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Get a Z1R ZRP-1 Strike Blade Helmet for $80 (on-line). Motorcyclist Magazine did one of the few truly scientific (and logical) studies I've seen - a real eye opener. It's a shame true scientific method isn't applied to all protective gear reviews.

If you go to www.motorcyclistonline and click on the "gearbox" section, you can read it. Good luck and safe riding!
 

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I heartily agree about the Motorcyclist helmet review.

Be sure to get some boots, too, the ones that protect your ankles.

Held gloves, Coretec riding gear, SIDI boots are all good. Joe Rocket is considered lower line, but it is way beter than no gear. Consider leather - it is more expensive, but much more abrasion resistant.



Remember: All the Gear, All the Time.
 

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Buy the Arai... Make sure to wear it around for 30 min or so before you buy it though... A helmet is one of those things that I buy the most comfortable lid I can afford.. The Rocket stuff is good... if it fits and is comfortable don't worry about getting an Aerostich
 

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Having lived with my fair share of really bad, ill-fitting snowmobile helmets, it's one thing I've learned to not cut corners with. You have to wear this thing constantly and if there is some fit issue which you find irritating within the first couple minutes of having it on, imagine how obnoxious it will be after 30-60 minutes of additional friction.



Also, I have the Phoenix 4.0 jacket and love it thus far. On cooler days, but not so cold as to justify the liner, you'll want a longsleeve shirt on underneath. So far however I've used it in temperatures between 65F and 100F and been about as comfortable as a person could hope for.
 

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Before going out and buying an $80 "wonder lid," make sure to check out a review of the Z1R ... sounds like it is really, really uncomfortable and flimsy. http://www.webbikeworld.com/z1r-helmets/z1r-zrp-1.htm

Personally, I am a huge fan of Shoei lids, so I would recommend checking some of them out too. I have the bottom of the line TZ-1, but they all seems to be really comfortable to me.
 

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Joe Rocket stuff

Some folks call Rocket stuff low end. I disagree with that.. I would say Rocket has a broad product line... TheBallistic 6.0 jacket is mid range for their non leather jackets...You can buy much cheaper or much costlier Joe Rocket Jackets The Ballistic 6.0 jacket gets great reviews from the friends I have that wear it..
 

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If you want the utlimate in protection against apparel salesman, the Arai wins hands-down.



An Arai is a very well-made helmet with good customer support. Many find Arai to be the most comfortable helmets out there - but that's subjective. From a protection standpoint they can't be said to be better than any other helmet with the same ratings.



I find Arai's shield system maddening. A pit crew can change them out in 5 seconds but I have to watch the flippin' video on their website each time I remove my faceshield.



Is an Arai worth twice the price of the HJC? That begs more questions. Do YOU like how it fits and feels? Will you really like motorcycling and still be riding a year from now? Will you be happy with the same helmet for 4-5 years or will you want to replace it more frequently?



You don't need to buy top-shelf stuff to get good protective gear. If price is not a concern then go nuts. Otherwise I suggest getting good value stuff - like the items you found - and wear it.



Once the gear's covered, invest invest in rider training. Take the MSF course, and attend some track days that cater to newer riders and teaching fundamentals.



Have fun and be safe.



 

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I'd say if you plan on riding more than 10k a year then the comfort of the arai is probably worth it. I've had both, wrecked with the HJC and it worked great. Yes, I want an arai but I don't really notice the difference enough to go out and spend money on the arai right now. go in try what you want on and if the dealer has too much of a mark up order it online. I know I'm sure I'll get a whole line of bs about supporting my local dealer. I do but not if it's a rip off.
 

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I've had both Shoeis and Arais and I have to say that the Arai is a much better lid except for when it comes time to swap out shields. Eventually you can do it fairly quick, but you still end up getting fingerprints all over it so you have to clean it again when you're done.



However, you don't have to buy top of the line to get safety (nothing wrong with Joe Rocket in my opinion). In the HJC price range you might want to check out Scorpion helmets. They're pretty impressive lids for the money. The lexan face shield alone (which won't fog no matter what) would be worth the $160 they charge for the whole setup.
 

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There are a lot of really good helmets on the market for $200 or less. Some have nearly the fit, finish and comfort of the expensive brands and all will protect your head equally as good (the Snell vs. DOT debate notwithstanding). You won't go wrong with an Arai or any premium brand, but there are plenty of alternatives for less money. As others have said, the fit is the most important thing. And protecting your head with the lid you like best, regardess of cost, is money well spent.



I won't buy a real expensive helmet because I have an annoying habit of banging them up (thankfully, not through crashes). I also like to change them every two or three seasons (call it A.D.D.).



I recently retired a KBC VR-1 (I paid about $200 bucks for it), which was very comfortable, relatively quiet and had lots of high-end features. Unfortunately, this particular model (with a special Black Chrome finish) had a few fit and finish gremlins.



