Friday, March 18, 2011

Off to Memphis for Bagels and a helmet

memphis bagel

I promised myself I’d go for a ride today, so I did.

I rode down to Memphis and to City East Bagel Co. (formerly Memphis Bagel Co.) and snarfed up a dozen of their splendid, real Jewish bagels.

I’ve been wanting to check out the HJC IS-MAX BT helmet, since my Arai is long past the point where I should have replaced it. The HJC IS-MAX BT has a flip-up face and has an internal drop-down sunshade. And HJC wired it for Bluetooth devices, just to sweeten the deal. Since I use custom-fitted in-ear speaker/earplugs, the Bluetooth feature isn’t that much of a selling point. I had hjc is max bta Schuberth helmet when they first hit the U.S. market and found a lot to like about it, especially the drop-down sunshade. But the new Schuberth  retails for about $700. At an MSRP of $199, the HJC IS-MAX BT is the poor/thrifty man’s Schuberth. Since neither is certified by the Snell Memorial Foundation (whose relevance to motorcycling I have come to question), there’s no sticker snobbery involved in the choice.

When I pulled into a parking space at City East Bagel, I noticed a McDonald’s next door. So after I put the bagels into my left saddlebag, I whipped out my iPod Touch, locked onto the McDonald’s Wifi signal and Googled the HJC web site. Checking their dealer listings, I found Memphis Honda Yamaha. I called and determined they had the IS-MAX BT in the full range of sizes. They were only about 15 minutes away so, after stopping at an Exxon station to top off my gas tank, I rode to the dealership, tried on an XL version of the helmet and bought it. They had it in black and silver. I chose silver because it will be marginally cooler in the blazing heat of summer here.

Like most new helmets, there’s going to be a break-in period and the 87-mile ride home let me identify some areas where the padding irritates the tops of my ears. I think it’s fixable. The helmet seems to vent ok and the visor and sunshade move as they should. The chinstrap buckle needs a little pull-tab (a la Arai) for easier release, but that’s the only fault I can find in it so far.

I feel slightly guilty for not buying a helmet from Grass Roots BMW. They’re my dealer and I believe in supporting your dealer whenever you can. But they don’t carry HJC. So there it is.

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