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Discussion Starter #1
As an inexperienced rider, I've been debating an issue for quite some time and would like some input from more experienced riders...

I bought a BV350 scooter thirteen months ago and began a highway commute. I've really had nothing else for comparison, because it was my first real ride that was capable of highway speeds, but even so, I soon noticed a couple of things: one positive and one negative:

First; the positive: I was able to ride in reasonable comfort in many more situations and conditions than I had expected prior to beginning this endeavor based on the research that I had done prior to becoming a rider. I could ride in drizzling rain--no problem at all; and I could ride in very hot, and I could stand the cold weather down to the upper 20s though it was pretty rough on my hands and fingers last winter. I did not, however, try any of the hand-warming solutions other than finding the best, non-heated, winter gloves I could find, so I think I could get heated grips and/or heated gloves and ride down to the upper 20s in reasonable comfort. I also rode in windy conditions, which barely affected handling though it did increase the noise level, which brings me to the negative...

Of course I have no other ride for comparison and have very few experiences with riding gear, but I soon learned after beginning my commute that with the stock screen and my $78 Vega helmet with no hearing protection that the noise level made the ride uncomfortable during the part of my commute which included eight miles at 65 mph, in a westerly direction during the afternoon. During this stretch, the noise level and the aggravation from the gustyness of this section of the ride makes it somewhat unpleasant. I had a second option to this part of the route of taking an older, one-lane highway that I called the low road. Taking the low road solved the noise problem, but then that put me in a more urban traffic situation for an extra mile or so, and it increased the travel time by about five minutes and increased the mileage each day by about 1/2 mile one way.

The solution: I bought, cut down, and installed a bigger, winter screen. This solved the noise problem and had the added benefit of then being able to better hear the engine, but I noticed two negatives of the bigger screen: (1)During rain or fog, the screen kept the wind from doing its job of keeping my face shield clear. In order to clear my face shield with the big screen, I had to sit up on the edge of the pillion seat and hold my head downward. Before the screen, I could simply tilt my head down, and the wind would do a fabulous job of keeping everything clear where I could see in almost all situations; (2) It seemed to hurt the performance of the scooter somewhat and fuel economy by about 2 mpg.

So after my long explanation of my dilemma, here is my question and something I've been studying on. If I could find and buy a better quality helmet that is much quieter than my Vega, could this take the place of a bigger wind screen in so far as quietening down the wind, and also allow for the wind to do its job on the face shield?

What I've ran in to trying to find a solution are these:
There seems to be no consensus on how quiet any helmet is. One consumer will review it and state it is the loudest helmet they've ever owned and a second consumer will state it is the quietest. I assume this has to do with how each helmet fits each rider around the face and also based on each rider's prior experiences with wind noise. This situation doesn't make it easy for me. I would hate to spend $300 + on a better quality helmet only to find that it is just as loud on my head as my cheap Vega.

It seems like that, in a lot of cases, a more expensive helmet is more about fancy features than it is more protection and/or providing a quieter ride. I don't need features; just a comfortable fit and ride and good protection.

I simply cannot wear ear plugs. I have problems with my eustachian tubes that create problems in my middle ears when I do not take steps to prevent problems. The problem is most pronounced in my right ear where I've had three surgeries and have lost over half my hearing, but also, my left eustachian tube doesn't work perfectly. Wearing ear plugs, along with other activities, i.e. letting my ear canals get wet, aggravates the problem and would probably lead to further middle ear surgeries.

My latest research and budget has lead me to the possibility of purchasing a Shoei Quest that retails for around $330 and maybe try out just using this better-quality helmet and a stock windshield for year-around, all-weather riding.

Everyone is welcome to share his or her thoughts and experiences with me including some other possible solutions besides ear plugs that I could try for hearing protection.
 

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hi, gregsfc, always enjoy your thorough posts

i bought one of these when i got my shadow: FG-17 X-Fuera

i'm pretty happy with it. also bought a windshield with the bike but it was out of stock on buy day so they installed it a couple of weeks later.

accordingly, i had some time to ride the shadow open face and i enjoyed that, for sure.

nonetheless, i would not go back to the windshield-less state, it's a big improvement for me.

i hope this helps. shadowman

 

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Wow. Ok.

Since you already have hearing problems and can't wear ear plugs I agree that if I were you I'd want to do something as soon as possible there.

I ride an Ultra Classic and haven't worn a full face in a long time, but I am looking into them because I have a feeling my wife might be needing one when her CTX700 shows up. I have worn them in the past though.

It seems there is a direct correlation between price and "quietness." A lot of this stems from the fact that manufacturers do wind tunnel testing for their better models; while the manufacturers of cheap helmets do not. That's #1.

