Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Custom Race Helmets

Every year Valentino Rossi (among others) presents the world with his new custom race helmet for the season. He also tends to have a special helmet for his home track.

I love the idea of having a custom helmet.

It looks amazing. It stands out. It gives you a more professional look compared to another Rossi helmet.

The reason that most riders don't have a custom helmet is simple ... cost.

A high end helmet (one that I would consider suitable for racing) is going to run you north of $500.00. The really good ones that have the more advanced features (and arguably are more protective) are close to or exceed $1,000.00.

Once you have the helmet then you add in the cost of the custom design and applying that design to the helmet. That can run you *another* $1,000.00 or more.

As a racer I tend to go through 1-3 helmets per year. Some years I don't have a crash that damages my helmet but other years it seems all I am doing is hitting my helmet.

These costs add up.

Picking your helmet

I race with an AGV Corsa helmet. I like the way it fits my head, I like the way that it slides through the wind and I especially like the way that it has demonstrably protected my head in an unfortunate incident last year.

If you go to the popular motorcycle stores, the Corsa runs north of $600.00. If it has Rossi's design on it then it is closer to $1,000.00.

However, if you shop around, you can find Corsa helmets for a lot less. Last year's color or design can be found at a discount. Sometimes an incredible discount.

If AGV made a replica of a racer's helmet and that racer fell out of favor or stopped racing then you can get that replica at an incredible price compared to retail.

Use Google's shopping portal and you may find your favorite helmet at a great price.

Don't look for the Rossi replica, in fact, ignore the design on the helmet entirely. Find the right size and the best price.

Helmet Wraps

Painting a helmet is expensive and time consuming. There is an alternative; vinyl.

A helmet can be wrapped in vinyl and any design you can think of can be printed onto that vinyl. You can get FAR more detail onto a vinyl wrap than you can with paint.

The turn around time is also far quicker. A qualified vinyl installer (I refuse to call them wrappers) can finish a helmet in less than a day. Your designer can design the helmet fairly quickly as well. Total turn around is under a week assuming that you don't go back and forth with your designer a dozen times or more.

You can also get a good deal on the vinyl installation as well.

If you are doing your helmets at the same time that you are having vinyl applied to your race or street bike then the installer will most likely give you a better price than just doing the helmet in isolation since the design elements carry over from one to the other.


The cost will vary based on your designer and your installer. If your designer and installer work for the same company then it will probably be a lower price than going between two or more shops.

Having your designer and installer working together will also reduce the chance of errors or miscommunications as well.

As an example, my total cost for a custom race helmet is less than the cost of a Rossi replica at retail.  That is including the design and installation of the vinyl.

I normally get my helmet design completed at the start of the race season when I get my race bike design completed. That helps reduce the cost.

I normally do not change my design mid-year when I have a second (or third) helmet completed. That helps reduce cost since I am being charged for design only once.

Your mileage may vary.

Is it worth it?

I like having a custom helmet and I have found that my sponsors like that I have a custom helmet. When I send them race reports and photos of my races; I stand out.

Which means they stand out.

While I am in this for the pleasure of racing, they are here to sell a product or service. Having my bike and my gear looking as good as possible helps them. That is my value to my sponsors.

When people see my bike on the track and like it, it helps my sponsors.

When people walk by my bike in the paddock and stop to stare at it, it helps my sponsors.

When people see my custom helmet and the professionalism it demonstrates, that helps my sponsors.

It is absolutely worth it.

Give Serious RnD a call and see some of the designs that they have done for racers. They do some fantastic work.  Have them make a design for you.

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