Tested by: Michael Cowton | £12.95 | www.proline-sports.co.uk
I CONTINUE ON my journey of trying to block out as much noise as possible when on a bike. I wear a mid-priced Shark full face helmet, and have been trialling a range of earplugs (currently using Pinlock), but find that I still suffer from too much wind noise, probably the most damaging type of sound for the ears in the long term to a motorcyclist. It is that movement of air that creates noise when it hits a solid surface, which in turn gets picked up by the eardrum in the form of vibrations. When you consider that the wind noise level in a helmet can average anything from 15dB to 25bD above the recommended norm of 80dB when tanking along at around 62mph (100km/h), that is not good news. No doubt we are all well aware that exposure to such constant wind noise can cause permanent damage to one’s hearing. I have also noticed how I tend to lose concentration after a while when I get fixated on the noise… and then paranoia sets in. So what to do?
Trawling the Internet, I came across the PL82 Windjammer 2.2 Motorcycle Helmet Wind Blocker on Amazon, but it is well worth shopping around for the best price. The Wind Blocker attaches to the base of a helmet via an integral sticky, non-slip band, which has been impregnated with a special blend of silicon that ensures enough grip and pressure to hold it in place. If necessary, the wind blocker can be easily removed, and does not leave any residue on the helmet. Manufactured from non-absorbent, four-way stretch microcellular waterproof neoprene with a ‘superplush’ soft towelling inner liner for added comfort, the aim of the wind blocker is to ensure a draught-excluding snug fit around the neck and lower facial areas. It also features two-way venting holes to reduce visor misting. Installation was a doddle, but how good is it in practice? Trial is always going to rule over theory in my book, so it was time to hit the road.
A lot depends on one’s riding position, and as my main ride is a Suzuki Bandit I tried experimenting by sitting upright in my normal pose, before leaning over the tank to see how that affects wind noise. Sitting parallel and head on to the wind, the Windjammer created a diversionary wave effect on either side, so that was good, because all that swirling air turbulence around the base of the helmet was pretty much nullfied. Head down, however, and it was a different story, as the oncoming air naturally buffeted around the top of the helmet, creating its own particularl din, before that turbulence reached the bottom of the helmet, so there was no real benefit in this case.
In conclusion, for the price, you are not going to lose a lot by experimentation, and you could well benefit in the long term.
It is worth noting that the manufacturer also produces a PL83 Pro Tour Windjammer Wind Blocker and Neck Warmer, which is suited to long-distance and cold climate touring. The PL83 has a profile-shaped neck area and, according to the manufacturer, tucks easily inside one’s jacket to provide a snug fit. Unlike the PL82, it has a zip front for easy helmet fitting. If, like me, you have already got the PL82 and are happy with it, then there are plenty of neck warmers on the market to go with it, such as the Buff.