Saturday, November 6, 2010

Product Review: Ed Hardy Captain America Helmet

Just because a helmet looks nostalgic doesn’t mean it’s a throwback to the days before DOT and Snell certifications.  Case in point is the Ed Hardy series of open-face helmets distributed by NHJ Powersports. Look on the back of these colorful helmets and you’ll see the DOT label, which means the helmet has been approved by the Department of Transportation. The DOT certification verifies that the helmet, liner, interior, strap and buckle retention system meet certain criteria that the federal government has set for all motorcycle and scooter helmets used on public roads.

We recently got our hands on, and our heads in, an Ed Hardy Captain America helmet. As the name suggests, this DOT-certified helmet is based on the familiar red, white and blue brain bucket worn by the Captain America character in the movie Easy Rider. The twist is in the graphic’s detail, because Ed Hardy always puts his tag on the final artwork of his products. Look closely at the Captain America’s graphics and you’ll see skulls and other diabolical imagery associated with the tattoo culture in the mix.

Indeed, Hardy is a well-known personality in the tattoo industry. He spent his formative years during the 1960s in body ink shops at The Pike amusement park in Long Beach, California, before gaining a formal art education at the Art Institute in San Francisco. He later went to Japan where he mastered the intricacies of Oriental tattooing.

The Captain helmet’s padding is soft and plush throughout, and additional perforated nylon trimming inside helps cool your head for summer riding. Additional cool air is funneled through the helmet via six small vent scoops, located under the top rim of the shell, that feed air tunnels. The tunnels are routed across the helmet’s crown, exiting through two screened exhaust manifolds at the base of the helmet’s back.

There are no snaps on the fiberglass shell to accommodate a face shield or visor, but a leather strap on the backside snaps into place to help secure a set of goggles, should you want that sort of eye protection. The strap also has a curious little flap stash pocket on the inside as well. Use it as you may.

The strap retention system includes two rectangular metal rings similar to the D-ring concept found on most helmets. Cinch the strap through the two rings and the Captain America fits tightly on your head. The helmet has minimal lift, and it won’t shift to the side when you look over your shoulder before changing lanes. By novelty helmets standards, it’s probably heavier than normal, but that’s to be expected due to the DOT standards that require more material inside.

The Captain America retails for $149.99 and is available through NHJ Powersports dealers.Dain Gingerelli

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