Narratives about motorcycling on Northern California's back roads; Reflections on the history and geography of the North State; Memoirs and early recollections of youthful visits to towns and forests and mountaintops.
Also middle-of-the-road takes on current issues in politics and education. Middle of the road? Isn't that dangerous?
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
SCHUBERTH C-3 HELMET – NICE LID!
Annually, we visit Seattle if for no
other reason than to say things will improve in the coming year – specifically
if we focus on the weather.Up
that way, my riding partner, Randall Guzziboy, and I check in with the bike
shops eyeballing new hardware from BMW, then Guzzi and Aprilia, then Triumph, then Yamaha
and Victory.We are both quite
satisfied with our current mounts, but as with many things, just because one is
on a diet, doesn’t mean one can’t look at the menu.
While my buddy was salivating over a big Triumph, my eye was
grabbed by a bright yellow Schuberth flip face helmet (the C-3), the likes I’d
read about but knew I could never afford.I’d heard they were really quiet, lightest in their category and that if
you damaged it in an accident, Schuberth would replace the thing for 1/3 of
current retail.Beneath this
hi-viz wonder was a SALE! sign.
I’d been toying with replacing my old Nolan 102 flip face
helmet for some time, now.I’d
made the mistake of not wearing the thing around the showroom for the requisite
30 minutes prior to purchase so, through no fault of the good folks at Nolan,
the thing never really seemed to fit just right.Santa was aware of this, I think, but then again, I haven’t
been all that good a boy this past year.
Turns out, the Cycle Barn was closing out their
representation of Schuberths because of lackluster sales (perhaps due to price point?)I tried the unit on.Understand that when I enter a shoe store
and there’s a sale rack there, I’ve long ago given up looking because nothing’s
ever gonna fit.Not so this time
with this helmet.I wore it
throughout the showroom sitting on everything from Triumph Tigers and
Bonnevilles to a Vespa 150s.
The kinds folks at Lynnwood Cycle
Barn willingly shipped the helmet and the day after it arrived, the weather gods
smiled on me: mid-fifties and clear.
I fired up the Breva intent on enjoying my head-clearing
40-mile loop through the foothills of Placer County.Out this way, the roads sweep and twist through vineyards
and orchards, past derelict barns and rusting implements.Cows low.Sheep graze.Horses do whatever horses do in the winter.
First thing I noticed about the C-3 was the quiet.Wind noise was discernibly less than
with my other lids.The exception
being that when I approached 70 mph, the laminar lip on my stock Guzzi screen
funneled a river of air right at the helmet.Noisy.Yet,
(and here’s the second thing) under these circumstances, I noted no
buffeting.I turned my head left
and right and still none.
The initial part of my loop headed east, the return portion,
directly into the sun.The C-3 has
an interior sun visor that conveniently drops down in side the face shield with
the slide of a tab on the side of the helmet.The low January sunrays immediately were quelled, but so was
my view of the data on the Guzzi’s readout.
I stopped for a picture of one of those narrow bridges where
you always wait for the other guy to cross first.A gentle pull on the tab on the chin bar released the
front.It swiveled up, completely
out of the way.I figured a cup of
coffee could easily be enjoyed without removing ones head from the Schuberth’s
cozy confines.The same might be
said for filling up the tank or talking to a partner while pulled over.
One of the things I’ve yet to master is keeping my face
shield clear of condensation.I
figured most of what a manufacturer professes in this regard is hokum.But, the night before this first ride,
I installed the Pinlock insert touted as a means to keep fogging at bay.Rimmed in silicon this insert offers a
fraction of an inch of air space trapped between the outer screen and
itself.Shazam!Not so much as a molecule of moisture
showed up whether when I tried it on the previous night in sub freezing temps,
or when riding through the 50-degree hills of the gold country.
Thank God for full face helmets*...
Although I’ve only ridden with the
Schuberth C-3 for about 90 minutes and I have yet to use it on the GSA, which
has a different wind pattern at speed, I think this thing will become my go-to
lid.It is light, quiet, solid,
comfy and, in the case of the one I purchased, extremely visible.
It has been said that the cheapest thing on a BMW is the
rider (perhaps this is said of the Moto Guzzi brethren, also) and I’ll plead guilty.Still
I like quality gear and will usually wait until I can pay the price for
it.I think I learned this from
the Michelin Man back in the late 60s.The fact that this one came to me at a discounted price, perhaps, was
Santa’s way of winking at me and telling maybe I was an all right boy this past
year after all.