Road v Dual Sport Helmet

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by PerroLoco, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. PerroLoco

    PerroLoco Adventurer

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    My wife and I just got our first dual sport bikes (first bikes period for that matter...). First things first, we've been starting to get protective gear. Two questions have come up for me. My wife came home with a Bell road helmet and nice looking, but more street oriented, synthetic riding jacket with soft padding. I bought a Zox dual sport helmet from Atomic motor and sixonesix upper body armor to wear under my jacket. Not knowing the differences between road and dual sport gear, can someone help me understand if my wife's gear will be effective and safe for dual sport riding? I assume that she'll spend most of her time on dirt/gravel roads and dual tracking, but nothing too too rough. Specifically:

    1. why do dual sport helmets have brims and chin guards? does a road helmet, not having those features, create safety or functionality problems for my wife?

    2. i know everyone will tell me this is about personal preference, but with regards to the jacket (PokerRun Mirage), I'm interested to hear other perspectives on the very soft padding provided by her road jacket. it seems so very inferior to the set-up that i have, just makes me a bit nervous, especially as we're learning.

    Thanks for sharing your opinions on this to help some newbies get a bit of outside the showroom perspective.

    Dan
    #1
  2. Maniac28

    Maniac28 Been here awhile

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    The dual sport helmets that are popular lately are mostly about style, no matter what people want to believe. I see lots of guys with clean bikes, never been offroad, wearing the arai XD or whatever... but why? vanity! The visors add drag on the highway and don't really block enough sun (or roost) to make much difference. They are OK - but why not just get a dirt helmet and goggles for offroad, and a road helmet for street oriented rides? road helmets are aerodynamic, quiet and work fine for most dual sport use, except in slow going where ventilation is an issue. for adventure touring I like street helmets the best.

    each to his own.

    as for the padding in the jacket, etc, for offroad it would be better to have more significant padding. you can buy armor for your torso, knees, etc.
    #2
  3. merickk

    merickk Living Folk Tale

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    Why a DS helmet? because whenever I take off I ride roads and offroad all at the same time. It ain't about the style. Its about the ability to have the best of both worlds, abit with the compromise that always comes with the DS distinction. I put up with the drag on the highways in order to have the ventilation and goggle use when I hit the dirt. And the drag aint really that bad.

    No vanity there, same with most reasons for choosing a DS bike, its about functionality.
    #3
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    For a long time I had a street helmet, and a dirt helmet. Most of my rides are a combination of street and dirt riding. Both types have their advantages, and disadvantages. Street helmet are better for street riding and for cold weather. Dirt helmets are usually better off road and are much cooler in hot weather. Dirt helmets suck in the rain when riding at speed.
    In the past, whenever I was going for a ride, I would have to make a decision and pick the helmet that would work best for the majority of the ride. Sometimes it was a tough choice.

    I got a Fulmer ADV helmet about 9 months ago. I love it. It's not quite as good on the street as my street helmet, and a little heavier that my dirt helmet, but it gives me the best of both worlds and doesn't force me to choose between the two. This is especially important if it may rain, I can remove the goggles and put down the sheild and prevent the pain of rain drops hitting my face at speed. I still wear my other helmets when conditions are biased heavily in one direction or the other.

    The only place my ADV helmet is not so good is for high speed highway riding. The wind really catches it when I have the sheild down. With the sheild up, curiously, it isn't a problem.
    #4
  5. swingset

    swingset Got the knack.

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    All the street comfort in the world won't please you when you get to a dusty trail, you're hot, and your lid is a cramped, dust-filled mess and you're breathing hard and hot into your chin bar.

    That's why there's DS helmets. That's it, that's the reason.

    Take your street lid, go ride some trails, and if you find yourself miserable you might want a DS lid. Not miserable? Stick with a street lid.

    Easy.
    #5
  6. PerroLoco

    PerroLoco Adventurer

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    This is exactly the type of perspective that I was hoping to get by posting this question. :clap Thanks to everyone who has already chimmed in. Any/all other perspectives appreciated!
    #6
  7. lightfighter

    lightfighter where does this go?

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    i gotta throw a flag on the "all about style" comment... though i get what you mean that alot of people dont really use them as intended.

    i rode in an arai XD3 for 3 years. for rides planned at all day on the pavement i pulled the visor. after a while, i came to believe i needed a road helmet.

    fast forward to a dented arai, and i decided to get a shoei rf110. then i promptly had to wear the shoei on a dual sport ride.

    not "disapointed" per se in the shoei, but that visor keeps the sun off your face, which is what it is for. and that roomy chin bar makes it easier for my huffed and puffed hot breath to evacuate the helmet.

    I will be replacing the XD probably. I would say this, if you dont ride at breakneck speed, and you can remember not to turn your head to the side too abruptly, the visor in the wind isnt that big of a deal, at least IMO
    #7
  8. Mudcat

    Mudcat Unregistered

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    :lol3
    I have an Arai XD and a Shoei RF1000. Both helmets fit me extremely well.
    My Arai XD is my helmet of choice for street riding. I like it much better then my Shoie RF1000. The XD is not quite but it is no noisier then my Shoei and it does not fog up nearly as easily.
    The visor on the XD blocks the sun and reduces the glare very well and allows me to see the road surface much much clearer then with a normal street helmet.
    The RF1000 is more aerodynamic and my head moments are freer but I have no issues with my XD at speed, well, below a 100 mph.

