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Open face Vs Full Face Helmets, Noise, Safety?


Softtail

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I have a 2008 K1200GT with a V-Stream windsheild. I wear a Shoei Microtech, have two other full face helments, both Shoei and I find the wind noise nearly intolerable with all of them. I recently read a post about noise and helments. Several relpies indicated that open face helmets were quiter than full face units. I have a 1991 FXFTC, which of course requires a different helmet, has to be black. I settled on a full coverage, open face, Fulmer helmet. It cost $40.00. It is by far the most comfortable helmet I own. After reading the helmet post, I put on the $40.00 helment and and went for a ride on the GT. The reduction in perceived wind noise was significant, so much so that I may switch to an open face helment, maybe a better one? The only real problem is eye protection. A sheild would probably make the helmet noiser. That leaves goggles. I wear glasses. I have yet to find a pair of goggles that you can wear over glasses, that doesn't scratch when you look at them. Are there any that have both good optics and durability? <<<>>>>

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Think hard before riding with a less-than-full coverage helmet. There's a reason crashes are sometimes referred to a "face plants."

 

The answer to the noise problem has two parts: 1) Get a helmet that fits well, 2) Wear ear plugs.

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Take a look at what Panoptx has to offer. I have some prescription Panoptx that are photo sensitive too so they double as sunglasses. They also have a removable eyecup that seals out the air. Great glasses but expensive. On both of my RTs (1150 and 1200) I solved the noise problem with my Schuberth by getting a Cee Bailey wind screen that was higher. On my GSA, I solved it with the Laminar Lip. I don't need ear plugs at all.

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It's really great that there is

good amount advocacy or Full Face lids but you gotta let kids be kids.

 

Smoking, drinking, casual drug use, promiscuous sex and open face helmets are all part of growing up.

 

:Cool::wave:

 

 

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Two full face stories:

 

1. I hit a deer last October. The chinbar of my helmet had substantial abrasion. My chin did not.

 

2. A truck passing in the other direction kicked up a stone, which struck the chinbar of his full face helmet, going through the outer shell, and embedding itself in the inner foam.

 

With an open face helmet, either of these situations would have led to substantial and extended medical treatments.

 

As others have observed, foam ear plugs solve the noise problem (for any style helmet). For me, a flip-up helmet (with steel latch system) is a reasonable tradeoff between convenience and protection.

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I have a 2008 K1200GT with a V-Stream windsheild. I wear a Shoei Microtech, have two other full face helments, both Shoei and I find the wind noise nearly intolerable with all of them. I recently read a post about noise and helments. Several relpies indicated that open face helmets were quiter than full face units. I have a 1991 FXFTC, which of course requires a different helmet, has to be black. I settled on a full coverage, open face, Fulmer helmet. It cost $40.00. It is by far the most comfortable helmet I own. After reading the helmet post, I put on the $40.00 helment and and went for a ride on the GT. The reduction in perceived wind noise was significant, so much so that I may switch to an open face helment, maybe a better one? The only real problem is eye protection. A sheild would probably make the helmet noiser. That leaves goggles. I wear glasses. I have yet to find a pair of goggles that you can wear over glasses, that doesn't scratch when you look at them. Are there any that have both good optics and durability? <<<>>>>

 

 

 

Softtail, helmet noise can come from a lot of places, on my full coverage helmets most wind noise comes up from under the helmet bottom at the neck sealing area.. On my ¾ helmets the wind noise seems to come from face to helmet sealing area,, on my ½ helmets the noise comes from the wind rushing by my lower face & the helmet itself..

 

On my RT-- my Seer ½ cop helmet is the quietest of all my helmets at medium road speeds as long as I am wearing good ear plugs but I do get some helmet buffeting at 70mph & up with severe buffeting at 110 mph up.. Don’t get that irritating wind rush though..

 

You might try using a ski head band to stuff up under the neck area of your full face helmet to see if that quiets it down some.. Or just use your arm elbow area held up & around your helmet to see if you can effect the wind noise (that is how I determined that my noise was coming from the neck area of my full face helmet)

 

Try different helmets to see what you like about one over the other.. Some fit certain head shapes better than others & some types move the wind rush to a place that is less offensive..

