Need Helmet to take MSF class for a melon head questions

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hy_tek
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Need Helmet to take MSF class for a melon head questions

#1 Unread post by hy_tek » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:02 pm

I am 57 years old and maybe I am going thru the change of life syndrome but I decided to try motorcycling. My wife thinks I am too old for this.

I signed up to take the MSF class in May. I need a full face helmet to take the class. I have several things to decide. First of all do I go whole hog and get a great helmet or just get one good enough to get by for now.

My fear is if I decide not to continue in cycling I will be stuck with an expensive useless helmet. Do I really need an expensive helmet for the class since the speeds will be nominal?

The other thing is I must have a melon head. I tried on the HJC CL-15 full face helmet in XXL and the cheeks were really uncomfortable in the XXL size so I suppose I need to try the 3XL size for comparison. Only problem is the dealers don't sell many that big so they don't keep them in stock. What do I do?

I tried the HJC CL-33 3/4 style helmet with full face shield and it seemed to fit fine in an XXL. Does this mean I have a type-O melon head?....lol I was leaning towards a full face helmet for safety and especially since I am brand new at this. Would the 3/4 helmet be adequate?

I also need gloves and boots for the class. For now I just want enough stuff to get me thru this class without spending a bundle until I decide if riding is for me. Any suggestions would be welcome on how to tool up for this class.

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Re: Need Helmet to take MSF class for a melon head questions

#2 Unread post by jonnythan » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:09 pm

hy_tek wrote:I am 57 years old and maybe I am going thru the change of life syndrome but I decided to try motorcycling. My wife thinks I am too old for this.

I signed up to take the MSF class in May. I need a full face helmet to take the class. I have several things to decide. First of all do I go whole hog and get a great helmet or just get one good enough to get by for now.

My fear is if I decide not to continue in cycling I will be stuck with an expensive useless helmet. Do I really need an expensive helmet for the class since the speeds will be nominal?

The other thing is I must have a melon head. I tried on the HJC CL-15 full face helmet in XXL and the cheeks were really uncomfortable in the XXL size so I suppose I need to try the 3XL size for comparison. Only problem is the dealers don't sell many that big so they don't keep them in stock. What do I do?

I tried the HJC CL-33 3/4 style helmet with full face shield and it seemed to fit fine in an XXL. Does this mean I have a type-O melon head?....lol I was leaning towards a full face helmet for safety and especially since I am brand new at this. Would the 3/4 helmet be adequate?

I also need gloves and boots for the class. For now I just want enough stuff to get me thru this class without spending a bundle until I decide if riding is for me. Any suggestions would be welcome on how to tool up for this class.
Go to the local motorcycle store and find a helmet that fits you well. Ignore the price tag.

Buy it. Enjoy.

If you hate it, sell the helmet on Craigslist for about 70% of the purchase price.
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Re: Need Helmet to take MSF class for a melon head questions

#3 Unread post by hy_tek » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:30 pm

jonnythan wrote:
Go to the local motorcycle store and find a helmet that fits you well. Ignore the price tag.

Buy it. Enjoy.

If you hate it, sell the helmet on Craigslist for about 70% of the purchase price.
See that's the problem they don't have a 3XL helmet to try. I don't want to order one and get stuck with a helmet that doesn't fit.

Maybe I could just wear the box instead....... :laughing:

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#4 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:42 pm

Did you see the Helmet Fit Guidelines? Print those out and take them with you shopping.

Helmets are supposed to fit snugly. Its how they protect your brain. It may be that a different brand will fit better. Motorcycling is dangerous. And folks have been seriously injured while taking the BRC. Everything possible is done to keep it safe for students, but there is simply no way to make it 100% risk free. Don't skimp on this vital piece of equipment.

A compromise option is to buy a 3/4 fit helmet. They're generally far cheaper than a full face. They also aren't as fit dependent since they don't fit your jaw (and don't protect it). Given the slow speeds on the range, a 3/4 helmet would be fine... but keep in mind that you will be at greater risk if you wear it on the streets later.

As an instructor, I use a 3/4 as my "Range helmet" - I don't ride the streets in it, but it is perfect for riding then talking/answering questions while I'm teaching.

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#5 Unread post by tymanthius » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:14 pm

For the boots and gloves - you don't have to get moto-specific items. Get a good pair of work boots with treads (not slick like cowboy boots) and you can make use of those even if you don't take up motorcycling.

Same for the gloves - get a good pair of leather gloves.

If you DO move into motorcycling, then upgrade the gloves. Plain leather gloves don't have the armour to protect your knuckles.

Most of the brc is done at very fast bicycle speeds (assuming you're a good bicyclist), so the lesser helmet, gloves, boots should be fine.
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#6 Unread post by NNYrider » Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:16 pm

hy-tek:

57 is definitely NOT too old. Our current record at our Basic Rider Course site is 83. We've had a LOT of 70 year olds... Age is not important. Condition, and mental awareness are critical. I'd much rather have a sharp 75 year old than a very large, very out of shape and mentally 'flighty' 45 year old... A LARGE percentage of my riders are 50-60... For that matter one of my coaches is mid 70's, and it's a hoot to see him kick around the range doind demos on a Ninja :D

Check with your MSF site. Many MSF sites has loaner helmets (obtained through MSF by manufacturer grants or something similar).

