Saturday, March 26, 2011

Of Motorcycles and Fashion Mavens

Amazing photo by Eurospiders
Last weekend, the husband finally pulled the trigger on a motorbike purchase.  He had been talking about doing this and researching his purchase for quite some time now.  However, since the new toy was delivered on Saturday evening, he hasn't been able to go out and play because he didn't yet have a helmet.  He could only hang out in the garage admiring it and resisting the urge to lick it every now and then.

I was also pretty excited about the new purchase for two reasons.  Firstly, I've got this mild fetish about men in full face motorbike helmets.  Especially if the helmet has a tinted or mirrored visor so one can't see who is under there.  There is something so mysterious and sexy about it.  I confess a little crush on Top Gear's StigStar Wars' Storm Troopers do it for me too.*

* D - if you're reading - the attraction to any helmeted dude (yourself excepted) ends the moment the helmet is pulled off to reveal a sweaty hot mess. 

The primary reason I'm excited is because I was instructed to procure cycle-riding safety gear for myself.  This includes abrasion-resistant pants and jacket and of course, a helmet.  I broadened the mission mandate: Procure cute cycle-riding gear for myself.  Much research ensued.  Did you know that you can easily drop $500-$800 on a helmet, but that you can also buy a brand new street legal helmet that meets DOT safety standards for as low as $25 on ebay?  We asked the guy at the dealership why one should consider an expensive helmet if the safety is the same.  He came up with some malarkey about how a good helmet is like a fine samurai sword and then pointed out the pink accent graphics on a $500 black lid with shiny sparkly flecks in its clear coat.  I was all "ooooh, pretty, mama likey."  In the words of Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias, "Pink is mah signature coluh," so I was on a mission to find a pink helmet. But then I shook my head to break the trance and start thinking sensibly.

Because D has trained me well, both in matters of financial restraint and diligent research of potential acquisitions, I came up with a couple of good mid-price helmet models.  Comfort, venting and visor fogging control are important, and I resisted the urge to put graphics as my #1 decision criteria.

After reading reviews, I settled on a Scorpion EXO-400 in Paradise Blush or an Icon Airframe in Regal Lace which I went back to the dealership to try on for fit and comfort.  Then I found out that helmets are like car models: they change each year, and those graphic patterns were sooo 2009.  The Icon now came in a day-glo pink with some kind of serpent scale pattern, which, while providing a high-visibility safety edge, is just not me.  The Scorpion line had no pink graphics to be found at all in this year's model.  Sigh.

I chose the Scorpion in Lilly-Purple (pictured at right) from the dealership catalog.  When it arrived, I was all worried that I would be disappointed that I couldn't get pink, but I lurve it.  The white base is actually a pearl color, reminiscent of a luxe Audi paint I adore, and the purple accents are just lavender enough that I might get away with a pink jacket after all.

My head was measured at the very top of the range meant for a small, and the medium didn't fit tight enough.  I tried on my new helmet and asked the sales rep if the pressure making my brain feel all squeezy was normal.  He advised me to take it home and wear it around the house to start breaking it in and if I hadn't passed out after an hour, then the fit was perfect.

So last night, that's what I did.  Despite snorts of hilarity from the husband who insisted I look a right bobblehead, I surfed the net in my helmet.  I played Wii golf in my helmet.  I freaked my cat (who is terrified of strangers) right the heck out in my helmet.  And despite having downed two vodka redbulls over the course of the evening, when I watched a movie I even dozed off (as per usual) in my helmet.  So if anyone is looking for a Scorpion EXO-400 review, I can say with confidence that it is comfortable enough to sleep in

So, interweb peeps, I need a little help from you. I have to decide whether to follow my heart and get a pink jacket, or whether I should choose silver or blue in the name of fashion and better color coordination with the helmet.

The contenders are pictured, so please give me your opinion in the poll below (click through if you're in a reader). Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go convince the husband that he needs to break in his new lid so I can give in to the desire to rip his clothes off and whisper "No, baby, you can leave the helmet on."

So tell me in the comments, do helmets do it for you or am I just a weirdo? And if not, what does?


  1. I love the image of you surfing the net in your helmet. Picture, please. And baby blue gets my vote. It's not bubble gum pink, but it's ice blue hot!

    How's that for a failed oxymoron?

    And yes, there is something sexy about motorcycles.

    Happy shopping/surfing/riding.


  2. Thanks for re-tweeting the post, Leanne. As requested, there's now a photo of me in all my ridiculous helmeted glory. :-)

    I'm not sure ice blue hot is failed, but it is definitely an oxymoron, and that's one of my favorite words.

    The votes are running neck and neck now - here's hoping some of my readers come out of the woodwork and weigh in.

