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View Full Version : Helmets: Open-face vs. full


SONET
12-27-2002, 04:49 PM
I just went to <a href="http://www.subesports.com">Sube Sports</a> in Huntington Beach to try on some helmets. A nice guy named Andreas helped me (an avid VW/Audi guy and long-time racer apparently, also a driving instructor). I was trying on the Bell M2 and the Bieffe Predator (which I preferred - I like that it has a removable/washable liner) and he actually recommended that I go with an open-face helmet.

He said that if the car has airbags, drivers suffer more injury with full helmets because the airbag forces the bottom of your helmet into your jaw. I hadn't thought of it but it seems logical to me. He said he had seen injuries like this before at the track where airbags had deployed and the full helmet had caused injury where there likely would have been none had the drivers been wearing open-face helmets.

In the end he suggested the Bell Mag 4 (?) for the shape of my face (somewhat square), which was around $200.

I thought I would post this here to see if anyone had any input or conflicting info before I went out and made a purchase. Anyone? :dunno:

--SONET

nate
12-27-2002, 04:56 PM
I have been seriously considering switching to open face. I don't think the full face would be that beneficial in a closed cockpit and the cooling would be better with an open face.

JLee
12-27-2002, 05:05 PM
i'm claustrophobic (did i spell that right ?)

i have an open face helmet

jeff

KWiK
12-27-2002, 05:23 PM
I use an open face helmet, not because of the airbag thing but because you have better visibility

Mr Paddle.Shift
12-27-2002, 05:42 PM
wait a minute....full face helmet can cause more injury if the airbag deploys? :confused:

I seriously doubt the <i>force</i> from the airbag can dent the lower part of the the full face helmet. Otherwise, it's a crappy helmet to begin with. Think about it, Paul, if the force is that strong, then it will disfigure our face too. I don't think our facial structure is any stronger than the helmet. If the airbag force can push the lower part of the helmet into our jaw, then without the helmet, the force will push our jaw into our stomach. Wait..did I get it right....yep.

I have a Bell sport II. Great helmet. No fuss. And an ALPINA sticker on the side. :lmao:

Bob330Ci
12-27-2002, 07:12 PM
First gen airbags detonated face down on the ground would blast themselves some 250 feet in the air. I don't think there's much argument that they're not exactly cottony soft.

I suppose it's more a question of the force being spread out or concentrated when it hits you, and the wrong helmet could probably cause some point pressure vs. the air bag hitting you across your entire face. Just a theory. :dunno: Either way not pleasant.

B.

SONET
12-27-2002, 07:12 PM
Originally posted by VinceTopasBlau3
If the airbag force can push the lower part of the helmet into our jaw, then without the helmet, the force will push our jaw into our stomach. Wait..did I get it right....yep.

I have a Bell sport II. Great helmet. No fuss. And an ALPINA sticker on the side. :lmao:
I don't think he meant that the helmet buckles, but rather that the airbag applies pressure on the lower part of the protruding helmet and jams it into your jaw/lower face. :dunno:

This whole thing was kind of a bummer really - here I was envisioning myself looking like a storm trooper with the full helmet. heh That look is great, but if there is any validity to this guy's claims...

As for the Alpina sticker, no surprise there. :lmao: :lmao:

--SONET

Stuka
12-27-2002, 09:07 PM
I am getting the hinged helmet come hell or high water. The whole front side of the helmet flips up, so you can easily stick that pesky communicator into your ear, then you close the entire front, and you are in business.:thumbup: :bigpimp:

Yes, I know I won't be able to run it in LA or GCC events, but hey, "Luke, I'm your father." Mwahahahahaha:bigpimp:

Andy
02 M3 CB/Cloth SMG

·clyde·
12-27-2002, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by VinceTopasBlau3
Otherwise, it's a crappy helmet to begin with.

Or...the helmet is the wrong size for the person wearing it, or is improperly fastened/adjusted.

Stuka
12-27-2002, 09:13 PM
Originally posted by Bob330Ci
First gen airbags detonated face down on the ground would blast themselves some 250 feet in the air. I don't think there's much argument that they're not exactly cottony soft.
B.

