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· Registered
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope to make many of the local auto-X events this year and need helmet advice. Not that the sweaty loaner isn't good but...

I have been to Simpson's Race Shop here and they want $300-$1200 for a helmet. Not that my head isn't important but I can think of alot of go fast parts for that price.

Anyone know exactly how much head coverage I need? Or where to get one for around $100? Will a motorcycle helmet work? Or maybe just a website that explains all these things.


· Registered
406 Posts
Brief Ratings summary: M is for 'M'otorcycle and SA is for 'S'pecial 'A'pplication (including car racing). The difference are in the lining (SA must be flame retardant in case you get caught in a burning car) and in that M helmets are primarily designed for one big impact where SA helmets need to be able to handle multiple small impacts also (ie. smacking your head on the roll cage while flipping your car... :lol: ).

Solo-II (autocross) requires one of the last three SNELL ratings (either M or SA). So since Snell 2000 rated helmets are out, M90, SA90, M95, SA95, M2000 and SA2000 are all allowed.

Solo-I (time trials and hill climbs) require an SA-rated helmet (I think the year rules are the same as Solo-II).

Now...that said, if you aren't planning on doing Solo-I anytime soon, M-rated helmets are usually cheaper and can be found at any motorcycle shop. But MAKE SURE IT IS SNELL RATED...DOT approved doesn't cut it.

· Premium Member
overdeveloped beater
9,088 Posts
Excellent descriptions

The previous info should be everything you need to make a (now) educated decision with the EXCEPTION of the M90/SA90. I don't believe they are legal any longer, so check local rules before buying. I suggest trying on different models that fit your price range to get the best fit possible, and ask for assistance in fitting it. You might have a melon that just doesn't fit the cheap helmets or vice versa. I'll emphasize the importance of the "Snell" ratings. I personally wouldn't buy a helmet unless it was Snell approved. Don't feel that you're going the cheap route by focusing on 'M' rated lids, I would bet that any autocross or rallycross accident would be well under the limits of a Snell 'M' rated helmet.

I'll add that there's only a few manufacturers of helmets but many "name brands" that come from the same manufacturer. Any reputable shop should be able to inform you further.

· Registered
192 Posts
Let me get a question in here. I have a DOT approved helmet that was good enough in the mid 80's for Solo II. From what I've read, it is not good enough now. I was only worn at maybe 10 events over 2 years. It doesn't have a Snell sticker...just DOT Approved.


· Registered
643 Posts
Just on a side note, I have NEVER been to an autocross where they actually checked my helmet for approval, only if I had one. I have never been to any regional or national events, but I know that most local events are pretty relaxed on is actually a bit of a shame.

· Premium Member
overdeveloped beater
9,088 Posts
they check them now

Now that there's been a snell M/SA2000 certification for awhile, the SCCA gave everyone a 1 year advanced notice that 2001 would start the requirement for M95 or newer certification. Alot of clubs and regions are going to an annual inspection of helmets just to ease the tech inspection. Get it checked once and get your OK sticker for the year. Then each event they just look for the sticker instead of checking the date, and M/SA, etc...

And no, the DOT hemet, though likely suitable for what you need, is unacceptable for SoloII competition.

I can remember when Bell would void a helmet if you simply put a decal on it. Painting it was next to burning a bible or mooning the Pope! Had to do with chemical reactions between adhesives/paints and the helmet itself.

· Scoobymods Guy
2010 Legacy 3.6R Limited
1,160 Posts
This was posted on the STi list and I thought I'd re post it here. I
thought it was an excellent post on helmets Myself I like Bell:

Finally have a chance to contribute to the excellent mailing list, after just
passively sucking knowledge from all of you for months now!

All Snell rated helmets offer the same level of protection for a given rating
year. They are generally rated every 5 years. Most sanctioning bodies look
for a Snell rated helmet rated in the last 5-10 years. Snell 00 helmets are
just coming out, so they are a better investment than a Snell 95 helmet. The
wide difference in price only relates to the graphics and the features
(removable padding, vent systems, etc). The only appreciable design
difference is between the SA and M helmets. M stands for motorcycle, and
these helmets are more engineered to absorb and dissipate a single impact
(like you and your bike smacking a bus, and not multiple small impacts, like
your body rolling and rolling after laying down a bike softly on the road).
SA helmets are designed to take multiple impacts in a given crash (car bounces
off a wall, then gets t-boned by a competitor, then gets hit again, etc).
Most local autox's don't care whether its M or SA, but the more you get into
wheel -to - wheel combat, the more likely you'll need a SA rated helmet.
Overall, SA helmets tend to be more expensive than M.

A very important factor in helmet safety is fit - many more people buy a
loose helmet, than a helmet that is too tight. A loose helmet doesn't
dissipate impact energy within the helmet, but is more likely to transfer
that energy directly to your head. Clues of a proper fit: 1) the helmet
should squeeze your head evenly all over your head; 2) when you gently shake
your head in a "no" motion, or a "yes" motion, the helmet should actually
move the skin on your forehead, cheeks, and back of head, and not move OVER
the skin on the head; 3) walk around the helmet shop with the helmet on for
15 minutes - does it still feel evenly snug all over? Also, notice that it
doesn't feel so tight anymore?

Finally, a word about head shape and race. If you are Caucasian or of
African-American descent, your head is more likely to have what the Arai
helmet people call a "long oval shape" (from an overhead view perspective).
If you are of Asian descent, you are more likely to have a "short oval". Arai
is a Japanese manufacturer who first made only short oval helmets, but have
expanded their line to now sell long ovals as well. Keep that in mind if you
are buying a helmet from a Far East maker (Arai, Shoei), and it pinches the
forehead or back of your Caucasian or African-American head. Same goes if you
are buying from a Western maker (Bell, Pyrotect), and it is pinching the
sides of your Asian head.

Lastly, remember, this is YOUR HEAD. Don't borrow a poorly fitting helmet to
be cheap. Never, ever buy a used helmet (did the person crash their bike in
a ditch, so the helmet has no scratches?). Never trust a helmet that has been
crashed. You can get a Snell M rated helmet for <$150. If you've ever seen a
person who had TBI (traumatic brain injury, from a blow to your head), you'd
understand that these injuries are 1) life changing 2) permanent, with at
best partial recovery, and 3) more sad for everyone around you than you can
imagine. As a neurologist who specializes in TBI, take my word for it.

Not used to preaching so late at night, but if you're smart enough to be on
the Impreza list, we need to keep you safe!
Franck in Philly

· Registered
26 Posts
Templar said:
Just on a side note, I have NEVER been to an autocross where they actually checked my helmet for approval, only if I had one. I have never been to any regional or national events, but I know that most local events are pretty relaxed on is actually a bit of a shame.
Same here, though they did check at Nationals in 2001. I think locally, it's an honor system type deal. If you somehow manage to get injured in the head, and you don't have an approved helmet, you might not get the SCCA insurance coverage, for example.

On topic... most motorcycle shops sell great helmets for autocross. A couple of local shops also carry used helmets. Of course, they reeked, so i bought a new one. =P
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