Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
BOTM Winner, March 2013
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, everyone.
I have half helmet and open face one. What I would like to know is if full helmet must have or I am good to go? Can anyone give me quick cons and pros half vs full. I am new to motorcycles and usually drive local roads with little bit freeways here and there. I live in GA where is summer is pretty hot. Thank you :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
135 Posts
Greetings, WhiteWi-
Helmet style is personal preference; with that being said, however, the more coverage, the more protection.

When I'm riding alone, I use a half helmet; when with my S.O., I use a 3/4 because of the comm headset inside of it.

Sometimes when I ride alone, I'll still wear the 3/4 because it greatly reduces wind noise. I've been contemplating getting a full-face or modular for the spring and fall riding, simply because of the "warmth" factor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
Pretty simple really. The more helmet you have the better it will protect you. I like a full face for cold weather, or anytime I'm likely to encounter lots of bugs or flying rocks with no windshield, read "freeway". I've known guys that rack up a TON of miles and have not ever owned a REAL helmet, only those novelty helmets with a fake "DOT" sticker on them. It all comes down to personal choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts


There's a chart that shows the distribution of impacts according to a handful of studies on a full face helmet. Replace whichever part you omit with your particular helmet, with the coinciding body part.

Personally, although half-shell helmets can be the difference between life and death for a lot of people, I wouldn't go without at least a 3/4 helmet. Personal preference, but I don't feel a half helmet provides adequate protection. (Beats the heck out of no helmet though!)

I actually find my full face very comfortable. It doesn't bother me in the heat (though it does others), and I love having it in the rain or cold! In the summer, when it's warm, I wear my visor up with sunglasses or safety goggles underneath (so I get tons of airflow), but if I start hitting a ton of dust getting kicked up (like a mower or construction or something like that) I can reach up and flip that visor down and be sealed away, it's not like that!

So, let's see, pro's and cons of a full face:

Pros:

Easy to seal away rain and debris
Less wind noise than other types (if it's a decent quality full face, some FF helmets are not very aerodynamic and so they actually GENERATE wind noise)
Provide the best protection of any helmet. For a variety of reasons, for one, it provides more coverage, and additionally, they know their customers have safety in mind and tend to work very hard to build them out of materials and technologies proven to reduce injuries. For many, a half-shell helmet is like liability insurance... keeps ya legal, so some half shell manufacturers focus purely on looking cool and being comfortable for riders who would otherwise not wear a helmet. (Not always! But sometimes)

Cons:
Can leave you with a sweaty head on a hot day
Cheaper FF helmets can be noisy, and poorly vented FF helmets can be hot
FF helmet fit is much more critical and difficult than other types in terms of comfort, it's harder to find a perfectly fitting FF, and it can be uncomfortable over time if it doesn't fit well (on that note, don't shop online, go in store, try it on, walk around for a few minutes with it on, etc.)

It's a matter of personal preference. Motorcycle gear is all about balancing safety and comfort. I know a guy who bought a full-face helmet because he wanted the BEST protection and said if it's not full face, it might as well not be a helmet. But when it gets hot he just doesn't wear it at all! He'd be better off with a 3/4 helmet he wore all the time! Same with gear. If you wear gear, get stuff you'll wear all the time. Leathers offer more protection over textile or mesh, but if half the time you ride you don't wear it.. what's the point?
 

·
BOTM Winner, March 2013
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #5


There's a chart that shows the distribution of impacts according to a handful of studies on a full face helmet. Replace whichever part you omit with your particular helmet, with the coinciding body part.

Personally, although half-shell helmets can be the difference between life and death for a lot of people, I wouldn't go without at least a 3/4 helmet. Personal preference, but I don't feel a half helmet provides adequate protection. (Beats the heck out of no helmet though!)

I actually find my full face very comfortable. It doesn't bother me in the heat (though it does others), and I love having it in the rain or cold! In the summer, when it's warm, I wear my visor up with sunglasses or safety goggles underneath (so I get tons of airflow), but if I start hitting a ton of dust getting kicked up (like a mower or construction or something like that) I can reach up and flip that visor down and be sealed away, it's not like that!

