You all will be happy to know that I finally did something about Andrea's astronaut helmet head. Can you believe how many selfies she has ruined of ME because she looks like she is about to "lift-off" to the moon? International Riding Helmets (IRH) took one for the team when they sent me their Elite EQ model. I casually had it laying in her tack trunk when she arrived for our lesson last night. And by casually I mean I had it sitting on top of her trunk with the sign, "NASA stopped going to the moon and so should you." I also was careful to sign Pickels name to it.
Andrea did not stay mad for long because she loves new, shiny things, so she quickly began to check out the IRH Elite EQ. It doesn't take a genius to notice all the vent ports in the helmet. The vents run the entire length of the front of the helmet (from front to the top). There are also large vents on both sides, which her current helmet (Charles Owen) does not have, and two more vents in the very back. This promotes optimal air flow and will help keep your heads cool, even when you are getting bucked around. The inside of the helmet is lined with a padded lining that is designed to wick away all the moisture from your head. This special lining, coupled with the many air vents, is perfect for Andrea because she shoves about 10 lbs of hair into her helmet and you should see her hair when she takes her helmet off. Let's just say that Pantene isn't going to be calling anytime soon.
The outside of the Elite EQ is made of Amara suede and can be wiped down with a clean, damp cloth. Like Andrea's current helmet, it is considered a low profile, which means the helmets have a more modern look to them (aka- non-mushroom head look). When I compared the two side by side, however, the IRH Elite EQ was a bit smaller in overall shape which made it look sleeker than the Charles Owen. It also had a slightly longer visor, which I knew Andrea would appreciate since she is obsessed about preventing wrinkles. I guess she doesn't know about the expression "that ship has sailed." Both helmets were similar in the weight department and do not feel heavy on the head.
One big bonus about the IRH Elite EQ is that the inside lining AND the fleece chin strap are both washable. The chin strap piece detaches and the inside lining can be washed gently with mild soap and water. Let me guess...you are thinking about the last time you washed the inside of your helmet, right? Now, realize that you washed your girth more recently. Let that sink in for a moment! Humans are so gross!!!!
Andrea took me for a spin with the new IRH. I heard her frequently comment that the helmet was quite comfortable and her head felt well cushioned and protected. I spent the rest of that ride wondering if that last comment was in fact a challenge... Never once did she complain about any pressure points or the helmet feeling too tight. The weather in NC has been a bit cool as of late, so it was difficult to compare the ventilation between the two helmets.
In summary, Andrea loves the new helmet. She likes the comfort, modern shape, ventilation and washability of the helmet. She will be putting her other helmet in storage. The selfies may resume. You all are very welcome.
Sizing: Easy to measure and even has a video with instructions on the IRH website (Fitting Guide). The helmet fit perfectly, but it also comes with extra foam inserts which are PERFECT for those days that you want to let your hair down (AKA ride with your hair in a low ponytail instead of tucked in the helmet).
Price: The IRH is very affordable compared to some of the other big name helmets out there, and IRH offers many other helmets to chose from besides the Elite EQ. Of course, it is ASTM/SEI approved as well.
Con: The only thing Andrea was whining about was the chin strap. The material seemed to be of a lesser quality than the rest of the helmet.
Learn more about the IRH Elite EQ: CLICK HERE.
Buy at Smartpak, Dover, or search on the IRH site for retailers near you!