Japanese helmets and caucasian heads.

baribari

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May 28, 2010
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Fukushima
#1
I crashed a while back and need to get around to buying a net helmet (and patching my jersey...), but since it seems like such a pain to import a Giro or Specialized helmet, even though the mid-range Japanese models cost as much as a top-range US model.

But some people I know mentioned that foreign brands don't fit Japanese heads well like the Japanese (OGK, MET, etc) makers, so I have to wonder if Japanese makers fit caucasian heads well enough.

Any knowledge of experience with this?

I don't want to blow 20,000 just to have something designed for a much rounder head.

(an Arai employee told me that their domestic models are like bowling balls compared to their export models)
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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#2
10% fact and 90% marketing spin in my opinion. Pro Japanese cyclists overseas seem to wear the foreign brands with no problems. The same thing is often said about Japanese feet and yet major league baseball players still wear Nikes and Reeboks. Go and try some on and you'll find a good one that fits.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#3
I think there is something to it, but as Simon says not as much as the Japanese marketers would have you think. That said, my pointy head tends to work better with "foreign" brands. I've found that more than shoes and bike frames, helmets are one thing I really have to try on in the shop; some people can do helmets and look fine, but for me 90% of them just look ridiculous (well, so do the other 10% really, but at least some are less ridiculous than others...)
 

baribari

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May 28, 2010
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#4
10% fact and 90% marketing spin in my opinion. Pro Japanese cyclists overseas seem to wear the foreign brands with no problems. The same thing is often said about Japanese feet and yet major league baseball players still wear Nikes and Reeboks. Go and try some on and you'll find a good one that fits.
Some Japanese people really do have freakishly wide feet. The Asics foot measurer in Tokyo said I had incredibly slim feet (at least by Japanese standards; I practically broke through the left side of the bell curve), so I had to get a Slim Type running shoe, which fits quite well.

OTOH, my Sidis fit me like gloves despite people in US forums saying "Sidis are too narrow." In Japan, people tend to get Sidi Megas, though.

I would try them on but the local shops usually have very little in inventory, so I dont want to order anything based on the wrong model, size, etc. I'm going to Tokyo this weekend so maybe I'll just try to find something there. Hoping to pick up a trainer ASAP since this weather (rain every day for the last several weeks) is getting on my nervers.
 

trad

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Dec 4, 2006
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Tokyo
#5
general consensus is that Japanese heads/helmets are build for "rounder" noggins, and gaijin helmets are thought to be more oblong/narrow. Having said that, manufacturers make different shapes. For example I replaced a Giro Pneumo (fit me well, more oblong) with a Giro Atmos - which turned out to be more round in shape. I later learned later that Giro Ionos is more oblong and should have gone there. The Atmos still fits, but got bit of a mushroom effect going....The key is to try them on....
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
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Tokyo
#6
I am wearing OGK (and crash-tested it couple of times) and find it very nicely fitting for my gaijin head. Actually never seen any of this "asian fit" stuff in helmets and i think it doesn't really matter much as the fastener is made to adhere to different head shapes.
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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#7
I have an LAS that fits fine and is hugely comfortable.

Is there something else that is better?

((And no idea what kind of head shape I might have...))
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#9
LAS - No Japanese Ft
Giro- No Japanese Fit
specialized - No Japanese Fit
Catlike - No Japanese Fit

In fact apart from the actual Japanese brands there is no "Japan Fit" helmets on the market. Most helmets come with the adjustable head band that dials in to the width and lenth of the head and thus they can get away with saying "Japan Fit"

Many helmets have different sizes though and I found that Italian and other European brands are a lot more accurate in the sizing than US brands, so its best to go down and actually try on a few to get a feel for them.

Also its a very personal thing yes they may look great but I find some brands give me a headache over longer rides so its best to choose one that you are 100% happy with on your head.
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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#10
Most helmets are foreign made (non-Japanese) so this shouldn't be an issue. If you are Japanese however, and want to buy a foreign made helmet, this may be an issue. I was thinking of importing some helmets a couple of years back but decided against it because of this.

As for shoes, SIDIs were generally considered too narrow for Japanese feet. Truth or market spin, who knows, but I believe SIDI addressed the issue and launched Japan-specific sizing, which is why you see SIDI becoming popular now.

The golden rule for helmets and shoes: "always try before you buy".

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com

By the way, kpykc "I am wearing OGK (and crash-tested it couple of times)" I recommend a new helmet!
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#11
By the way, kpykc "I am wearing OGK (and crash-tested it couple of times)" I recommend a new helmet!
As do I...... any crash and you should replace the helmet!

Some helmet companies actually have a crash replacement policy where you send the helmet back and they send you a new one at a reduced price.

I suggest you contact the manufacturer first and not the LBS as they will 99% of the time have no idea what you are talking about.
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
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Tokyo
#12
Andy, James, thanks for the advice.
Unfortunately my latest crash-test (a year ago) ended up squishing and cracking the helmet rendering it unusable, but it did its job well, so i bought a new one, the exact same model - hopefully it will stay without cracks for a couple of years, before I change it.
 

baribari

Maximum Pace
May 28, 2010
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Fukushima
#14
FWIW, I tried an OGK on and it quite a bit too wide on the sides. Plus, it looked really wide from the top down.

My previous Bridgestone one-size-fits-all was OK, although still a little wide on the sides.
 
#15
Oh to be able to buy helmets that fit comfortably, I measure around 66-67cm and have a very long and narrow head. Makes finding anything to fit a real pain and I've never been particularly comfortable with anything I've tried..

I'm still trying to track down a custom maker...
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#17
Oh to be able to buy helmets that fit comfortably, I measure around 66-67cm and have a very long and narrow head. Makes finding anything to fit a real pain and I've never been particularly comfortable with anything I've tried..

I'm still trying to track down a custom maker...
Paul, I also have the same shape of head.... aerodynamic ;) But I've found the Giro Ionis, Catlike Whisper and the LAS Victory to be very good fits and recommend them all.

The LAS Victory is an awesome helmet and has exceptional airflow and sits a little higher than the others. Perfect for the hot humid summers.

For a custom helmet you are going to be paying an awful lot of money for something that may turn out to have a very short lifespan.