I also think that the wind itself makes a difference. I feel like full faces are designed to be "out in the wind" behind a very minimal (or no) windscreen (think sport bike). The wind tunnel testing could only be repeatable if the airflow across the helmet is the same. Now if you put yourself behind some degree of bigger windshield, everything changes. You've probably got some degree of turbulence where you're sitting. Now you have so many variables the experience will be different for everyone/every bike. With the variable turbulence the air will be hitting the helmet in all sorts of different ways, with all sorts of different results. I think full faces are designed for "clean" air.

Most experienced riders have many, many helmets. This comes from buying and not necessarily liking. My advice would be to continue what you're doing (research, like I am), try to figure it out (tough without actually using the helmet), buy the best helmet you can afford, and hope you get lucky. I've had a Shoei before and what I remember about that helmet was that the padding was super tight.

For warmth, I have a heated jacket liner (not vest, arms too) and heated gloves. Wife does also as she rides on the back a lot. I would highly recommend the gloves vs. the grips. Primarily because when you get rid of the bike you keep the gloves for the next bike. When I first used them I thought to myself, "I should've got this heated stuff years ago!" Expensive, but worth it in my opinion; and for you, as a commuter, priceless. Be careful with the electrical draw.

I think they make Rain-X type products for helmet shields.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies...

I too think the heated gloves would be better than grips for fighting this numbness problem, but my biggest issue with any thing that plugs in is that it would add to the time and aggravation that it takes to prepare for the commute, and especially in the winter time when one is already spending eight to ten minutes just to suit up, I'm just not sure if plugging in each day is something that I would want to deal with on a daily basis. I guess it all depends on how dedicated one is to riding daily. It may not be that bad once one got used to it, but either way, I agree that it seems to make more sense even though I've not tried either.

The reason I ask advice on the whole helmet and windscreen issue is that my budget is limited, and I know most of this stuff is trial by error to find out what suits each person, but I ask just to get others' thoughts and what experienced riders have learned and maybe I won't have to learn everything the hard way if I can draw on other people's trials and errors.

Thanks again for the feedback. Keep it coming. It really is helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i bought one of these when i got my shadow: FG-17 X-Fuera
Thanks Shawdowman.

I forgot to mention that I recently purchased a HJC open face helmet that came with a full, long face shield that was marked way down on clearance. Pretty simple and pretty cheap; no sunshield or anything. I think it was around $45. I've only worn it riding a couple of times, but I noticed that even though this clearanced HJC was very cheap, it fits around my face much tighter than the full-face Vega and is much quieter than the Vega with about only half the whistle soundthat came along when I added the taller screen. So I'm pretty impressed with the first an only HJC product that I've owned even though it's not a very expensive brand. I'll look into the FG-17 X-Fueral and other HJC models.
 

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You never get up in the morning and say..."I think I might crash today" You'd never ride if you did.
I came down on my face going to a winter rally wearing an open helmet. They were referred to then as "jet" helmets as they were reputedly similar to those worn by Sabre pilots during the Korean War, so therefore ultra-cool. They were so much more fashionable than the original "puddin' basin" helmets worn by the likes of Mike Hailwood.
The part over my forehead was ground away and I was saved by the several layers of clothing under the Belstaff keeping my nose an inch from the bitumen. To this day I can still see that pavement whizzing by. Never worn an open helmet since.
 

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They do make battery powered gloves but they have mixed reviews. I am still thinking of getting some as I have Raynaud's Syndrome and nerve damage that is exacerbated by the cold. As far as quiet helmets go I have heard that Schuthbert's CW series is fairly quiet also very expensive. Don't go cheap on a helmet. It can mean the difference between life & death.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
They do make battery powered gloves but they have mixed reviews. I am still thinking of getting some as I have Raynaud's Syndrome and nerve damage that is exacerbated by the cold. As far as quiet helmets go I have heard that Schuthbert's CW series is fairly quiet also very expensive. Don't go cheap on a helmet. It can mean the difference between life & death.
Thanks for the feedback Kfrill.

I thought a couple of times last year about trying one of the battery-powered sets of gloves first. The ones I saw were not too expensive, so it wouldn't be too big a loss if it didn't work out, and, if it did work out, it would sure simplify my daily ride over plugging in. But I ran out of budgeted money before I got around to fixing the cold-hands-and-fingers situation last winter.

