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      01-04-2012, 05:40 AM   #1
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Racing gear

Hello,

I plan to start racing this season, autox/autoslalom (that's what we call it in the EU) specifically. I need some gear, now the question is how much do I actually need...

Sports has taught me (so far, the way I see it) that it is not a good idea to spend money on the most expensive stuff right off the bat. It is better to buy a compromise between cost/performance at the start, and save your money. Once I'm good, I'll upgrade whatever necessary.

Take helmets for example. I see options from $75 to infinity. For $75 I can have an open face OMP helmet. For $150 I can get Sparco's new full face entry-level helmet, Club X1 I think. For $200 I can get the HJC entry level car helmet. A Bell helmet would cost me at least $700 for a full face one. The cheapest Stilo is $1000. Now, what should I get? My reasoning states that my first helmet should be cheap, because
  • I might mis-treat it (i.e. drop it - I heard helmets are no good after they're dropped?)
  • I don't yet know much about how a helmet should fit (i.e. if I get something expensive thinking it fits fine at the shop, and then find it's not so great at the track)
  • My neck muscles might thank me in the future if they get a decent work out with my first helmet, then progressing to lighter ones as speed (G force) increases

Now the question is more specific, what do I get? Do I go for open face or full face? Of course, I love the look of a full face. Apparently, a full face also offers greater protection (which seems logical), but then, rally drivers wear open face and don't have many troubles? Financially, I'd say that at the same price, the open face helmet will be better made. Also, at the same price, the open face helmet is likely to be lighter. Additionally, since the car has airbags, a full face helmet might not be such a good idea? I wear glasses. Perhaps the open-face helmet would accommodate these easier, as well as offering a better view out? Do I need a nomex baclava to go underneath? Also, I am convinced that it is best to go and try the helmet before buying. Please, do not recommend Pyrotect or some other low-key brands, since I can't get them here. Feel free to recommend anything from Sparco, OMP, Bell, Arai, Shoei, HJC, X-lite, etc...

Second, what else do I need? I have Puma repli-cat shoes which I plan to use during track days. They're not fire proof and only go up to the ankle, but I don't think there is a good reason why I should be spending $200 on shoes at this very moment, unless you say so.

Regarding racing suits, I don't think I need one - or am I missing out on something?

Gloves - now that's something I'd really like to get. I have sweaty hands. I'd love to use the gloves during daily driving, unless someone points out that's not a good idea. Again, I'm not sure how much I should be spending and on what. What puzzles me is that gloves seem to be pretty cheap. Top of the line gloves seem to cost no more than $250 (vs. a top of the line helmet for $4000). Entry level gloves cost about $75. Now, there are a few things I've read. Apparently, you want gloves that are pre-curved to prevent the material from folding over. Also, outside seams add to comfort. After this, I'm puzzled. Entry level gloves seem to have some sort of leather/suede for the contact patches. High-end gloves seem to have some sort of plastic/polymer substance. Now, in terms of longetivity, I'm inclined to say that the suede will last longer than the polymer, which may start peeling, loose it's properties, etc. - or am I wrong? Any tips? Also, will the gloves last a lifetime? Like I still wear shoes I bought 5 years ago (GoreTex adidas) and they look as good as new. I did hear that gloves "wear out" - is this true? After how long? Also, regarding the long-sleeve gloves - I assume they're made to go over a racing suit. What do they feel like with no suit underneath? Can you get them to fit well without a suit? What about a long-sleeve shirt underneath?

Now comes a very debatable thing, and that is brand. Everyone has his preferred brand, and then brands he doesn't like so much. For me, I love OMP for some indescribable reason. Perhaps it's the fact that they're Italian, and it seems like their products have a soul. Perhaps it's the fact that they're low key, i.e. only do racing gear, not motorcycle stuff. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of Sparco. Perhaps their racing gear is good, but the fact that they produce tuner items (universal alu pedals, shift knobs, etc.) makes me cringe. Regarding Alpinestars, I'm so-so, but I regard them more of a motorcycle brand than racing brand.

So, all in all, I need some help. Any ideas, tips, or wisdom from people who have "been there, done that" is more than welcome.

Thank you for any insight.
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      01-04-2012, 11:35 AM   #2
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So, I'm back from a store...

My findings:

Tried on some open face and closed helmets. The open face ones are much easier to use since I wear glasses. Does anyone here have a closed helmet? How do you fit your glasses inside? I found that if I take my glasses off, I cannot get them back on once I fit the helmet. Therefore, I could only use the open helmet. I tried on a closed helmet, I liked the feeling, but how I would get my glasses on, I do not know.

Secondly... gloves. A big disappointment for me from OMP. I tried virtually the whole range and couldn't get anything to fit me right. Pre-curved and outside seams is a must. The cheap OMPs I tried felt cheap. The OMP One was the only glove that felt decent, and, not having tried any of the competitor's products, I would have been inclined to buy them - BUT - for some reason the thumb was too big? I mean all my fingers fit fine (snugly) except for my thumb - there was so much room in the thumb I could fit 2 fingers in there no problem. When opposing my thumb, the glove would hunch up - not pleasant. I will go out and try alpinestars and sparco. If anyone would like some extremely cheap gloves that are half decent, consider these: http://speedpro.cz/rukavice-speedpro...ng-p-8806.html. They're $10 a pair, and they felt just as good as $75 OMPs (Mistrals) for the time I had them on. I'm not sure how they would hold up, and how much shipping would be for you US guys. They're not pre-curved, but do have external seams.

Other than that I bought an OMP shirt for $10 (sale) and some AP racing temperature strips for the brakes.

