Matters of the head

Ashok George  /
30 Jun 2016 18:10:28 IST

I'm still recovering from a fairly recent crash. I suffered a serious concussion that came from landing face first into the tarmac. The impact was strong enough to crack the chin bar of my Arai. I still can't remember what happened at the crash. My last memory is of refuelling around 180km before the place I crashed at. I also suffered a week of severe confusion and some serious memory lapses. I've been to the doctor and he's assured me that there is nothing wrong with my brain that wasn't wrong right from the beginning. So yes, I'll be okay. But that's not what I've been thinking about. I'm wondering what would have happened had I not been wearing that Arai. What if I was wearing any of the Indian helmets that think M or L is the universal size of every head of every person who ever swung a leg over a motorcycle? I'm pretty sure that I'd have at least suffered from a broken jaw. And believe me, that is the best case scenario.

Moto Guzzi Audace (29)

Now I'm not proud of this, but I've crashed in a few helmets. The one that is most similar to this recent one is from around five years ago which again ended with me having a concussion, but a far less serious one. I have a habit of keeping every single helmet that I ever owned and I dug out the old one a few days ago just to have a look at it. I realized that the impact, which was far less than what the Arai had to go through, had cracked the entire shell at the back. I'm talking about a crack that extended from just below the exit vent at the top of the backside of the helmet right to the bottom where the rubber beading is. This particular helmet was something I picked up for roughly Rs 7,000. If you look at the damage between the two helmets, you'll realize the difference between an affordable helmet and a really good helmet.

TVS Apache RTR 200 4V (46)

Now you can argue that the Arais and Shoeis of the world are only for the rich. That's really not true. Come to think of it, the Arais and Shoeis are for the people who think their heads are worth Arais and Shoeis. And it's not that difficult to get one. If you've got friends in Japan, ask them to get you one. Arais and Shoeis are stupidly affordable there. Or order one from the US. All the websites there have all kinds of closeout sales happening through the year. Or better yet, go to any of the Indian gear stores and get one. But how do you pay for it? I paid in 12 EMIs on my credit card (Oh, and since I crashed in it just a few months into getting it, I'm still paying it off). My new Shoei was purchased the same way. Some of my friends and colleagues borrowed money from their parents. And others saved up for a year to get theirs.

It's really not that hard to get a top-spec helmet. It comes down to how much you think your head is worth. I think mine is worth every single penny I spent on my lid. You should think so too. Of course, you're welcome to get yourself a more affordable helmet. The choice is entirely yours. So what would you like? A concussion, a broken skull or worse?

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