HJC Si-12: Lightweight Brain Bucket


As the saying goes, “How much is your head worth?” Don’t skimp on the safety equipment.

More often than not, expiration dates on safety gear can be a real pain. Sometimes, however, they can be a blessing in disguise.

“Luckily,” my old Snell 2000 helmet was expired, and not just because of the stench of over 10 years of heavy use. I was forced to find something new, and it wasn’t going to be the same make or model this time around.

My biggest priorities this time were quality and lightness followed by comfort, but the price had to be realistic, too. I came across many carbon fiber helmets in my search, but the prices were often a bit shocking or the quality looked like it might be a bit sub-par.

Then I started finding a constant theme when searching for lightweight helmets… The HJC Motorsports name kept coming up, and specifically the Si-12 model. Surprisingly enough, HJC has a carbon fiber helmet which looks extremely cool, but the Si-12 is actually lighter… Their lightest, in fact, as it features their “Advanced Super Lite Composite Weave Shell,” and I can attest to how light it is.

HJC Si-12

HJC’s super lightweight and extremely comfortable Si-12 helmet.

Holding my old helmet in one hand and the new Si-12 in the other, you quickly notice the Si-12 being much lighter, but it’s not until you put it on your head after wearing something else that you really notice the difference.  When the weight is being supported by your neck, even ounces make a difference.  Compound that with the momentum and inertia of the normal forces on track (cornering loads, acceleration, braking), let alone the amount of force generated if something goes awry on track, and those differences are magnified exponentially.  Fatigue is obviously the most prevalent benefit of a lighter helmet, but neck-snappy safety is the real concern.

The true test for me was three back-to-back days on track after being missing in action for just over a full year. With combined driving of my personal car and instructing/coaching for three out of four sessions on a busy, high-speed track with some long sweepers, I ended up with precisely zero muscle soreness in my neck at the end of the weekend.

It used to be that I’d get sore after just one day with my old helmet if it had been a while since I wore it, and I work out regularly, so it wasn’t a weak neck so much as a ridiculously heavy helmet. It doesn’t hurt that the new helmet just looks so much better than my old one, and it also has actual working ventilation (Advanced Channeling Ventilation System), which seemed non-existent on the old one, despite the slots it had. It’s also pre-drilled for a HANS device and comes with a very nice helmet bag/case.

Of course, aside from just the lightness, comfort and even looks, I’d have to say that new-helmet smell is a pretty big plus at this point.

HJC Deluxe Bag

HJC’s helmets come with their Deluxe Helmet Bag at no additional cost.
Photo courtesy of HJC Motorsports.

HJC Si-12

HJC Si-12, also available in rubbertone black for those who want a well-heated head in the summer and like the matte black look.