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 Motorcycle Safety
 Safety Gear
 Design flaw in Fulmer M1 modular lid.
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI
Peer Review: 1

Posted - 08/15/2013 :  11:30 AM                       Like
Anyone out there riding with a Fulmer M1 modular helmet should be aware of the design flaw I discovered in the chin bar latching mechanism of that helmet, that can potentially lead to failure of that mechanism and the chin bar either latching on one side only or completely failing to latch as a result of normal wear and tear on the mechanism. I discovered this flaw after my helmets chin bar latch ceased functioning after about a year and half of normal daily use. Given that we expect our helmets to last longer than that I investigated in the hope that a repair was possible. It wasn't and after discovering the root cause of this failure I would expect that even if I were able to repair this problem, the same failure would recur on the opposite side of the latching mechanism, compromising the integrity of the chin bar latch.

This image shows the primary pivot point in the mechanism on the side that did not fail, the latching and unlatching action causes the lever to pivot around the brass fitting. Note that the brass pivot is attached directly to the shell of the chin bar. This attachment point is not backed up with a fitting through the shell or with any kind of insert, the pivot screws directly into the shell material.


This is the pivot fitting. Every latch or unlatch action exerts a lateral force on the threaded portion, progressively weakening the threads grip as the shell material is worn away. Once begun at the top of the thread this failure mode progresses rapidly, as the more of the shell material is worn away, the greater the lateral displacement of the pivot with every operation and the greater mechanical advantage the lateral force has in working against the shell material (the once-fixed pivot has become a progressively lengthening lever)



Eventually this happens. The moulded shell material has worn away from the threads far enough that the threads no longer secure the pivot and the pressure from the return spring lifts the pivot away from its mounting, displacing the lever, this displacement also interfering with the operation of the opposite side of the mechanism, with the result that neither sides latch will secure the chin bar. It is probable that for some time I was riding with a chin bar that seemed secure but was only properly latched on one side, only becoming aware of the failure when it was complete and the displacement of the left side lever prevented the right side latch from engaging and the chin bar could not be secured at all.



This mechanism is normally concealed by the chin bars liner and is not visible to ordinary inspection. The helmet has been replaced with a Shoei Neotech, which uses a different latching mechanism for its flip-up chin bar that does not exert the level of lateral force on its mounting points that the M1's does.

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6886 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 08/15/2013 :  11:57 AM
quote:
Originally posted by ScooterCommuter

The helmet has been replaced with a Shoei Neotech, which uses a different latching mechanism for its flip-up chin bar that does not exert the level of lateral force on its mounting points that the M1's does.
I was going to suggest that you consider switching to Shoei, but apparently you've already figured that out.
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 08/15/2013 :  12:21 PM
Excellent report, there Scooter Commuter, perhaps you should consider bringing it to the attention of the NHTSA of the USDOT.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/

It would be worthwhile to bring it to the attention of the manufacturer as well. Since they would bear liability if a failure resulted in injury, I am sure they would be interested in your report and likely to follow up with your finding.

http://www.fulmerhelmets.com/

Now, you need to shop for a new helmet.






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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 08/15/2013 :  1:57 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

quote:
Originally posted by ScooterCommuter

The helmet has been replaced with a Shoei Neotech, which uses a different latching mechanism for its flip-up chin bar that does not exert the level of lateral force on its mounting points that the M1's does.
I was going to suggest that you consider switching to Shoei, but apparently you've already figured that out.



Yeah, I spent a little while in the local supply shop trying on a few manufacturers modular helmets. The perfection of the Shoei lids fit to my head shape made it pretty much no contest. Since I wear glasses, the integral sun-visor in the Neotec was worth it for me to pay the premium over the Multitec, because helmet visors block the UV that my glasses lenses react to in order to darken. That extra couple of hundred is about what I'd pay for decent prescription sunglasses anyway. - Oh, and recalling our previous discussion on helmet color, yes it's brilliant yellow
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 08/15/2013 :  2:47 PM
quote:
Originally posted by gymnast

Excellent report, there Scooter Commuter, perhaps you should consider bringing it to the attention of the NHTSA of the USDOT.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/

It would be worthwhile to bring it to the attention of the manufacturer as well. Since they would bear liability if a failure resulted in injury, I am sure they would be interested in your report and likely to follow up with your finding.

http://www.fulmerhelmets.com/

Now, you need to shop for a new helmet.




