Does Helmet Brand Really Matter? - Honda CBR 300 Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-16-2018, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Does Helmet Brand Really Matter?

Hey folks, newb here-first post! I'm sure my question has been asked before but I couldn't really find what I was looking for so point me to the right direction if there is another thread/website on this.

So I cheaped out a little and bought a Bilt Force helmet from Cyclegear when I got my CB300F. The price was right for me, it looked nice and had all the features I was looking for (especially an internal sun visor). It was even ECE rated which I wasn't expecting from a $100 helmet.

Anyways, I'm a bit torn on replacing this helmet with another "higher quality" brand because I really do like it and it fits well but everyone keeps telling me to get a Shoei, Arai, etc. My question is, if all these helmets have the same safety ratings, what difference does the brand make? All I am really looking for is something that will protect me if I ever go down.

The way I look at it is that I bought a cheap Hyundai (i.e. Bilt) whereas a Shoei is probably more like a Mercedes. At the end of the day, both vehicles should keep you equally safe in a crash due to government regulations. The only difference I see is that a Mercedes will probably offer you more comfort, style, brand name recognition, etc. A Bilt and Shoei shouldn't be that much different in the same respect, right?
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post #2 of 20 Old 02-17-2018, 05:09 AM
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I only buy Japanese helmets (Shoei, Arai etc) but it's definitely not because of brand name, I dont care about stuff like that.
To be fair the cheaper brands have closed the gap in recent years as far as quality and bang for your buck goes. It used to be that if you wanted a helmet that gave you decent protection plus quality fit and performance (snug fitting visors that dont leak and whistle, decent air flow systems that actually work, quality ratcheting systems on the visor opening etc etc) then you had to buy a name brand to get it. Also these helmets were/are more comfortable. I've tried on a number of cheaper helmets over the years and they generally just don't feel as immediately comfortable. It can be simple things like the liner material being coarse and scratchy rather than plush and smooth against your skin.
Also the expensive helmets usually have a quality visor fitted that doesn't scratch up in the first six months of use.
I could go on but at the end of the day it's up to you. My suggestion would be to try on as many helmets as you can before you buy.
Also, if you want to be seen out there then white is the color of choice. Boring I know but they have done studies on this to work out the most visible color to other road users.
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post #3 of 20 Old 02-17-2018, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TXCB View Post
The way I look at it is that I bought a cheap Hyundai (i.e. Bilt) whereas a Shoei is probably more like a Mercedes. At the end of the day, both vehicles should keep you equally safe in a crash due to government regulations. The only difference I see is that a Mercedes will probably offer you more comfort, style, brand name recognition, etc. A Bilt and Shoei shouldn't be that much different in the same respect, right?
That analogy doesn't work for me. One of the worst cars I have owned was a high end BMW. One of the best was a KIA. The KIA wasn't "cheap", it was "inexpensive."

I have owned top of the line Bell, Shoei and others and I currently own and use a Bilt helmet. Not all heads are shaped the same and not all helmets feel the same on my head. I, too, bought my helmet at Cycle Gear. They had at least 100 helmets available for me to try on. When I put the Bilt helmet on my head I immediately knew it was the right one for me. If you are happy with the helmet you have, you should keep it. If it will make you feel better about your "inexpensive" helmet, there are lots of Shoei stickers for sale on ebay: Shoei Sticker | eBay.
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post #4 of 20 Old 02-17-2018, 11:19 AM
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If the choice of helmets all have a similar crash rating then the most important thing is the fit. Helmets are different shapes internally and heads are different shapes. If you get the wrong shape helmet for YOUR head, it will not be comfortable and you'll find it distracting.
I use a white Caberg Duke. This suits the shape of my head. It has a 5 star Sharp rating and many Shoei and Arai helmets don't make this standard.
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post #5 of 20 Old 02-17-2018, 12:07 PM
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I've been wearing Shoei helmets for many years now, and for a number of reasons. First and foremost, because a Shoei medium fits my head shape "like a glove", whereas every other helmet brand that I've tried on over the years didn't fit my head shape as well as what a Shoei does. Second, the fact that Shoei (as do other high end safety helmets, like Arai) voluntarily submit their helmets to the Snell Foundation for rigorous testing which goes well beyond that of the minimum DOT standards. If one were to ask why all helmets are not submitted to the Snell Foundation for testing, the simple answer is that many would not pass Snell standards.

Another way to look at the helmet safety standards issue, is that while all helmets must meet the minimum safety standards (or "crash worthiness") of the countries they are sold in, just as all automobiles must meet a set of minimum safety standards, that doesn't mean that all of those helmets and cars are equal with respect to safety... some of those helmets and cars can far exceed the minimum standards. In many cases you do get what you pay for.

As for the comparison between a $80 Bilt helmet, and a $500+ Shoei or Arai helmet, much like the comparison between KIA and BMW cars, I'm of the opinion that's a bit disingenuous, and really just another "apples and oranges" comparison. To use another example, no one would pretend that a $50 Coleman or Igloo cooler is in anyway comparable to a $300 - $400 Yeti cooler.