I replaced it with an HJC CL-SP for about $170. I've never been a huge fan of HJC but they usually are spoken well of and much of their line has been redesigned this year. The build quality is extraordinary (Webbikeworld claims it's as good as anything) and, although it seems to be made for a slightly rounder head shape than mine, it still fits very well and the vents actually seem to work. Webbikeworld also claims it's one of the quietest helmets they've ever tested, although, I must say, in certain conditions (and on my head, of course) it seems pretty noisy. Obviously not everyone's head is the same, so results vary.



The new HJC quick-release shield mechanism may be the best one on the market. It literally takes only a few seconds to do a change. It just pops off and on.



Jackets/pants/boots are a little trickier. The quality does vary, even within manufacturers' own lines. I have two Fieldsheer Jackets (fairly inexpensive brand) that are pretty well made. But the only pair of Fieldsheer pants I've had began to disintegrate almost immeadiately. Joe Rocket stuff, by and large, seems to be pretty good. You'll probably find more consistent quality in the more expensive brands but there is plenty of more affordable stuff that works well, too.
 

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Buy whatever DOT/Snell helmet that is most comfortable. The safety issue is somewhat subjective, but you know you gotta' wear it. Fit, weight, and ventilation are huge! Snug is better than loose, but it shouldn't be uncomfortable.
 

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I think that I have tried about every helmet brand there is on the market. Based on the tests that I have seen, price and safety have little relationship. What counts is the ventilation and the fit. A new helmet should be snug but not tight. What is also important is how quiet they are, which you can't really tell until you get on your bike at road speed.



I have both a Scorpion and a Nolan N-100. The Scorpion is the quietest and most comfortable helmet I have ever owned, and the no-fog screen works like a champ. However, it is a pain to get my glasses on after donning the hat. The ventilation is very good, but the Nolan is the winner in the summer. That flip up shield is great, even though it fogs in the winter.



Bottom line is to get what fits you the best. As long as you are dealing with quality helmets, you will be fine (or equally protected). Joe Rocket gear is fine. The Aero stitch is better. But I literally have five different jackets. All get worn in different climeate conditions. My favorite jacket is my Vanson, but they are pricey.



Hope I added just a little to the information you have and did not iinduce mind warp.



Francis
 

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Buy what fits best, you like the look of, and what works with your budget. Most namebrand gear out there ain't bad, though some is better than others.

For helmets: Personally, I'm not a fan of HJC's, but I highly recommend Scorpion helmets (http://www.scorpionusa.com). I have two Scorpion EXO-700's and their fit, finish, features and safety are top notch -- on par with the Shoei's and Arai's I've worn. There are rumors of a modular Scorpion coming this fall... but that my just be hearsay.
 

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Personally I'm a big AGV fan - the V-Vent is anice balance of comfort, noise level, venting and price. Problem is that you pretty much have to go to a bike show to try one on before you buy.



As far as gear goes, SIDI boots, decent gloves. You didn't say where you live - I live in Portland an ride all year so I have leather, textile, mesh and rain covers . Depending on wheree you live and how you want to ride, you may like the Stitch concept (one suit for every thing) but if you feel the heat you may be better off with multiple suits which is also less initial outlay.



Keep an eye on newenough.com (not used gear anymore). I've had great deals from them.
 

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Re: Z1R

I own a number of Arais and a couple of Z1R's; there is a definite difference in comfort, fit and quality, though not as much as you might think given the price difference.

I can't wear the Z1R for long periods of time as the buckle is quite far up the strap and puts pressure on my manly chin; however, my usual passenger doesn't have this issue with my other Z1R. Conclusion is that I'd recommend trying on a helmet prior to buying it.

I haven't tested either brand in a crash, and hope not to.
 

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Re: If it worked for Gerry Ford...

Personally I use a vintage leather football helmet and rugby jersey.

Who cares how it protects if it doesn't look good?
 

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A helmet should feel just a tad tight when new. When the padding crushes down a bit, it should fit fine. We're not talking headache tight here, just a bit snugger than you would find ideal. And if the cheeks fit right, you won't have the thing twisting on you while you ride, in addition to properly protecting you. Arai's are, in most people's opinion, the best helmet out there because you can almost always find one that fits. They make at least two shells, designed to fit different different shapes of head. Personally, my elongated noggin fits a Shoei just about perfect, and is somewhat cheaper. I had an older HJC, and it was incredibly noisy, perhaps partly because I didn't pay enough attention to details, like gaps around the shield that make an unholy racket at speed. The new ones may be much better in this regard. The one time the HJC proved it's worth was when I did a face plant into a pile of rocks, got up, checked out the bike, and rode home, none the worse for wear.
 

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Before buying any helmet walk around the store with it on for at least 30 minutes. Any discomfort at all and it is the wrong one. Also ask about return/exchange policy on helmets. Cycle Gear is a chain store that has the most liberal return policy on helmets you will find anywhere.
 
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