helmet available.”

We look forward to testing this technology and see how much it weighs.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Reader deal: Buy Visorcat, get free earplugs

Clear vision and protecting your ears seem to be important for our readers so we are offering a special reader deal of a free set of MotoSafe Tour earplugs with each Visorcat wiper/washer tour pack bought through our shop.

When we published a review of the Visorcat a few weeks ago, we expected a lot of negative comments. There were a few, but there was also a lot of interest.

We tested the system and found it was a handy device for not only wiping off the rain, but also washing off bugs and grime without scratching the visor. (See our review below.)

So we decided to sell it through our online shop.

We are also big supporters of wearing earplugs to prevent fatiguing tinnitus and permanent hear loss when you ride, so we also sell the MotoSafe Tour or Race earplugs from $29.95.

Special reader deal

Since both the Visorcat and MotoSafe earplugs are distributed by xenonOz, we have offered the two together for the price of the Visorcat tour pack at $115.

The tour pack includes extra washer liquid and sponge refills and comes with a free pair of Tour earplugs as a special reader deal.

Alpine MotoSafe earplugs make riders safer planning wax reader deal
Buy Alpine Tour earplugs for your next adventure

The reader deal ends at the end of May, so be quick and protect your eyes and ears!

Visorcat review

Dirty visors are not only a nuisance but a safety risk, but the glove-mounted Visorcat washer/wiper allows you to clean your visor on the go.

Visorcat is made of rubber with a webbing strap that goes around your hand.

There is a rubber loop to go over your finger or thumb, a reservoir for the provided visor wash and two 75mm-long (3”) windscreen-wiper-style blades that sit on the back of your hand, below the knuckle.

Underneath the blades is a sponge.

You wipe right to left to remove rainwater with the double rubber wiper blades.

Visorcat helmet visor cleaner and wiper reader deal
Wipe right to left to clear your visor with the double rubber blades

If your visor is dirty and needs a wash first, you wipe left to right.

The curved edge of the wiper flap pulls back automatically to reveal the sponge underneath which is moistened by the supplied washing liquid.

Visorcat helmet visor cleaner and wiper reader deal
Wipe left to right to use the sponge

There’s a wick connecting the sponge to the reservoir to keep it moist.

Make sure the sponge is wet to start with and the reservoir is full.Visorcat helmet visor cleaner and wiper reader deal

Due to the favourable response from many readers, we have decided to stock this safety product in our shop.

Click here to buy now. The washer/wiper with a bottle of liquid is $99, the touring pack with extra liquid and sponges is $115 and the refill pack with a bottle of liquid and three sponges is $24.95. Postage is extra.

Visorcat helmet visor cleaner and wiper reader deal

Our view

I was initially quite sceptical of this product. It looked cumbersome and, frankly, a bit ridiculous.

However, it’s easy to fit over your left glove and tighten with the strap to stay in place.

Once in place you can hardly feel it’s there and it doesn’t in any way limit your clutch hand movement.

I also thought it would be a nuisance every time I took my glove off or put it on, but it actually stays in place, so there’s no need to remove it.

If you do want to remove it, just undo the strap and it comes off in a second.

The wiper blades are great for quickly and effectively wiping rainwater off your visor.

On wide visors you may have to wipe up to three times to cover the whole field of vision, but generally one wipe will clear enough of the visor for good vision.

Yet another reason to go riding in the rain!Fogging helmet visor wet rain work visorcat reader deal

Dirty visor

A dirty visor is another matter.

I prefer to wash off grime, insects, dust, etc with water or a cleaning liquid. If you wipe it straight away, you are liable to scratch your visor.

Even if you can’t see the scratches, you may have made very small scratches which cause a blurry “starring” effect when looking into the sun or car lights at night. 

I was reticent to use the sponge washer, so I tried it first on an old helmet.

You have to make sure the sponge is well and truly moist before wiping across your visor.

I preferred to pull over and check that the sponge was wet first. I even added an extra dob of the liquid directly on to the sponge just to make sure.Visorcat helmet visor cleaner and wiper reader deal

I tried it several times on the old helmet and it worked fine without any visible or even minor scratching. That made me confident enough to try it on a brand new visor. It left no scratches.

However, I would not use it on a very dirty or dusty visor. I’d douse the visor with plenty of water first.

The Visorcat works just fine for light grime such as a small bug straight after you’ve hit it.

And isn’t that usually the case? You’ve just cleaned your visor, hopped on your bike and in the first kilometre you hit a bug right in the middle of your field of vision!

With the Visorcat you don’t have to stop; you can keep on riding!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

inVIEW helmet light shows brakes, turn

This inVIEW helmet light not only indicates when brakes are applied or a rider slows down on the throttle, but also shows a rider’s intention to turn.

There have been several products designed to attract the attention of tailgating motorists such as Cosmo helmet light.

Cosmo Connected emergency brake light and crash alert
Cosmo helmet brake light

We also sell a unit that activates your bike’s rear brake light when the rider slows

Smart brake system
Buy the Smart Brake System

However, this is the first we can find that also includes indicators.

