My first bike: Helmet & California License Question

Discussion in 'Bay Area Bikers' started by Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., Sep 2, 2007.

  1. I just bought my first bike and may I ask two questions I can't seem to get
    the answer from my brother on?

    The first question is about HELMETS for beginners.

    What's the difference between Snell full face helmets Shoei or Simpsons or
    HJC or whatever? My brother says Shoei is the best but he can't tell me
    why. As long as it's Snell, how can I tell the difference between a 125
    dollar HJC from a 500 dollar Shoei? They both look, fit, and feel the same
    to me in the store and I borrowed my brother' Shoei which didn't fit and it
    was horrid.

    What REALLY is the TRUE difference (please remove advertising and marketing
    from this discussion) between a Snell Shoei and a Snell Simpsons and a
    Snell Bell from a cheaper Snell HJC (full face only).

    The second question is about the California license. My brother said to not
    even think about taking the dumb California DMV motorcycle driving test
    saying the DMV designed that test just to make me pay the money to take the
    MSF class even though I'm in my mid twenties and don't have to take the
    class by law. He didn't take the class because he got his license when we
    lived down south, but I never had a license.

    Where do I get the information to take the MSF class?
    Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., Sep 2, 2007
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  2. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    muddy cat Guest

    It's all about fit, comfort and wear. The $90 Bell will protect you as
    well as a $400 arai but the arai will feel better on your head and last
    much longer.
    Try this for a start.

    Welcome to two wheels, have fun.
    muddy cat, Sep 2, 2007
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  3. The difference between better grade helmet brands is the fit and styling.
    Some are for round skulls, some for pear, etc. Try on lots of helmets until
    you find one you like, then buy the same model and size cheaper online.

    Take the MSF course. It can't hurt you to know more about riding, and you
    won't have to do the dreaded "lollipop test"
    Stupendous Man, Sep 2, 2007
  4. In terms of safety, Snell full-face helmets are pretty much all
    the same. And helmets for beginners are exactly the same as
    helmets for racers. The only real difference is that expensive
    one typically have lots of vents and whizbang features. You'll
    be perfectly OK starting with a cheaper helmet if you'd like.

    If you're not already an experienced rider, I highly recommend
    that you not do anything beyond sitting on the bike and making
    vroom vroom noises in the driveway without taking the MSF class.
    Not only does it save you from the ridiculous keyhole test, but
    it will give you extremely valuable accident-avoidance skills in
    an environment free of idiot-piloted SUVs. Wouldn't you rather
    learn to panic stop before your life depends on it?

    Soooooo, now the important thing... what'd you get?

    Patti Beadles, Sep 2, 2007
  5. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Bart Guest

    There's been many near-endless debates about helmets (search Google) so I
    won't comment on that.
    As for the MSF course, TAKE IT! In addition to the good reasons listed in
    other replies here, you'll probably save enough in insurance premiums to
    more than pay for the course fee.

    Enjoy your ride!

    Bart, Sep 2, 2007
  6. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Timberwoof Guest

    Arai, Shoei, Simpson, HJC, etc. are manufacturers of helmets. Snell and
    DOT are testing standards. DOT means (United States) Department Of
    Transportation and any helmet you wear must have that certification.
    Snell is the name of a guy who died in a race car accident; the
    foundation named after him does research and testing of helmets for a
    variety of sports including motorcycling.

    Arai and Shoei are widely held to be the "best", but as long as a helmet
    meets DOT or Snell, it will work. (If it meets Snell requirements, it
    meets DOT.) But the most important thing is whether it's comfortable for
    As others have written, it's all about materials and comfort. Get the
    helmet that fits you best. When I bought my first helmet, my brother
    said, "You got an Arai, right?" I said, "No, I got the one that fit."

    Take the class. Then please report back to us on why any newbie should
    take the class. :)
    Timberwoof, Sep 2, 2007
  7. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Beav Guest

    Never heard anything so daft in my life. No-one ever learned how to ride a
    motorcycle by sitting in front of the TV watching a fucking DVD, they
    learned by getting on a bike.

    If the OP's brother is a rider, then he could giver some intital instruction
    in the basics, after which she could gain some experience by pootling about.


    VN 750
    Zed 1000
    OMF# 19
    Beav, Sep 2, 2007
  8. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Timberwoof Guest

    I agree.
    Uh ... Brother might be a good rider, but how much experience does he
    have teaching riding? How do you know that an experienced rider's idea
    of "basic" is appropriate?

