Originally Posted by nomster
Was it an 'S' model? Those have clip-on handlebars, making it slightly more of a forward position.
Ah, OK. Didn't know there was that difference between the two :)
Standard one should be quite good, then.
Originally Posted by krypt0nian
Good to hear a road story in this cold shitty time.
Any opinions on Hawk helmets? What are people thinking about helmets in general? Is it necessary to spend $400 or are some of the sub-$200 lids a good idea?
A bit of controversy arose when Motorcyclist published an article with some testing claiming that the current Snell standard is actually not the safest way to make a helmet shell. Snell standards require the helmet shell to be able to sustain two impacts in the same spot during one of their drop tests. A number have called this unrealistic and unreasonable. It is said that because of the stronger shells needed to meet this, more force is transmitted to the rider's head during a crash...therefore it's less safe. Snell responded by saying their standard balances the energy absorption with high shell strength, and further noted a sort of threshold where a head injury would/would not occur. Basically they said if it's below a given measurement, further reducing the impact forces would not add to the safety of the helmet. It is speculated that the new Snell standard in 2010 will call for lower amount of force transferred than in previous standards (keep in mind these are the max allowed...every manufacturer devises their own unique safety bits).
That said, all my helmets have been Shoei, therefore, Snell-certified. I recommend you get a full face helmet for starters. Secondly, know that part of the price hike on Shoei, Arai, Suomy, Shark, AGV, etc is not necessarily due to better safety per se, but rather shell size. Helmets have their shell and some more solid padding inside the shell before you get to the cushioning. These affect the size of the helmet. The shell itself weighs the most. The shell is what gives the helmet its overall size. In manufacturing, it's cheaper to make one or two sizes of anything (this includes helmet shells). So, what a number of the less expensive manufacturers do is make fewer (if more than one) shell sizes to help cut costs. If a larger size, they would then fill in the gap in the helmet with thicker padding. This is not ideal, as the rider would end up with a much bigger, heavier helmet than what suits him or her.
If you are skeptical of the Snell standard alone on a helmet, http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/
can be a good resource (or really...a good secondary one even if you buy a Snell-certified helmet). I believe they tend to rely a bit more on rating helmets based on energy absorption rather than shell strength. My helmet, the Shoei X-Eleven (or X-Spirit in other countries) is Snell and DOT certified, and it got 4/5 stars. A handful of helmets got 5/5, one of them being a Shark. If you want Snell, check that websites rating after to see what it got...some will score higher than others.
The best thing you can do is to try on the helmet you're buying. Have someone at the shop help you, as they'll know what to look for. There's a good chance you'll be able to find a helmet that fits you well enough so that you wouldn't feel the need to shell out extra $$. I am a believer, though, that you should wear the best you can get...it's your head...you only have one. If you can get a well-rated helmet safety-wise for less (again, SHARP is a great secondary check), by all means go ahead. Just make sure you're getting something you feel you can fully trust based on the info you have. I bought a second X-Eleven after my accident this past November...I was thrown into the air and smacked the side of my head on the pavement when I landed. The helmet did wonderfully, and the shell/padding is a perfect fit on me...so I re-bought without hesitation.
As a final note, if you decide to not get a helmet that's Snell-certified (assuming you're in the U.S.), I recommend that you not get one that's only DOT-certified...get one that also meets ECE 22.05 (the Euro certification). This is partially due to the manufacturers doing their own certification for DOT, not DOT itself. Check that SHARP link out, also.