PHOTOS | KEL McINTOSH
For most of my life I’ve been jealous of a little white Lego spaceman.
You see, I’m pretty keen on flying.
Buying a motorcycle helmet isn’t an easy task any day of the week. It's a hefty outlay that needs to protect your most valuable asset (brain!). It's illegal to ride without one and, of course, your ego will creep in demanding you look half decent. In addition, when you start out, you’ll be lumped with specs which mean nothing to you yet and “helpful” advice from everyone who walks through the bike store. Result? One helluva confused and bewildered new rider.
Upon announcing that you’ve bought a motorbike, after the initial looks of surprise, stories will swiftly flow of every person in your present audience’s acquaintance, who has died/ become permanently disabled/ won’t go near bikes again as a result of a motorcycle accident. You will act nonchalant out of defiance, meanwhile, your internal panic-o-meter hits “What have I done?”. Oh hi helmet-that-costs-more-than-your-bike. Congratulations. You are now the owner of the lid equivalent of wrapping yourself up in bubble-wrap and getting in a box of those little squishy noodle things that melt in water. In a foam factory. In a town made of marshmallows.
That's me. I did that.
Don’t get me wrong, my first helmet is incredible. I look like Beatrix Kiddo in it.
It's big and yellow with a tinted black visor so I am clearly visible but my face can’t be seen. It’s got vents everywhere (seriously, EVERYWHERE). It’s got facial padding so intense, I feel like Alvin, Simon, and Theodore all shoved into one chipmunk. The silence inside is deafening, akin to being in a Tesla Model S. Light as a weekday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, it's perfect for high speed, high risk, racing environments where your life to death/permanently disabled risk ratio is more 1:1. Exceptional safety standards, but not exactly optimal for going between first and second gear around the streets of San Remo as you practice cornering, slow maneuvering and stopping. When getting to know your 33-year-old Honda, it’s important that you can see and hear it easily, especially since the bike was most recently owned/fingered by a well-meaning but exceptionally frugal 89 year old ex-motorcycle racer with a heart the size of Australia and a spray booth in his son’s old bedroom. Lets just say my CM250c came with personality as standard.
I never thought I’d be a dual helmet owner so soon. I almost have a twinge of guilt in my guts, like I’m cheating on my other helmet. But lordy be, my riding style had legit improved in the last month because I am not so molly-coddled in race-grade headgear.
I will do a review down the track for my first helmet, when I use it for its intended purpose. And I think that is the key here when purchasing a helmet: Intended purpose.
The DMD Rocket is a vintage styled Italian made full faced helmet that will easily satisfy the desires of McQueen dreamers who’ve lusted over the classic Bell “Star” helmet of the 1970’s (It was the Bell “Star” that saved Elspeth Beard’s life when she cartwheeled in the Queensland outback). Bell’s closest offering to a replica is the Bullitt but my nerdy attention to detail and *cough* safety needed a wider band of chin protection. I like my chin. My mate Glenn was the first to bring up the importance of chin protection in a helmet and if you need any convincing, you could google open face helmet injury (I did so you don’t need to).
The DMD Rocket, with its carbon kevlar shell, is available in Australia certified to the ECE 22.05 standard which has been legal in NSW since December 2015 (if you want an up-to-date primer on what’s legal on NSW Roads, take a look at the Motorcycle Council of NSW’s comprehensive guide). It also has a removable & washable liner - good for avoiding helmet stank (or the occasional foundation rub off if you’re into makeup).
Next box ticked was being able to (gingerly) squeeze in my Ray bans so the need for a tinted visor was eliminated. Hello night rides! (Once I removed my sunnies obviously). There is still a comforting amount of nanna clutch in the cheeks (Nanna clutch is how I define the cushioning in the cheeks, as if your Nan has grabbed you on the face, either in an affectionate manner or to get something out of your mouth that ought not be there). My first helmet was like Ms Trunchbull had you by the jaw. The Rocket is certainly more of a nanna clutch. Firm but not regimental. Sizing is a bit generous - I take a medium in Shoei but small in the in DMD - I don’t take this personally (there’s that ego again).
The visor can clip down, but as it's still new, it's a bit too stiff to clip/unclip without getting my heart rate up, and not something I want to dabble with in transit just yet. It doesn’t have a fancy pinlock in the visor like my other helmet so it does fog up a little on early morning rides at slow speed (for the uninitiated, a pinlock is an anti-fog insert, a second layer which prevents moisture forming in the area you’re trying to see through). Our Leticia Cline has a sweet moto hack for this that I am yet to try. For the time being, my solution to this is to just lift the visor up a little. I tend to put the visor down once I crack 70km. It does whistle at about 60-70kph but gee whiz: you’re on a motorcycle, this is probably something you like. I probably would never have been aware of this if I hadn’t had a freakishly quiet helmet first time round. As mentioned before, my first helmet just didn’t feel quite right.
And this brings me back to the little white Lego spaceman. I wanted a helmet that looked it belonged to me, you know, nerdy and a bit old school. I will never be Beatrix Kiddo, but I’ve been a little white Lego spaceman more times in my life than I can remember.
Except now I got his helmet and I can also fly.
Note: This is an independent review with the product being purchased by the author with their own funds for their own personal use. This review is the opinion of the author and is for use of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific professional advice. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any persons acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material in this publication will be accepted.
Kel has the face of a siren and the mouth of a drunken sailor. She enjoys dancing up a storm to Slayer and 1930s jazz, whispering sweet nothings to her CM250 ‘Bronson’ and delicately adjusting her carburettors, but can also tell you the genus of Magnoliophyta. Kel is our Associate Editor and Project Manager, and has the organisational prowess of a circus ringmaster, using it to crack the IVV team into shape with colour coded calendars and to-do lists.