This is Tim Price. Before and after the Manjimup 1500. Thankfully I can report that after four days in hospital, many delusional hours, daily recurring memory loss and, what I expect, would have been some considerable angst for the Price family, Tim is back at home safe and sound.
Tim Price on the Moto Dynamics Beta 300RX
This is Tim Price after.
The accident was a pretty 'ho hum' affair as far as MX accidents go. Tim approached the same jump he had successfully negotiated, lap after lap, his rear slipped out to the side a fraction coming up to the launch; the bike went one way, he went the other. The rest of the details are, at best, a little sketchy. But what we do know is that there was no other bike involved. All the damage was done when Tim hit terra firma terribly firmly. And, clearly, his head connected with the dirt. As far as head trauma goes, it was bad: severe concussion and bleeding on the brain.
Could it have been worse? I think, yes. A lot worse. So what saved him?
The result! Interestingly this is a good thing.
Could it be that Tim's Alpinestars SuperTech M8 Helmet did exactly what it was supposed to do? It split open like a barbeque banger on impact. How is this a good thing you ask?
"One benefit of fiberglass composite helmets is greater flexibility under impact, which allows a shock wave to be spread out more evenly across the helmet. Because of its brittleness, that greater flexibility translates into the helmet shell cracking on impact. When that happens, a larger section of the Styrofoam layer can do its job of collapsing so that your head doesn't contact the inside of the hard shell. For that reason, less foam padding can be used - allowing the helmet to be lighter and smaller overall" (Michael, G. SAE certified mechanic and tech writer).
So is this the difference between a "great" helmet that costs a little more and an "adequate" one that costs a lot less? Just for your info, Tim's helmet costs about $700 and was awarded "Best Solid Off-road Helmet" for 2022 by bestmotorcyclehelmets.net.
I'm not going to lie! If you search 'tightwad' on any urban dictionary you will find a picture of me. But I think I may have to re-think my approach to my dirt bike apparel. Especially my helmet. Let me just take you through my Enduro Wardrobe:
Jersey - One tasty set of Fox gear I got second hand off Gumtree for $100 about 8 years ago and two spotless almost new jerseys I acquired from my step-brother.
Pants - Those tasty Fox pants, two really nice pairs from my step-brother (again) that are two sizes too small that I still try to wedge myself into because they look flash, and a cheap set of O'Neals that were on special for less than $100 on MX Store.
Boots - 2 pairs. One set of Fox Comp5 boots that are about 5 years old that have an open tear in the bridge of the foot and are missing a strap. The other is a circa mid 90's pair that I got free from my girlfriend's workmate, who is not my step-brother because that would be weird.
I could go on....but I wont. You get the picture.
What price do I put on my head? Up until last week it was an 10 year-old Shoei helmet that I purchased in 'as new' condition (no, it didn't smell) for $400 off Gumtree.
On the road, a $220 O'Neal 2 Sierra II.
After disappearing down the research rabbit hole I was surprised to find out that my cheapy Sierra II helmet was awarded the best budget off road helmet of 2022. But "Best Budget" does not mean "Best" and it certainly does not mean "Safest". Yes, it ticks all of the standard safety boxes, but it lacks features that, in an accident, may be the difference between you walking out of hospital or getting wheeled out of hospital.
As for my dirt bike helmet? Well, I should be ashamed of myself. Most helmet safety sites say that helmets should be replaced every three to five years. Mine was not less than 10 years old and the inner lining was peeling away!
The problem was that every time I got back from a ride, after saying it was the last time I was going wear it, I put it back on the shelf in the shed. Well not this time. After my last ride I threw it, with all my might, against the pavement.
Now I HAVE to go shopping. Will I do the right thing and buy for safety, not for price?
If you are looking to buy an off-road helmet you would do well to check out the Bell Moto 9 Mips. It has the TRI-MATRIX COMPOSITE SHELL which is constructed from a proprietary mix of Aramid, carbon fiber, and fiberglass which delivers all the strength of carbon fibre in a more budget-protecting package.It should do all the right things, just like Tim's helmet did.