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From digest.v6.n304 Sun Mar 2 22:43:56 1997
From: Dan & Anne Miley <>
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 1997 20:59:12 -0500
Subject: Lessons on buying a helmet


I just went through the "Buying a helmet for driving school" routine last week. Here's what I learned and did.

If you want to do driver's schools and autocross, you generally can use a motorcycle helmet. It should meet at least Snell M-90 standard. M-95 preferred since you'll be able to use it in a few years when M-90's are no longer accepted. I checked with the Boston chapter driving school coordinator. I'm not sure if this is true for SCCA Solo II autocross. The higher level you go, the higher the standards for safety equipment. Check with the people who run any event you're like to be involved in.

If you will be doing BMW CCA Club Racing, you will need a Snell SA-90 or SA-95 approved helmet. Not driving schools, but real Club Racing with roll cage, safety suit, etc.

SA helmets are fireproof, are designed to withstand repetitive banging (as in banging on the roll bar as your race car tumbles), and usually have a smaller view port compared to an M helmet. They also tend to fit tighter.

M helmets are not necessarily fireproof, are designed to deal with the "big bang" impact (your head striking the street after your 1100 CC mega-bike goes down hard), and have bigger viewports.

After checking out both options, I bought a Shoei RF-700 helmet meeting Snell M-95 at a local motorcycle place. I did that because I could try it on (don't buy a helmet unless you try it on yourself), it met all the car event standards I will be doing in the next few years, and because I may (again) own a motorcycle some day. It also seemed pretty comfortable, as helmets go. I paid just over $250 for the helmet.

If you want to buy an SA helmet, I have info on places with good prices. Again, mail order doesn't let you try it on. Hope this helps. Thanks to all the digest members who helped me out.

  • --Dan
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