Category: Safety Gear
Posted by: Mike
HJC is best known for a line of affordable motorcycle helmets, but they also offer several SA SNELL approved auto helmets. The one I have is the HJC AR10, the most affordable model at $300 retail. There is also an AR-11, which is similar to the AR-10 but adds an aerodynamic "spolier", a carbon fiber version (HX10) and a super lightweight Si-12.

The build quality and fit and finish of the HJC helmets is one thing that steered me towards them. The fit and finish of the AR-10 is noticeably better then most comparably priced helmet. The shield attachment screws are also metal, while many helmets at this pricepoint have use plastic screws.

I'd say the eyeport size of the AR10 is average. At first, I thought I wanted a helmet with a larger eyeport, because psychologically I thought I would have better vision. However, I found that the helmets with smaller eyeports don't significantly limit vision. With the AR10, I don't have any issues with peripheral vision or checking the gauges. I beleive if you're racing karts or open cockpit cars, a smaller eyeport could be safer since it will be less area for debris to penetrate through the shield.

For ventilation, the AR-10 has two adjustable vents in the front above the visor, and two vents in the rear. Although it does not have vents in the chin area, I've had no issues due to lack of ventilation. I've also had no issues with fogging, even in the rain.

Another problem I've had with several rental/borrowed helmets I've used is wind buffeting at higher speeds in karts or open wheel cars. At times I've had a helmet shaking back and forth on my head at high speeds which is not the most comforting feeling. I believe this is due to a non aerodynamic shape of some helmets which may be more designed for closed cockpit cars, and also poorly fitted helmets. I've had no problem with this in the AR10 in this regard, even without the aerodynamic spoiler on the AR11, which shares the same shape as the AR10. I think the fact that HJC had decades of experience in motorcycle helmets may give it an advantage in this regard over manufacturers like Simpson or Bell.

The fit is obviously one of the most important factors in purchasing a helmet. I haven't been able to find a helmet that fits my head perfectly, but the AR10 is among the best I've tried. The helmet is very comfortable

The AR-10 is also relatively lightweight. This was particularly important to me since neck fatigue has been an issue for me. SoloRacer has a comparison of helmet weights of several popular helmets. The AR-10 is one of the lightest fiberglass helmets, with the exception of the super light HJC Si-12, while carbon fiber helmets are also generally lighter.

Overall, for the price I think it's hard to beat the HJC AR-10 helmet. I definitely happy with mine.
Category: Safety Gear
Posted by: Mike
I'm going to be posting several safety gear reviews here soon.

First is the Sparco Hurricane gloves. These gloves are actually discontinued but are still in stock at several online retailers.

I got the Sparco Hurricane gloves about 7 months ago and have used them quite a bit in both karts and cars. The gloves are made of Nomex and FIA standard 8856 compliant, which I believe should make them legal for most forms of auto racing.

The fit was my most important criteria in selecting these gloves. I initially wanted a cheaper pair of G-Force gloves, but they did not fit my skinny hands well at all. The Hurricane gloves fit my hands pretty much perfectly from the the fingers to the wrist. The wrist has no velcro strap but is elastic so they stay on my hands well.

The grip provided by the gloves is not that great though. The gloves are Nomex fabric all around with small finger, palm and thumb suade patches. The lack of grip is most notible to me in karting. Most karting gloves I've tried do provide much better grip. Other Nomex gloves with more suade/leather on the underside I've tried also seem to grip better.

Considering the gloves are a single layer of soft Nomex, I don't think they provide good abrasion resistance for karting at all. Nomex gloves with patches on the knuckles may be slightly better, but karting specific gloves should be much better in this department.

The fabric gets linty very easily, but as of yet has stayed durable. The construction of the glove appears very high quality.

Comfort is great. The feel is as good as any other glove I've tried.

Overall, it's a solid glove, but I've I were to get another pair for around the same price I think I would try something else. But for those with skinny hands and doing mainly auto, I think they be a good pick, particularly if you can get them on sale since they are discontinued.