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Looking to get another helmet for 80/20 street/trails on new-to-me WR450. Everything I have is your typical full face helmet, mainly for sportbike torture rack riding position - they don't feel quite right or vent properly sitting upright (tested on my former DL650). The HJC gets pretty solid reviews and they're a known brand for me, though I've only bought Shoei since my last HJC. But they're the largest helmet manufacturer in the world. The HJC has been on sale in the $150 range lately and has my interest. Since I'll be riding mostly street, I really don't want to wear a pure MX helmet. I prefer a large shield to wearing goggles anyway.
 

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I suggest buying a used Icon Variant. I bought one, used, and it's hot. The padding was completely saturated with salty, oily sweat right out of the box. Putting my head in it the first time was awesome. Nobody will know that you're wearing another guy's well-worn lid, and you'll look totally cool in it.

I also own a used Icon Alliance. When I first got it, I could smell it from across a good sized room. The guy who was in it before me never washed his hair. It is really fun wearing the smell of another guy's dirty hair in his fullface motorcycle helmet.

Both helmets feel totally natural. They look cool, too.

I am being serious, BTW. I definitely prefer wearing used lids over new.
 

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It's always good to get varying points of view regarding new vs. used gear. There are plenty of important things to consider. Price is one. My Variant, which looks just like yours on the outside, cost only $40. That's a pretty big difference from $180.

Then, there's fit. I've been wearing used lids for the last twenty years. The first time I got in another guy's lid, I couldn't believe how comfortable it was. It was an Arai that was worn-in for about five years before I got in it. It was much better than any new helmet I'd ever worn. Plus, I got it for $50. The original price was $600.

Of course, there's smell. What I always say is that sweat is the "new smell" of a used lid. Comfort is the first thing I seem to notice in a new used lid, and not smell. Nonetheless, a well-worn lid will not smell like a new one. It smells better, actually, because all of the glues and resins get sweated out after some time between three and five years. It depends on how much a lid gets used, how much a guy sweats, and his overall hygiene. Believe it or not, the smell of resin and glue goes away much faster if a few factors are true: the helmet is used, every day; the helmet is used in a warm climate; and the guy wearing it doesn't wash his hair very often. The oils from hair are very effective at removing the petroleum based ingredients used to make a helmet. So, I actually prefer lids worn by guys who aren't concerned about their hair. They just want to roll out of bed and ride.

Icon Variant and Alliance helmets are lined with Hydradry padding. I specifically chose my Variant and my Alliance lids because the once pristine-white padding in both of them was charcoal gray from continuous use by their prior owners. Also, there are brownish highlights where the previous owners' skin came into contact with the padding, and the ear cups are a darkish-brown from, you know, normal earwax that one would expect to see under the right conditions.

After two years, I can still smell my Alliance helmet from a distance. If I leave it in a room for a little while, the room will smell a little bit like the helmet. This is the sign of really comfortable headgear. The first time I got in the Alliance -- the first time I pulled it down my face, it swallowed my head in one gulp because it was perfectly worn-in. The chinstraps buckled into place like they'd been buckled thousands of times, before. The helmet felt like a thousand rides. You know what I mean -- super comfortable. I'm sure that there's a point with your own gear when it reaches peak comfort. That's how my Alliance is. Same with the Variant. The Alliance was a little more expensive -- $70, instead of $40. There's actually a point when used helmets become more expensive, rather than less expensive. It's when a guy's willing to stay in it an extra year or two before selling it. A lot of eBay buyers will pay a premium for a super well-worn helmet because of how comfortable it is, right out of the box.

The signs of a good well-worn helmet are:

Some scratches from typical wear;
Dirty pads (described as "needs a good cleaning");
Somewhat worn chinstraps; and,
A smell when the helmet's shipping box is cracked open for the first time.

I love it when I get in a new used lid for that first time. I've never been disappointed. I always ask the seller if a smoker was in it, and if it had ever been washed or deodorized. Those are the things I avoid. Otherwise, if the helmet is in decent shape on the outside, and the pads are worn (with dirt and sweat) but not damaged on the inside, I'll probably give it a try. I prefer lids where guys have been in them an extra year or two beyond the sell-by date. They're really comfortable and fun to get in and stay in for hours.

+CS
 
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