So, let's see, pro's and cons of a full face:

Pros:

Easy to seal away rain and debris
Less wind noise than other types (if it's a decent quality full face, some FF helmets are not very aerodynamic and so they actually GENERATE wind noise)
Provide the best protection of any helmet. For a variety of reasons, for one, it provides more coverage, and additionally, they know their customers have safety in mind and tend to work very hard to build them out of materials and technologies proven to reduce injuries. For many, a half-shell helmet is like liability insurance... keeps ya legal, so some half shell manufacturers focus purely on looking cool and being comfortable for riders who would otherwise not wear a helmet. (Not always! But sometimes)

Cons:
Can leave you with a sweaty head on a hot day
Cheaper FF helmets can be noisy, and poorly vented FF helmets can be hot
FF helmet fit is much more critical and difficult than other types in terms of comfort, it's harder to find a perfectly fitting FF, and it can be uncomfortable over time if it doesn't fit well (on that note, don't shop online, go in store, try it on, walk around for a few minutes with it on, etc.)

It's a matter of personal preference. Motorcycle gear is all about balancing safety and comfort. I know a guy who bought a full-face helmet because he wanted the BEST protection and said if it's not full face, it might as well not be a helmet. But when it gets hot he just doesn't wear it at all! He'd be better off with a 3/4 helmet he wore all the time! Same with gear. If you wear gear, get stuff you'll wear all the time. Leathers offer more protection over textile or mesh, but if half the time you ride you don't wear it.. what's the point?
Thank you! Very good write up. I ordered my full face helmet couple of hours ago. It is Speed and strength Seven sins in white. I hope it is going to fit good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Thank you! Very good write up. I ordered my full face helmet couple of hours ago. It is Speed and strength Seven sins in white. I hope it is going to fit good.
It might, you could get lucky. The best fitting helmet I found was the first one I tried on. Tried on several after that but the first one fit best!

The thing with FF helmets is, it might be the right diameter for your head, but have 'hot spots' where it pushed on your head and makes it uncomfortable.

A properly fitting FF helmet will move your skin when you shift it side to side (cheeks too), but isn't so tight it's uncomfortable. You should be able to fit two fingers flat between your forehead and helmet, but it should require some effort (fit 'snugly', if you will). Finally, it should take a bit to pull down onto your head. If you have to really work it and squeeze it on, it's too small. If it practically falls onto your head, it's too big.

Helmets that are too big can fail to prevent some injuries as they can slide around. Also, in a somewhat funny story, a buddy of mine (who wears a half helmet) took his nephew for a ride on the back of his bike. He keeps a full face in the trunk of his electra glide in case it rains. Nephew wore his full face. Well, I'm riding along side, give him a thumbs up, he turns, gives me a thumps up, then SHWOOP that helmet is sideways on his head from the wind. Obviously it was too big! Was funny when he was a passenger, could have caused a wreck if he was the rider!

-John
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
593 Posts
Sorry I didn't get here before you bought that full- face!

I would device you to at least TRY a half Helmet before you commit. It makes all the difference in the world to me. I can't stand full- face helmets - they're pretty miserable.

-Sent from my Galaxy Tab.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
Sorry I didn't get here before you bought that full- face!

I would device you to at least TRY a half Helmet before you commit. It makes all the difference in the world to me. I can't stand full- face helmets - they're pretty miserable.

-Sent from my Galaxy Tab.
According to the OP, he HAS a half helmet and an open face already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,219 Posts
I wear a full face almost all of the time, but I also ride with out a windshield. I do have a half helmet and wore it a lot on some of my other bikes that had windshields or when I was still in college because of the "look". I like not having the wind noise of a half helmet.Without a windshield on these 100+ days the face shield keeps a lot of the hot air off of your face. I use an AFX FX-90, they are not the best full face helmet by no means but for the price they are good. They meet DOT and ECE standards. The ventilation is ok and the aerodynamics is ok as long as you keep your head straight, They take a bit of effort to look over your shoulder but for around $75 from Dennis Kirk its not bad
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
I wear an open face helmet. Why? Because I find I have an increase in traffic visibility as opposed to the full face.

