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5th February 2004


This is what a helmet looks like...News: Davida Jet Helmet

A helmet is a helmet is a helmet, right? Davida decided that if they wanted it doing right they had to do it themselves, and Martin Gelder tried the results for size...

Some people are never satisfied. They buy what they expect to be the best, and immediately see ways of improving it. They're not perfectionists; they just can't see why things aren't better made.

...just in case you've never seen one before. Note the Gold ACU sticker.David Fiddaman - boss of Davida - is one of those people. Back when I was a spotty apprentice with L plates he had the only decent custom painted bike in the technical college car park, and by the time I'd graduated to a 400-4 Fiddaman was tearing up the Wirral on a Kawasaki Z1B with - and how cool was this - a cast alloy rear wheel and a four-into-one exhaust.

Back in those days the "performance parts" that you could buy in the UK generally didn't improve performance, and quite often didn't even fit the bikes they were designed for. So after briefly Couldn't you just crawl in there and go to sleep?importing stuff from the states, Fiddaman started making his own. The braced box-section swinging arms that fitted as they were supposed to and the vacuum gauges that were pre-damped so that you could actually use them weren't revolutionary, but they showed an attention to detail which was lacking from a lot of contemporary after-market kit.

Being a died in the wool open-face helmet wearer, it was only a matter of time before Fiddaman turned his attention to head gear. Head-form machined from a big lump of aluminium. If Humbernut made these they'd have eye-lashes...Spotting a gap in the European market, he started manufacturing jet-style helmets that not only met the legal standards but were made with the attention to detail and quality he was always looking for himself.

Two things struck me when I visited the Davida factory a few years back. Firstly, it was encouraging to see how many of the people working there rode bikes and wore Davida helmets. Secondly, I was surprised how high-tech the design and development process was. 3D scanning, computer modelling, rapid prototyping and aluminium head-forms in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes are all part of making a traditional helmet these days.

And traditional the Davida Jet helmets are, in feel if not in manufacture. The finish on the outside is Real Mart looks so different without the beard and glasses. This is the new Speedster helmetfaultless and you can choose whether or not to have press studs for a visor or peak. The inside is up to the same standards - the soft leather lining with a touch of red satin and a double d-ring strap is luxuriant and exudes quality. It even smells nice. Mmmm. I need to get out more, obviously.

Like any helmet, getting the right size is vital. I had to try two different models of helmet (a Speedster and a Jet) before I found one that was snug on my oddly shaped head, and it's still a bit of a battle to get my ears pointing in the right direction when putting it on. The Jet comes with an ACU Gold competition sticker and ECE-R22-05 classification, so no worries there.

Out on the road the helmet has a nicely balanced feel, and is no noisier or quieter than any other open face lid. I normally wear an Arai full-face which has more vents than a rusty colander and the Davida is noticeably warmer around the head once underway - the opposite of what you would expect.

There's almost certainly room on the message board for the discussion over whether open or full face helmets are better or safer. If I'm going any distance or expecting my speed to creep above 40 or so, it's the full-face Arai every time, but I'm happy bopping round town in the Davida helmet, mostly because I know the time, effort and attention to detail that's gone in to its construction. Quality stuff.

Available in all shapes and sizes.

Loads more on Davida helmets and the goggles to go with them at www.Davida.co.uk


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