Beyond the factors of fit and the higher Snell test standards, the other reasons for my preference for Shoei helmets are many of the same things kiwi rider pointed out in his post... higher quality fabrics used in the interior; superior air seal between the shield (or visor) and the gasket on the shell; well designed venting for good air flow through the shell.
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post #6 of 20 Old 02-18-2018, 12:49 PM
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If it's rated and fits well then that's what works for you.

I personally got a Fly Three.4 helmet (DOT, ECE 22.05 and SNELL2010 rated) as my first helmet from when I originally took motorcycle school and it actually fit me really well, but it's expired now. I then got a Scorpion R710 which is my new daily, fairly cheap (sub $200 when I bought it) fit decently and DOT, ECE 22.05, and SNELL 2015 rated.

For when I'm riding 2 up (not very often, maybe 3 times a season) I just got a Thor Sector which is only DOT and ECE rated and the lining leaves something to be desired but it was like $130 CAD which I can't complain about at all.

tl;dr: As long as it's rated and fits well the rest of it is a combination of; marketing, brand name, comfort, and noise.

BTW: I think like 80-90% of helmets out there are OEMed by a handful of manufacturers. HJC and Z1R are supposed to be 2 of the biggest OEM's out there. Supposedly even AGV doesn't own it's own manufacturing facility and gives the specs to an OEM to make the helmets for them.

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post #7 of 20 Old 02-19-2018, 10:50 AM
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Here's an interesting comparison on the different helmet testing certifications: https://www.revzilla.com/common-trea...ty-ratings-101

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post #8 of 20 Old 02-19-2018, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Gromit View Post
If the choice of helmets all have a similar crash rating then the most important thing is the fit. Helmets are different shapes internally and heads are different shapes. If you get the wrong shape helmet for YOUR head, it will not be comfortable and you'll find it distracting.
I use a white Caberg Duke. This suits the shape of my head. It has a 5 star Sharp rating and many Shoei and Arai helmets don't make this standard.
I don't believe that's an accurate statement where specific test standards are concerned. First, every safety helmet offered by Shoei and Arai is Snell Foundation certified. And it's common knowledge within the safety helmet industry that the Snell Foundation testing protocol utilizes a higher impact (anvil) test standard than that of the UK's Sharp standard.

https://www.revzilla.com/common-trea...ty-ratings-101



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... BTW: I think like 80-90% of helmets out there are OEMed by a handful of manufacturers. HJC and Z1R are supposed to be 2 of the biggest OEM's out there. Supposedly even AGV doesn't own it's own manufacturing facility and gives the specs to an OEM to make the helmets for them.
The term OEM as used in your post is a bit misleading... the makers of safety helmets are generally thought of as aftermarket manufacturer's, not OEM's. Whereas the term "OEM" (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is typically used to describe factory replacement parts & components sourced from the manufacturer of a vehicle.

What you're describing is commonly referred to in most industries is 're-branding'... in the case of helmets, Bilt helmets for example, is a "store brand" helmet owned and sold exclusively by Cycle Gear. Cycle Gear obviously doesn't manufacture it's own helmets, and as you say, the Bilt brand could very well be made for Cycle Gear by a company like HJC or similar.

As for AGV, they are part of the Dainese brand group and like Shoei and Arai, are considered to be a top tier helmet brand. That said, I would find it hard to believe that AGV helmets would be made by a company like HJC, which is a brand known for it's lower price point helmets made in China, and therefore is not generally associated with top tier safety helmets such as AGV, Shoei, & Arai.
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post #9 of 20 Old 02-19-2018, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by MotoMike View Post
The term OEM as used in your post is a bit misleading... the makers of safety helmets are generally thought of as aftermarket manufacturer's, not OEM's. Whereas the term "OEM" (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is typically used to describe factory replacement parts & components sourced from the manufacturer of a vehicle.
Sorry I mean ODM (Original Design Manufacturer), I'm just so used to saying OEM that it slips my mind. ODM's will tender a bid to try and get a contract to produce a design to some specification for a bigger brand name company. ie. Similar to Foxconn and how they make products for other companies under contract or Giant Bikes and Dorel Industries will manufacture bikes for a lot of other bike brands based on a design spec/drawing.

And don't get me wrong, I didn't say that AGV awards tenders to HJC and the like but to have their own supply chain, tooling, and manufacturing facility for the kind of volume they do is insane to think about.

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post #10 of 20 Old 02-20-2018, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MotoMike View Post
I don't believe that's an accurate statement where specific test standards are concerned. First, every safety helmet offered by Shoei and Arai is Snell Foundation certified. And it's common knowledge within the safety helmet industry that the Snell Foundation testing protocol utilizes a higher impact (anvil) test standard than that of the UK's Sharp standard.

As for AGV, they are part of the Dainese brand group and like Shoei and Arai, are considered to be a top tier helmet brand. That said, I would find it hard to believe that AGV helmets would be made by a company like HJC, which is a brand known for it's lower price point helmets made in China, and therefore is not generally associated with top tier safety helmets such as AGV, Shoei, & Arai.
Shoei helmets with internal sun shades are not Snell rated. HJC does have Snell helmets -- CL-17 (up to 2XL) and FG-17 (all sizes).

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