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Discussion in 'Member Introductions' started by dschultz, Oct 4, 2012.

    • Member

    dschultz 07 Z4 M Coupe

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    I've been a long-time GGC member, but haven't been to an auto-x or driving school in years. Family, career and life in general just got in the way. But the kids are now (almost) out of the house and my new-to-me Z4 M Coupe and I are heading to the track, with a stop-over at a car control clinic and auto-x to get acquainted.

    Plus a shout-out to the Roundel writers and staff... there were some dark times when I was driving a C230 and even thought I might never drive another BMW. But the Roundel was just too good to give up. It stuck with me during those times, never criticized my flirtations with Stuttgart, and just kept pulling me back to the light. Thanks!

    Looking for tips on a new helmet. My old Bell M4 has expired. I see the club now allows M helmets. I don't ride a motorcycle so there's not much reason for me to consider an M helmet, is there? I wear glasses so need a big eyeport. I'd kind of prefer open-face like the Mag 4 because of glasses and because it makes it easier to talk to instructors. Thoughts?

    Dietrich Schultz
    07 Z4 M Coupe
    • Member

    mrsbee

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    Welcome back after your fling!

    I must say, I THOUGHT my m helmet was going to to cut the mustard when it came down to driving events. I have a gorgeous shoei qwest, which is like wearing nothing at all, and found out that certain clubs and tracks only allow sa helmets with a 2005 marking on it. Needlesss to say, after forking out 380 bucks for the bike helmet, I want really thrilled at having to buy another helmet. I got an open mind face Bell, and it's not too bad. I would check out some of the sites and ask if they have any blemish models. I got a huge discount on mine.

    Good luck and welcome!
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    SA2005 at the oldest - if anyone's buying a helmet, get the most recent rating, SA2010; we have 3 years more for SA2005's to be valid, useable through 2015.

    Dieter, I think most, if indeed not all, chapters require instructors to have communicator headsets to ease communication between student & instructor. Perhaps there are a few instructors out there shouting their way through, but I suspect by now just about everybody instructing has gotten around to getting themselves a Chatterbox. The old Nady communicators we used just _do not_ compare in durability and function. If your open-face preference is prioritized by ability to communicate with an in-car instructor, communicators pretty well address that.

    Helmet discussion here:

    http://www.bmwcca.org/forum/index.php?threads/helmet-purchase.483/#post-2369

    http://www.bmwcca.org/forum/index.php?threads/helmet-suggestions-and-sizing.3574/#post-24840
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Welcome to the asylum! I have worn open-face and closed-face helmets since the days of the Bell Star, which may be before you were born. I prefer open-face for autocross and such, because, you know, somebody might be taking PICTURES! And as an instructor, I can tell you that open-face helmets make it much easier to get your Chatterbox adjusted properly.

    I had to buy a helmet quickly at one point---yes, that darned expiration date!---and endured a Bell Magnum for five years. I HATED that helmet! Finally, at a GGC driving school at Sears Point, they were having a sale at Wine Country Motorsports, so I figured I'd get a Simpson or something for, like, $150. But it wasn't very comfortable, so I made the mistake of trying on an open-face Arai, just to compare.

    Oh. My. God.

    $400 and change later, I had a new helmet. At least they threw in a carrier bag! And I have worn it happily ever since (the helmet, not the carrier bag.)
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    • Staff

    steven s

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    Some chapters and organizations do not all M helmets.
    M2005 and SA2005 are minimum standards.
    I prefer a full face helmet and I really should be using my shield more than I do..
    • Member

    dschultz 07 Z4 M Coupe

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    @MrsBee - Good tip on trying to find a blemished helmet. I'm going to assume I should stay away from any described as "just a small crack". :)

    @MGarrison Thanks for the links. Great info. My past experience with communicators was one of the reasons I was thinking open face. That and the pictures, of course! Back then I found that the communicators generally caused more trouble than they were worth. (Instructor: "Try braking a bit <static> next time." Me: "What?" Instructor fumbles with box, wiggles jacks. Silence punctuated with bursts of static. Instructor begins to pantomime. I try looking forward and sideways at the same time. Yellow flags come out.) Glad to hear things have improved! On that point, is there such a thing as having an earpiece/mic fitted into the helmet so I can just plug into a box?

    @Satch Ha! You may have a year or two on me, but just. I just got off the phone with the good folks at Wine Country and will try to head up there this weekend. Come to think of it, I think that's where I got my original Bell M4.
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    steven s

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    I don't think anyone could sell legally or morally a cracked helmet, even a small crack.
    It would no longer hold its certification.
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    . . . or its contents . . .
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    If you want built-in communication, there is nothing better than a Peltor helmet, used by most (if not all) drivers in the WRC. Of course, you'd have to have one on your instructor, too. . .
    • Member

    dschultz 07 Z4 M Coupe

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    @steven - That was supposed to be a joke!
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Yes -

    http://www.hmsmotorsport.com/store/vehicle-equipment/in-car-communication/chatterbox

    But!

