Sep 19, 2012

5 From my wish list: Dual Sport Helmet [What/Why/Benefits/Drawbacks/Brands in India]

A look at Dual Sport helmets..

Yep, a dual sport helmet is next in my wish list of must have biking gears (i.e. after I get a new bike for myself first).



But what is a dual sport helmet in the first place? What are the benefits and drawbacks of a dual sport helmet? Why this sudden itch of mine for a dual sport helmet? And what are the options/brands of dual sport helmets in India? Let’s run down one question at a time.


What is a dual sport helmet?

A dual sport helmet is basically a hybrid between an off road and a street helmet. Like an off road helmet it has a elongated chin and a visor peak. And like a street helmet it gets a face shield.



A dual sport helmet therefore as the name suggests combines the benefit of both an off road helmet and the usability of a street helmet. This makes a dual sport helmet ideal for use both in off road and street/tarmac/city riding.


Benefits and drawbacks of dual sport helmets

Benefit [1] - Aggressive / Adventure biker looks: A dual purpose helmet has an athletic and adventurous looks. It has a kind of Decepticon/Transformer/Modern day Gladiator type aggressive looks.

Benefit [2] - The “visor/peak” keeps the sun off the rider’s eyes: In an off road helmet the top visor is useful in blocking the mud and debris kicked up by the other bikes at the front. It also keeps the sun off from the rider’s eyes. In a dual sport helmet the “visor/peak” therefore is there to keep the glare of the sun off the rider’s eyes.



Benefit [3] - The elongated chin provides for more space: Due to the long chin, a dual sport helmet feels more spacious than a normal full face helmet.

Benefit [4] - Wider field of vision: Compared to a conventional full face helmet an off road/dual sport helmet provides a wider field of vision due to its large and wider face shield area.




Drawback [1] - Not aerodynamic for track style riding: The peak/sun visor on most dual sport helmets tends to catch air and therefore not perfect for fast track style riding. these days I often get to see some blokes on bikes like the R15/Ninja 250R pottering around in dual sport / off road helmets. Well it’s not something against some kind of biking manual per se, but then you don’t go to a discotheque dressed up in a suit and tie, do you?

Drawback [2] - Can be slightly heavy: The elaborate design/elements that goes into a dual sport helmets can sometimes make them heavy. There are cheap ones in the market that are pretty light but then they are very flimsy to qualify as a proper helmet.

Drawback [3] - The face shield might not be distortion free: Due to the extra curvature around the face, getting the face shield optically distortion free is a challenge. Expensive top of the line dual sport helmets can get a optically perfect face shield but budget dual sport helmets seem to have a little bit of distortion when viewed through its face shield.


Why am I looking for a dual sport helmet?

I am in my mid thirties now. And though age is all in the mind, I have somehow started to develop a fondness for bikes which makes you sit a bit higher, has comfortable upright handlebars but at the same time has got sporty rear set foot pegs. Sounds like the KTM 200 Duke or the Pulsar 200NS..?? It should actually because these are the two models which has given me a taste in a small way of what it would be like to ride an Adventure (a big dual sport bike) bike, like of the BMW 1200GS..!!

A full faired super sports replica (la R15, Ninja 250R) might smell like teen spirit, but right now an Adventure replica is more appealing like “mature wine” to me. As form follows function, my lust for a dual sport helmet only probably reflects the evolving biker next door.


Options/brands of dual sport helmets available in India [in 2012]

Gliders & Vega: I have seen two domestic brands so far. One called “Gliders” and another probably from “Vega”. Between the two in terms of looks the Vega is sharper and more aggressive. But in terms of quality they are far off from what I expect/need from a helmet. If I remember correctly both the helmets get ISI certification but then they are just better than having no protection at all. I would stay away from them.

Gliders Dual Sport Helmet


Arai: One of the best helmet brand “Arai” is available in India. Mumbai based Performance Racing Store (www.performanceracing.in) sells Arai helmets in India and they have a dual sport model from Arai in their lineup. According to reviews it is one of the best money can buy. But then the price of the Arai helmets at Rs. 33,000 is out of reach of most Indian middle class bikers.

Arai Dual Sport Hemlet


SOL: An international brand called “SOL” is being sold in India by Chennai based Spartan Pro Gear (www.spartanprogear.com) and they got a dual sport design as well. Priced very reasonably at around Rs. 4500, the SOL dual sport helmet seems good value for money. And being an international brand I assume it will be much better in terms of quality than the “Gliders” and “Vega” helmets.

SOL Dual Sport Helmet



A couple of more Imported Options (one of which I plan to get for myself):

If you got friends who are on an onsite trip to the US it’s not very difficult to get stuff from the US. And this is what exactly I am planning to do. Two dual sport helmets that have recently got my attention are the “AGV AX-8 DS” and the “Sparx Nexxus”.

AGV AX-8 DS Helmet

The AX-8 is actually a premium dual sport helmet which is currently available at a 50% discount ($ 199) due to its upgrade the AX-8 DS Evo being there in the market. The design of the AGV AX-8 DS is quite aggressive. This helmet has got great reviews and seems to be one of the best out there. Also at 1,490 gms it is just 100 odd gms heavier than my current Carbon Fibre helmet which means that it is reasonably light weight for a good quality dual sport helmet.

The other option the Sparx Nexxus is priced lower at around $ 165 and even with an additional face shield ($ 18-20) thrown in it still remains under the $200 mark.


Sparx Nexxus Dual Sport Helmet



I plan to get one of the two just before (or maybe after) I get my Pulsar 200NS. So will it be the AGV AX-8 or the Sparx Nexxus..?? Got any suggestions/tips for me?




P.S: Can anyone get one for me from the states? If yes, kindly let me know at bikernextdoor@gmail.com


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Disclaimer:

This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.




5 Comments:

Vivek4mJH said...

Try Ebay.in global easy buy, for example ... http://orders.ebay.in/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ImportHubViewItem&itemid=200819267618

Prices are slightly higher, but you'll get what you need.

carvaka said...

just going by the looks - i would go for the AX-8.

i am also in my early 30s and looking forward to buy a bike in the next 3/4 months. narrowed down to duke and 200ns. i would prefer the duke but the pillion seat is giving me second thought. (do you think it will be comfortable for the ladies? )

so i am curious what made you choose 200ns over the duke.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@carvaka,

The Pulsar 200NS is more comfortable to sit/ride and more relaxed in its power delivery. The 200 Duke is more urgent and focussed more for street thrill. Both are good machines and very differnt from each other. The Pulsar feels more mature and versatile, the reason why I am planning to go for it.

@ Vivek, thanks

I think I would be going for the AGV AX-8 DS... the 50% closeout offering is very tempting

Sanket Kambli said...

SOL looks VFM

Anonymous said...

SOL is pretty VFM. Check my FB albums for a quick review.
Album titled (Things that I use)
~Satyen

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