 

My personal helmet of choice is the Seer cop ½ helmet as it allows excellent sight & peripheral vision, decent medium speed air management.. It’s one main down side is it’s weight (It isn’t light).. I do wear goggles with all my open front helmets (don’t wear glasses so can’t help you there).. Is it as safe as a full face helmet? Probably not.. Is a motorcycle as safe as a car? Probably not.. Is riding at 130 mph as safe as riding at 40 mph? probably not.. Is riding totally safe on a day like today here in Michigan 20°f with snow/ice on the road? Probably not (BTW I wore a full face today)..

 

I think if you want to pay the price you can get prescription goggles that will replace your glasses (maybe your vision insurance will cover some of it).. Mine covers part of my riding sun glasses..

 

Twisty

 

 

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Think hard before riding with a less-than-full coverage helmet. There's a reason crashes are sometimes referred to a "face plants."

 

+1 on that! Two years ago, I went down after colliding with a deer at about 55mph while wearing a full face helmet. I went down on my side and rolled once after contacting the pavement. Afterwards, my helmet had a large scrape from the left side around to the center of the chin area. Witout the full face helmet, I probably would have needed skin grafts on my face.

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I've had two major incidents involving cars and mountain roads. I've gone down on my face both times. The first time I was wearing an Arai full face and the front was nearly ground away.

The second, I went chin first into the tarmac in a BMW full face.

 

Both times, my top quality helmets saved my film star looks.

 

I would NEVER ride with an open face helmet these days.

 

Linz :)

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Nice n Easy Rider

I wear an Arai full face helmet but I keep the face shield open about 1-1 1/2 inches otherwise it fogs up (too much hot air I guess). I think the angle of the open face shield is such that a face plant would close it or at least it would still be protective. Any reason that anyone can think of why I shouldn't continue this practice?

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I wear an Arai full face helmet but I keep the face shield open about 1-1 1/2 inches otherwise it fogs up (too much hot air I guess). I think the angle of the open face shield is such that a face plant would close it or at least it would still be protective. Any reason that anyone can think of why I shouldn't continue this practice?

 

Since you brought it up, I wonder about just leaving the shield off entirely and wearing googles instead. I have done that in very hot conditions and figured I was better off that way than wearing an open face type helmet.

 

I am also guilty of wearing my open face HJC AC-3 in the very hot summers where I live near Memphis, TN. Once the temperature goes past 85° and the humidity around 60% wearing a FF helmet with the shield down is just too uncomfortable and borders on being too much of a distraction.

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I have not had any potential life-threatening/facial disfiguring experiences, but I always wear a full-face helmet because my face shield has been hit by pebbles, bugs of all shapes and sizes, grit, sand and even manure which fell out of a stock trailer in front of me. (Coated the entire front of the bike and my helmet.) Ear plugs are a must.

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Lets_Play_Two
Take a look at what Panoptx has to offer. I have some prescription Panoptx that are photo sensitive too so they double as sunglasses. They also have a removable eyecup that seals out the air. Great glasses but expensive. On both of my RTs (1150 and 1200) I solved the noise problem with my Schuberth by getting a Cee Bailey wind screen that was higher. On my GSA, I solved it with the Laminar Lip. I don't need ear plugs at all.

 

I second the Panoptx comment, I have two prescription pair. I also use a taller Cee Bailey on my GT and have very little noise issue with the Schuberth helmet.

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That is an eye opener for sure. Full face is the only way to go.....period. There are many quiet helmets out there. Just ask around and do some research.

 

I once cared for a HD rider who was a nurse. Knew better to go out w/o a helmet but did so anyway. The encounter with a cage left him in ICU with severe brain damage. Not a good thing. Sad situation, very sad.

 

 

 

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I wore a 3/4 Bell for years on my Road Glides, until I bought the RT. I found I had to run the windshield up almost all the way to keep wind out of my face with the Bell on, and at slower speeds the slope of the shield seemed to force the wind into my face; very annoying. Ran down to Cycle Gear and bought a KBC full face which solved my wind problem.

