MF's breaking 25 years of helmet habit
Since 1986 I have been mostly (sporadically) smashing my head against Tarmac whilst wearing an Arai safety helmet. Blimey, that's quarter of a century. I'm still here, though.
I bought my first one (a Wes Cooley replica) secondhand during my first year of club racing. After the hideous self-painted Bell Star 2 I had previously been blagging my way through scrutineering in, it was complete luxury. Even without doing the chin strap up it felt safe, snug and secure.
It was eighty quid and had a small scuff on it. I had, after all, bought it off another impoverished but retiring club racer with a similar sized, medium head. A small amount of Isopon, a light sanding with a sheet of 800 grade and the red bits of Wes Cooley's design were sprayed green to match my leathers and bike. It wasn't exactly a full factory affair but it was pretty posh for club racing.
My first really big Arai accident was at Donington where I managed to flip myself like a cheese omelette into the back of waiting St Johns ambulance. It was to be the first of many fast crashes at Donington. Never have clicked with that place.
Then a year later I crashed a test bike at Bruntingthorpe flat out in top gear. The injuries? A small scab on my thumb and mild concussion that lasted nearly two weeks. Should have been dead, really.
Later, the same year I got run over in a Supersport 600 start line accident at Oulton Park (broken ribs, mild concussion) and threw myself at the tarmac at Craner Curves just at the point where you flick right to left. Injuries? Only to my helmet's paint job. In subsequent years I also packed in some crashing at Oliver's Mount, Mallory Park, Timaru, Ruapuna, Mansfield, Misano and Assen.
I take a lot of convincing but even by then - five or six years into a very intimate helmet/head relationship - I was convinced. Utterly.
So the fact that I've just placed my last Arai amongst my Arai hall-of-memorabillia and taken delivery of a plain white X-Lite X802 is a big moment. X-Lite are imported by the same firm that have kept me in Arai for two decades, so by now I've just about started to trust their judgement.
I've only tried it on so far (I'll use it next week for my first trip to Portimao) but the first impressions are good. It's super-light (1340g), the visor mechanism is really easy to do a quick dark/clear swap and the finish, fit and comfort appears to be right up there with the what I've previously been used to. A quick tip: X-Lite's sizing appears t be slightly adrift from Arai's. Normally I'm a 57-58 medium but the best fit in X-Lite's range was a 60 Large. Maybe my head's grown but regardless, I'd recommend trying one on first before buying the best deal on-line.
Sizes range from XXS (pea-head) to XXL (fat head). Plain colours like mine start at £319.99 and fancier stuff is a hundred sheets more. Visors are £41.44 regardless of clearness or tintidness. Big on-line X-Lite retailers are folks like racevisors.co.uk and sportsbikeshop.co.uk.
Space this watch.
Posted: 25/02/2011 at 12:23
Posted: 25/02/2011 at 13:12
As someone who has also tried the X-802 after always wearing Arai I'm very interested in seeing how you get on with it - but do have to take exception with "I'd recommend trying one on first before buying the best deal on-line" - how about buying it from the shop you have gone into to try it on? who are probably sick of trying to compete with internet sellers with no rent, rates or staff costs to cut into their margins - I'm all for a bargain but am getting tired of listening to bikers reel off a list of great deals they have done online, and then complain all of their local dealers have closed - the internet is a wonderful thing, but it wont ever be able to pick up a spanner and service, repair or MOT your bike! - you may pay a little more for things at your local dealers, but its nice to mooch around and have a brew and a browse, & check out the bikes and the kit.
Posted: 26/02/2011 at 20:16
Fair point TC. Shows are a great place to try stuff on, that's what I meant but didn't illustrate that point very well - or at all. I doff my cap in your direction.
But a dealer - any dealer - without a good e-commerce website in 2011? It's a recipe for disaster, surely?
Posted: 27/02/2011 at 09:47
Posted: 05/03/2011 at 13:49
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