Speeds in the class are minimal. 17-20 mph is typical top speeds. You do not need a $300 helmet. If its a basic DOT it will be fine.. .

I cannot vouch for state or site specific requirements. At our site if its DOT, its just fine. While a 3/4 is fine for our course, I HATE 3/4 helmets and would not recommend them for street riding: THere is no face protection from bugs, stones, flying crap or weather. Personally a 3/4 helmet would be used only for the MSF course, and then scrapped. Its waste. I'd look for a basic inexpensive fullface. (I do coach the MSF basic Rider course in a half helmet, but its a range helmet only).

If you have a good idea about size, order one online. Try bing.com Pepboys automotive also sells inexpensive helmets, and some of these have been very highly regarded in some tests....

Price does not necesarily mean better in helmets. I've heard (but cannot verify) that the largest component in helmet cost if liability insurance. The next is paint and graphics. The actual structural components of the helmet aren't all that expensive. A basic cheapo black or white one works just as well as the shiny metallic gray one with the cool stripes and decals....

Gloves: These do not have to be expensive. Go to home depot and spend $15 on Mechanix brand gloves. Avoid really big bulky gloves, and skimpy little cotton ones.

Boots: Avoid boots with slick soles (cowboy, dress), or with BIG boxy toe boxes (steel toed). Slick soles slide out, and you drop bikes. Big bulky toes make it hard to shift. I personnally recommend that many people wear their hking boots if they have them. Frequently these have a good sole, decent traction, and decent ankle protection.

Pants: Do not wear thin cotton pants (chinos, etc). HEavy weight denim would offer a bit more abrasion protection (but its minimal)...

You should be able to get a helmet for $100 or so, gloves for under $20, and use an old pair of hikers...

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#7 Unread post by Johnj » Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:55 pm

Go back and try on the XXL again. Tight at the cheeks is good. Wear the helmet for 30 minutes while you look around to see if any hot spots develop on your head. It sounds to me like it's the right size.
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#8 Unread post by hy_tek » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:11 pm

Thank you all very much for the wonderful incite and the support.

I consider myself in good physical and mental condition as someone stated. I do road bicycling and trips of 30+ miles frequently. My sense of balance on a bicycle which has a much higher center of gravity is excellent. I suppose I have no reason to fear taking this course but I am a little nervous. I am scared to death of getting hurt on a motorcycle and as a result I feel I will be a very cautious driver. At my age the need for speed left me a long time ago when the need for survival kicked in....Everyday I see idiots on the road who cut me off etc. and soon I may be on a bike unprotected dealing with the same morons. That is the only thing really that scares me.

This is actually my second attempt at the class...I backed out last time at the last minute.....sigh

While nervous about the class I am at the same time excited. It just looks like so much darn fun!

I really appreciate the input from you instructors. Thanks once again your suggestions will not go unheeded.

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#9 Unread post by Wrider » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:23 pm

You'll do fine!
And think of it this way, when I put on my full-face I get called chipmunk regularly because it bunches up my cheeks... :laughing:
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#10 Unread post by tymanthius » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:25 pm

Wrider wrote:You'll do fine!
And think of it this way, when I put on my full-face I get called chipmunk regularly because it bunches up my cheeks... :laughing:
Mine does the same thing. I don't even notice it any more. :)
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#11 Unread post by NNYrider » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:51 pm

hy-tek:

Trust me on this: The MSF course is VERY incremental. The course starts at a most basic level, and assumes you've never seen a motorcycle. It starts from the bottom.

It progresses very incrementally, and in a manner that progresses in small steps. You learn where the parts of the bike are. You learn basic operation of switches and levers. You learn to start the bike. You begin to learn how to squeeze and ease out the clutch. At no time are you simply thrown into things...

It is fun. Simply come into it with an open mind, a willingness to learn and a little trust. Trust yourself, and trust your Rider Coach. The won't throw you to the wolves. It will all move steadily but incrementally. You'll crawl before your walk, walk before you jog, and jog before you run...

Don't chicken out ! :D

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#12 Unread post by MTexile » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:21 am

You'll do fine, going into the course and not being a little nervous if asking for trouble. Listen and watch the instructors, stay alert and it'll be fun!
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#13 Unread post by demon_racer23 » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:41 pm

If your really worried about a place charging you too much for a helmet or getting one the right size, I would use this site...
http://www.compacc.com/Helmets.cfm
I bought an Arai from them recently and just used the sizing chart they provided. Plus they have gloves and boots if you are still interested in those.
And good luck on the course!

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#14 Unread post by havegunjoe » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:36 pm

Your wife is wrong. I took it up at 59 last year and love it. My wife is moving up from a scooter to a 250 motorcycle this year so she can ride with me. As for the helmet you can get some really nice ones for $100 - $200. Full face is what I have. They fit snug, very snug and you want them that way. You'll get use to it belive me. It's your head and your brain. Protect it!
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