Again, any tips welcome.
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      01-04-2012, 12:51 PM   #3
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I don't know what you mean by "A Bell helmet would cost me at least $700 for a full face one." It took me 10 seconds on Google to find a Bell Hornet M2005 for $130. But I admit, I've never heard of a Hornet before. I think Bell Sport and M4 are the most popular.

I personally have an open face Bell MAG5 Pro SA2005. Every club I know allows 2005 helmets until 2016. I believe they all allow M2005 as well as SA2005. But there are some clubs that don't allow open face, so you have to make sure.

This place has discounted SA2005 Bell helmets: http://www.thebellstore.com/Auto/auto.html

This place has the 2010s. http://www.helmetcity.com/page/HC/CTGY/bell
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      01-04-2012, 01:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryS View Post
I don't know what you mean by "A Bell helmet would cost me at least $700 for a full face one." It took me 10 seconds on Google to find a Bell Hornet M2005 for $130. But I admit, I've never heard of a Hornet before. I think Bell Sport and M4 are the most popular.

I personally have an open face Bell MAG5 Pro SA2005. Every club I know allows 2005 helmets until 2016. I believe they all allow M2005 as well as SA2005. But there are some clubs that don't allow open face, so you have to make sure.

This place has discounted SA2005 Bell helmets: http://www.thebellstore.com/Auto/auto.html

This place has the 2010s. http://www.helmetcity.com/page/HC/CTGY/bell
I was talking about new of course... used stuff varies... I'm in Europe, so whatever you find with the states will probably be to expensive finally (shipping, VAT, taxes, bank transfer fees, etc etc.)

Let's keep this thread to new stuff please.
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      01-04-2012, 01:57 PM   #5
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I think you are pulling the cart before the horse. Just rent helmets for a little until you are serious about the sport. You dont need a racing suit nor gloves. You don't really need anything but a friend with a helmet. You should see how I dress up at track days, lol. I got my favorite vans to drive in, my most comfortable seven jeans, and a long plain white cotton shirt.

It seems like your enthusiastic about it so more power to you, but save all the money you would spend on this gear toward more autox days.
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      01-04-2012, 02:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D_o_S View Post
I was talking about new of course... used stuff varies... I'm in Europe, so whatever you find with the states will probably be to expensive finally (shipping, VAT, taxes, bank transfer fees, etc etc.)

Let's keep this thread to new stuff please.
Everything I showed you is new.

BTW I didn't notice your question about glasses due to tl,dr. FWIW everyone says the best closed face helmet for glasses is Bell M4.
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      01-04-2012, 02:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryS View Post
Everything I showed you is new.

BTW I didn't notice your question about glasses due to tl,dr. FWIW everyone says the best closed face helmet for glasses is Bell M4.
Oh, sorry, I thought it was used. I will check out the M4, thanks for the tip.
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      01-04-2012, 03:06 PM   #8
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^^ It is important to understand what I was saying about SA2005 and SA2010. An SA2010 M4 costs $380. An SA2005 M4 costs $275. Afaict they are identical. The difference is when they were certified and when the certification expires.

There is also a SA2005 M4 Pro that was originally $650 but now sells for $420. Bell has not released a 2010 M4 Pro so far.
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      01-04-2012, 05:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryS View Post
^^ It is important to understand what I was saying about SA2005 and SA2010. An SA2010 M4 costs $380. An SA2005 M4 costs $275. Afaict they are identical. The difference is when they were certified and when the certification expires.

There is also a SA2005 M4 Pro that was originally $650 but now sells for $420. Bell has not released a 2010 M4 Pro so far.
There are new updates/testing that is required for an SA2010 vs a SA2005 helmet, not just a date.

http://www.apexperformance.net/CartG...%20Article.pdf


Also this is a pretty interesting read:

http://www.smf.org/standards/sa/SA2010/sak2010_final

Last edited by jkman720; 01-04-2012 at 05:31 PM.
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      01-04-2012, 06:18 PM   #10
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There are new updates/testing that is required for an SA2010 vs a SA2005 helmet, not just a date.
The 2010 test is stricter. and some helmets had to be changed to pass. Also, a lot of helmets have been improved in other ways too. Most of them weigh less than their 2005 counterparts, and some have improved materials.

But I was talking about the Bell M4, which appears to be unchanged. If there are any differences, they are not visible, and all the published specs are identical, including the weight, 3.84 lbs.

It is probably relevant that the M4 didn't exist in 2005. Bell first started selling it in 2007 to replace the SA2005 M2.
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      01-26-2012, 02:51 PM   #11
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Go to your first event with just a helmet, from there you'll gain some experience and quickly find out if you really need anything else.

I can almost guarantee you'll come back from your first event with a list of things you'll want for your car rather than for yourself
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      02-09-2012, 11:14 PM   #12
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Do all events rent helmets? Im thinking about tracking at mfest but me and my passenger won't have a helmet..
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      06-05-2012, 07:51 PM   #13
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from my experience.. BUY A NICE HELMET. it makes a world of difference that your helmet fits nicely and is comfortable and light! when i first started getting into kart racing a long time ago i rented helmets and gear and i just didnt feel comfortable. i would always be fidgeting with everything and not focusing on what i really needed to focus on!

When i got my first nice helmet, arai gp6-s, literally everything changes. its like having a nice pair of glasses compared to a pair of beat up, dirty ones someone lent you, HUGE DIFFERENCE.

as far as everything else, i always say quality over quantity. Just buy what your the most comfortable in!
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      06-06-2012, 07:58 PM   #14
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rent a helmet just buy one there cheap.
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