Probably not as big a deal if you live in more rural areas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
It's all personal choice. I wear a FF most all the time, but also wear a half helmet if I am riding without a buddy who I using an intercom with, to work or short trip into town. I agree that if the helmet is not comfortable you won't wear it, regardless of the type. A lot of people discourage the use of half helmets. I personally would rather be cool enough to have my wits about me than to be stifling hot and not be able to think straight. It's a balance. As long as you are making an informed decision, it really is your decision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
I wear a full face almost all of the time, but I also ride with out a windshield. I do have a half helmet and wore it a lot on some of my other bikes that had windshields or when I was still in college because of the "look". I like not having the wind noise of a half helmet.Without a windshield on these 100+ days the face shield keeps a lot of the hot air off of your face. I use an AFX FX-90, they are not the best full face helmet by no means but for the price they are good. They meet DOT and ECE standards. The ventilation is ok and the aerodynamics is ok as long as you keep your head straight, They take a bit of effort to look over your shoulder but for around $75 from Dennis Kirk its not bad
I have never ridden without a full face. I don't have a wind-shield on my current bike, so that affected my decision too. My last bike had a wind-shield, but I still opted for the full face then too. I like the fact that it cuts out a lot of the wind noise, and my extra loud pipes are quieter inside a full face too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Maybe I'm just warm natured, but having used my bike as my primary vehicle for about 2 months in Las Vegas, I have a hard time with the temperature argument. Once you get above a certain temp, it's just hot, and you're going to be hot whatever you wear or don't wear. That said, the vents on my Shoei work really well. I've also found that when riding at 80mph in 110*+ weather that it's actually cooler to have the visor down. Visor up and it's like sitting in front of a blast furnace vent. Vents open with the visor down still isn't AC, but it beats the alternative. As always though, YMMV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,098 Posts
I have 1 yr experience. I live in hot Mississippi. I have FF, a 1/2, and 3/4.

I wear helmet based on what type of riding and the road I'll be on. I laid down my honda 750 while wearing a FF. Head hit the asphalt @ 5 mph and scratched it plus broke shield.

I love my 1/2 especially in this heat. However, the other evening I was very glad I had my FF on cause the bugs were awful.

A bumble bee hitting you in the face at 60 will get your attention. I've been stung!

As others have said, you have to decide but please, always wear something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Maybe I'm just warm natured, but having used my bike as my primary vehicle for about 2 months in Las Vegas, I have a hard time with the temperature argument. Once you get above a certain temp, it's just hot, and you're going to be hot whatever you wear or don't wear. That said, the vents on my Shoei work really well. I've also found that when riding at 80mph in 110*+ weather that it's actually cooler to have the visor down. Visor up and it's like sitting in front of a blast furnace vent. Vents open with the visor down still isn't AC, but it beats the alternative. As always though, YMMV.
Learned that the other day too!

I always wear gear when I ride, but I was in Branson, MO (a tourist trap but hey it's kind of fun!), it was over 110, and I was on the 'strip', which, similar to the las vegas strip, is a two lane road (with a wide turn lane) full of people stopping and going and turning and the average speed is only a couple of miles an hour. I took my jacket off and sat it in my lap (we were moving that slow, just trying to get back to my hotel). It was so stinking hot I couldn't even tell the difference. Put it back on because it was just as hot, but then I didn't have the sun on me!

I actually find my FF to be MORE comfortable. That's me though. Like lloyd said, try it on, try others on, see what's more comfortable, then make a decision that puts the safety and comfort compromise somewhere in the middle. You've gotta enjoy the ride, if we wanted to be safe, we'd take our cars. Probably be more comfortable too (but not nearly as fun!) I wear gear and a full face because I don't find it uncomfortable at all, and I've found I really prefer the ride over not wearing it because I don't have to deal with bugs, crazy pop up showers (my jacket isn't water proof but it keeps me drier than not wearing it, my overpants have a waterproof membrane so my legs stay bone dry). Boots (vs flip flops or even tennis shows) give me sure-footedness all the time, even when I have a passenger and luggage on and I stop in loose gravel or oil. I hit a 'gator' (piece of rubber in the road from a tire) with my foot, forgot I had my feet sprawled out, and nailed it with my boot, similar to kicking it with a 70mph kick! If I had flip flops on? YOOOOWWCHH.

