April 20, 2004

Econo Z1R Helmet Rated Best

Less is More for Some Helmets
by J. Rex Brown

Z1R Strike Star HelmetWe've all heard that less is more. But that doesn't always apply– things like horsepower and sex are usually exceptions. But what about helmets?
The June 2005 issue of Motorcyclist magazine suggested this very thing in an extensive look at motorcycle helmets and, more importantly, motorcycle helmet standards. The gist of the article suggests that helmets that are too hard can actually cause greater injury than a more compliant lid. The most controversial aspect of this article was the suggestion that the SNELL standard is overkill and actually results in less safe helmets being marketed.

But results of the "real world" tests were the biggest surprise.

UPDATE:
9/2005— Confused about the names? The Z1R helmet that took top honors in the Motorcyclist article is listed as the "ZRP-1" This model is marketed in the US as the "Strike."



Surprising because the highest rated helmets were not from Arai, Shoei or Suomy. The number one rated helmet was made by Z1R.
I had never heard of Z1R helmets but for the price the Strike is a great bargain. Even if the name seems a little inappropriate for something intended to protect your head.
It's very similar to the classic Shoei RF line. At speed the helmet is pretty noisy, partly due to the exposed visor mechanism. Speaking of visors- the shield retention system isn't the best on the market and there are no detents. If these are important features you might consider the higher spec Stance helmet from Z1R.
The interior of the Strike is pretty comfortable, but there's no worry of confusing it with your Arai. The padding is thin but adequate. I appreciated the recessed ear pockets (once again, like the older Shoei RF700) which would make mounting headphones for an intercom or MP3 player a breeze. The fit and finish is generally on par with helmets costing twice this much.
All in all I was impressed. Buying a sub $100 helmet may not appeal to your emotions. But the results of "real world" tests demand consideration. That makes this a bargain that's hard to argue with.
Available online from:
Motorcycle USA Superstore
Bike Bandit


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