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Schuberth_PlantA typical DOT approved motorcycle helmet has only three.  A Formula 1 helmet has 18!

I’m talking about Carbon fiber layers.  Over the years I’ve noticed more riders abandoning “beanie” helmets in favor of full-face.  I know from experience that “rain riding” with a full-face is more comfortable than a beanie.  And in terms of impact protection, the performance of a full-face carbon fiber helmet remains unsurpassed and can protect a motorcycle rider from serious injury in case of an accident.

Schuberth1Now helmet manufacturer Schuberth, based in Germany released the T-1000 helmet.  Millions of tiny fibers, woven into 18 of these carbon fiber layers, the T-1000 represents the current state-of-the-art in helmet development.  It was designed for Formula 1 and is presently the world’s most impact-resistant carbon fiber helmet and can withstand the heat of a welding flame (approx. 900 degrees C) positioned an inch away for 45 seconds.

The helmets also have a special acoustic collar which limits stress-inducing noise and a titanium chin strap clasp which weighs 6 grams less than the steel clasp to provide neck muscle relief over an extended period of time.  Eye protection consists of a four millimeter-thick, impact-resistant poly-carbon panel capable of stopping an approaching particle travelling at 310 mph!  The visor can be heated if desired for cooler weather conditions.  Schuberth specialists spent about 3,000 hours and had a 6-figure development budget while working on the design of the Formula 1 helmet with the goal to provide the very best in head protection technology.

Cost?  Not including the exemplar generated scans to adapt the helmet to your head – about $14,000.00.  Significantly more than a Shoei Multitec at $490, but talk about “bragging rights” in the Motel 6 parking lot over a good cigar…

Photo courtesy of Schuberth.

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Imagine for a moment you’re on a motorcycle trip during a beautiful August week through the Wallowa Valley.  It’s a broad corridor of grass, framed by big mountains and dotted with various ranches.  As the road climbs into the Wallowa Mountains you pass old growth forest and clear-running rivers then finally arrive at Hells Canyon.  You return home after the weeklong trip to find in your mail box a number of police photo tickets.  Huh?  At first you think it’s a joke, but then realize that Elgin, OR on Hwy 82 was the start of your Hells Canyon tour and you vaguely remember a police department, city hall and movie theater all being housed in a 1912 brick opera building.  You review the photos/information:

  1. Ticket #1: While entering Elgin rolling over a tread measuring system it was determined your motorcycle tires had insufficient tread depth.  $160 fine.
  2. Ticket #2: You stopped for lunch, utilizing the street side parking.  The automated parking meter photographed your 10min overstay.  $45 fine.
  3. Ticket #3: After lunch you make a note of the rough engine idle at this altitude.  The automated tailpipe emissions systems profiled the excessive CO2 via air sniffing microphones.  $210 fine.
  4. Ticket #4: As you departed town you may have rolled on the throttle and the automated noise camera recorded a 10 second video clip from a set of microphones and determined you offended the town’s tranquility level.  $377 fine.

You laugh and think that this level of government intrusion intervention is not possible?  Well think again.  It’s not if it will happen, but when.  For example in Germany, ProContour’s tread analysis system is being deployed and the European Union regulations authorize fines up to $160 if insufficient tread depth.  In Australia, Acoustic Research Labs have deployed the NGARA real time sound acquisition systems and excessive noise tickets are being mailed as you read this!  How long until an aggressive city government decides to roll-out these new revenue generating systems in a city near you?

Is this the price of technological progress or the ultimate “Nanny State?” Throw in a little city government enthusiasm to profit from the increased monitoring and….?  While we’re at it could we get a “bling” camera…I don’t know about you, but I get distracted when the sun catches all those spinner-wheels wrong.  It blinds me as I’m driving.

Maybe it’s time that I park my excessive carbon emitting loud tailpipes and balding tires at home and just invest in hearing impaired products?

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