G MAX MODULAR HELMET
It really was getting to be time to replace my beloved old HJC CL Max modular helmet as it was 7 years old anyway, but it was so comfortable and quiet plus I’m so cheap that it was hard to let go of it.
Yes I know you should replace your helmet every 5 years or so but I went a little beyond that with the HJC simply because it seemed to be holding up so well. So what made me purchase my new G MAX Modular helmet? To be perfectly honest it had nothing to do with motorcycling and everything to do with alcohol, hunting, kayaking and general fun with friends out here in the middle of nowhere. Confused? So was I at first, so let me tell you a little tale before diving into this review.
It all started with me coming back from a ride and setting my helmet on either the trailer or the back of the truck and going to eat supper & drink a bottle of Guinness. Thanks to the generosity of good friends I have temporary use of a little bitty two story shack down by the Little Pee Dee River while I’m awaiting the purchase of my new home to be completed. It’s such a terrible life here as there’s nothing to do other than hunting, fishing, shooting, bothering my wife for affection and sitting on the back porch drinking beer while taking in all of the natural beauty of the river which is less than 30 feet from where I’m sitting as I write this. It’s pure misery and I’m really suffering, can’t you tell? Oh yeah, back to the story.
Last weekend after we came back from supper we were sitting on the screened in back porch watching the fish jump in the water when an old friend came paddling up in his kayak, he had dropped another guy off to do some deer hunting and he was floating down the river doing a bit of fishing. So I invited him up to have a brew and sit for a spell. While we were sitting there the man that he had dropped off to hunt called him on the phone and was ready to be picked up, as the sun had fully set by this time. Since it’s both too dark to navigate the river by flashlight, and the current is so swift here it would take a while to get back upstream anyway, I gave him a ride back to where the other guy is waiting at the hunting club. So I take off like the damn fool redneck that I am rolling through the woods and the two lane oiled gravel roads on the outskirts of Little Rock, S.C. Instead of dropping him off at his truck I bounced my way down the two track trail to pick up the hunter, and then carried both of them back to the truck before hauling ass back to the house. I’m a little fuzzy as to what point the fact that my old helmet had been sitting on the floor of the trailer earlier in the evening hit me. After a brief search in the hopes that it had fallen off in the yard we went to bed. The next morning the old HJC was sitting on the porch, battered beyond usability but still in one piece. The guys had found it and brought it to me and left it on the porch. Apparently it had bounced off of the truck and landed in the middle of the road, scratch one very nice mid- priced modular motorcycle helmet..
So within a day or two we made the pilgrimage to Florence S.C. to visit my old friends at Generation 3 Powersports to pick up a new lid for me to wear on my 40 mile commute to work. Unfortunately no HJC modulars were available from stock, so I actually tried on the G Max and in the 2X size it fit perfectly well but quite frankly I was somewhat reluctant to trust my very valuable head to a lower priced modular helmet so I also tried on a couple of normal full face helmets trying to find something comfortable, but kept coming back to the silver gray G Max Modular helmet so I bought it. After purchasing it the sales person pointed out the built in tail light and showed me how to replace the batteries in it. Up until this point I hadn’t even realized it had a tail light on it, as my helmet shopping is done based strictly on protection and fit. Paint schemes and gimmicks are secondary characteristics to safety and comfort.
So how is it? Not bad, the plan was to take it back and order a “brand name” modular helmet if I didn’t like it, but after a couple hundred miles the G Max modular helmet has been found eminently acceptable. It’s not love at first ride like my old lid was but it ain’t bad either. Since I have a very square jawed face it was almost too snug on my lower jaw, but the more I wear it the less noticeable it becomes.
One of the nifty gimmicks is a small net in the chin area presumably to keep bugs & debris from entering the helmet from the bottom side. The problem with it is that the attachment points of the net to the front of the face shield are not 100% secure and the edges of the net will roll over and poke me in the chin if I’m not careful closing the helmet.
Another gimmick that’s actually very good on this helmet is the slide down sun shield. It works very well and is a boon to a person like myself who wears prescription glasses and can’t wear traditional sunglasses when riding. Plus when the sun goes down you just push it back up into the helmet and ride on, no stopping to change glasses or face shields.
Now let’s talk about this built in tail light. It’s powered by a couple of AAA batteries buried in the back of the helmet under a cover easily removed with a screwdriver. To activate it press the button in the center of the light before you put the lid on your head. Press the button once for a steady light, twice and it will flash slowly, a third press of the button gives you a rapidly pulsing light. Press a forth time to turn it off again. As an extra cost option you can get a kit that will give you a wireless attachment to your motorcycle’s brake light, this is definitely worth considering if you have a bike with a small hard to see tail light. This gimmick will definitely help reduce your risk of being rear ended, my main concern with any helmet is crash protection and the G-Max seems as good as any other helmet in this regard, I hope to never crash test it.
The air vents on the G Max modular helmet are fantastic, the air flow and noise level are really good for a sub $200 helmet. One of my main concerns that most likely is not a problem for anyone else is making sure that my helmet is compatible with my hearing aids. The ear cup area is open and roomy and the wind noise is well dampened so I can leave my ears on while I ride.
Let me conclude by saying that although the G Max modular helmet is not perfect, it is very good especially for a $169 modular helmet and if it fits you correctly and you need a good commuter helmet on a budget, I highly recommend it. Plus the tail light is a great additional safety feature.