Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Davida Jet Ninety Two and Bob Heath Visor review

A few years ago I used to ride with a Davida pudding basin helmet. A  nice looking lid but devoid of British Standard mark so (ahem) illegal in the UK and the crash protection it offered was a heightened awareness of just how bad it would be to fall off and sustain a knock to the head. Change time came when someone pointed out to me that, not being approved, the helmet invalidated insurance, thus if severely incapacitated through head injury caused by another driver I would be very unlikely to get a payout.

Not being of entirely right frame of mind, to me the next logical step was to find a vintage pudding basin helmet which carried the 'Kite Mark' of British Standards and was therefore fully legal. Crash protection was certainly worse than the newer Davida pudding basin as my vintage Slazenger brand lid had a shell made of hardboard and lining of webbing and string. The Slazenger did however have the added safety feature of generating so very much wind noise that your speed was generally reduced for the sake of aural comfort.

Somewhere along the way in the passing of time I realised the error of my ways as I grew older and marginally more sensible. I can't bring myself to wear a full face lid on an old bike but I do like to have a quality Kite Marked helmet that is of a fairly recent vintage.

I've stuck with Davida in general over time as the quality is superb and styling right. The time had come to replace my old Jet and it seemed like a good idea to try the new slimline Jet Ninety Two. Santa Claus obliged me on that front and now a few miles down the road it seems like a good idea to give some riding impressions.

First: styling. Spot on. Davida set out to make a more authentic fifties / sixties looking Jet but meeting modern safety standards. They've totally achieved this. The shape is good, profile slim and the arched cut away at the back of the head is period authentic.

Second: riding. As out of the box the foam around the ears is ridiculously firm. I challenge anyone to get this lid straight on to their head from the box, if you do and you do not experience great pain in doing so then you, my friend, have a very weirdly shaped head. Luckily Davida seem to be aware that their standard ear inserts are very anatomically incorrect and provide a set of soft ones. These are slightly fiddly to fit  and somehow don't look quite as nice (they don't curve in around the chin as much) but they do make it possible to wear the helmet and are comfortable. On the road the lid is nice and light to wear, that authentic cut away at the rear looks great but in winter can give a bit of a chill to the back of the neck so really I would categorise the Ninety Two as a three season lid. All round vision is great, as is comfort (though that will of course largely depend on the shape of your head). The lid is entirely stable, no trace of lift at high speed - if you have experienced this you will know how disconcerting it can be to have your lid seemingly sucked off the top of your head at ninety mph making the neck strap bite in painfully.

Conclusion: Looks great, extremely well made, slightly cold on the neck in winter but an ideal choice if you want a road legal traditional crash hat.

Bob Heath five stud visor: My last visor was a Bell bubble. No complaints with that but I fancied a change and the Davida has facility for five stud fitting so it seemed like an idea to try out the Bob Heath. Back to the legal thing here - as far as I am aware there are no Kite Marked bubble visors available and same as the helmet if you have a visor it is a legal requirement that it is Kite Marked. The Bob Heath is indeed British Standard approved. I love the look of the Bob Heath shape, the fit is perfect on the Ninety Two and the two go together just right. Out on the road the visor is just low enough that it keeps the airstream from your chin and streamlining is very good, turn you head round at speed and there is no extra pull from air flow. The big drawback seems to be noise, there is a lot of it, nothing a good pair of earplugs won't block out  and to be fair it could be the helmet / visor combo as much as the individual visor. Overall though a great visor from a good old school British company, good quality and a decent price.


  1. Replies
    1. I guess if we only cared about safety we wouldn't be out riding bikes, especially not old ones with dubious brakes!

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