Helmets are, admittedly, a very personal choice. Not just the decision to wear or not but rather the type of helmet that one elects to use. Shorty, 3/4, open face, dual sport, modular……there are a myriad of configurations on offer. And creative new possibilities arrive every day (Can you say Bell Rogue?) In recent years high mileage and all season riders in large numbers have gravitated toward modular or “flip up” helmets.. Great offerings from big time manufacturers like Shoei (Multi-Tec and Neo-Tec), Schuberth (C3), Nolan and others are favorites of sport tourers around the world.
One curious aspect associated with the popularity of modular helmets is this. While the vast majority of such units sold in the US comply with the DOT motorcycle helmet safety standard No.218 as proscribed by the US Department of Transportation (the majority also comply with the European Standard EC22-05), until recently none complied with the highly regarded (by some) SNELL “M” or Motorcycle Safety Standard. At the same time the preponderance of conventional full face helmets bear the Snell M2010 legend. Whazzup wit dat?
Ironically, the Snell Memorial Foundation has tested and approved a great number of open face helmets over the years. However, the problem for modulars seems to be that if there is a chin bar present in the helmet design, then it is evaluated against the same test criteria as a fixed chin bar as on a conventional full face helmet.
Last winter, however, upstart helmet manufacturer LS2 (They’ve only been in the US market since 2010) managed to score Snell M2010 certification for their FF394 Modular. A first of some note.
LS2 claims super smooth, one button flip-up action and a full-metal mechanism to keep the chin bar secure. Adjustable flow-through ventilation is said to give the rider control over the elements. The FF 394 seems to offer basically all the stuff that makes modulars so popular, now with Snell M2010 Certification. As of today, LS2′s FF394 Epic is the only Modular Helmet on the market with the Snell M 2010 sticker. Clearly, from a marketing standpoint, LS2 has a useful “talking point” that other modular helmet makers lack.
So, the question here is a simple one. Does the Snell Certification have any value, real or implied, to you as a potential helmet buyer. Or is this simply a marketing intiative? Discuss.