Multitec Flip-Up Helmet
Have you ever noticed that the typical Harley rider dresses in black leather from toe to neck, and goes lidless or wears just a beanie helmet? Crotch rocket riders, on the other hand, tend to wear a full-face helmet, but just a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. Probably a gross generalization, but I’ve observed it many times.
Living in a helmet state, I disagree with the fact that I am required by law to wear a helmet when I ride a motorcycle. I disagree with the seat belt law as well—you know, “click it or ticket.” I think that as an adult, you should have the right to choose.
Luckily, since I am forced into wearing a helmet when I ride a motorcycle, there are currently multitudes of helmet makers and multitudes of styles to choose from. Even if I wasn’t forced into wearing a helmet, I would probably wear one more often than not. Since I’ve been riding motorcycles for about 30 years, my memory’s probably fuzzy, but I don’t really remember much more than the standard open-face helmet being readily available at most motorcycle dealerships in the ’70s. I purchased a full-face helmet about 15 years ago to wear as an alternative to my open-face helmet. I actually prefer a full-face helmet for longer road trips or colder weather.
This year I moved into the current century of motorcycle helmets and purchased a Shoei Multitec Flip-Up Helmet. Flip-up helmets provide the best of both worlds, and have been around for a few years. Most helmet manufacturers are in their second or third generation of flip-up helmets, as is the case with Shoei. I’ll admit that the nearly $500 price tag gave me pause to consider, but once you slip a Shoei over your head, it feels so much nicer compared to the lower-priced helmet options.
The aerodynamic, noise-canceling technology of the Shoei Multitec is especially apparent when you are not riding behind a windshield. If you happen to be wearing Mack’s silicone earplugs under your Shoei, the quiet is almost eerie. As far as the “effective adjustable vents,” the effectiveness is debatable. As of yet, I have never found a helmet with significantly effective vents, but you can definitely tell a difference when you open the Shoei vents. However, if you happen to be riding behind a windshield in cold weather, you need to slightly lift the visor to minimize the inside fog effect.
AIM (Advanced Integrated Matrix) shell construction apparently means that it consists of “several different layers of fiberglass and high-performance organic fibers (each with different properties) to produce a lightweight shell that is both rigid and flexible.” The “industry-leading quick-release shield” has a solid metal latching mechanism, and the center position release is easy enough to operate with gloved fingers. The Multitec uses the standard D-rings to secure the strap, but Shoei adds a “chinstrap stopper” to secure the end of the strap to prevent it from flapping in the breeze.
When they state “luxurious fit,” I can definitely attest to that. The comfortable fit of the Shoei could be a significant justification for the higher price. I’ve never worn a helmet that was more comfortable. It is lightweight, and weighs in at just under four pounds. I can put the Multitec on in the morning, flip up the face shield for drinks, snacks, or conversation, and do not need to take the helmet off until I am finished riding for the day. From what I’ve heard, the Multitec seems to be biased towards rounder shaped heads, so you definitely need to try before you buy.
Some helmet salespeople seem to think a full-face helmet needs to fit quite tightly; I disagree. I have not had a helmet loosen up enough to make it unsafe over the course of the normal 5- to 7-year lifetime, but my helmet experiences have usually been with high quality helmets. So, if you try on a full-face helmet, just make sure your head will not turn inside the helmet. It should not be too tight or hurt anywhere on your face or head—it should just be snug.
The Shoei Multitec helmet has a five-year warranty, is available in 11 different colors, offers an unrestricted field of view, and even comes with a 22-page instruction manual. If you’re looking for comfortable, quiet, convenient, secure head protection, for the cost of about a quarter a day over the average helmet life, check out a Shoei. They claim that the “Multitec represents the pinnacle of flip-up helmet design and technology.” I’m sold. Try one on at your local dealer and feel the comfort for yourself.