Helmets - whats best for desert racing??

Danny42

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Just wanted to see what everyone's opinions are on the best helmets currently available for desert racing.
In the past i have ran Impact, Bell and HJC. Recently I purchased a Stilo ST5 but found the vision to be limited and it leaked dust quite heavily until I modified it so i went back to the trusty old HJC SI-12.
I like the look of the Impact offset air draft and evo helmets, any help would be appreciated!
 

Chris Tobin

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On an unlimited budget I would probably go with an Impact or Simpson Carbon Fiber lightweight model... For a budget minded price I like my Pyrotect Top Air and would recommend them to others in a heartbeat! It is a comfortable helmet and pads can be changed for a perfect fit... Add PCI wiring and dust skirt and you are good to go!!!

Here are the ones my son and I painted ourselves for the Baja 1000!
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We painted the base layers then applied vinyl decals I cut with a home cutter then painted the main colors and pulled off the decals and painted the clear... All done with rattle cans in our front yard! My helmet needs to be buffed out since the connector from the truck I was in scratched up the back and they went in the bag without curing long enough... But we are happy with them anyhow!!!
 

bajaxp

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I have had two HJC AR-10's and love(d) them both. My 2.5 pesos FWIW
 

scottm

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Look for the SA rating, with Kevlar in key places for extra fire resistance.
 

Dirty Harry

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I had an HJC years ago and it was good. Running an Impact Air Draft OS20 now and I am really pleased with the weight, fitment, dust sealing, and air flow. If it fits your head shape comfortably I would definitely get an Air Draft.


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dan200

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They will all protect your brain pretty well. The big difference is interior. I explain them like I explain the differences in trucks.

IMPACT- Escalade- nicest fit and finish. Comfy and luxurious. full of safety features.
HJC- Top of the line Denali. If you never rode in an Escalade you would think these are the best. This gets second place of the three brands but its nowhere close to first.
Pyro- Base model Tahoe. Still nice but nothing like the other two. Tint the windows and a get a wheel and tire package on it and it looks great but, when your sitting in it, you know its not the same. It has less safety features also.

Based on comfort/weight you want the best to go along with the fact you are gonna be having a long day wearing it. An uncomfortable helmet can be distracting as hell and the longer you have it on, the more annoying it becomes.

Also, I used to keep a less expensive (brand name withheld) helmet on display in the race support trailer with a price tag on it with a number that got you excited for a bargain. It was just over half the price of the next helmets I had for sale. When customers asked about getting a new helmet I showed them that one first. Then I had them try and push the "chin bar" in. (the part that goes in front of your mouth). I flexed really badly. It was scary. Then I showed them the good stuff and had them do the same thing with those. It was a night and day difference. Even though I used a "bait and switch" trick to put a more expensive helmet in their hands, literally everyone I did this with was thankful.

I encourage you to go into a legit off road shop and test fit everything you like, and do the chin bar test please also. Then wear a regular helmet for a bit and swap over and wear a carbon fiber one. The CF will be stronger and lighter and more expensive BUT, they are the best. The non CF are also really really good and significantly less spendy.

I also want you to think about service parts. I have a few guys every race who have some uncommon or offbrand helmet and need a visor or tear-offs for it. Nobody trackside has that off-brand stuff. They can score those online but almost every vendor I know only carries visors and parts for Impacts, HJC's and Pyro's. Maybe a few simpsons and bells but not many. Impact has the most options I think (Amber, light,dark,clear,fancy mirrored colors.) You want to pick a helmet that has trackside support available.

Its your melon on your shoulders and your wallet in your pocket. If you have been smart enough to make a series of good enough life choices that you can afford to own and race an off road car then you probably can figure out how to buy the best helmet on the shelf (Impact) with out living on beans and rice. FWIW- I think everyone who works here wears Impacts.

If you have any questions you can call our shop (480) 633-2929
or email us at team@sdhqoffroad.com We have a wide selection of helmets in stock and ours sales staff is very knowledgeable and should get back to you promptly. Tell them Dan200 sent ya.

Good luck to you on your quest.
 

Chris Tobin

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They will all protect your brain pretty well. The big difference is interior. I explain them like I explain the differences in trucks.

IMPACT- Escalade- nicest fit and finish. Comfy and luxurious. full of safety features.
HJC- Top of the line Denali. If you never rode in an Escalade you would think these are the best. This gets second place of the three brands but its nowhere close to first.
Pyro- Base model Tahoe. Still nice but nothing like the other two. Tint the windows and a get a wheel and tire package on it and it looks great but, when your sitting in it, you know its not the same. It has less safety features also.

Based on comfort/weight you want the best to go along with the fact you are gonna be having a long day wearing it. An uncomfortable helmet can be distracting as hell and the longer you have it on, the more annoying it becomes.

Also, I used to keep a less expensive (brand name withheld) helmet on display in the race support trailer with a price tag on it with a number that got you excited for a bargain. It was just over half the price of the next helmets I had for sale. When customers asked about getting a new helmet I showed them that one first. Then I had them try and push the "chin bar" in. (the part that goes in front of your mouth). I flexed really badly. It was scary. Then I showed them the good stuff and had them do the same thing with those. It was a night and day difference. Even though I used a "bait and switch" trick to put a more expensive helmet in their hands, literally everyone I did this with was thankful.

