Can I leave my protective gear/helmet on the bike?

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Intro

A smart rider's set of Protective Gear consists of nine items: helmet, jacket, pants, two boots, two gloves, and two earplugs. Once you arrive at your destination, what should you do with all this bulky stuff? On the bike - off the bike transition is such an important issue that it often leads riders to wrong, potentially dangerous decisions, such as riding to work wearing khaki pants or low-cut shoes. Riding gear is a part of motorcycling, simple as that. You should get used to wearing full gear on every ride. This article discusses ways of dealing with your protective gear upon reaching the end point of your journey.

Wearing it

The first and easiest way of dealing with the riding gear is simply keeping it on. A lot of riding boots are comfortable enough for walking. The helmet can either be carried in your hand or strapped to a backpack.

Changing into "civilian" clothing

Another way to deal with your gear is to have a second set of clothes at your destination. If you work in an office, for example, you can either keep the clothes there, or you can bring them with you. Swapping the riding suit for a shirt and a pair of slacks only takes a few minutes. This way you will ride to work fully protected, and dress appropriately for your work environment! You can have your cake and eat it, too  :)

Leaving gear on the bike

Protective gear can be left on the bike. Hard luggage works best for this; it keeps the gear from being stolen, rained on, or vandalized. A JC Whitney topcase can hold a helmet and a pair of boots, or a tightly folded mesh jacket. A Givi topcase is even larger. A three-case setup can hold all of your gear. There are also many ways to attach various pieces of gear to the bike with locks and cables. You can even secure a jacket by slipping a cable through the sleeves and locking the cable to the grab bar. If you do not have hard luggage, however, you may want to think twice about leaving anything on the bike. It is very easy to cut a helmet strap, or to put something disgusting inside the helmet. Big cities are notorious for theft and vandalism, and college campuses are known spots for so-called "pranks". As a rule of thumb, if you'd hesitate to leave your helmet simply hanging off the handlebars, then you should not leave it on the bike at all. Use common sense.

Leaving your helmet on the bike

The helmet is by far the most "inconvenient" piece of riding gear. There are many different ways to lock the helmet to your motorcycle:

  • Use the EX250's built-in helmet lock
The lock is on the left side, just below the seat. The lock is opened by the ignition key, and the helmet is attached to it via a metal pin that slides through the D-ring on the helmet strap. Be very cautious if you decide to use it: the helmet will be in close proximity to the exhaust pipe, still hot from the ride. The heat may damage the helmet's plastics.
  • Use one of the many third-party helmet locks available, such as a clutch lever pin lock
Pin lock 1.jpg Pin lock 2.jpg
or a Helmet Guardian
Helmet guardian.jpg Helmet guardian 2.jpg
  • Use a LidSafe bag
  • Use a cable with a lock to secure the helmet to the bike's grab bar
  • Store the helmet in your bike's hard topcase - the best option, by far.

Make your own helmet lock

  • Here is an example of a lock developed by Nate: Get an L bracket, bend it so that one end hooks back down, and use one of the bolts just behind the tool pouch under the seat. Just pop off the seat, put the d ring on the hook, and replace the seat.

Nate helmet lock 1.jpg Nate helmet lock 2.jpg Nate helmet lock 3.jpg

  • mafiamike was used to the helmet lock on his 2008 EX250, but then the girlfriend got that bike (who says chivalry is dead?) and he bought a 2005. The stock helmet lock came off with the rear fender and turn signals, so this is what he did to be able to lock his helmet under the seat.
Those little brackets that lock the seat down are a good place to hold a D-ring securely. Since they are what secure the seat to the bike, there's no chance of someone bending the plastic base pan out of the way to unhook the helmet.
Helmet lock 1.jpg
These bolts were some that were just lying around, but someone else did this mod and said that 6mm thread size and about 16mm length seemed to work best. The bolts can be just turned in by hand. To hold them more securely you can add a nut as a locknut and/or use some blue Loctite.
Helmet lock 2.jpg
Helmet lock 3.jpg
With their wide head and the unthreaded part, these provide a secure place for the D-ring to go. You can even do both sides, so you have a place for your passenger's helmet. Just make sure you don't ride the bike with a helmet hanging off it.
Helmet lock 4.jpg
Helmet lock 5.jpg
With this particular helmet, the bigger D-ring is too big and prevents the seat from locking, so Mike used the smaller D-ring. The fabric pad from the helmet protects the paint from scratches. The seat still closes perfectly, and it's very secure.
Helmet lock 6.jpg
Helmet lock 7.jpg
There is more than enough distance from the exhaust to prevent any damage to the helmet.
Helmet lock 8.jpg
You'll have to push down a little harder on the seat to get it to lock, and also push down on the seat a little before unlocking it, in order to avoid putting too much stress on the key. All in all, our owner see this as a quite satisfactory solution.