Product Review: The Elusive, Exclusive, Jin Helmet June 06 2014, 3 Comments

For the past few months, I've been on the prowl for a new helmet. My GPA Titium is not only old and well beyond it's "use by" date if you will, it's also uncomfortable and heavy and gives me a headache every time I wear it. My Tipperary is lighter weight and better ventilated but is about as padded as a hollowed out bowling ball - OUCH! Then there's my schooling Ovation helmet. Cheap, lightweight, well ventilated, and with the click-to-fit dial at the back, easily adjustable for whether I'm at a show with my hair up, or out trail riding with my hair down. Only issue with that is that it's, well, cheap and it kinda looks it. I mean for the price, it's not bad, but in a show ring I really do prefer the nicer look of the GPA, only I can't bring myself to wear the thing because the headache that ensues follows me around all day.

So I started researching helmets. Couldn't find a Charles Owen that fit me well. The newer GPAs were still just meh. One K was okay, but for the price, I'd prefer something a little classier looking, and when it came to some of the other brands, they were just either weird, odd, or didn't fit well. And trust me, I tried on a LOT of helmets. It all boiled down to Samshield and Jin. Both helmets are comparably priced, and very classy looking in my opinion. The Samshield offers more options with regards to customization and bling, but that's less important to me that durability and function. I like the Samshield, and it fit well and was very comfy, but I decided to take the leap and go for the Jin in all black.Why take that leap? Well when it came down to the two helmets, they were comparably priced, with similar features, but the Jin isn't (yet) a big trend or something that is popping up all over the show grounds up and down the East Coast like I've seen with other brands. There's something to be said for being the first to have something, and in this case, a new, sleek imported Italian helmet was going to be on my head and no one else's (or at least no one else I know in the area). I couldn't even really find anyone other than IST that sold the helmet in the US, so yes, I was pretty excited to order one.

When it arrived, I was even more excited. It FIT! And it felt great. Similar to the Samshield, though it appeared more durable due to the high tech outer coating that was sleek and matte finish. And when comfort tested against my other 3 helmets, the results were pretty surprising.  It also held up to my first trail ride in it - complete with smacks from branches, tangles in tree limbs, and more - and came out looking great!

For the comfort test, me and a few friends of similar head sizes tried on the Ovation, Tipperary, GPA, and Jin, and we all ranked them the same. The Tipperary was the least comfortable, but offered solid lower skull protection. The GPA was a little more comfortable with less lower skull protection. The Ovation was the most comfortable of the three, but the sizing dial was less secure in the fit (it can come undialed if stressed) and offered almost no lower skull protection. The hands down winner was the Jin! With two different liner sizes, one for schooling (hair down) and one for shows (hair up), it fit regardless of what I was wearing it for. 

Everyone agreed the Jin was the most comfortable and surprisingly it had as much if not more lower skull protection than the Tipperary! You can see what I mean about lower skull protection in the back side helmet view complete with photo-bombing dog, at the right. Whooo hoo, I think I finally found a helmet I will love to ride in. I've got my first show in it this weekend, so stay tuned for pictures and updates after the show next week. And if you want your own Jin Helmet, you can order one here on IST!

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Happy riding!
CJ & the Team 

** Here are some pics of Rachel in the Jin helmet. **