Good suggestion - I'll certainly drop a couple of emails in each direction reporting the issue.
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 08/15/2013 :  3:38 PM Follow poster on Twitter
thanks for the heads up...that's the helmet my wife has. Fortunately, hers doesn't get nearly as much use as yours did. Hopefully, it will last her the full 5 year lifespan but I'll check it out anyway. I switch between a Fulmer modular and a 7-0-7 full face depending on the weather and which bike I'm riding. I'll use the modular on the Magna (cruiser) but, on the Ninja, it's full face only.
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 08/15/2013 :  5:55 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

thanks for the heads up...that's the helmet my wife has. Fortunately, hers doesn't get nearly as much use as yours did. Hopefully, it will last her the full 5 year lifespan but I'll check it out anyway. I switch between a Fulmer modular and a 7-0-7 full face depending on the weather and which bike I'm riding. I'll use the modular on the Magna (cruiser) but, on the Ninja, it's full face only.



Suggest you fold back the flexible liner on each side in turn, rest a fingertip as lightly as possible on the hex head of the brass pivot and with the other hand operate the release button a few times. If you feel even the tiniest movement on either side - which may be small enough that you can feel it but not actually see it move, this process has begun. If it hasn't failed completely yet, you might be able to halt its progress by unscrewing the affected pivot, using an old eye-dropper or a disposable pasteur pipette to fill the hole in the molded mounting post with a suitable epoxy resin and then screwing the pivot back in. The epoxy resin will fill the gap already worn in the mounting post and possibly prevent further deterioration. This is, of course, a one-time fix since the epoxy will also adhere to the pivots threads and prevent it ever being unscrewed again (which is a good thing, it will make your repair last longer and be less vulnerable to the same mechanical damage as the helmet shell suffered). Just make very sure that no liquid resin contaminates the release lever, or you'll have a different and equally terminal problem :)
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kacinpa
Male Advanced Member
802 Posts
[Mentor]


Lansdale, PA
USA

Triumph

Sprint GT

Posted - 08/15/2013 :  7:01 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing
I'll use the modular on the Magna (cruiser) but, on the Ninja, it's full face only.



Is you chin area less likely to hit the pavement in a crash based on which bike you are on?
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 08/16/2013 :  1:57 AM
quote:
Originally posted by kacinpa

quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing
I'll use the modular on the Magna (cruiser) but, on the Ninja, it's full face only.



Is you chin area less likely to hit the pavement in a crash based on which bike you are on?



Seriously, if I believed that a modular helmet gave my jawbone less protection than a full-face lid I wouldn't wear it at all. If I've screwed up so bad that I'm planting my face on the tarmac I want that thing to hold and to keep my face out of the meat-grinder. Securely latched and properly locked a modular lid should be as secure as a full-face. If it isnt, it's not worth wearing.
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 08/16/2013 :  8:12 AM Follow poster on Twitter
quote:
Originally posted by kacinpa

quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing
I'll use the modular on the Magna (cruiser) but, on the Ninja, it's full face only.



Is you chin area less likely to hit the pavement in a crash based on which bike you are on?



Lean angle and speed are usually less on the Magna...and the roads I usually ride on the Ninja are very twisty which puts me at a higher risk of hitting the ground at higher speed...not to mention that a lot of drivers around here seem to view sportbikes as targets but tend to not bother cruisers (maybe it's the Sons of Anarchy stereotype). Either way, I just prefer the perception that I have of feeling more secure with a solid full face helmet on my sportbike.

My perception may be wrong but it makes me feel better so it's what I go with.
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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 08/16/2013 :  8:15 PM

Have a trawl around here, it's a UK govt-funded helmet assessment scheme.

I've just list the 5* systems lids.

http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/testhelm...scontinued=1
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 08/16/2013 :  9:42 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

[My perception may be wrong but it makes me feel better so it's what I go with.



Cant argue with that :) If your heads in the right place, no matter why, then you're riding safer.
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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 08/17/2013 :  2:36 PM
quote:
Originally posted by ScooterCommuter

quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

[My perception may be wrong but it makes me feel better so it's what I go with.



Cant argue with that :) If your heads in the right place, no matter why, then you're riding safer.



'Feeling safer' might be counterproductive; look up risk compensation/homeostasis.
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 08/17/2013 :  9:08 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Horse

quote:
Originally posted by ScooterCommuter

quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

[My perception may be wrong but it makes me feel better so it's what I go with.



