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Buying the right motorcycle helmet for you. Expert tips.

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There’s an old saying in the motorcycle world: If you’ve got a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet.

The plastic buckets that are commonly seen around the region are not legal here thanks to legislation: Every motorcyclist and pillion in Singapore is required to wear a helmet that complies with Singapore Standard Specification S.S. 9:1992, and bears a PSB Certification Mark or PSB Batch Inspected label.

Motorcyclists and pillion riders who do not wear proper protective helmets will get up to three months' jail or a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.

Still, even with a helmet that complies with the rules it is possible to go wrong.

Fit is the first issue. Different manufacturers make different shaped helmets (some manufacturers offer different shapes for different models), so you will need to try a few on before settling on what is right for you. Whether you buy open or full-face is up to your personal preferences.

Measure the circumference of your head just above the ears for a basic guide to size.

With the helmet facing down and the chinpiece facing you, hook your thumbs inside the helmet at the straps, before lifting and pulling it onto your head using the straps. It will probably feel quite tight going on.

Once it is on it should fit snugly. If you move the helmet to the right and left or up and down, it should move your skin with it – if the helmet moves on your head it is too large.

The cheek pieces should be in contact with your cheeks, without pressing uncomfortably – some of the more expensive lids have interchangeable cheek pieces.

Ensure that it sits straight on your head so that eye level is at or near the middle of the visor, and that the brow piece is in contact with your brow with no space to fit a finger.

Secure the chin strap. If it is possible to pull the helmet off by rotating it forward, or by rotating it backwards, then the fit is not right and it will not protect you when it is most needed.

Push back on the chin piece to ensure your nose doesn’t come into contact with the visor – something that may happen at highway speeds.

Remember that the lining will compact over time, so it will loosen up with wear. The fit should be firm but not uncomfortably so; if you feel pressure in a particular part of your head, the shape is wrong for you, and you should try a different brand.

It may be slightly embarrassing in the store, but if you keep the helmet on for 10 minutes, you’ll have a good idea whether it fits properly – too much pressure in one point is bound to cause a headache, and that’s not good.

Helmets range in price from under $100 to around $1,000. If, like me, your head shape suits helmets at the more expensive end of that range, you can always save some money by opting for plain colours over fancy graphics.

Depending on how frequently it is used, a good helmet should give you up to five years service. Remember though, they’re designed for one use – if you’ve crashed or dropped the helmet from much more than a metre, it will need replacement.

Budget Direct Insurance
No-Nonsense, money saving insurance for your motorcycle

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