Top five helmet tips from Arai race truck

Published: 12 June 2009

Arai is celebrating its 25th anniversary appearance at the TT this week, commending their TT relationship with a special celebration helmet and giving MCN readers the fruits of their knowledge.

Arai’s Race Service continuously tours the paddocks of the British Superbike Championship and road racing venues.

Technical Manager, John Swann, is the man who heads up the unit at every race meeting.

At the TT he and his team can expect to service up to 100 helmets a day.

They keep hold of helmets overnight in a dehumidifier in the back of the race truck to remove all the moisture from the linings and to ensure the anti-fog systems work to an optimum level.

But what does it take to keep your helmet working to its best? Here is John Swann’s top five top tips.

1. If you’re riding regularly you should be looking to replace your helmet every five years. That’s not so helmet manufactures can make money – a helmet protects your head but don’t expect any helmet, no matter how much you pay for it, to last a lifetime.

I’ve just had a guy here at the TT come to me and ask if I can refurbish his helmet – it was 17 years old and rotting!

2. If you drop or ding your lid, get it inspected. If there is any doubt in your mind at all, return it to the manufacture who should be able to inspect it for you. Arai offers this as a free service and we do well over 500 a year.

3. Remember the helmet is designed to protect your head – it’s not a handbag. It’s not there to store things. Velcro on gloves can destroy the interior and any damp or bugs on the gloves themselves will just transfer to the helmet.

4. Whenever you can, use the helmet bag to carry the helmet. If not, use the closed chin strap to carry it. Do not use the chin bar to carry the helmet.

The sweat from your hands contains acids that can damage the visor seals and we regularly see damage to the vents on the chin bars because of carrying. Any damage to these will prevent your helmet to work how it’s designed to.

5. Periodically clean your helmet. Most modern helmets have removable liners. Wash them in the shower or bath and then dry them by fanning them with warm fresh air, NOT a hairdryer as this damages the liners.

Follow the guidelines for cleaning in the helmet handbook – use warm soapy water to clean the shell and wash off residue if you use anything else as it’s the residues that can harm polycarbonate visors and the shells the most.

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