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FOCUS INTRO – Helmets

December 20, 2004
Filed under Features

Whether a state has a helmet law or not, walk into any powersports dealership and you’ll likely see a wide array of helmets on display.
And why not? With suppliers offering dealer margins of 30% to 50%, helmet sales are easy money. There’s more to it than sales, however. Many dealers know that, like tires, helmets also need to be replaced every once in a while to keep them functioning safely.
If someone is in the store to buy a new Kodiak 400, do you ask if they need a helmet? If they’re looking at jackets, do you ask what they use for a helmet? If they want an oil filter for a ’92 GSX-R, do you ask them how old their helmet is?
While helmet manufacturers like to use new terms for the materials and manufacturing processes of their helmets, the conventional motorcycle helmet has two principal protective components: a thin, hard, outer shell made of ABS plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber or Kevlar; and a soft, thick, inner liner usually made of expanded polystyrene foam or expanded polyproplyene foam.
Because of their design, motorcycle helmets break in a crash (thus expending the energy otherwise destined for the wearer’s skull), so they provide little or no protection after their first impact – even if there isn’t any externally visible damage.
So, for the best protection, helmets should be replaced after any impact, and every three or so years even if no impact is known to have occurred. Can you hear the cash register ringing?
In this issue of Powersports Business, we highlight a number of helmet brands available to U.S. consumers, from the Arai RX-7 Corsair to the Winex SRX III. Take a look at some of the new offerings now, because inspecting all of the ‘05 lids at the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis will, as you probably already know, be close to impossible.

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