    The 'full face mic & headset' is designed to install into a full-face helmet; if you want an open-face helmet, you'd have to use the student headset, which has the mic attached to a flexible mic boom that holds the mic in whatever position it's adjusted to. I presume with some earpiece and cushion shuffling, it ought to be install-able into a open-face helmet.

    There is however a downside if you install your own as a student - I think most instructors opt to use the clip that basically mounts the Chatterbox to the side of one's helmet. The Chatterbox headset connectors use the same male/female multi-pin connections as the old S-Video connectors. On mine, I keep the full-face headset connected all the time, and unplug the student headset when I don't need it. With this s-video multi-pin connector, it's fiddly to plug-in, and easy enough when you're looking at it, but a total guessing game if doing it blind. The times I've tried plugging in the student headset when I'm wearing my helmet, I've always had to pull off the helmet so I could see the orientation on the connector to get it plugged in - and, since it has small connection pins, it's not worth trying to force it and end up bending anything. If you install either kind of headset, you're going to need to get connected to your instructor, who likely has a headset installed. Whether you use a headset extension cord to connect your own Tandem-Pro to theirs, or plugging your own headset into theirs, ONE of you will need to be looking at the unit to orient the connector and get it plugged in. In the haste of an instructor hopping into your car and getting belted in, particularly if for whatever reason it's close to your out time, this connection process is going to take some time, possibly holding you up, or the line of everyone trying to pull out from the grid into the pits, or on-track. And, if your instructor has the chatterbox on the right side of their helmet, it's going to be extremely difficult for you in the driver's seat to get an eyeball on it to get plugged in; For those with a full-face headset installed, there's not going to be any lead slack in the connection wire, so, with the connection being difficult if not impossible to quickly connect by touch, even though it's easy to pop the unit off the helmet clip so one _could_ be looking at it, it would take unplugging the full face headset, which, with it's short lead, would be a hassle to get plugged back in. All that is do-able enough if nobody has their helmet on, but you know how it is, some instructors are going to be hopping in with helmets already on, and sometimes just as the line of cars is getting rolling.

    That's a lengthy explanation, but the short of it is, unless your instructor is not using an installed headset and helmet clip, which I believe almost all are, getting your unit and your instructor's plugged in & connected isn't necessarily always going to be easily or quickly done; less of an issue if you have a few extra minutes with your instructor in the car prior to getting rolling.

    There is an obvious convenience/comfort factor to getting your own headset installed - you can always ask your instructor if they're willing to use a mic headset, either yours or theirs. I keep a headset extension cord on hand just in case someone has their own Chatterbox installed and wants to use it, which allows me to use mine without having to jam a headset into my helmet. There are obviously scenarios where trying to get them connected may be slightly less than practical - otoh, even if it takes a minute, ANY mic communication beats shouting. There's always the possibility that every so often, you find an instructor still using a Nady, or, their own Chatterbox suffering dead batteries, bad headset, or some other problem.

    Worst case scenario, if you opt to get your own headset wired into your helmet, you find that sometimes you still have to stick a headset into your helmet and next to your ear.

    One time only, I had one person with a full race E30 M3 that had such a loud exhaust they claimed they couldn't hear me - but, the Chatterbox has enough volume, if it's next to somebody's ear, it should be audible - I'm not sure they had the earpiece aligned so they could hear me. With only hand signals as an option, there wasn't much instructing I could do that time, so thankfully they had enough experience to be safely signed off. The db level on that car was headache-inducing, to say the least, but driver's schools are typically street cars, not race cars.

    The Chatterbox uses a rotary volume switch, which can get static-ky, (dust), but that takes awhile -years, in my case; reminds me I need to pop out the batteries and give it a shot of contact cleaner.
    • Member

    dschultz 07 Z4 M Coupe

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    Wow. Thanks. Sounds like I'll just jam the thing into my helmet when the time comes!
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    steven s

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    I've seen things posted before where people were serious. :)

    I bought an extension for my chatterbox to use with an instructors intercom although I have found my headset not compatible with all chatterbox intercoms. Instructors usually want to use their own for both student and instructor.
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    mrsbee

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    Let me try to redeem myself here. I had my eye on a nicely priced bell open face, due to the fact the guy was "temporarily not stocking" that lid in my size he would make a deal on a "blemished" helmet that was comparable, if not better. After looking g at the scuff mark, I was sold. It's a great feeling lid, but beware-I'd you get a bell helmet they really like to put the logo on any part of it that sits still long enough. When I pulled it out of the box I counted five places it said bell. I removed them, and now it just looks like a bad as racing helmet.
    • Member

    mrsbee

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    See, just a little mark. A large sum of money discount mark. I have to thank mr bee for finding this particular deal. He's excellent at that sort of thing!

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