Airbags here are calibrated to save the retarded unbelted 180 pound adult male. Hmm, I wonder what happens when a small child or woman come in direct contact with this kind of airbag?:banghead: :thumbdwn: :mad:

Also thanks to the mouth piece of Detroit we called NHTSA, M3 drivers get stiffed with gas guzzler tax while the Ford Excretion does not. And then there's the stupid non adjusting headlights. The list goes on. We need to ratify ECE automobile standard like, last year.:thumbdwn: :thumbdwn: :thumbdwn: :banghead:

Andy
02 M3 CB/CLoth SMG

JT - '02 330i
12-27-2002, 09:56 PM
I got a open face (corrected to avoid confusion) for two reasons:

1) I can talk while inside to the car to instructors, or when being an instructor without having to have the muffled scream that you get from a full face helmet.

2) If you're already in the car, getting a really damn expensive helmet to me seemed silly. So I got a $79 type M helmet for autocross.

Overall I'm really happy with it.

doeboy
12-28-2002, 12:29 AM
Originally posted by JT - '02 330i
I got a full face for two reasons:

1) I can talk while inside to the car to instructors, or when being an instructor without having to have the muffled scream that you get from a full face helmet.

2) If you're already in the car, getting a really damn expensive helmet to me seemed silly. So I got a $79 type M helmet for autocross.

Overall I'm really happy with it.

uh... I think you mean open face.... don't you? :dunno:

3LOU5
12-28-2002, 10:55 AM
Originally posted by SONET


He said that if the car has airbags, drivers suffer more injury with full helmets because the airbag forces the bottom of your helmet into your jaw. I hadn't thought of it but it seems logical to me. He said he had seen injuries like this before at the track where airbags had deployed and the full helmet had caused injury where there likely would have been none had the drivers been wearing open-face helmets.



I think what was meant by his remark is that the bag hits the bottom of the helmet and as a result forces your head to violently flex forward (if the fit is right), sort of like a "lever effect". Visualize the region of your ear as the pivot point. Remember, the bottom part of the helmet juts further out and thus INCREASES this effect.

(I don't autocross but I do regularly ride a sportbike. You won't catch me out riding without my full-face on. But that will change once I get my H-D. No helmet laws in FL !)

With that said, if I was to buy a helmet for autox, I'd opt for an open-face. More ventilation, better visibility and I think might further reduce this "effect", IMHO. :dunno:

Mr Paddle.Shift
12-28-2002, 11:34 AM
And that too... :)

Also, I was told a good measure is a two-finger length.

Originally posted by Clyde@work
Or...the helmet is the wrong size for the person wearing it, or is improperly fastened/adjusted.

Akakubi
12-28-2002, 01:08 PM
I went for a full-face aerodynamic helmet since it is more versatile. I can use it in the Go-Karts, Formula's, Dune Buggy and in my Bimmer.

A friend of mine was riding in a Westfield and had to hold his regular fuul-face helmet from peeling off at over 100MPH! :) Imagine riding with a open-face one... And in the Buggy all the sand flying into your mouth and eyes can be easily blocked by the visor.

Visibility is not hampered whatsoever (and I have a narrow port Bieffe F1 GP). The only nasty downside is poor ventilation in high heat weather. But with windows down, fan at full blast and adrenaline pumping I can only notice the effect on the cooling laps.

Raffi
12-28-2002, 02:46 PM
I'd have to agree with Vince and Akakubi. I have a full-face helmet, Bell M3.

SONET, if you want to get the helmet, I may be able to get you a good deal from a vendor in Pasadena. Let me know.

operknockity
12-28-2002, 03:22 PM
Originally posted by VinceTopasBlau3
Also, I was told a good measure is a two-finger length.
There you go talkin 'bout your package again :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

teamdfl
12-31-2002, 12:01 AM
That is the first time I have ever heard of that full face helmet vs. airbag nonsense in 12 years of autocrossing and 6 years of driver schools. When asked, most instructors I've talked to recommend full face helmets. As a mechanical engineer (I'm a year away from my PE license), I do not buy into anything that sales guy claims.

Don't believe everything the sales guy tells you. Don't believe everything I say. Talk to the instructors and track hounds in your local BMWCCA chapter.

If you are mainly autocrossing and will only attend a couple track days a year, get an open face helmet for comfort. Full face lids suck in 100+ degree weather. If you plan on attending several (4+?) track days a year, get a good full face helmet with an SA2000 rating.


Ed