So, for me, the balance of comfort and safety falls right in line for me in a carbolex jacket, overpants, boots, mesh gloves and a full face helmet. For others they can't even stand a half-shell helmet on their head. It's all so very individual! The only things I don't like to see, are compromising your own feelings on something to look cool (I talked to a guy who gets scared to death riding without a helmet and 'wishes he could wear one', I asked him why not, he said 'Well, it's not really the biker image'), and conversely, wearing gear because it gives you a false sense of security. Both are just as bad. (Ever see sport bike guys in full leather race gear zooming down the highway on their back wheel? That gear is great, but if you're using it as a license to be an idiot, it's no longer protecting you!) Find a balance. Ride safe, be comfortable, enjoy your bike, and come home in at least as many pieces as you left in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,219 Posts
Learned that the other day too!

I always wear gear when I ride, but I was in Branson, MO (a tourist trap but hey it's kind of fun!), it was over 110, and I was on the 'strip', which, similar to the las vegas strip, is a two lane road (with a wide turn lane) full of people stopping and going and turning and the average speed is only a couple of miles an hour. I took my jacket off and sat it in my lap (we were moving that slow, just trying to get back to my hotel). It was so stinking hot I couldn't even tell the difference. Put it back on because it was just as hot, but then I didn't have the sun on me!

I actually find my FF to be MORE comfortable. That's me though. Like lloyd said, try it on, try others on, see what's more comfortable, then make a decision that puts the safety and comfort compromise somewhere in the middle. You've gotta enjoy the ride, if we wanted to be safe, we'd take our cars. Probably be more comfortable too (but not nearly as fun!) I wear gear and a full face because I don't find it uncomfortable at all, and I've found I really prefer the ride over not wearing it because I don't have to deal with bugs, crazy pop up showers (my jacket isn't water proof but it keeps me drier than not wearing it, my overpants have a waterproof membrane so my legs stay bone dry). Boots (vs flip flops or even tennis shows) give me sure-footedness all the time, even when I have a passenger and luggage on and I stop in loose gravel or oil. I hit a 'gator' (piece of rubber in the road from a tire) with my foot, forgot I had my feet sprawled out, and nailed it with my boot, similar to kicking it with a 70mph kick! If I had flip flops on? YOOOOWWCHH.

So, for me, the balance of comfort and safety falls right in line for me in a carbolex jacket, overpants, boots, mesh gloves and a full face helmet. For others they can't even stand a half-shell helmet on their head. It's all so very individual! The only things I don't like to see, are compromising your own feelings on something to look cool (I talked to a guy who gets scared to death riding without a helmet and 'wishes he could wear one', I asked him why not, he said 'Well, it's not really the biker image'), and conversely, wearing gear because it gives you a false sense of security. Both are just as bad. (Ever see sport bike guys in full leather race gear zooming down the highway on their back wheel? That gear is great, but if you're using it as a license to be an idiot, it's no longer protecting you!) Find a balance. Ride safe, be comfortable, enjoy your bike, and come home in at least as many pieces as you left in.
+1, is got to be fun. I was in KY last week and it was in the 105-110 degree area with leather chaps and leather jacket zipped up to my neck, FF helmet with shield down and was cooler. I saw several people out in tanks, shorts, tennis shoes and no helmet. I do not see how they stood it. The air felt like you was riding in a car with the heat on and the fan on high.

Romans, I got caught in Gatlinburg TN like that one time. Its no fun, ease out clutch walk bike for 5-10 feet then stop and do it all over again. The fan on my V2k felt like a heater when it kicked on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,068 Posts
I wear a full face when it's cold. On the Vulcan, which didn't have a windshield, I wore a 3/4 with a face shield to keep the bugs outta my face. Since I got the Vic, I switched to a half helmet. Having my face exposed to the wind and sun really seems to enhance the riding experience for me, be honest. For wind noise, and MP3 player seems to work pretty good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
When I got my Vulcan I picked up a HJC SY-MAX 3 Full-Face Modular Helmet and I love it. I have a half helmet also but almost never wear it now. The modular helmets are really nice and offer good options.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top