A motorcycle helmet is the one thing a rider cannot do without, aside from a motorcycle, of course. Some riders resent helmets, doing without them or wearing inadequate or damaged helmets, but a helmet can make the difference between a lethal accident and something survivable. No helmet can protect a rider against every conceivable danger, but wearing a helmet is the single best thing a rider can do to be safer. eBay offers a convenient and low-cost way to find a helmet, but choosing the right helmet is much harder online than in person. The key is to know what to look for in a helmet, how to take care of a helmet, and how to use eBay to get the most of online and in-person shopping combined.
Choosing a Motorcycle Helmet
Choosing a motorcycle is a complex decision. The buyer must consider fit, size, style, and price. While all legally approved motorcycle helmets offer significant protection in the event of a crash, a helmet does no good at all if it is too uncomfortable, or too unattractive, for a rider to want to wear it.
Motorcycle helmets have two main layers: a hard outer shell that protects against penetration by sharp objects, like road debris, and an inner layer of expanded foam designed to spread and absorb the force of an impact. Helmets also have internal padding for proper fit and comfort, plus face shields. In a crash, the foam crushes so the rider's brain does not. A helmet might not look any different after a crash, because the damaged foam is hidden under the outer shell. Once the foam has crushed, there is no way to fix it; helmets are good for only one crash.
A damaged or poor quality helmet does nothing to protect the wearer. A helmet must be retired after a crash, or after three to five years, depending on use, since helmet materials normally degrade over time. Because there is no effective way to check a helmet for damage or age, helmets should always be bought new. Australian law requires that motorcycle helmets sold in Australia meet certain quality standards and bear appropriate labelling. Although other countries also have certification processes, the Australian standards are amongst the highest in the world, and in any case helmets sold overseas have not been through the Australian approval process. For this reason, motorcycle riders may want to purchase motorcycle helmets from Australian eBay sellers.
Most motorcycle helmets belong to one of several basic types. Full face helmets cover the entire head, including the lower jaw, leaving only a window for the face. Most have a clear windscreen covering the face. These helmets get hot inside, though many feature vents that allow some cooler air in, but they provide the most protection of any helmet type. Open face helmets lack the bar across the jaw, and shorties are even more minimal, being built something like bicycle helmets. Some riders prefer the greater comfort and freedom of an even more minimal helmet, but the less coverage a helmet provides, the more vulnerable a rider is in the event of an accident. All approved helmets do provide some protection.
Helmet Size and Fit
It is important to get a helmet of the right size; too large, and the helmet wobbles and might not stay in place during an accident, too small, and the helmet becomes impossibly uncomfortable to wear. Fit is obviously related, but it is not exactly the same thing. A helmet can be the right size and still be the wrong shape because each person's head is unique. It is almost impossible to find a motorcycle helmet that fits properly without trying it on first. To buy a helmet through eBay, either find a local seller to meet with in person, if the seller agrees, or use eBay to find a new copy of a favourite helmet that has been retired. Since the new helmet is the same as the old one, trying it on before purchase is not necessary.
When trying on a helmet, put it on properly and then try pushing backward on the front and then pulling forward on the lower back. If the helmet moves, it is too big. The helmet should also be snug against the forehead, without room to slide in a finger. Then, leave the helmet on for ten minutes or so and see if any pinch points or pressure points start to develop. Make sure the helmet does not limit vision, either. Some sound muffling is actually preferable.
All motorcycle helmets legally sold in Australia must meet the same high safety standards. The difference between a high-priced motorcycle helmet and a discount helmet is, in general, how enjoyable the helmet is to wear. Some brands are simply considered more stylish than others, and these run at higher prices simply because of higher demand. Helmets that have been carefully designed to fit comfortably, have good airflow, and so forth, are also worth more. Helmets with a polycarbonate shell cost less to make and are therefore usually less expensive to buy, but they are much heavier than higher-end fibreglass or Kevlar shell helmets.
Caring for Motorcycle Helmets
The best helmet in the world is not much use if it is damaged. There is no way to repair a damaged helmet, and no way to tell if a helmet has been damaged simply by looking at it. The key is to buy helmets new and then take good care of them. After a crash or after three to five years, replace them.
Treat the Helmet Gently
Although motorcycle helmets need to be retired after a crash, simply dropping a helmet on the ground occasionally does not cause a problem. A helmet could be damaged by being seriously banged around, and might need to be replaced sooner than later, but empty helmets are fairly durable. It is only when a helmet is banged up with the weight of the wearer inside it that it must automatically be retired. Do not hang it on hard, projecting objects that could puncture the foam or store it in direct sunlight. Do not alter the helmet, except by adding decals or painting it according to the manufacturer's guidelines.
Cleaning the Helmet
Cleaning a motorcycle helmet properly is not only important for sanitary reasons; it is also a big part of making the helmet last longer. Disassemble the helmet according to the manufacturer's instructions. Wash any removable pads or liners separately. Wash all parts in pH neutral soap and warm water, rinse thoroughly, and air dry completely. Use a fan to help dry in more humid climates, but do not use anything hot, such as a hair dryer. Do not use petroleum products. The visor may need a new anti-fog coating after time. Lubricate any moving pieces with silicone lubricant, but be sure to wipe away any extra lubricant. Reassemble, and use a mild polishing agent on the outside. More detailed instructions are available online.
How to Buy a Motorcycle Helmet on eBay
As noted, eBay is a good place to find a replacement for a favourite helmet that has been retired. Even if the helmet in question is rare or hard to find, eBay's large selection evens the odds of getting lucky. And the site is pretty intuitive to search.
Start by entering 'motorcycle helmet' into the search box. Use the menu options to narrow the results as much as possible and filter by helmet type, price range, and other criteria. Or, if browsing the lists is not the point, use the Advanced Search option to look for a specific model. Another option is to go through eBay Deals where the best prices of the day are listed. The main thing is to communicate well with the seller. The seller's profile page lists his or her contact information, along with the feedback score and any special policies. If a question comes up, just ask.
Buying a motorcycle helmet is an important step. More than any other piece of gear, a helmet increases a rider's chance of surviving a crash to ride again. A good helmet not only has met Australia's high safety standards, but is also comfortable enough to wear for long rides and stylish enough so the rider wants to wear it. Because everybody's sense of style is different, and everyone's head is a slightly different shape, finding a really great helmet can be difficult. Unfortunately, no helmet lasts very long; a helmet that has been in a crash or is more than three to five years old must be retired and replaced. Fortunately, eBay is a great way to look for a replacement helmet of the same model.
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