  3. Oh my thank you KB I now have tears rolling down my face after reading your post and picturing you walking around in your helmet.
    I have never ever heard of wearing a Helmet around the house to break it in in all my 27 years of riding motorbikes. I'm sorry but I am with D on this one I would have been wetting myself watching this event take place.
    In saying that I do love love love the feminine graphics on your new helmet, mine is red/black and grey graphics and is a few years old now and as per usual you cannot get such marvelous choices of helmet over here.
    PS go with the jacket that best matches your helmet simply because you have to look cool and coordinated when perched up behind your man on said iron horse.
    PPS what sort of bike did he buy?? please post a pic.
    ppps DG has just bought himself a new toy too I will blog and post about it soon.

  4. Come on, Go-Betty! We're at a tie with very few votes. Your input could have been a decider.

    The breaking-in-the-helmet-at-home advice was purely because I was unsure of the correct size. Small goes up to 22 inches and Medium starts at 22.5 inches. I'm 22.25. Doh! The dealership said I could return it after wearing it for a while, but only if I hadn't worn it on the street. I did feel completely redonkulous though.

    I've decided to keep the Small. If I don't get along with it on the back of the bike, it's only $30 to buy the medium replacement liner - the shell is exactly the same size.

    Thanks for the compliment on the helmet choice - even if you did cop out on a vote. ;-)

  5. So.......I'm the buzz-kill, fun-sucker, and voted for the silver. Here's why. I've done quite a bit of riding in groups, as well as behind my husband (both on my OWN BIKE, and riding 2-up....that's the you don't do what I did last summer and look like an idiot) ANYWAY......the key to avoiding being road kill is visibility. We have these really beautiful black riding suits (that match, of COURSE), and after one afternoon following Brian in those suits, we went out and bought red jackets with silver trim and the black jackets are going to goodwill. He was just invisible, compared to the lighter color jacket I was used to following. Therefore, despite the fact that you may not be QUITE as fashionable (although I think silver will look LOVELY, DAHLING) I vote for alive and less cute over more cute and wet spot in the road. :) Off to a meeting. LOVE YOU!

  6. Ok then me I would go for the Blue to be honest, not as plain as the silver and a bit more versatile than the pink. Ice hot blue is a good term.
    Hey checked out the new machine on the site you gave me.....cor its a bit of yummy right there, looks like a fun bike to ride.
    PS. Replied to your comment on my blog also. :-)

  7. Lori - Thanks for the tip. D and I have been considering safety in choosing our riding gear. He ended up with the same helmet I did, but his is solid day-glo neon yellow/green. This from a man who's signature color is black. He said, as he purchased it, "I must be getting old" and there was some crusty old cruiser bike rider stood beside him smirking a little and almost imperceptibly shaking his head. And D just smiled and said, "What? I don't have to look at it." It might not be "cool" to a lot of the biking crowd, but better a slightly uncool breather than, as you so eloquently stated, a cool wet spot.

    I am slightly concerned that since the silver isn't actually reflective it will kind of just blend in with the gray weather we get up here. But I am choosing a light jacket for just the reasons you suggested. Blue seems to have the edge.

  8. Go-Betty - Thanks for wading in with a vote!

  9. The Stig is a hottie.

    I voted for the silver jacket. I live by Coco Chanel's directive to put on your jewelry, look at yourself before leaving the house, and then take one piece of jewelry off. Less is more. The silver is more subtle but would go smashingly with the fab helmet (AND focus attention on the colors of the helmet) without making you look like a bunny. Plus, on a practical note, I think it will weather better than pink, which might look dingy sooner than the silver.

    Did I mention that the Stig is a hottie? ;)

  10. Limr - Ah, channeling Chanel... (As a linguist, do you like how I did that?) Wise words, milady. Now I shall have to decide if I want to embrace my inner bunny or maintain any sense of elegance.

    So glad to know you're with me on the Stig!

  11. I totally admire the dexterity of the phrase. As a linguist, of course :)

    I love that you're a Top Gear fan!

  12. You never mentioned a bike! Sweet! We both have new toys! I'm so happy for you.

    And I voted pink because I never want you to have any regrets. :)

  13. Limr - Top Gear is the highlight of my television viewing week. Stunning cinematography, snarky British humour, outrageous stunts and the Stig. What's not to like, eh?

    Nicki - well, it's really more his toy than mine but I hope it will be fun for both of us!

  14. helmets - no.
    goggles {must have a full fire lens for mystery}, beanie and snow jacket - YES YES YES!

  15. Em - I hear that, especially with the full fire lens for mystery.

  16. Truthfully I could do pink or blue but Pretty in Pink is forever stuck in my head soooo....Pretty in Pink Keenie! My hubs has a crotch rocket and my crotch has yet to rock-it. Maybe someday I will mount the beast but for now I am sideline safe!

  17. Botut - LOL on "My crotch has yet to rock-it." I can understand why though, since you're a mom. I did recently think that this sourcing of cute motorcycle gear will be all for naught if we have a child. No more riding pillion for me since they don't make baby seats for motorbikes.

  18. Leanne - votes were trickling in even today. I haven't ordered the jacket yet, but based on all the fab input, I'm fairly sold on blue. When I commit and have the jacket in hand, I'll model it for your viewing pleasure.