 

I high sided my work bike (due to a patch of oil on the road I overlooked) about a year ago, and smacked the back of my noggin on the asphalt wearing the company issued Seer 1/2 helmet, and walked away with a sore hip and a severely bruised ego...

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Anything short of a 'barn door' windshield really mucks up all of the engineering effort that goes in to trying to keep helmet noise levels down... it's almost impossible to design a helmet that will be quiet in the disturbed airflow created by most sport and sport-touring windshields. As has been mentioned earplugs are the answer, really the only answer because even with a quieter helmet noise levels on a motorcycle are well above safe limits for extended period of time.

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I do not worry about Helmet noise. There is no Helmet quiet enough to protect your hearing, at 60mph and above.

YOU NEED EAR PROTECTION for that. I wear custom ear plugs.

I worry about Helmet ventilation, since I ride in warm temperatures allot. I can compensate for cold (bachala and such), I cannot compensate for hot.

I like the flip up helmets because they do have more ventillation due to less tight fit, and the ease of getting into and out, and using at gas station. They may be less sound in a specific type of hit, but I have not seen any great body of evidence that they are. They are worlds better than open face.

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The Shoei RF-1000 full-face helmet is noted for being quiet. Here's a review:

 

http://www.webbikeworld.com/r2/shoei/rf-1000/

 

excerpt:

 

this is one of the quietest helmets we've tried. In general, helmet noise usually comes in two flavors: a higher frequency "whistling" noise usually emanates from the top of a helmet, caused by poor aerodynamics, vents or wings.

 

Lower frequency "booming" noises are usually caused by turbulence around the bottom of the helmet where it meets the neck. These low-frequency noises can be greatly increased by various types of buffeting caused by motorcycle windscreens and fairings.

 

The RF-1000's external shape keeps the higher frequency noises at a minimum, and a nice touch is the two wide flaps on either side of the neck, covering the chin straps, which help prevent any lower frequency noise from intruding. There is an increase in the higher frequency noise levels when the top vents are open, but overall noise levels are low.

 

Remember that we always wear properly inserted earplugs with every helmet on every ride, and we recommend that you do the same. Helmet noise can be greatly decreased when wearing earplug

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I settled on a full coverage, open face, Fulmer helmet. It cost $40.00.

 

I threw a Fulmer helmet away.

 

Most helmets with DOT stickers aren't tested by anyone other than the mfg. I owned a Fulmer model that happened to get a spot check by the DOT, and it failed the penetration test. Rather than recalling all the helmets right away, which would have been the ethical thing for the business to do, they petitioned and stalled, and finally did the recall after a long time passed and their stalling tactics failed.

 

Never again a Fulmer helmet for me. Although if somebody can't afford anything else I'm sure it's much better than nothing.

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too old to care

In 1988 a city bus ran a red light and turned left in front of me. I had on a Bell Magnum open face helmet.

 

Jaw broken in 7 places, 4 front teeth knocked out, over 70 stitches to sew my jaw and throat up. I still have no feeling in my upper lip due it almost being bit off, and I now wear a 4-tooth bridge in front, I have most of my voice back, but I still cannot pronounce words with S’s in them.

 

No more open face helmets for me.

 

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I work at a trauma center and still convince myself to get on a motorcycle on a semi-regular basis. There is no way in h3ll I would ride (street) in an open face. I have just seen too much damage with open face helmeted riders to be personally comfortable with that helmet option.

 

chris

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A full face helmet with the chin strap properly secured is the only way I will ride.

Some years back I took a spill, and while road surfing the helmet was pulled up and the road took the skin off right under my chin!

A few stitches fixed me up. The helmet was trashed, so was the bike. Nothing money couldn't fix.

I wear custom molded earplugs that have tiny tubes connected to speakers. And a full face helmet with the chin strap secured just right.

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I wear an Arai full face helmet but I keep the face shield open about 1-1 1/2 inches otherwise it fogs up (too much hot air I guess). I think the angle of the open face shield is such that a face plant would close it or at least it would still be protective. Any reason that anyone can think of why I shouldn't continue this practice?

