Helmet Noise vs Buffeting

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by GroundFighter, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. GroundFighter

    GroundFighter Adventurer

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    I know a proper windscreen will eliminate buffeting, but will it eliminate helmet noise and the need for ear plugs? From my understanding of buffeting, I think the stock windscreen on the Wee Strom is working for me (I'm only 5,6"). I do, however, have helmet noise and use ear plugs to help with that . I'm trying to decide if another windscreen is necessary. Does buffeting and helmet noise go hand in hand or is it possible to have one without the other? Stupdid noob question I know.
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  2. digby

    digby eden,sa

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    my experience is that a windshield causes buffeting and a helmet causes noise. I have yet to find a helmet that is totally quiet. Even Rossi, who must wear the best headgear money can buy , wears plugs. :ear
    #2
  3. hpsVFR

    hpsVFR Hoosier Daddy Supporter

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    Buffeting is a result of turbulent air blowing your head around. For any given screen, bike, and rider comibination, there will be some turbulent air. The only question is whether it's in the right place to blow your head around. Unfortunately, there's really only one way to be sure: try the screen. Asking people with the same bike, helmet, and physical dimensions can be helpful.

    Noise is related, as it's caused by air moving past the helmet, but it's going to be there whether or not you've got buffeting. Wear earplugs or live with (eventual) hearing loss; those are pretty much your options.
    #3
  4. DRobZ

    DRobZ n00b

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    How much hearing loss?

    I don't wear earplugs when I ride .... (yet....?) but don't find the noise to be particularly loud with my full face helmet (HJC) visor locked down.... Certainly no louder than my usual work enviroment (hospital ER) or kids screaming while I'm at home....

    Is this "eventual hearing loss" a given, or does one need to actually feel the noise is loud to sustain it?

    -NorCal Rob
    #4
  5. K1W1

    K1W1 Long timer Supporter

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    Have you been to a MotoGP?
    Rossi's bike and all those around him are so noisy that it's actually painful on your ears - even with plugs up close. Whether he has the best helmet or not is totally irrelevent.
    Back to the subject.
    Noise is a helmet issue. Not is not related to price of the helmet just the design. Some of the noisest helmets are also some of the most expensive. You can spend a small fortune searching for noise nevarna but the reality is that wearing ear plugs is easier and cheaper unless you just put up with it.
    #5
  6. ktmbmw

    ktmbmw Not ridden in a while... I shall return.

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    No wind screen is going to help me stay out of the wind. I have a K1200RS that the only time I raise the wind screen is when it is either too cold or I am riding through a sand storm. Otherwise with it down I am riding in 'clean' air that flows smothely. And I too wear ear plugs.
    #6
  7. Ranmar850

    Ranmar850 Been here awhile

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    If you think they're noisy now, you didn't live thru the unbaffled expansion chambers of the 60's /70's :D Both riding them and listening to them :eek1

    Buffeting is caused by turbulent airflow, usually from bad windscreens. It is definitely worse than clear airflow, which will cause noise around ANY helmet. If you can get a small screen which breaks the windflow off your chest, eases the drag on your body, but lets clear air flow over your helmet, you may be better off than hiding behind a big, vertical screen which causes a very abrupt break in airflow-the resulting low pressure area behind the screen causes the turbulence to be sucked down on your head, causing the dreaded buffeting. It batters the helmet, working your neck, as well as creating noise. Bigger is not always better-that being said, I have been behind screens that were oasis' of calm. Lovely. Individual helmets will vary even with the type of riding gear worn-seriously, different jackets(armour etc) will affect the noise. As he said, wear earplugs...
    #7
  8. Andrejs2112

    Andrejs2112 Been here awhile

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  9. K1W1

    K1W1 Long timer Supporter

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    In actual fact I did and the modern 4 stroke GP bike is far worse than a 2 stroke ever was. With the speeds that the engines rev now it really is painful the two strokes were loud but not painful.
    #9
  10. DRZ400SK4

    DRZ400SK4 Long timer

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    In my experience, after just installing a new sport screen which eliminated the buffeting problem, the noise level has increased slightly, despite the buffeting problem being completely cured. And this makes sense, because I am getting more airflow over my helmet with the sport screen, but it's clean and turbulent-free airflow.

    However...

    A good quality helmet, and neoprene earplugs will easily rid you of any noise problems.

    I'm sure with some of the large screen options, you can reduce both the noise and buffeting, but to my tastes, then you're getting into the ugly zone. I really didn't want my bike to end up looking like Elvis Presley's Harley.

    and I'll take slightly more wind noise, over buffeting, any day of the week!