The stick-on bluetooth units are available from Third Eye Design in America for $US249.95.

It features an accelerometer that activates the brake light even when just slowing down on the throttle which many riders do.inVIEW helmet Brake light and indicator

We can’t see why they would be illegal here as they do not replace the motorcycle’s brake lights or indicators.

However, Victorian police might take a dim view of this product since they still believe any addition to a helmet is illegal.

Some might think this is a great idea as it lifts these important lights higher where drivers are more likely to see them.

It could also be a good safety feature with its brake light that illuminates when the rider slows down on the throttle, rather than the brakes.

How inVIEW works

The inVIEW unit has bright LEDs and is powered by two AAA batteries that they claim will last for months.

Riders get a warning when batteries are low or if there is a problem with the system. 

inVIEW helmet Brake light and indicator
inVIEW comes in red or clear lens

It snaps on via a 3M hook and loop mounting system that Third Eye Design claim is unobtrusive when the unit is not attached and snaps off in the event of a crash.

There is also a small transmitter that can be located close to the rear brake light and indicators.

They say it draws “almost no power and works on all motorcycles, including those with CANBus electrical systems”.inVIEW helmet Brake light and indicator

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Wipey promises clean helmet visor

There has been no shortage of inventions over the years to keep the rain off your visor and now there is Wipey which is a portable windscreen wiper.

Wipey is a snap-on device which fits in seconds to your visor and uses a small electric motor to wipe it clean like a car’s windscreen wiper.

The Slovenian product is not yet in production but will soon go to a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign.

It snaps into a tiny plastic guide which can be fixed to the visor with two M2 screws or double-sided tape. wipey visor

Victorian police might take a dim view of this product since they still believe any addition to a helmet is illegal.

They also object to novelty helmet covers because they “have the potential to impede vision through the visor”, so this may be deemed illegal.

Visor cleaning inventions

Wipey follows many inventions trying to solve the same problem of rain on a helmet visor.

The simplest solutions are sprays such as Rain-X, gloves with a small wiper blade on the forefinger, or the glove-mounted Visorcat washer/wiper that washes as well as wipes your visor. 

Visorcat helmet visor cleaner and wiper
Click here to read our review of the Visorcat visor washer and wiper

However, there have also been automated wipers like Wipey around for a long time such as this Turbo Visor that “spins the rain away”.Visor wipey turbo wiper

The closest to Wipey is Rainpal which raised money through a crowd-funding campaign a couple of years ago yet has still not gone into production.

We can’t tell you more about Rainpal as we have been threatened with legal action.

Rainpal wipey visor
Rainpal

Wipey is a little different because it is small and portable and quickly snaps on to any visor.

How Wipey works

You can put the small 55g unit on the top or bottom of your visor and there is a big black button to push to activate it. One push gives one sweep, but a longer push starts the intermittent wiping.

While it’s on, press again to go from a one-second intermittent wipe to three seconds snd again for six seconds.

One long push of the button then turns it off.

Seems awkward, but an optional Bluetooth handlebar-mounted remote will also be available.

wipey visor
Bluetooth handlebar remote

They say it does not impede the anti-fog function of a Pinlock visor insert.

It looks like it could easily be dislodged, but they say it has been tested at 130km/h.

A 3V battery will last up to three hours of continuous use or 12 hours intermittently. You can also use 3V rechargeable batteries.wipey visor

There is no word yet on price, but the Kickstarter begins soon with a 50% discount offer to early supporters.

It will come in yellow or black with a one-year warranty and the wiper blade can be replaced.

wipey visor

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda facial-recognition helmet acts as key fob

Honda has filed a patent application for a facial-recognition helmet that would act as a key fob to unlock your motorcycle.

It features a camera on the inside that identifies your face and then activates the motorcycle.

Don’t expect that this will happen any time soon. It’s sort of an answer to a question no one has asked.

And no, it’s not still April 1!

This patent filing simply shows that Honda is looking to the future and tying down patents for all sorts of ideas.

It follows recent Honda inventions and patent applications for a leaning trike, a hydrogen-powered bike, a cooling/heating seat, a self-balancing motorcycle and an air-conditioning unit for a motorcycle.

Honda's self-balancing motorcycle - short season damon last
Honda’s self-balancing motorcycle

Remote key fob

Remote key fobs are almost universal in cars, but only a few luxury motorcycle brands offer them.

Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout please reduce
Most Harleys have remote key fobs

They can be handy for riders.

How many times have you put your gloves on and then had to take them off to dig your keys out of your pants pocket?

It’s hardly an inconvenience, but anything that seems to add convenience is an extra selling point for a vehicle.

However, the problem with a helmet that acts as a key fob is that after about five years you should replace your helmet and we expect this lid would be quite expensive.

The other drawback is that it would add weight to the helmet.

Upcoming smart helmets already have a lot of included technology such as head-up display, 360-degree cameras, bluetooth units and more.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com