I’ve had a few crash helmets over the last 40 odd years.
From Stadium and Centurion in the early days through the Griffin Clubman (CD no less!) era, followed by the Bell Star and then on to lids from Shoei, Schuberth/BMW and AGV, all good in their own ways, but none have really come close to the quality and comfort of my latest helmet, the beautiful Davida Jet.
For the last two years I’ve been wearing an AGV Skyline in a tasteful black and silver design, which is modern looking, has an internal sun visor, and is fairly comfortable.
But for me it has two drawbacks. Firstly, IT’S BLOODY NOISY! Not sure why.
Secondly, I’m a slaphead, and when you take the Skyline off, the block padding inside leaves me with impressions of squares on my head for some time afterwards, which is fine if you don’t mind looking like Kryten from Red Dwarf, but to be honest it’s not a look I’m keen on.
I’ve fancied a Davida helmet for years, they have always looked cool and well made, so having re-broken my ‘open-face lid’ duck a couple of years ago with a cheap scooter lid for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, I decided to take the plunge and get a Davida Jet.
The company was formed by David ‘Fid the Lid’ Fiddaman in the 1980s and thirty years later several members of his staff from those early days are still hand crafting these artisan examples of motorcycle PPE for England’s only open face crash helmet maker.
Davida seems to be the helmet of choice for the rich and famous, clients include Henry Cole, Richard Hammond, David Beckham, Brad Pitt and The Hairy Bikers.
If you decide to join this elite list, you need to visit the Davida website and ponder which model suits you best.
You are then faced with the difficult decision of which colours (paint & leather) and design you want, and with all the available combinations available you are really spoilt for choice. In an ideal world I’d have at least half a dozen, maybe even one for each day of the week.
In the end – adventurous as ever – I plumped for a tasteful black and silver design, with black leather lining.
Then you really need to try a few on to ensure you get the right size – even putting the Jet on is an acquired technique, you need to get hold of the straps and really pull the sides of the helmet outwards.
Davida’s Sharon Underhill assured me that I wouldn’t break it, adding that with the correct fit you theoretically wouldn’t really need to do the strap up, as the helmet should lightly grip the sides of your jaw, albeit in a comfortable way. But when you do fasten the strap, it’s through a good old fashioned ‘double D’ fastener, with a well located stud to retain the slack end.
Once you’ve placed your order, you then need to be patient and wait a few weeks while it is made to order. I believe there is also the option to buy one off the shelf but I prefer the thought of my lid being specially made for me.
The snug fit makes the Davida Jet not only quiet, but also resistant to lifting at speed, a common problem with open face lids.
Of course, I realise there are those reading this who wouldn’t ever consider wearing anything other than a full-face helmet. Too dangerous. But it’s all relative – I know loads of other people who wouldn’t ever consider riding a motorcycle.
And with an open face lid there are so many more sensory pleasures to enjoy, including the smell of fresh mown grass, Castrol R, bakers’ shops and even Sunday roasts, which you really don’t get with a full-face lid with the visor clamped shut. You can also congratulate people on their driving skills.
Davida helmets are lined with the finest quality tailored leather and painted to an extremely high standard. I kid you not, these lids are lush.
When I got my Jet in mid-September I envisaged wearing it on the odd sunny weekend; and using the AGV most of the time. But all that has changed, and I think the pleasure in wearing such a comfortable and well-crafted crash helmet may have changed the way I ride, and I now wear it all the time.
I ordered my helmet with a clear Davida JPV visor on an elasticated leather strap, which is extremely efficient in deflecting the breeze away from the upper part of the face, and stays put remarkably well, flipping up with one hand when you come to a halt. Levels of vision are without parallel.
It’s also worth mentioning that Davida recently launched the third incarnation of their classic lower profile Speedster helmet – visit their website for further details, and to find out more about the Jet.
Many thanks to Sharon Underhill at Davida.