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After six months of riding through rush hour wearing a regular helmet I was recommended the Caberg J1 Plus by a friend. The thought of not fiddling with my glasses and being able to flip the front up to talk to petrol station cashiers, friends and miscellaneous passers buy willing to lend an ear was enough to make me buy one. The outer dimensions are a lot smaller than my old helmet, which was a bit of a squeeze to get under my scooter seat and get it to close properly. This is no longer a problem. To begin with the fit felt very odd compared to a regular full-face helmet. There is a lot of pressure on your cheeks. It was also initially a bit uncomfortable after five minutes. However this only lasted a few days. Lifting the front is easy, with a large single button at the front. I?ve found that closing is not as smooth and requires either two gentle hands, or one speedy hand. My only gripe is with the visor ? it fogs up if you even think about breathing. I got caught in a huge downpour and had to stop as the visor became instantly opaque. The old trick of lifting it up to it?s first setting to increase airflow and hence stop fogging works. BUT the first click leaves a gap over an inch and a half high for the rain to blow in and get over your glasses. You can not use the stick on anti-fog shields as the visor has a double curvature and the will not fit. One dealer assured me you could. So I tried it and the thing fell off the following day. Rain Ex and Inside Out and Bob Heath do not help either. I tired the anti-fog visor - it worked for three days then started to fog up. It went back to the shop. They said that the Fog City Pro shield is designed for double curvature helmets. At time of writing it has stayed on for a week, and is stopping the fogging. I am using "Inside Out" to stop my glasses fogging. So, fogging aside I do like this helmet which gives you flip up advantages for a good pric e - I paid a penny short of £100.
When I first saw the price of the Caberg J1-Plus, it looked too good to be true. But a closer inspection produced no quality or design defects as compared to helmets costing 3 times as much. Fit is a very personal thing. I dearly wanted an AGV V-10 patriot helmet: until I tried one on that is. The J1-Plus suits me fine, with adjustable cheek pieces and a good strap-lock. The opening face does not suit all, but I find it really useful for when you need to talk to someone or even inspect your clothing up close.The chin mounted catch can be operated with the index finger of either hand and the mechanism operates smoothly without dragging the helmet all over my head. The ventilation slots on the top and chin are very good at producing noise, but seem to have little efect on the amount of cooling air to my head. Most ventilation seems to come through the bottom of the chin piece. there is no ant-fog face piece and this has proven to be a nuisance in wet weather. At speed, the J1-Plus generates a lot of lift and this can be disconcerting when performing a life-saver. Together with the noise produced by the jaw hinges, this makes the J1-Plus more of a street-biker's skid-lid than a sport-biker's bone-dome.
I'm a despatch courier so it's important for security people to see my face, but do not rely on that. There will still be some ... PEOPLE... who will ask you not only to take your helmet off, but also to leave it on their desk. The vinyl neck piece and the vinyl cover of the chin-strap will eventualy crack, scratching your skin. They do not last. You can cover the chin strap with a home-hand-improvised piece of leather. Or you can wait till your skin becomes scratch-resistant. Which I did. Trust me, it works to be lazy and not bother. The visor has been updated and is fog resistant (not at sub-freezing temperatures) and allegedly scratch resistant. The chin-up piece doesn't remain properly lifted when potholes happen. The visor locks too hard and the chin-up piece doesn't lock properly in the closed position unless using both hands. Two out of the four chin ventilation holes are not covered by the ventilation trap, which makes it a bit windy and cold in the winter. The padding gets larger as you wear it. Finding a spare or tinted visor will be a problem as they are more expensive than a BMW one even at £23-26-29 a piece and there are just a handful of people who sell them in UK as far as I know of. Then you have the problem changing it as the screw system is a bit "scientific". I've just ordered on the internet a spare semi-tinted (legal) visor (29 pounds) and an open-face conversion kit (35 pounds). The tinted one is very useful, the face conversion kit is rubish, as it doesn't accomodate any visor. You're better off buying the Caberg model that comes with 2 visors, one clear, and a yellowish one under. I'm at the second Caberg J1Plus helmet and I believe I will keep on using them as they are good value for money, they have a good locking system (one central button moving downwards).
I have to say there are several features which impressed me, not all of which are documented. ~~~why a flip?~~~ Firstly I wanted a flip style (sometimes called 'system') helmet to avoid taking my specs off when I removed or put my helmet on. Forget it. You simply have to take them off anyway, as the arms get caught on the padding. ~~~fit~~~ When I tried it on in the shop, the fit was extremely tight. The guy in the shop said it would loosen up, and he was right. It now feels like part of me, despite making me feel a bit sick for the first few hours. ~~~benefits~~~ The benefits of the flip system are that you flip the helmet front up in banks, and shops without the assistants reaching for the security button, or the guards taking a close interest in your activities. ~~~visibility~~~ It also comes into its own when you are in slow moving traffic or manouvering. The visibility offered when flipped is far superior to any full-face helmet I have ever used, while still retaining a good balance. ~~~protection~~~ One big benefit I have found is that the chin piece comes low down the neck and affords a great deal of wind protection without using a scarf. This also means the visibilty is truly excellent. ~~~ventilation~~~ There is adequate ventilation and its not too noisy considering all the lumps and bumps on the helmets surface. ~~~visor~~~ One downside it the visor removal and replacement. Its quite fiddly and there is no manual to help either. The visor snaps down tightly and can be tough to get back up with thick winter gloves on. When shouting at inconsiderate car drivers, causing the inside to fog, you really need a quick release! ~~~fastening~~~ Nice seatbelt style strap makes the helmet quite a breeze to do up. ~~~conclusion~~~ All in all a nice helmet, and yes I love the flip system. ~~~update 3/6/01~~~ This ha t is amazing. I'll never buy a standard full face helmet again. The onehanded flip operation is truly invaluable in dense traffic, and moving slowly through towns. Incredible visibility. With the chinpiece down - great wind/flying insect protection. This gets better and better. The lining has now moulded around my head and the flip action is now very easy. I find myself riding more and more with the chin up around town and up to 30mph. Unbeatable. Simply unbeatable. ~~~update 30/09/02~~~ Had this a while now. Probably done about 8k miles inside it, in all weathers. Nice airflow in the summer, not too sweaty and not had to remove the removeable lining yet. The helmet is in good shape, the lining isn't sagging, the flip action is still smooth and not too slack through use. The fogging is a bit of problem in very heavy rain. You have to have the visor open one click and the rain runs down inside the visor, leaving a vertical unfogged bit. I have started using earplugs on longer trips and reduces the bike and wind noise to a distant hum. Its like riding a magic carpet. Still happy with my Caberg. ~~~update 10/05/03~~~ Well, after two years, I think the end is in sight for my Caberg. While cleaning it today, one of the chinpiece/visor retaining screws stripped a thread and remains permanently fixed in place. Also, the vinyl on the undersite of the cheek padding is starting to crack where it curves, and comes into contact with the chinstrap. Overall the helmet is still in very good condition. The visor has stood up well to the 14,000 odd miles and two years almost daily wear. The flip action is still smooth, and the padding hasn't sagged at all. I use a 'Buff' every trip now. I don't know how I got on without it. For those of you that don't know, its like a neck tube made of cotton and polartec fleece that keeps the wind out of the ga p between the helmet and the collar of your jacket. I think it will see me through the summer and autumn, when I will be looking for a new helmet. Caberg have released a new flip helmet with an integral sun visor. Mudt be wortha look....