Home Forums General Karting Discussion Where can I try on helmets?

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    • #77456
      William Weiler

      I have been motorcycling all my life and am fussy about my helmet. I wear a Shoei RF1200 for riding. I live in Morgan Hill near San Jose and rent Karts in Sonoma. Cambrian just had one helmet I could try on, but it pressed against my forehead. Is there somewhere within distance with a selection? Could I just use my Shoei or is a Karting helmet required?

      TonyKart 401s LO206
      Masters Class
      Morgan Hill, CA

    • #77458

      for now just walk inside any cycle gear store, try and buy what you like and fits good, but you may wanna upgrade in the future for an actual kart rated top quality helmet like Arai Much better quality but it’s several hundred dollars.

      But there’s an old saying, I forgot how it goes? $2 dollar head, $2 dollar helmet?

      All kidding aside, Lol. There are a few good inexpensive helmets you can use for karting and they are approved and rated for safety. And you can find them at Cycle gear anywhere from $100 to $600 bucks. Good luck to you.

    • #77462
      Morgan Schuler

      Wine Country Motor Sports at Sonoma Raceway.


    • #77525
      Walt Gifford

      You can’t just use a DOT helmet at a track where they check helmets. The helmet has to be Snell rated M2010 or better.

      It doesn’t matter how low it cost, if the helmet has the Snell rating it’s just as good as any other helmet with the same rating. Things that raise the price don’t always raise the safety.

      Some brands are round shape (Bell) some are football shaped (Shoei). If you find the shape and size you like in a certain brand at the store you can then find the same brand with a Snell rating on line and it’s a good bet it will fit.


      FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
      Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
      Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
      41 years karting experience

    • #77530
      Mark Traylor

      I could not disagree with you more. all compliant helmets are not equal in features or safety. Helmet A may barely pass the Snell requirements meeting the minimum requirements. Helmet B may far exceed the requirements and be a better, safer helmet if it is ever needed. I have had different helmets of the same snell certification and some have been far stiffer than others or weigh less (weight is a big factor for youth helmet safety not just a cool bragging right). Then there are the SFI standards that are perfectly legal also however SFI requires no third party testing, it is all self certification. You can say that is just fine but I have more faith in my snell rated helmet than a self certified SFI rating.

    • #77531
      Rob Kozakowski

      Yep, Wine Country Motorsports is great for “better quality / higher end” helmets in that area.

      You can probably use your Shoei as long as it meets the minimum Snell rating (not sure of the age of your helmet).

      As for the helmet “debate”… Price isn’t everything when it comes to the relative safety of a helmet.  Snell / SFI / FIA rating isn’t everything when it comes to the relative safety of a helmet either.

      The Snell rating is simply a bare minimum test that has to be passed.  Nobody knows by how much any helmet exceeds that rating.

      Once you get past that hurdle, fit is the next most important.  A helmet that will pop off your head when you go tumbling is useless.  I’ve had a cheaper G-Force helmet that fit great when I bought it, but the foam padding inside was of such low quality that after 2 days in it, the foam had been compressed so much that the helmet wobbled around on my head.  It went in the garbage.

      After that, I’d say it’s a bit of a crap-shoot… a more expensive helmet might be safer (see my example above for what you can get with cheaper helmets), but it might not.

      A more expensive helmet will generally be lighter (which I factor into safety, especially so for kids), it will probably have more “bells and whistles” (probably not much to do with safety), and it will probably be better assembled with better quality materials (which may or may not impact on safety – again, refer to my example of a cheap helmet above).

      I’d guess about 80-90% of the more serious karters are wearing Arai or Bell which will fall in the $500-700+ price range (there are a few other higher-end brands out there too), depending on which one fits the shape of their heads.  Yes, they’re a little pricier than some, but I think most of us would absolutely argue that we are getting great value for our money based on the fit and overall quality, and we wouldn’t buy anything less.  Once you’ve gone with a better quality helmet, there is really no turning back.


    • #77558
      Mike Clark

      I would also add that practical concerns should be a consideration, such as “Are new face shields readily available?”. I would price the face shield ahead of time. Check some things like operating “the controls” with gloves on.

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