No mask? No problem. In the era of COVID-19, motorsports activities have emerged as a popular way for people to finally escape their homes but still remain socially distant. In fact, according to a data analysis from Hedges & Co., eCommerce purchases of powersports parts and accessories increased 157% between March 1, 2020 and the last week of May.
Given the push for people to cover their faces this year, now would seem like the best time to be selling full-face helmets. After all, what better way to keep your sneezes and spit to yourself than by encasing your entire head?
Wearing masks has brought a lot of controversy into the public eye recently, but racers have, for years, worn balaclavas to provide extra protection under their helmets. While this is successful in racing, some industry professionals say otherwise for the typical mask wearing rider.
Visordown.com interviewed Dr. Tommy Lim, who is himself a motorcycle rider. Dr. Lim cautions riders against wearing masks while they ride, noting that the material impedes breathability, causing riders to take in less oxygen. Why is this a problem? When adrenaline kicks in, which causes your heart rate to increase, it demands more oxygen. But if ample oxygen isn’t there, the rider could black out, which could cause a fatal accident at high speeds.
Speaking of accidents, while I hope that none of your customers ever suffer from one, there is always a chance. Everyone knows that full-face helmets provide the most protection for riders’ heads out of all the helmet types, but manufacturers are still making constant adjustments to the shell and padding materials to further improve safety, while keeping them lightweight. Perhaps one of the more ingenious solutions some manufacturers have been adding to full-face helmets in recent years is the Emergency Quick Release System (EQRS). Even a rider in the prime of health can have difficulty getting his or her helmet on and off. Now, imagine the scene of an accident where emergency responders have to get the helmet off the victim without further damaging the neck and spine. The EQRS allows medical personnel to easily remove the cheek pads from a rider’s helmet, thereby making it easier to slip the helmet itself off.
Of course, these helmets don’t just provide safety for the skull in case of an accident. They also provide ongoing protection for the auditory and ocular organs as well. Quality helmets are well-sealed and aerodynamically streamlined from underneath the chin bar to the helmet’s crown to reduce airflow noise. In addition, several helmets come with sun shields that flip down behind the face shield with the flick of a switch on the side of the helmet, allowing even riders with gloves to easily adjust as they drive in differently lit settings without having to stop and change out face shields.
As we know, breathability and ventilation are key. While every full-face helmet will have air intakes at the mouth and exhausts around the head, examine how many vents each helmet offers and where airflow is occurring. In addition, think about riders on cold days. While good ventilation is a must on hot days, that same airstream can make the inside of a helmet freezing, so look for helmets that also have adjustable shutters that allow riders to customize the flow.