Crash helmet tiger ears

1st April 2008 – 8.36 am

I bought some tiger ears for my crash helmet last year. I was initially concerned with how well the ears would stay attached to my lid, being secured by only a sucker cup each, and was always relieved when I got to my destination with both ears still present. Because of the nature of riding a bike putting a lot of air pressure around the helmet, as well as weather effects, notably rain, I took it as inevitable that I would lose at least one of the ears sooner or later, and just decided to let the ears stay on for as long as they wanted. I was impressed, though, as they lasted for months, enduring motorway riding and storms before the cold weather caused one of the ears to drop off one day. Believing that the cold would affect the rubber suckers detrimentally I wasn't surprised and removed the remaining ear from my helmet, and decided to wait for Spring before getting some new ears and replacing them.

It is now Spring, and the weather has warmed up enough to start wearing the tiger ears on my crash helmet again. I bought a new pair and they turned up before Easter. One of the sucker cups was a little wonky, though. It didn't sit well on the helmet, not making me feel confident about its chances of staying attached under high winds or rain. I tried to modify it a little, squeezing it in to a better shape, but that didn't really work. In the end I left the slightly misshapen ear off and used the one that survived for months on my helmet before, coupled with the other new one. I was confident that the old one would stick well, from experience, and the other new one looked good enough. I plopped them on to my helmet this weekend and took my first trip with them attached, commuting to and from work, yesterday.

I got to work and both ears were still attached, which was good. They even lasted on the motorway on the way home. But not much further than that. Indeed, coming off the roundabout at the motorway junction I made a routine rear-view mirror check, to see what traffic I was leaving behind, and I noticed something white and orange bouncing on the road a little distance behind me. Noooooo! It was possible that it was something else white and orange, not my tiger ear, but the chances were slim that this was the case. I also made a little bet with myself that it was the new ear that had fallen off so soon, and when I got home I was unsurprised to see that this was the case. How disappointing! The new ear hadn't even lasted a day.

I still had another ear left from the new package, but this was the ear that I wasn't confident about staying secured. With the 'good' one failing so soon I didn't rate the other's chances at all. I didn't want to be one-eared, so I could order a new pair and hope that I got a good pair, or I could think of a better way of securing the ears to the helmet. The problem is how to achieve that. For a start, the helmet manufacturers are clear that no stickers, paint, or any other item should be stuck to the helmet's exterior, lest the integrity of the helmet and thus its safety value be compromised. Second, as much as superglue is my friend there could be a time when I'd want to take the tiger ears off the helmet, to wash them of the grime of the road for example.

I then realised a good solution: gaffer tape. It's strong, resistant to the elements, and removable. As all I wanted was a secondary method of attaching the ears, complementing the sucker cups, gaffer tape seemed ideal. It would stick to the suckers and the helmet at the same time as preventing air and water ingress to the sucker cups, and if the elements eventually wore down the tape it could be reapplied. As my helmet has a black base the black tape would not appear incongruous. Unlike the tiger ears. I wouldn't even need much tape to tape the ears down, so hopefully not affecting the integrity of the helmet. I suckered the dodgy ear down to the helmet, in place of the now escaped ear, applied some small sections of gaffer tape to it and the stalwart ear, and stood back admiring a job well done. I have two tiger ears again, and am confident in their chances of staying on my helmet for the coming months.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.