 

Since you brought it up, I wonder about just leaving the shield off entirely and wearing googles instead. I have done that in very hot conditions and figured I was better off that way than wearing an open face type helmet.

 

I do while riding my Road King. I just wear cheep wrap around safety glasses, not goggles. You can get them in bifocal these days.

I took the lexan off and laid on the floor face down and it looks like the tip of my nose might be shortened a bit by a very bad face plant.

I just took my first ride on my K75 and could not believe how much wind noise there is on that bike! You people put up with that? Let me tell you, it's not the helmets, it's the bike! Get off your high horse and borrow a friend's Harley and hear for yourself.

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Ok, I get it? If you don't want to loose part of your head, a full face helmet is the only way to go. As for ear plugs, I hate them!! I have tried about fifty different brands, from rubber to beeswax and none are comfortable to wear. They feel like somebody elses fingers in my ears. One reply mentioned custom ear plugs. Where do you get those? Oh well, I have to go and see an ENT Dr. and an Audiologist tomorrow, as my wife believes I am going deaf. Do you take your hearing aids out and put ear plugs in when you ride?? <<<<>>>>>

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Softtail, the cheapest place I found to get custom earplugs is at a gun show. For whatever reason, m/c show booths charge more for the same product. Your audiologist probably provides the service as well.

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For excellent eye protection go to:

 

http://www.wileyx.com/index.aspx

 

Great products that I use for cycling and general use as well. You can order online (also available in some optical stores) and most models are available in prescription as well as non-prescription. You just give them your Rx numbers and the phone no. of your optometrist and they will make prescription goggles, glasses etc. I have both prescription versions and non-prescription that I use with contact lenses. Good stuff, good cust. svc. *No affiliation*

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........................I have to go and see an ENT Dr. and an Audiologist tomorrow, as my wife believes I am going deaf. Do you take your hearing aids out and put ear plugs in when you ride?? <<<<>>>>>

 

Ask your audiologist about making custom ear plugs......Might cost a bit but will be worth it.....From what I hear ( :grin:), riding without noise protection will eventually lower your audio perception...Obvious,I think...I went to an audiologist and now have a set of Sony cordless/Sansfil wireless headphones from Sears to listen to TV with...They're great and the 1150RT rider, Beemer Babe, is happier..

Also, I believe that the cost of a helmet should not enter into a decision of which one to buy....Protection and fit, or fit and protection, are #1 and #2 priority IMHO.......

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I have custom ear plugs (EarMold) which I bought at the Sydney motorcycle show in November last year. For me, I made a mistake in getting the audio model. I love the quiet and being able to plug in my iPod and listen to tunes, but the leads bang against the inside of my helmet and drive me nuts.

 

Motorcycle show on again this weekend, gonna get me a set of regular ones.

 

As an aside, the freshness I feel after a 7 hour ride to visit my parents with the custom ear plugs is astounding compared to ear plug free riding. No comparison.

 

Linz

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Ok, I get it? If you don't want to loose part of your head, a full face helmet is the only way to go. As for ear plugs, I hate them!! I have tried about fifty different brands, from rubber to beeswax and none are comfortable to wear. They feel like somebody elses fingers in my ears. One reply mentioned custom ear plugs. Where do you get those? Oh well, I have to go and see an ENT Dr. and an Audiologist tomorrow, as my wife believes I am going deaf. Do you take your hearing aids out and put ear plugs in when you ride?? <<<<>>>>>

 

Try this guy, he may send you in the right direction scornk@protectear.com Ask him about the audio system.

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I got mine at a Motorcycle Rally, hardly a decent size rally that doesn't have at least one custom ear plug vendor.

 

You can also go to audiologist and have impressions made of your ears, and then send off for the finished custom plugs.

Like this place

http://earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net/jbcuearpl.html?gclid=CKqkiMfjgpcCFRhhnAod7gT2Xw

 

They really do make a difference, very comfortable because the helmet sides do not press against them, they are indented from the outside of ear.

 

 

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