    Just take the MSF class. :)
    Timberwoof, Sep 2, 2007
  9. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Timberwoof Guest

    You don't learn just watching any DVD. You learn by practicing the exercises
    and following the techniques outlined in the DVD. The
    DVD makes you aware of these techniques and outlines the exercises that
    utilize them.[/QUOTE]

    And if you rub the DVD just the right way, a genie will pop out of the
    hole in the middle. He will critique your technique.
    Timberwoof, Sep 2, 2007
  10. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Ken Abrams Guest

    Which technique would that be, riding or rubbing ? ;-)
    Ken Abrams, Sep 2, 2007
  11. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Rich Guest

    This doesn't apply to you, Anne, but the MSF course has one additional
    advantage: you don't have to own a motorcycle. Riding looks really
    cool, and attracts a lot of people who ultimately decide it's not for
    them. For those in this category, the course saves a significant

    Disclaimer: I never took the MSF course. I got my motorcycle
    endorsement in 1974 and had been riding smaller bikes (exempt from the
    requirement) for 8 years before that, and bicycles since the late 1940s.
    The DMV test, as much as I recall of it, required me to shift through
    the gears, demonstrate the brakes and steer through a set of cones.
    IMHO, any rider ought to be able to do that on their own vehicle whether
    or not the law requires it. Getting the requirement waived is probably
    worth the outlay, much as going to traffic school for a ticket is.
    Anything you learn in either environment is a bonus.

    Rich, Urban Biker
    Rich, Sep 3, 2007
  12. I don't think THAT Ann P. Mitchell is in her "mid twenties." :) Let's
    see, she was testifying before the California state senate in 1995,
    that would put her at about 14 years old at the time...
    Nor does passing the MSF course indicate much of anything about your
    competence to ride a motorcycle in traffic on a public highway. It
    gives you some rudimentary tools to practice with, which is far better
    than nothing, but to ride relatively safely on the street requires a
    well-developed set of skills which take a significant amount of time,
    practice and ability.

    The best way to start getting those skills is to practice riding a
    light-weight dual sport off the public roads.

    But what do I know...
    HardWorkingDog, Sep 3, 2007
  13. Thanks for the url.
    HardWorkingDog, Sep 3, 2007
  14. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    barb Guest

    Hey, you've been riding longer than I have! (1976)
    You forgot that stupid circle in the DMV parking lot you have to go
    around without your tires going outside the lines.

    Can't tell you how very many times that has come in handy.
    Well, yes I can. None.

    I like my Nolan helmet with the flip-up chin guard. Those solid brain
    buckets give me claustrophobia, plus if you wear glasses, the flippy up
    thing comes in handy.

    Chaplain, ARSCCwdne

    buy my book!

    read my blog!
    barb, Sep 3, 2007
  15. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Beav Guest

    So what's all this...." I highly recommend that you not do anything beyond
    sitting on the bike and making vroom vroom noises in the driveway without
    taking the MSF class." about?

    If winning respect from you is something I crave, you'd be the last to know.
    You pump out bullshit advice and then try to say you didn't. You don't fool


    VN 750
    Zed 1000
    OMF# 19
    Beav, Sep 3, 2007
  16. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Beav Guest



    VN 750
    Zed 1000
    OMF# 19
    Beav, Sep 3, 2007
  17. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Beav Guest

    Well I don't, but he's probably a caring person :)

    How do you know that an experienced rider's idea
    He's her brother, so he'll treat her like a baby and take great care not to
    steer her up a rough road. At least I hope he would and anything's better
    than an absolute noob trying things on her own with NO help.
    Indeed, but if she's got to wait for a class, some parking lot riding (with
    the help of her bro) probably wouldn't hurt.


    VN 750
    Zed 1000
    OMF# 19
    Beav, Sep 3, 2007
  18. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Beav Guest

    Generally speaking, yeah, but there are exceptions. Brother may well be the
    instructor of the year in waiting :) but I was thinking more along the
    lines of "out of the way" instruction (quiet area, parking lots, etc) so the
    OP can get to grips with steering and gear changning rather than learning
    roadcraft from her bro.


    VN 750
    Zed 1000
    OMF# 19
    Beav, Sep 3, 2007
  19. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    BrianNZ Guest

    I'm showing my boys the basics of how to ride and control a
    road on trail bikes. I hope they will know how to confidently ride
    before they go for their licences and defensive riding courses. At least
    this way they will only have to worry about the road rules without the
    added distraction of not being confident with the controls.
    BrianNZ, Sep 3, 2007
  20. Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

    Timberwoof Guest

    It's about making sure that whoever teaches you teaches the right stuff
    and gives worthwhile critique on technique.
    Timberwoof, Sep 3, 2007
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