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Retro styled helmets

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Now that I ride a cool bike - Bonneville T120 - I need a tasty looking helmet to complete the look. I've currently got an HJC IS-17 which is a superb helmet and I only paid £50 in a sale, but it doesn't look cool.

I like the Bell Bullitt but I tried some on at the weekend and they just didn't fit right. And.....they're £350 which is a bit rich for my pocket.

I also liked the AGV X3000 but that was the exact same problems - fit and price.

The Biltwell Gringo S is cheap and looks OK, but I think the viewport is too small and I've heard the quality is lacking. I do want a safe head at the end of the day, so will pay more to get the right thing.

What brands and models should I look for? I'll gladly travel, or buy online to try and return it if I have to.

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I found exactly the same thing with regard to the Bullitt - shame, because it's cooler than a cool thing.

I was looking for something retro to go with a Bonnie too, and in the end made a decision based on my own assessment of risk. I got an AGV X70 (open face) for poodling about, and a good modern full face (Arai Axces 3) for longer/faster rides. I'm aware that open face divides opinion, but we all have to make our own decisions, and as long as those decisions are informed then that's fine.

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Have a run over to J&S in Finedon, near Wellingborough. .....they've got a pretty extensive stock of helmets you could try...... 8-)


I will at some point. I've been a couple of times but wasn't looking for retro helmets specifically, so perhaps they will have something ideal.

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....Or even the good old....TURBO!!!




Of course, this was in the days when the word "Turbo" was rightly regarded with suspicion. Wearers of the above contraptions were often found on the end of train platforms, usually accompanied by companions sporting the aforementioned Bell "Fiddler".




Yes...what could possibly go wrong, especially when doing your life-savers? But there again, i suppose the biggest boost to motorcycle safety provided by this bit of gear was down to looking such a prat you wouldn't show your face on a motorcycle anyway.

They may well have been "tested by experts" but the manufacturers are strangely silent on what the "experts" actually thought.......

Happy days.

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I don't like the look of the Turdo, - oops.

At the end of the day a helmet is a compromise but it has to fit right. in many ways a helmet is like a pair of shoes for a lady. some ladies buy shoes that don't fit well but look good and they are prepared to put up with shoes that damage their feet or are almost unwearable because of discomfort.

Buying on the internet means you have no idea if the helmet even fits or has some issues that make it a poor purchase.

I have an open face helmet and to be honest they are a poor excuse for a helmet compared to a full face. The problems are comfort and safety. I find open face helmets have to be strapped on so tight to stop them lifting due to wind that they cease to be a pleasure to wear.

If you own a Harley or a brit bike and want to look dangerous on your way to the pub for your monthly "Village People bikers" get together then get an open face, if you want the best bang for your buck get a full face.

If you ride at the kind of speeds that riders were riding at during the 1950's when they wore open face helmets you don't have a problem but when you ride at more reasonable speeds then they are just a pain. I stopped carrying an open face for pillions because nobody likes them they all want a full face. Full face helmets are just better.

Open face helmets lift, they are noisy, they are cold and they don't give full protection, your nose chin and throat are exposed to whatever chooses to remodel your face in an accident. Below 50 mph they are passable but the faster you go the more problems they cause and for what, to look good on a classic bike?

All weather riding and by that I mean real riding, demands a full face. Open face helmets are for posing like granddad when it was a big thing to be a ton up teddy boy. Riders hardly ever saw 100 mph or anything like it, so open face helmets did not have to perform well at what are normal speeds today. Hell I have ridden at speeds that riders of open face helmets in the 60's never dreamed of.

If the riders in the 1950s had the comfortable safe warm and dry full face helmets of today they would not have entertained the shoddy open face.

I ride in any conditions the planet can throw at me and in my experience in the real world the worst full face is better than any open face will ever be.

I don't care if other road users think I don't look traditional enough in my full face they only see me from the rear as I disappear anyway.

If you live on break bollock mountain in Kentucky with a 3 day walk to get to the general store then internet helmet buying makes sense. When you are 30 minutes from J&S, internet buying makes no sense at all.

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[mention]griptwister[/mention] mate, you typed an awful lot there about open Face helmets but you'll notice if you read my initial post and my replies that I have only suggested full Face helmets, and currently use a full Face helmet too.

You'll also note that I don't want to compromise comfort or safety just for the look.

That said, I would like to find something that does its job well and looks better than my current helmet.

I agree that trying a helmet on is the only way to be sure if it's a good choice. I went to the MCN Ally Pally show and looked at hundreds of helmets but the ones I liked didn't fit.

J&S and my local retailers might not have anything for me either.

Internet shopping is a decent compromise. The law allows us to return items that don't fit, or even just because we don't like them. So it isn't as foolish as you make out. If I need a helmet quickly, then it wouldn't be the right way to go about it. But as I am in no rush I can afford to wait for deliveries and send a few back until I find the one.

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[mention]griptwister[/mention] I do think a lot of points you make above are absolutely spot on. That said, and as on older biker who's more interested in old-style cruising than any kind of racing, I'd just like to make a couple of points...

Firstly, whether we admit it or not, biking is in part a lifestyle choice. Once we accept that, then it's inevitable that we're going to be swayed - even subconsciously - by the image we wish to portray, and by the way we see ourselves. I wouldn't dream of wearing full racing leathers on my Street Twin, in the same way that I wouldn't expect anyone on a fully-faired superbike to be wearing an Oxford Hardy (or some other retro-styled) jacket. However, within that context sensible and informed decisions can still be made.

Helmets are a good example of this. I have two - an AGV open face that I use for poodling around on short or slow-speed journeys, and an Arai full face for longer or faster trips. When it's appropiate to do so I always opt for the AGV - not just because it fits my bike and riding style, but because visibility in it is far better and that in itself is a safety aid. I know the risk profile of each helmet, and my decisions are informed (and to my mind, sensible).

By the way, the issue about helmet fitting is well-made. I tried on about a dozen helmets before choosing mine. I found that Shoei and Davida - my preferred choices for full and open face respectively - weren't comfortable at all, and had I bought them online I'd have been well and truly stuffed.

Edited by learningtofly
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All that matters with a helmet is safety and fitment.

Nah I'm just kidding pony up for the bullit - it looks wicked and you'll appreciate it more because its expensive.


It didn't fit my head :cry:

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