As for the cheap helmet thoughts, is there truly a relationship between expensive helmets and protection beyond what a well-respected, mid-price helmet can offer. Someone told me that some of the cheapest helmets used today are much better than expensive ones purchased a couple of decades ago. Also, I find that some $300 + helmets are not even Snell approved, whereas a couple of mid-priced HJCs are Snell approved. And lastly, if I look at reviews @ webbikeworld.com, there doesn't seem to be a direct relationship between price and protection; at least as far as the reviewers can tell. I mean--I'm not saying that a top-of-the-line Arai will not protect better than a $49 fashion-intended, full-face helmet, but I am wandering if a $150 HJC that is both DOT and Snell approved wouldn't protect my head as well as a $500 Shoei in a face-sliding crash.
 

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I have a Scorpion EXO 400 full face helmet that was just under $300 and it is Snell approved. The higher end helmets might give you more hearing protection.
 

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I'm hearing good things about Scorpion Exo 1100. It's under $300 at most online places; however, I'm always hesitant to buy one on-line without trying it in store first. I've got a weird shaped head so most helmets don't fit me well...
 

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I agree on the Scorpion helmets running small. I'd been wearing a Shoei RF-1000 for the last six years, and after losing a lot of weight, I needed to get a smaller helmet. My head was rattling around in the Shoei large, but in the Scorpion 400, a large is almost too tight. You definitely want to try it on in person, before ordering one online.
 

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Running small is one thing, but some helmets are just designed with different shapes altogether - some are more narrow/elongated while others are more round. If you pick a helmet with the wrong shape for your individual head, even going up in size will not make it fit properly. So again, test fit is a must.
 

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The Scorpion did fit tight for a while but with wear it fits comfortable now and I got a second set of liners to keep one clean and washed. Just change it out every so often. I have a small head so the Scorpion works for me.
 

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Webbikeworld.com tries to tackle the tough job of not only describing the basic sizing of each model compared to average sizing, but also they review how they are shaped. Their scale is from narrow to neutral to round. They dedicate an entire section of their reviews to sizing and comfort.

Like has been stated, it's best to try them on, but in today's world, most bike shops don't have a whole lot to try on except for the cheapest models, because that's mostly what sells.
 

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I just picked up a Scorpion EXO-500 at the MotoGP this weekend. While I can attest that yes Scorpions are tight, I can also say that it is already getting less snug. The 500 is nice because it has almost all the features of the 1100 without the huge price tag ($200-$229). The noise level was acceptable, actually much quieter and sealed more air out than the HJC that it replaced.
 

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The 500 is nice because it has almost all the features of the 1100 without the huge price tag ($200-$229). The noise level was acceptable, actually much quieter and sealed more air out than the HJC that it replaced.
Based on user reviews on Revzilla, the main difference between the 500 and the 1100 is the noise level, actually. Alas, that's just user reviews and not scientific testing, so take it for what it's worth...
 

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Helmet experience and recommendation

I rode from San Diego to Pocatello and back last August on my Harley Fat Bob with a good windshield. My helmet was a 3/4 with a pivoting face shield. At 75 to 80 MPH along I-15 in Utah, I had problems with the face shield riding up when a double/triple trailer was ahead of me. I've replaced my helmet with full face "articulated" model that goes on like a 3/4, then pivots and locks the face shield. Much less wind noise. I've added a Sena SMH-10 radio so my wife and I can talk bike-to-bike at 900 meter separation (Bluetooth) as well as connect to cell for for calls/music. Good volume. 10 hours run time. Rechargeable with a cell phone charger. The cell phone rides in the tail bag on recharge from the battery. Harley calls the helmet style "modular". See Men's Modular Helmet with Shield | Modular | Official Harley-Davidson Online Store for an example. My wife purchased the same helmet as a non-Harley branded. The OEM version is the HJC IS-MAX BT HJC IS-MAX BT Bluetooth Helmet - RevZilla We are both very happy with the helmets including noise levels with the boom mike of the SENA radio pushed behind the chin bar to guard the mike from the wind. Don't bother with the Chatterbox radio designed to interface with this helmet. It is poorly made. Harley shops dropped the Chatterbox for the Sena radios.
 

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I've been riding with a Scorpion EXO-1100 for a few months now and love it. It's quiet and has some really nice features on it - like the number and positioning of the vents, as well as a lock function to crack the visor open for some air. The SpeedShift feature allows you to quickly change the visor (I keep a clear and dark smoke with me) - takes two seconds to switch between them. It also has a pump feature allowing for a custom fit of the cheeks.

It easily accommodated by comms system (Sena SMH10). Wires and speakers were in within about 10 minutes.

Check it out at Scorpion EXO-1100 Sixty-Six Neon Helmet - RevZilla. The guys a Revzilla are awesome. They make exchanges a snap. I ordered two sizes before I landed on a large and the fit is perfect. Comfortable for long rides.
 
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