Your head needs pro­tec­tion. Here’s how.

HT Ludhiana Live - - In&&around - Hari War­rier kwar­ri­eri@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Still driv­ing bikes with a flower pot on your head as hel­met? Don’t you think you — and your fam­ily — de­serve bet­ter? The mar­ket has never been bet­ter for hel­mets, both in terms of va­ri­ety and price. With sum­mer around the cor­ner, this may be just the right time to up­grade your head­wear.

The big three of the In­dian hel­met mar­ket — Studds, Steel­bird and Vega — have all got strong port­fo­lios in all va­ri­eties of head cov­ers, be it for reg­u­lar com­mut­ing or rac­ing or the dirt-track vari­ants that are so pop­u­lar with bike hooli­gans. And with su­per­bikes pro­lif­er­at­ing, im­ported, ul­tra lux­u­ri­ous and su­per-light stuff too can be had, if you have the moolah.

As­sum­ing that you are a reg­u­lar rider than a racer (who have their own pri­vate so­cial net­work­ing par­lance), here are a few things that you should look at while buy­ing a hel­met:

All heads are not the same size — or shape. Buy some­thing that suits you. And if one com­pany’s models are not a good fit, don’t hes­i­tate to move to the next shop.

Even if you don’t plan to zoom at 100-odd kph, the up­hol­stery in­side the pot does make a dif­fer­ence. It ought to be com­fort­ably tight. Do re­mem­ber, a hel­met tends to be­come loose over time, so it is bet­ter to go in for a tight fit — es­pe­cially in windy con­di­tions: the wind sound with the vi­sor down kills the thrill of a fast ride, be­sides foul­ing up vi­sion and fo­cus.

This is a del­i­cate point. A full face hel­met of­fers pro­tec­tion to the jaw­line. With the vi­sor down, it also pro­tects the face against grime and dust, the bane of north In­dia. On the other hand, one ends up with a roasted head and pre­ma­ture bald­ing. Over­all, a full-face is still prefer­able for the pro­tec­tion it of­fers.

On hot sum­mer days, a hel­met that chan­nels some draft into the top of the hel­met is a balm. Th­ese are slightly more ex­pen­sive than the run- of- the mill pots, but worth the ex­tra money. Mul­ti­ple vents, with the op­tion to slide shut, is the best op­tion — they can be used in win­ter as well. This is pure swank, but all com­pa­nies th­ese days of­fer hel­mets with great graph­ics. If the lines can con­vey your per­son­al­ity (or what you think of your­self!) why not shell out a bit ex­tra? By the way, those World War style hel­mets, while great look­ing, won’t go a long way if you suf­fer a crash.

Av­er­age full- face hel­mets from a good brand can cost as lit­tle as The more features you add, the more the cost goes up. A good In­dian hel­met with great graph­ics, ven­ti­la­tion and full-face pro­tec­tion costs a shade south of On the other hand, if you ride Har­ley David­son or BMW, it would be a pity to spoil it with cheap head­wear: splurge a lit­tle, buy some­thing that matches the over­all ef­fects. Im­ported hel­mets — Shoei, Arai and what have you — start at and go all the way up to sev­eral tens of thou­sands. Re­mem­ber, the first pur­pose of the hel­met is not to keep the traf­fic cop at bay. It is to pro­tect your head. Happy rid­ing.

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