In preparation for this year's Southern Cross I decided that it was time for a new helmet - the old Shoei was starting to show it's age. After having a look and trying on a few helmets I ended up spending the bucks on another Shoei (not what I had intended to do). It's an XR-1000 and what sold me on it was the comfort plus some pretty cool features (the vents, no tools visor removal, removable lining etc).
Anyway, all new things need a christening so rather than heading over to Manfield to watch other guys riding bikes I headed out for a blat. I started by heading out to Ashurst and then around the Pohangina Valley. But instead of turning left and coming back home through Cheltenham I turned right and headed on North towards Rangiwahia. All these back roads are a great blast - windy and hilly - a good workout for bike & rider. The only issue is road condition - you must always be on the lookout for gravel on corners, unsignposted road works and stock (including hawks eating their lunch) on the road.
Once back onto the main road at Mangaweka, I turned back towards home via Vinegar Hill and a late lunch in Fielding. All told a ride of just over 220km with most of it on those great back roads. And as you can see from the picture, a great way to "blood" the new noggin protector.
As for the helmet, well, the vents definitely work - it actually got a bit chilly in places. It's definitely comfortable and reasonably quiet - I purposely rode minus ear plugs to try it out. Would still normally wear ear plugs though - no matter how good helmets get they can't kill that wind noise completely.