I ride an electric unicycle. My Gotway Tesla can reach speeds of about 30 mph. I haven’t gone faster than 25 mph, but that’s still pretty fargin’ fast! When I fall, there is a good chance I am going to land right on my beautiful face. I could smash my jaw and lose a bunch of teeth.
That’s expensive. It would hurt a lot! We don’t want that to happen.
I got a fancy pants expensive helmet to protect my jaw bone and teeth when I fall on my face on the electric unicycle. It has way more visibility than my motorcycle helmet and SO MUCH more ventilation! It is a Bell 3R something or another. pic.twitter.com/UGrxJj2aSW— Pat Regan (@patsheadcom) August 14, 2020
Do you need to spend over $200 on a Bell Super 3R helmet with a chin guard? Not everyone does, but here in Texas, I decided that I absolutely had to!
I didn’t see any helmets with chin guards at my local bicycle shop, and all the lesser downhill mountain bike helmets on Amazon seem to have a complete lack of ventilation.
My first helmet
Shortly after acquiring my Hover-1 XLS scooter, I ordered a simple bike helmet. It is a piece of styrofoam that straps to your head. I paid $18 for it, and I bet it was the cheapest bike helmet available on Amazon!
I was still using it right up until my Bell helmet arrived. If I’m not going to be on the street, and I’m not going to be going fast, I’ve been hoping that this cheap helmet would be enough to keep me relatively safe.
We’ll talk about why I’ve still been using it soon, but I do have to say that every time I wear the cheap helmet, I worry about what might happen to my face!
I also have a real motorcycle helmet!
I ordered a YEMA DOT-certified helmet the same day I ordered my Gotway Tesla. I figured that if there was a chance I’d be going 30 mph while standing up, that I had better have appropriate protection. Why did I choose a motorcycle helmet?
At first, I was looking at motocross helmets. When the weather here is under 50 degrees, I was finding that my eyes would water quite a bit when riding at 15 mph on my old InMotion V5F. That’s only going to be worse on the much faster Tesla, so I was also looking at goggles to go along with the motocross helmets.
That’s when I started pricing real motorcycle helmets. For less than the price of a motocross helmet and goggles, I could get a real motorcycle helmet with a flip-up windscreen AND a retractable sun visor. That seemed smart!
And it is smart. Kind of. I don’t enjoy riding with the motorcycle helmet as much as I do the Bell Super 3R, but it might be handy in the colder months. We’ll find out in January!
Why did you upgrade to the Bell Super 3R?
When it is 105 degrees outside with a heat index of 115 degrees, it is just too hot to wear a motorcycle helmet. It isn’t bad while you’re moving, but standing still or moving slow is just awful!
Two different people I’ve met on the local bike trails told me to look at this helmet. It is an expensive helmet, so I did more research.
I couldn’t find any inexpensive helmets with tons of ventilation like the Bell Super 3R. There are a ton of $60 to $80 helmets with chin guards that look like they’d work great—possibly better than the Bell! None of them have any ventilation.
I need that ventilation.
The Bell Super 3R might seem overpriced
This helmet seems to have more in common with my $18 bicycle helmet than my $80 motorcycle helmet.
All three helmets protect the top of your head with a big piece of styrofoam. The chin strap on the Bell helmet is beefier than the strap on my bicycle helmet, but they both use the same style of buckle. The motorcycle helmet has a fancy strap that lets you snug up the strap with a little ratchet mechanism, and it has a quick-release pull tab.
The motorcycle helmet is fit snugly on your head with lots of padding in the front, sides, and rear of your neck. The Bell helmet uses an adjustable plastic piece in the back just like the bicycle helmet, but it has two pieces of padding near the front of the chin guard to help keep your jaw from hitting the chin guard in a crash.
The Bell helmet has a removable chin guard
I bet this is where a lot of the expense and engineering have gone. I would prefer it if the helmet were a single-piece design like the motorcycle helmet.
I need the chin guard. I don’t expect to take it off. I’d feel slightly more confident in the helmet if the chin guard were integral to the helmet.
Visibility is much better with the Bell Super 3R
I had a much harder time mounting my wheel with the motorcycle helmet. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I had just upgraded to a bigger, heavier, more powerful wheel at the same time I started trying a very different helmet!
The Bell Super 3R has a much wider and taller opening in the front, and you can even partially see through the chin guard. This is a huge help.
My motorcycle helmet arrived before my new Gotway Tesla V2, so I was able to use it with the new wheel immediately. Learning to mount the much larger wheel was a challenge with the motorcycle helmet, because I couldn’t get a good look at what my feet were doing. With the Bell Super 3R, I have no trouble looking down to see what my feet are up to!
I feel friendlier with the Bell helmet!
In the motorcycle helmet, you can’t really see much of my friendly face. Am I grumpy? Am I smiling? Am I glaring at you? You have no idea. With the visor down, I may as well be the Stig, and even with the visor up, you’ll mostly only notice the helmet. I’m also harder to hear in the motorcycle helmet.
I don’t know what you do when you ride, but I wave at nearly everyone and say hello! I tried to do this with the motorcycle helmet, but it didn’t work well.
People are more likely to wave back, respond, and smile when I’m wearing the Bell Super 3R. Even with the COVID-19 mask under my helmet, people still seem more likely to notice that I’m friendly when wearing the Bell helmet.
Will I ever use the motorcycle helmet again?
I was assuming I would use the motorcycle helmet when I’m going on a ride that mostly involves real roads with traffic, or during the winter when I want to keep the cold wind out of my eyes. I went on a ten mile ride yesterday with my motorcycle helmet. It was the first time I’ve used it since I bought the Bell helmet.
It was so awful! If I look down while I’m riding, I can’t see my EUC at all. It was only 82 degrees outside, but it felt like I was breathing warm air unless I was moving fast. When wearing my COVID-19 mask, I was breathing warm air even over 20 mph.
The motorcycle helmet is heavier. I didn’t notice it much while riding in a straight line, but I could feel the massive weight every time I had to quickly scan left and right repeatedly at intersections.
The worst part for me was the wind noise. It was so loud! Between the wind, the extra material of the YEMA motorcycle helmet, and the lack of vent holes in the motorcycle helmet, I could barely hear my Tesla’s speakers announcing top speeds and battery capacity every few miles.
Maybe I’ll give the motorcycle helmet another shot when the weather gets cooler, but I’m guessing I’ll need to just invest in some goggles for the Bell Super 3R!
You can remove the chin guard from the Bell Super 3R
I did this once when the helmet arrived. It was easy to remove and reattach.
When it is attached, it feels quite solid. I doubt I will ever take it off again.
If you ride an electric unicycle, you need a helmet, and that helmet has to have a chin guard to protect your beautiful face. I am absolutely certain that a $60 mountain bike helmet from Amazon would protect me just as well as the $224 Bell Super 3R, because I’m not trying to break any speed records here. I’m doing my best not to cruise any faster than 20 mph, though I do make occasional sprints up to 25 mph.
If you live in a hot climate, there aren’t many helmets available with chin guards that also have plenty of ventilation. They definitely exist, but they weren’t available at my local bike shop or on Amazon. That’s as far as I looked, because I knew if my Bell helmet didn’t fit right, Amazon would let me return it!
What do you think? Are you using a mountain bike helmet with your electric unicycle? Is it the Bell Super 3R? Do you like your helmet? Do you think you’ve chosen a better helmet than me? Did I miss a cheaper alternative with ventilation on Amazon? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!