I encourage you to go into a legit off road shop and test fit everything you like, and do the chin bar test please also. Then wear a regular helmet for a bit and swap over and wear a carbon fiber one. The CF will be stronger and lighter and more expensive BUT, they are the best. The non CF are also really really good and significantly less spendy.

I also want you to think about service parts. I have a few guys every race who have some uncommon or offbrand helmet and need a visor or tear-offs for it. Nobody trackside has that off-brand stuff. They can score those online but almost every vendor I know only carries visors and parts for Impacts, HJC's and Pyro's. Maybe a few simpsons and bells but not many. Impact has the most options I think (Amber, light,dark,clear,fancy mirrored colors.) You want to pick a helmet that has trackside support available.

Its your melon on your shoulders and your wallet in your pocket. If you have been smart enough to make a series of good enough life choices that you can afford to own and race an off road car then you probably can figure out how to buy the best helmet on the shelf (Impact) with out living on beans and rice. FWIW- I think everyone who works here wears Impacts.

If you have any questions you can call our shop (480) 633-2929
or email us at team@sdhqoffroad.com We have a wide selection of helmets in stock and ours sales staff is very knowledgeable and should get back to you promptly. Tell them Dan200 sent ya.

Good luck to you on your quest.
Dan, what safety features are the Pyro's missing that an HJC or Impact have??? I honestly can't think of any... They are lighter and more comfortable than the HJCs they replaced but again that is comparing an SA2005 HJC to an SA2015 Pyro, but I am not seeing safety features different on the more expensive brands...
 

dan200

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Dan, what safety features are the Pyro's missing that an HJC or Impact have??? I honestly can't think of any... They are lighter and more comfortable than the HJCs they replaced but again that is comparing an SA2005 HJC to an SA2015 Pyro, but I am not seeing safety features different on the more expensive brands...
Check your messages.
 

Steve Marolda

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First and foremost, for safety, it has to fit properly. And not just comfort-wise. Everybody has a different shaped head. Looking down onto the top of your head, some are square, some are oval and some are round. The wrong shape helmet will fit snug in one direction and loose in another direction. The better helmet companies have different shape shells to account for this. Some will have different / changeable thickness cheekpads too. Sometimes a guy will go to a larger helmet when he really only needs thinner cheekpads. You want the smallest helmet that fits evenly snug and comfortable. Arai has all these options covered, maybe they're available in your area.
 

BRINGTHERUCKUS

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I've had HJC, Pyrotech and Impact.
I rank them 1. Impact 2. Pyrotech 3. HJC.

I don't have the carbon impact, but I do find it to be very light and comfortable, it came prewired with skirt. I would not get a top air model for clearance reasons. I do highly recommend the offset intake, it gives the airflow of the top air without adding to the height of the helmet.

The HJC was the worst fit for my head, the front of the helmet was very close to jawline and mouth. It made for an almost claustrophobic feeling.

Try on multiple helmets, I know the impacts can be adjusted (cheek pads etc) to fit different head shapes.
 

Danny42

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Thanks for that info dan200, ill be back over in the states in April for Norra so i will do the rounds and come get sized up, from all the feed back ill go with the CF Impact OS20
 

dan200

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How does it compare to the OS20?

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It costs more but it’s sexier.
I’m not at the shop now. Closed a lil bit ago. You can call and talk to Joey 480-633-2929 tomorrow and he can school you on it. I’m in and out of the shop tomorrow getting some stuff sorted out for my mint 400 trip. He will be there all day though.
I’m not trying to blow ya off. You’ll just get helped faster that way.
Bueno?


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mgobaja

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My thought process has changed on safety gear in the last 8 years ( birth of child ), I try to get the best item I can for what I can afford. If you have a $200 head, then get a $200 helmet. If you have others to support that rely on you to provide for them, then don't cheap out on safety gear. Bargain shopping is much different that cheaping out. I went from a single layer suit to a 3 layer about the same time, but bought a " last years model " at a greatly reduced price.

Buy the best you can afford, that fits your head to be the most comfortable.
 

Baja Dad

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The high price of the Helmet dose not mean it is the safest or the best
You can buy a $ 200 helmet that Passes all the same safety tests the a $1000 helmet
and that is what counts
But the $200 Helmet will not have all the extra BLING

IMO: if it meets all the Safety tests and it fit good BUY it !!
 

Baja Fool

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Have a pair of HJC Si 12s, wired & blown. The XXL fits my fat head perfectly.
 

tapeworm

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The high price of the Helmet dose not mean it is the safest or the best
You can buy a $ 200 helmet that Passes all the same safety tests the a $1000 helmet
and that is what counts
But the $200 Helmet will not have all the extra BLING

IMO: if it meets all the Safety tests and it fit good BUY it !!
Just because you can pass the safety test doesn’t mean they are of the same quality. If we take a look at first responder testing (law enforcement, fire, ems) they all have a testing process to get hired. Just because you can pass the separate parts of the test doesn’t mean all candidates are equal. Some will be more physically capable than others, some will have a higher intellectual capacity for the job, and very few will possess the physical and intellectual capacity to surpass all other candidates. This also applies to helmet testing.

Helmet testing standards set a minimum rating. To achieve that rating you have to meet the minimum standard. These testing companies do not reward the manufacturers for surpassing the standard. To say that all helmets are equal because they met the same minimum standard is not safe to assume nor the correct way to go about purchasing safety gear.

I’ll ask you this....

What do call call someone who passed medical school with a 97% average?

A doctor.

What do you call someone who passed the same medical school with a 72% average?

A doctor.


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