First gear: Choosing your helmet
Even before you are going to buy the scooter, there are things you’ll need to get. In order to get your scooter home from the dealer or other spot you’ve bought it from, you will need some protective gear and a helmet. We will start with the helmet and try to shed some light on the available choices.
One important thing to be said upfront: We’re not considering scooter helmets as a valid choice, only motorcycle helmets. Reason for that being that scooter helmets were built for lower speeds than you drive your Metropolis.
One of the important things, if not THE most important – is choosing the right helmet. There are plenty of websites explaining the ways to choose the right helmet, how to measure your head and so on. But we haven’t found a comprehensive explanation into what differences there are between brands, materials and such. So here we go:
Besides different types of helmets (see here for example) there are many factors you should take into consideration, other than type, looks and price.
Shells are usually made of either polycarbonate (cheaper, but heavier) or fiberglass/kevlar (more expensive, but lighter).
Weight of a helmet can be something from 1kg in to 2+kg, which makes a huge difference in your neck while riding. Especially while riding at high speeds with small windscreen.
Besides weight and comfort fiberglass helmets will last you 2 times longer than polycarbonate ones.
All CE (for Europe) or DOT (for US) certified helmets will save your brains from hitting the street in case of a fall. But there are helmets for 50 euro and helmets for 500 euro. What’s the deal?
Well, it’s all in the details. A more expensive helmet from a better brand will have
- better sound isolation: big issue if you’re riding on freeways with RS windscreen
- better inside materials: those are in constant contact with your face and your head
- better construction: easy visor removal for cleaning, better ventilation, ventilation hatches and switches will last longer, there would be less cracking or squeeking.
Top-level brands: Best sound isolation, most comfy fit, mostly carbon or fiberglass
Schuberth – known for best sound isolation in industry.
Midium range: well built, range from inexpensive to preimium depending on the features
Again: Low-end helmets are just fine and will protect you as well (check protection level here). But there you have more chances of anything breaking off or not working properly. So buy according to budget.
One new word you’ll learn. It’s an extra visor which fits inside your original visor to prevent it from fogging up from your breath and temperature differences between outside air and your head. Some brands provide Pinlock lenses free with their (more expensive) helmets, for some you’d have to buy them separately (helmet’s called ‘Pinlock ready’), but some visors are totally incompatible.
Pinlock is useful for those with full face or modular helmets, who ride in colder environments, totally useless in the summer, but very valuable in the spring/autumn.
If you’re new to the whole scooter riding stuff – sound isolation is something you should definitely think more about. If you are going to ride in the city – it is not that important, nice jethelm will suit you just as well.
But at speeds above 100km/h on freeways, windnoise is your number 1 problem. Especially with small RS windshield.
Colors and prints
Plain colors are cheaper. Neat finish is slightly more expensive. Technically they are absolutely identical.
Nice print? Add some more to the price. Easy as that.
Not the least important – will your new helmet fir inside the rear trunk of your Metropolis? If your Metropolis is built after 2015 – you probably have a bigger trunk and almost any helmet will fit inside. But if you’re 2013-2014 model, you must be careful, as the size of the rear trunk is much more limited. On that page we are trying to sum up the helmets, that fit in different models.
Helmet type: Jet or open face helmets (or anything else with huge visor) offer the best view and immersion you can get. If you live in a warm country (Italy or Spain for example) and riding around 80km/h max (big city commuting) – open face helmet would be my number one choice.
Less warm countries (like me in the Netherlands) or all-season riding in UK – I’d go for either full-face or modular. Full-face are lighter (in general), but less versatile.
There are some helmets, that offer you a choice to ride either as jet or full face (Shark Evo/Evoline helmets for example). Bear in mind that the visor of those helmets is still more limited than the ones in open face models.
Sound isolation: If you’re tall (I’m 1,85m) and ride with small RS windshield on highways – get the best sound isolation you can find for your budget. Even with good (active) sound-canceling in-ear headphones – wind noise would drive me nuts after an hour of riding on highway.
Other option would be replacing the windshield with higher one – it’s a world of a difference.
For the first time I’m actually hearing the exhaust and it’s pretty quiet in the helmet. I even think it could be comfortable to ride with a jet helm behind a high windshield, instead of full-face, as long as the shield is deflecting enough wind.
Good place to start: First, find a big store where you can try to fit some helmets. For example, initially I liked Shark a lot, but the form of my head is totally incompatible with the general form of their shell. Same goes for Nolan – fine helmets, but they won’t fit on my head. 🙂
After trying few brands your list of desirable helmets will shrink to only a few. The choice will be easier from there.
Then find a few websites that offer unmoderated (!) user reviews on helmets (like fc-moto.de) and read those carefully. Revzilla is fine for praising anything into details, but they’d praise exactly that – anything. So don’t believe everything you hear from a sales guy.
When you’ve made up your mind – go get your helmet! Good luck!
If you have any questions or critics – please comment.