Harley-Davidson helmet packaging
Deputy editor Harris was incredulous. “You want to write about the box the helmet came in – not the helmet itself?”
Okay, I can talk about the helmet as well but the packaging is actually pretty important. In a recent feature on helmets, Guido raised the contentious issue of exactly how hard you have to bump a helmet before it’s necessary to replace it (read more here).
Here’s what H-D itself says about the issue.
“The helmet is designed to absorb shock by partial destruction of the shell and liner. This damage may not be visible. Therefore if subjected to a severe blow, the helmet should be replaced even if it is apparently undamaged.”
This is all well and good but it leaves it up to the helmet’s owner to decide what a “severe blow” is.
I’m in the habit of always leaving my helmet on the floor when I take it off so it can’t fall anywhere but there are occasions when this is impractical. The most common fall helmets have is from the seat of the bike onto the service station forecourt when you’re topping up with fuel. It’s an awful sight watching the lid tumble and waiting for the ‘smack’ as it hits the concrete. Does a fall of 900mm constitute a “severe blow”? Most of us can’t afford to think it does as helmets aren’t cheap and the money isn’t generally there to replace them every time they fall off the bar. The ‘smack’, though, is often very loud.
A proper crash where your helmet (with your head inside it) hits the road at high speed obviously constitutes a severe blow but the decision to replace it is usually assisted by obvious signs of physical damage. As H-D says, though, a helmet can be “apparently undamaged” and still need to be replaced.
There are occasions when you don’t have direct control of your helmet and anything could be happening to it. Some airlines won’t let you take your helmet on the plane as cabin baggage and it ends up, without your knowledge, being filled with drugs and used as a football by the baggage handlers. Only the gods know what happened to it on the flight before it tumbles out on the baggage carousel at the other end.
Now consider, for a minute, how you actually buy a new helmet. There’s usually a display of helmets in the retail outlet for you to try on to get the correct fit and colour. Once you’ve made your decision, either that helmet goes into its original box or an identical one is dragged out of the storeroom.
All helmets sold in Australia are imported so they have plenty of miles on them before you actually take delivery. Again, who knows what happens to them on the journey. The packaging is usually a plastic bag and a plain, square, cardboard box which is why the packaging of the H-D open-facer which arrived in the MT office was so impressive. The box was big enough to contain the helmet between four poly-styrene posts. Not only could the helmet not move in the box, it was protected from exterior knocks. If there is no exterior damage to the box, the helmet is as it left the AGV factory. Cool and comforting.
The helmet itself is part of H-D’s Hard Candy range and is made for it by AGV. Its fibreglass shell is very light and it has a metalflake finish. It’s also surprisingly good value for a H-D branded product at $295. The excellent packaging is free…