    Riding in dust requires goggles. I can wear goggles with the XD without removing the windscreen.
    #8
  9. merickk

    merickk Living Folk Tale

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    I've found the Hornet quite a bit quieter than the XD3. The XD3 was about as loud as my old symax 2 flipup.
    #9
  10. murgatroid42

    murgatroid42 Great Adventurer

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    +1. Couldn't have said it better.

    One can get good helmets for under $200, so get both a street and a dualsport or MX helmet.

    I have a street and MX helmet, but most of the time I use the MX helmet, even on long trips. Get good (i.e, comfortable) goggles that seal out dust well and have a 'beak' or 'nose guard' to keep the rain out of the helmet. Otherwise, riding in rain feels like one is being pricked with thousands of needles. :eek1
    #10
  11. RVDan

    RVDan Long timer

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    its all about how hard you're going to be riding off road.

    I have a dirt helmet, its lighter than the street helmet, the chin bar is further away so if you're breathing hard you're not choking on the same air you exhaled, and the opening is much larger for more airflow and better visibility.

    I rarely wear it though, I'm not much of a dirt biker. I ride a lot of dirt and gravel roads, I ride a few easy established trails, but for the most part, I don't find myself working any harder off highway than I am on highway so I find my full face street helmet is fine for everything I do.
    #11
  12. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    I've had a dual sport helmet, an Arai.

    And you know what. It sucked. It sucked on road.
    Loud.
    The bill would catch the wind
    The goggle port was to small for normal shaped goggles.
    The chin bar was still too close.

    It didn't do either very well.

    Today I have a street helmet for when I'm riding on the street.
    And a dirt helmet for when I'm riding on the dirt or dual sport
    (I don't spend much time on the freeway when I'm street riding, and even less when dual sporting)

    Yes it cost a little more but it's worth it to have that much better function.
    #12
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  13. decodent

    decodent CyberGypsy

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    I ride with a Shoe R1000 I bought years ago, and more recently - specifically for the CDR - I bought a Hornet.

    I think both have their places. For pure street riding, yeah, the street helmets are probably best. But the visor on the Hornet is really nice to have. In the past two months I've probably ridden about 3000 miles of dirt, and 3000 miles of pavement.

    For all the reasons listed (breathing in hot weather on dirt, etc.) the Hornet is great for dirt. But I also find that it works "well enough" on the road as far as noise, etc. I am curious to see how well it'll work when I ride the Wee. If it's as quiet as my R1000, it'll like become my lid of choice.
    #13
  14. lilolita

    lilolita fahr mit mir

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    I just looked up the jacket your wife bought and I wouldn't ride in it at all until the armour is upgraded. It appears to come with plain ol' foam with the option to add CE armour. If she going to ride in that jacket, she should upgrade the armour.

    If she's only going on plain vanilla dirt roads and won't be working that hard, then a street jacket is fine. If there's any kind of difficulty where she's working the bike, she'll get hot. And when she gets really hot, she may not be 100% which can lead to a mistake. I wear my regular street jackets and pants in the woods and I'm drenched within 2 minutes. Getting different off-road gear is on my list this winter.

    You didn't mention boots. If you have not yet gotten good boots, I recommend doing some research to look at off-road and street boots.

    Good luck to you both. I think it's great you're doing this together. I love riding with my boyfriend!
    #14
  15. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    Never had a street helmet... do have a few MX helmets (HJC ACX3's) and a DS helmet (Joe Rocket hybrid).

    The visor on the DS helmet's great in the rain. Most of the time I'm wearing it with sunglasses and the visor's up anyways... at that point there's really no difference between the DS and my MX helmet. I've had people ask me at work how many helmets I have, they'll see two or three of them over the course of a week.

    When it's hot out, I like the MX helmet with sunglasses. Chance of rain? DS helmet.
    #15
  16. TRZ Charlie

    TRZ Charlie That's MR. Asshole

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    Seems rather like an oil thread...just sayin
    #16
  17. Attico

    Attico Wrong way 'round

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    Totally agree


    #17
  18. GSDonovan

    GSDonovan There and back again

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    I want max air-flow in the summer...would a DS helmet flow more air than a standard full-face helmet? (Note, I always ride with my visor up on my standard full-face...to get more air...until the temps go below 60 or so.)

    Also, are the visors really useless for blocking the sun? If so, then do they magically work when on dirt or something? I don't get it.

    I think DS helmets look cool, but I also think normal sportbike helmets look cool too...I'm just wondering if a DS might be more functional for summer riding.
    #18
  19. Dharuma

    Dharuma The Dude Abides

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    I wear a Shoei Hornet DS and enjoy it for two reasons: MUCH larger eyeport and hence peripheral vision than my Nolan and better airflow at low speeds. I don't enjoy the noise, but I recently began wearing Macks earplugs to cure that.
    #19
  20. decodent

    decodent CyberGypsy

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    I have the Shoei Hornet and the RF1000. The visor definitely helps. It's not the end-all, be-all ... but it helps. (I would like to see them make an attachment for the end of it that would crop down vertically and block out even more light).

    I think it's a mixed bag in warm weather. But I just rode the CDR with temps ranging from about 103F (in New Mexico) to just above freezing (Montana & Canada). I would say the lower part of my head is cooler because of the larger opening, but the vening on top of the helmet is not as efficient as my RF, and so it tends to get a bit warmer.

    In cooler weather, it is definitely colder. And I find - for whatever reason - it seems to fog more easily than my RF.
    #20