23rd October 2015
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Davida Ninety-Two, Speedster and Jet
Top quality open face crash helmets manufactured in the UK; what's not to like? Martin Gelder got flies in his teeth this summer...
I need to start by declaring an interest here; I've known David Fiddaman since the late seventies and admired his attitude to the motorcycle industry since he started importing and then making motorcycle stuff in the early eighties. He's one of those people who expects things to be well made; if he can't find what he wants to the quality he wants, he'll make it himself.
Davida helmets are a perfect illustration of this. Made in a small factory in Birkenhead – Davida are the only UK manufacturer of open faced helmets – hand painted, hand stitched, they exude quality in the same way as the most expensive full faced lids. They're made by people who ride motorbikes, so they're quiet and comfortable, but they're also chin-quiveringly cool in a classic way that transcends current hipster chic and changing fashions.
They're not cheap – reassuringly expensive, perhaps – but the build quality puts them in line with more expensive full face helmets on the market. And they work. I'm not a natural open face helmet wearer but this summer I've been wearing a Davida Speedster for bopping about town on my classic bikes. It fits close to the head so you don't get that sense of intertia as you look back for a lifesaver or nod to a fellow airhead BMW rider (everyone else ignores us so we have to share that common bond) and the strap and double d-ring fastening don't irritate or chafe. There's as much peripheral vision as you'd want, room for a pair of goggles that are big enough to fit over my owlish glasses, and the leather lining is comfortably soft.
There's an element of theatre to riding an old bike, and putting on quality kit enhances that. Rain still stings when it hits your face and crash protection in an open face lid isn't going to be as complete as with a full face helmet, but there's a lot to be said for letting other road users see that you're a human being rather than a faceless android. And in hot weather you can't beat that feeling of the wind in your beard...
Davida currently make three models of open face helmet, as well as the Classic pudding-basins.
The Jet is ECE 22-05 approved for road use and also certified to ACU Gold Standard for racing in the UK. The Speedster is a model that is evocative of the 1970s style helmets but that no longer meets the current safety certification standards. However, it has a shell that fits closer to the head which makes it much more comfortable and natural to wear than the Jet in the larger sizes. Finally, the latest Ninety-Two has a small profile shell like the Speedster but is British Safety Standard BS 6658: 1985 Type B certified. It is now available in three shell sizes making it suitable for those of us with larger than average heads. You can add your own joke at this point.
All the Davida helmets are available in a bewildering range of colours and styles, or you can have one personalised to your own design. They come with a goggle strap retaining fastener at the back and can be ordered with or without peak fitting press-studs.
More pictures of depressingly young, beautiful and cool folk (along with all the helmet colours, styles and accessories) here: www.Davida.co.uk
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