    :clap


    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

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    Not sure if it's actually a given, but it is extremely likely. An acoustics guy at work told me that if I have any sort of ringing or hissing in ears after riding (my motorcycle, that is :D ), that is the result of damage that has already been done.
    #11
  12. garandman

    garandman Wandering Minstrel

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    The figure usually quoted for permanent hearing damage is 80dB - not especially loud. Most lawnmowers are louder than that. I used to wear earplugs in my Triumph Spitfire (83-85 on the highway)!

    Noise is [SIZE=-1]tiring, to boot. [/SIZE]
    #12
  13. hpsVFR

    hpsVFR Hoosier Daddy Supporter

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    OSHA's regulations on sound-level exposure are the most-easily available documentation on the subject, and those regs are typically quoted.

    You can find themhere, and here.

    Note that these are OSHA's figures for action in a workplace; that is, the action level and responses that are allowable take into account economic considerations of the employer. This does not necessarily mean that lower exposure levels are "safe," or that a given attenuation at a given SPL is "enough." That's a whole other discussion though, and I don't remember enough of that info to have it off the top of my head.

    Note also that the maximum permissible exposure is time-dependent. Hearing damage is cumulative over one's lifetime as well. The upshot of all this is: it's a whole lot easier to simply wear plugs than it is to try and figure out if your hearing is going to be damaged (particularly since as your hearing gets damaged, damaging sound "hurts" less). Plugs are cheap, effective, and available in a wide range of styles, shapes, and colors (including custom molded). Almost everyone can find plugs that fit your ears for a reasonable price, and I predict that you will appreciate the results of using them.

    But some people ride without, and that's their choice, not mine. :freaky
    #13
  14. Scottysix9

    Scottysix9 Shhh...

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    This subject came up on last Sunday's ride. I finally talked a guy into trying some earplugs after complaining about his noisy helmet. An hour later he agreed that riding with them is more comfortable than riding without.

    Anecdotal, I know, but another convert.
    #14
  15. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I wear a Schuberth S1, which many say is one of the quietest helmets you can get, and I find no need for earplugs. It is even better since I put the Aeroflow on the R1200GS. When I wore the Schuberth Concept 1, I found earplugs to be very useful. Maybe I just have the right combo for myself.
    The S1 has the protection added to the bottom of the helmet much like the above posted advertisement for the helmet jammer. Unfortunately, Schuberth seems to be pulling out of the American market, but Germany is not that far away for the hardcore Schuberth fans with the help of the internet....or overseas friends. I can't imagine having any other helmet ever again after my Red Drudi S1.
    #15
  16. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer Super Supporter

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    Uff-da. Where did you get that screen? I've got a big CeeBailey on my V-Strom...maybe I should have waited and tried that one out.



    #16
  17. DRZ400SK4

    DRZ400SK4 Long timer

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    Got it from these guys in the UK...

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    #17
  18. JcbKarl

    JcbKarl Been here awhile

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    My experience has been that you need a really big screen if you want a nice, quiet pocket to ride in. For me that means the screen needs to be high enough that I can just see over it while I'm riding. It also seems to help if the screen is set up so that some air can actually enter under the front bottom edge of the screen. It seems like that air helps stop having a huge vacuum behind the screen. Even though I'm super paranoid about hearing loss, my BMW RT with a taller screen is so quiet I don't need to wear ear plugs if I'm just riding 10 miles or so around town. I don't really even hear wind, all I hear is the engine. When I wear ear plugs, I can ride all day long and not feel any noise fatigue.

    It's totally reasonable to achieve this on a bigger bike, but it's not something that I try to accomplish on my XR650. For smaller bikes I just keep any screen low enough so my helmet is in smooth, clean air that hasn't been kicked into turbulance by a medium height screen. Even with ear plugs, I still feel some noise fatigue after a few hours on this motorcycle.
    #18
  19. peterb

    peterb Long Distance Adventurer

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    I haven't read any of the above that I disagree with, but there are a couple of issues not yet addressed - The shape of ones head and the inside shape of the chosen helmet have a bunch to do with the noise one is subjected to. I have a long head [top-to-bottom] and a thin head [ side-to-side] - no jokes please... and the quietest helmet for someone else does little for reducing noise for me.

    But, buffeting can really cause a lot of noise even in my Schuberth C2 because of the above-described turbulence that may be caused by anything from mirrors, lighting, accouterments, and even seating position. To find out how "quiet" your helmet is, try standing on the pegs [on a safe road] at 60mph... you will quickly learn the source of your discomfort is the turbulence and buffeting as opposed to just noise.

    Plugs now may mean a future with less hearing loss.
    #19
  20. garandman

    garandman Wandering Minstrel

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    We had a name for this type of head when fitting helmets in the Army: football head.
    #20