Author: Craig Perronne Photos: Craig Perronne
Many of us tend to focus on components that will improve the overall speed and performance of our vehicles. We dream about and save our hard-earned cash for better suspension, bigger shocks, additional horsepower, more effective brakes, improved lighting and better wheels and tires. Sadly, for many, safety gear doesn’t even factor into the equation or budget. This often leads to not much thought given to the proper safety products.
While all safety gear is important, if there is one item that is absolutely critical and requires careful consideration, it is a helmet. Unlike many other parts and vital organs of our bodies, we do not come equipped with a spare brain. Soft and relatively squishy, our brains sit comfortably suspended in a bit of liquid and surrounded by the rather thick bone of our skulls. For normal use it is a fairly good design, but the radical g-forces and impacts commonly found in an off-road accident quickly show its limitations. For racers, or even those with play cars, a helmet is an absolute must.
One of the latest to catch our eye is HJC Motorsport’s Fi-10 auto-racing helmet. Made with HJC’s Advanced Super-Lite Composite Weave Shell, the Fi-10 is a blend of carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass. The unique construction helps the Fi-10 to come in at a svelte 3.4 lbs. While weight might seem like a non-issue for a helmet, it definitely comes into play for endurance sports like off-road racing. Trust us, spending 16 hours bouncing around on rough racecourse with a five lb. weight wrapped around your head is not fun. All of the weight savings do not compromise safety, however, as the Fi-10 meets Snell 2010 safety ratings.
The most striking feature of the new Fi-10 is that comes setup for a Parker Pumper (or other fresh air source) and that the hose connection is at the top of the helmet. Compared to the more conventional location at the side of the helmet, the move allows air to be distributed around the head better for improved cooling. A total of seven entry points for air are utilized, with three directly on the shield to prevent fogging, two onto the front of the head and two onto the back. The air tube connection is also flat with the top of the helmet to provide clearance and pivots to prevent tearing a hose.
Other features include a lowered chin bar to protect from flying debris and an injection-molded polycarbonate shield that provides better clarity than heat-bent shields. The Fi-10 also comes pre-drilled for head and neck restraints, eliminating the need for drilling and possible damage to the helmet. So far we have found the Fi-10 to be very comfortable and it seems even lighter than our previous helmet, the HJC HX-10 Carbon. We have yet to step into a race vehicle and try the new top air setup, but are looking forward to feeling its benefits.
One upgrade we immediately noticed over our previous HX-10 was the Fi-10’s use of a rubber seal for the shield. This should provide a better seal along with preventing
tearing when compared to the previous foam version.
The Fi-10’s air port fits relatively flat with the top of the helmet and distributes air more effectively around the head.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION HJC Motorsports (562) 407-2186 www.hjc-motosports.com