When you buy a new helmet
it must have the new EC approval mark regulation 22
type 05. Do NOT remove these marks, technically the
helmet must have these. If your helmet has the old BSI
kite-mark instead, throw it away, it's way past it's
use by date.
The new EC marks have caused
a bit of confusion. These are now sewn inside the helmet
(often to the strap) The EC mark is a circle with an
E inside and number giving the country of origin (for
example E6 is Belgium) then you'll see a serial number
which must begin with 05
We've seen 04 and 03 series in the UK already. Not only
are they illegal but also they're not good enough, so
don't be ripped off.
Don't buy second-hand, ever.
It might look perfectly sound but could have been quite
severely dropped and you wouldn't know. Besides you
can shop around and get a new helmet for as little as
£50 or even less, so don't risk it. We cut a helmet
in half that had been bashed in a 30 mph accident, the
outer shell looked OK but the inner was badly compressed.
That's what they're designed to do, but they only do
Visors must have the new
EC approval 05 series, as for helmets. If it's tinted
it'll have CP then a number, that will represent the
% of light it lets through, and those are only legal
for daytime use.
Once and for all:- Black Visors are not legal and in
the event of an accident and Plod reports it you will
be deemed to be at fault to a varying degree and it
WILL affect your insurance claim (contributing factor
to the accident, your vision was impaired !)
Depending on where you're
riding the police have differing opinions on the seriousness
of the offence. Here in Kent it's not a good idea to
be riding with one.
(Shaggy - dog top-tip: -put your clear visor in an old
sock and put it under your seat, if you get a pull it
might impress them into just ticking you off, plus it's
there when it's getting dark).
The same applies to Iridium jobs. Shame, because they
are way cool.
It's worth noting that various Flip - Front helmets
seem to be approved for use in either position. The
police don't quite agree, but they use the BMW Series
Three, which is not approved for use with the chin-guard
up. If the one you buy doesn't tell you not to, surely
the manufacturer is aware of their legal position?
Finally, don't put your helmet
on the bike seat! I've lost count of how many people
I know who've had it hit the deck and a big chunk has
come out of the shell. Use the right hand mirror.
Back to top
Most of this applies to Jackets,
Trousers, Gloves and Boots.
If you don't own a modern
Gore-Tex / Cordura Jacket, get one. They're wonderful.
We're out in all weathers and they are the warmest,
most weatherproof bits of kit ever. With armour they
are also surprisingly efficient at protecting you too.
Look for a zip - out lining for summer use and they
can be cooler than leather. Look for reflective strips
and / or piping and you get excellent night - time conspicuity
without being a "Day-Glo Derek". Look for
a belt that doesn't clip across the opening, after prolonged
use this seems to be a weak point. They're also washable
(take the armour out first), which is nice.
However, nothing saves your
skin like Leather. I'm talking about proper Motorcycle
gear though, not designer gear. Look for good impact
point protection and CE armour. Jackets with built in
back protectors are excellent, but when you try it on
assume the position! It has to be comfortable on the
bike and most importantly, must not interfere with your
rear observations (a common problem with armour). It
mustn't ride up, if you slide down the road it needs
to stay in place. Get a friend or the rep to try lifting
the back of the Jacket. Arms and legs need to be covered
when you're in your riding position and the armour should
be in the right place. Leather grows, especially when
it gets wet. Look for stretch panels on leather trousers,
you'll still get a saggy bum and Olympian knees, but
it'll take longer to happen.
Leather's great, but
it's not waterproof. If money's tight go to your local
Hunting-shooting-fishing shop. Nylon overs that fold
to nothing and go under the seat are surprisingly cheap.
TOP TIP: - keep them in a carrier bag, put your foot
in the bag, slip on the over trousers! Never again will
you hop about under a motorway bridge like a drunken
Rudolph Nureyev (unless you want to of course). Wish
I'd known that when I was a despatch rider.
It's so common that it's
practically a standing joke about Sidi vertabrae boots,
they're noisier than Oz moaning at getting his wallet
Try car bumper / dash restorer,
its silicone based and waterproofs but also stops 'em
squeaking so you can sneak out when it's your round.