Cant argue with that :) If your heads in the right place, no matter why, then you're riding safer.



'Feeling safer' might be counterproductive; look up risk compensation/homeostasis.



I vaguely whiff the brimstone of a devils advocate, but I'll bite :) Risk compensation and the implicit false sense of security is, by definition, NOT having your "head in the right place".

However, also a more nervous rider is a less safe rider. The right place to be is to be neither doubting nor overestimating your abilities and the quality of the gear you are wearing. In that mind-state you are free to concentrate on the ride without either the distraction of unwarranted nervousness or the inattention to threats that comes from overconfidence.
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Horse
Senior Member
263 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 08/18/2013 :  5:45 PM



Just suggesting that 'feeling safer' isn't, perhaps, the same as 'having your head in the right place'.




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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 08/20/2013 :  8:25 AM Follow poster on Twitter
I know that "feeling safer" is just perception and maybe not reality...I was a firefighter/EMT/LEO for almost 20 years and have seen more than enough MVAs to know that but...

My 80 mph, front wheel pointing to the sky, flipping off the Harleys days are 25 years behind me. I have a sportbike now only because it's what my wife thought she wanted to ride...until she dropped it doing PLP and decided that she preferred the pillion seat of my cruiser. So...."Cool, now I have a curve carver for the Poconos!!!"


I haven't taken the EX500 over 90 (on a deserted, wide open stretch of interstate) and haven't even considered lifting the front wheel off the ground other than for maintenance. I know I can still do both of those things but...why should I? I've been married for almost 20 years and am well past trying to impress the hotties...or my buddies.

Most of the folks I ride with now are around my age (40ish and up) and on H-D's...and they would probably disassociate themselves from anyone who rides like that. Besides, I really don't like embarrassing my friends with an $800 Craigslist bike...the $2500 Magna embarrasses them enough when it leaves their $25,000 rolling recliners in a cloud of dust (without really trying).

I'm still ATGATT but it's because my 46 year old body doesn't heal nearly as quickly or easily as my 20 year old one did and because drivers in the NY/NJ Metro area aren't concerned for anything outside of their own little steel caged world.
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ScooterCommuter
Male Junior Member
52 Posts


Saint Paul, MN
USA

Kymco

Xciting 500RI

Posted - 08/21/2013 :  12:54 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Magnawing

I know that "feeling safer" is just perception and maybe not reality...I was a firefighter/EMT/LEO for almost 20 years and have seen more than enough MVAs to know that but...

My 80 mph, front wheel pointing to the sky, flipping off the Harleys days are 25 years behind me. I have a sportbike now only because it's what my wife thought she wanted to ride...until she dropped it doing PLP and decided that she preferred the pillion seat of my cruiser. So...."Cool, now I have a curve carver for the Poconos!!!"


I haven't taken the EX500 over 90 (on a deserted, wide open stretch of interstate) and haven't even considered lifting the front wheel off the ground other than for maintenance. I know I can still do both of those things but...why should I? I've been married for almost 20 years and am well past trying to impress the hotties...or my buddies.

Most of the folks I ride with now are around my age (40ish and up) and on H-D's...and they would probably disassociate themselves from anyone who rides like that. Besides, I really don't like embarrassing my friends with an $800 Craigslist bike...the $2500 Magna embarrasses them enough when it leaves their $25,000 rolling recliners in a cloud of dust (without really trying).

I'm still ATGATT but it's because my 46 year old body doesn't heal nearly as quickly or easily as my 20 year old one did and because drivers in the NY/NJ Metro area aren't concerned for anything outside of their own little steel caged world.



Magnawing, being a few years ahead of ya (but only a few, geez.. I refuse to be admitted to the ranks of geezerdom yet!) I can honestly say that the healing ability is all downhill from there!

Something that isnt said often enough to EMTs, Firefighters and LEOs - "thank you for your service". We say it to military folks all the time but too often neglect the folks that make an everyday civilian career of charging into nasty situations to haul our sorry asses out of them.

I've only experienced NY/NJ drivers a couple of times, once the rental company gave me a Mazda 6 with FL plates when I was helping out with a friends wedding on Long Island. Talk about painting a freakin' target on my back! Dave was suddenly in "London Commuter" mode and needed every bit of that skill (and aggressiveness) to survive that traffic. Not sure I'd want to ride through that environment. The only place I've seen worse is central Paris!
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