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When I was in driver's school for the SCCA and one of the first discussions was on safety and gear, both required and recommended the instructor said something to me back in March of 1989 that I have never forgotten.
"If you have a $50 head, buy a $50 helmet."

Probably said at a lot of other places, like my MSF safety class. I was a "budget" motorcycle rider, but I always bought the best stuff for safety. Full face helmet, leather jacket and chaps, Sears "engineer boots", and a one-piece rainsuit.

My Arai was comfortable, afforded excellent vision, provided full protection including my jaw, and wasn't excessively hot or deadened sound to the point that I was in a vacuum.

With my full-face Bieffe's, I never had sound isolated such that I felt that I didn't hear "enough". I prefer to call it "filtered". That is, wihle some of the sound of riding in total is reduced, you do want SOME noise reduced, such as wind roar and some engine noise. But the helmet still allowed me to hear important stuff like foot-pegs/exhaust-parts touching the pavement, other vehicles, quirks in the engine (being able to just listen when the choke needs to go in a little further), and other details like that. Anti-helmet nuts that I've spoken with have claimed that "ya can't hear NUTHIN' while wearin' one of them 'death buckets'". But then then can't defend 3/4 or open-face helmets that easily, either.

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