Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hear, hear!

To ride is a blessing, but it can be a surprisingly loud one.

I can hear the incredulous voices rising from many quarters "Dude, you ride a friggin' Vespa! What noise?"

Well... to you I say, get on my Vespa, get out on the highway, wind it up to 120 km/h, and then we'll talk about noise.  Motorcycle helmets get noisy, very noisy.  I love my Nolan, but it's not by any means near the top of the list of quietest helmets.

I discovered the solution when I cut the windscreen on my LX150 to mid height and was shocked at the turbulent buffetting I had.  You get an idea of what that is when someone opens one of the back windows of the car at highway speeds.

I already knew that many riders advocated ear plugs, but I didn't really get it until that moment.

For the last couple of years I've been wearing orange silicone ear plugs I picked up in the tool department at the local Sears store.  They've done the trick.  I never ride without ear plugs anymore. If you can believe it, my Sena headset sounds better with the earplugs.  And yes, I can still hear the traffic around me, and emergency vehicle sirens, almost as well as when I am driving Susan's BMW X3 with the windows up, the air on, and the radio belting tunes.

The orange ear plugs could stand to be replaced.  They certainly don't owe me anything.

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded the most recent Aerostitch catalogue <drools>.  That's when I saw that they offer an assortment of 10 different permanent ear plugs for US$28.  This morning I put in an order.  US$38 with delivery.  Not necessarily cheap, but certainly a cheap thrill (I ordered something from the Aerostitch catalogue... pinch me!)
Now I have a little something to look forward to.


RichardM said...

My Nolan N104 is significantly quieter than my old HJC Symax-II. I can still hear the wind but adjusting the angle of the windscreen really makes a difference. I still wear earplugs most of the time and use some of the custom molded silicone ones.

That wind noise has probably impacted riders hearing more than anything else.

David Masse said...

Richard, I am literally days away from pulling the trigger on a brand new Nolan N104. I tried it on at the BMW dealer and loved what I saw.

My current helmet is a Nolan N102.

The N104 is head and shoulders better: it's lighter, the hinge mechanism is much, much smoother, the integrated sun visor is really good, there's a lock-open switch (not sure I'll use it, but you never know), it comes with the pinlock fog shield (I don't have one, I hold my breath a lot), it feels great, and the way the face shield hinges makes it a little less prominent when open.

I still has the same two-factor face shield release that I love. It's the only modular that stays closed 100% of the time in the UK impact tests.

After some back and forth with myself on the color, I think I'm going to stick to basic black.

I'm really glad to hear that it will likely be quieter than the one I have now. If it is, I'll be very pleased, if it isn't, no big deal, the ear plugs do the trick.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

I should pay more attention to helmet noise, instead worry more about fit for my round head. I don't ever go without earplugs these days, no matter the helmet or shield.

VStar Lady said...

I'm with Coop - never ride without ear plugs (hearing damage, rider fatigue - many reasons.) I love my custom made ear plugs and because I lost one the kind folks at BigEars made me a new set (fitted for just my ears) for a ridiculously low price. As far as helmets go ... thought I'd never say this, but I think I'm done with modulars! I tried riding with the new Shoei full face (which fit my round head most perfectly) last summer. I couldn't believe how much more flexibility I had, how much less it weighed and how much quieter it was - modulars are always going to be noisier because of the design, it only takes seconds to pull it off, and it's a good break.

David Masse said...

Coop, it took me a while to get there, but I'll never go back.

I'm looking forward to trying out the various designs in the trial pack.

With a little luck, I'll like more than one pair, and I'll be set for a while.

Now I'm going to spend some me time leafing through the catalogue.

David Masse said...

Karen, I love my modular, and I think I'll love the next one even more.

I love being able to flip up the face shield when I'm gassing up, or stuck in traffic, or need to talk to a parking lot, toll booth or border crossing attendant.

All that, and I always thought that Ivanhoe was really cool with his flip up helmet. Back then I don't think the word 'modular' hade been invented.

Maybe in a few years' time I'll come around to your way of looking at this.

Dar said...

I have been off/on about ear plugs and I can say I have noticed a slight decrease in my hearing acuity. I am actually going to spring for some custom made ear plugs before I start riding this summer. I have small ear canals and the all the squishy ones are just too big and irritate my ears. My Shoei is quieter than my old HJC helmet, but not by much.

RichardM said...

The only hassle I had was getting the Sena installed. I did a blog post on that and it is by far the most "popular" post according to Google.

David Masse said...

... thanks Richard, that's my concern as well, hustling off to read that.

David Masse said...

Read it! Nice post, very helpful, and that clears the last of my concerns.

For others, here's a link to Richard's post. I plan to do a similar one once I get my greedy little hands on my new Nolan.

David Masse said...

Dar, I think that's a wise decision. Hearing loss is a one way trip.

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