Often the question asked when it comes time to buy a new lid.
I grew up in a country where helmets were mandatory (as they are in California), and wouldn’t dream of riding without wearing one. I currently have a 3/4 helmet, a couple of full face helmets (getting old) and have had, in the past, a modular (flip up style) helmet. I always buy safety certified (DOT/Snell), but not always the most expensive kind (expensive doesn’t necessarily mean safer).
Ask anyone who knows and cares about quality safety gear, which is their favorite helmet manufacturer, chances are they’re going to say either Shoei or Arai – both great helmets, both (at least in the full face graphic version) generally pretty pricey. Luckily there’s a ‘fashion’ statement to the designs, and style which means, unless you’ve gotta have the newest model, you can often find deals on the web for closeouts of certain models. Case in point, Shoei just came out with their new X-12 helmet. However, the X-11 is still an excellent model (provided it fits your head shape). Is the X-12 really THAT much better than the X-11? If, like me, you don’t really think so, then good deals can be found on the ‘older’ x-11 models. Also, Arai just came out with their new RX-Q. Better than the ‘Profile’ model that fits my head shape?
My point here is that I’m not one for spending top dollar for a helmet, although I do care that it has the appropriate safety ratings. But when it comes time to shop – albeit for a helmet or anything else – I like to shop for deals/bargains. I’ve been properly fitted for Shoei’s and Arai’s at vendor booths, and while I like their style, quality and looks, I just struggled with forking over $800 for one (I think I see helmets in the same class as good sunglasses – seems I’m prone to break/loose a good pair of expensive sunglass and fear the same of an expensive helmet).
So my bargain hunting paid off in the past when I scored a great deal on this Shoei X-Eleven Kagayama 2 TC-5 - in the colour and style that I really liked/wanted. It’s a great looking helmet (better in person) that fits me really well and I managed to buy it new, for approx 60% of retail value.
That’s a Shoei in my kit, now I just need (want) the elusive Arai – and here it is. It’s a (Hiroshi) Aoyama racer replica. Not necessarily the colour/graphic style I would have picked, but it’s growing on me (and the deal was too good to pass up).
And here is Hiroshi Aoyama aboard a 250cc KTM in the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix. Aoyama made his MotoGP debut this year Emmi Caffé Latte Team Honda aboard a RC212V. And as you can probably guess, a new Aoyama Race Replica has been released in recognition of the ride - one which I wouldn’t mind buying when the dust settles and the price drops
Tags: Arai, Bargain, Bargains, C2, Case In Point, Closeouts, Fashion Statement, Full Face Helmets, Good Deals, Head Shape, Helmet, Helmet Manufacturer, Hunting, K2, Quality Safety, Safety Gear, Safety Ratings, Shoei, Snell, Sunglass, Sunglasses, Tc, Top Dollar, Vendor Booths