This probably won't a popular opinion but I thought it might be of interest to some.
After having crashed on my Shoei X-Ceed at Oulton last year, I need to replace it (shell cracked). I liked the X-Ceed quite a bit. A new one was going to cost over well 400 quid. Now that I am doing a few club races there is a good chance that Oulton wasn't my last crash. Having to spend 400 quid on a new lid every time I crash, wasn't something I relished. So I looked around, for quite some time, like 6 months. Tried all sorts: AGV, OGK, Arai, Shoei, Shark, Nolan, you name it, I've probably tried it. I went to J&S several times to look at end-of-line helmets. I was getting discouraged as the lower priced models didn't fit or lacked features, or were just too quircky.
What did I buy in the end? Now don't laugh. It's a Nitro helmet. And, I am very impressed. These are essentially a Shoei rip-off where even visor mechanism is almost identical. What did I pay? Try 50 quid! Brand new, replacable liner, cheek pads, top fit, reasonably quiet. Visors, clear, dark, iridium, etc, all 20 quid. And best of all, it doesn't make my eyes water like the top Shoei lid did, which made me loose two contact lenses. Also, most of my Shoei accessories, like rain mask, nose guard, chin curtain, tear-offs, all fit the Nitro.
Now, if I write off another helmet it's only not so bad. I can buy 8 of these for every Shoei!
You might say that only an Arai or a Shoei or some other mega expensive helmet will protect you adequately. Hard to say, I guess and I am not planning to test it. But, the Nitro helmets are tested to the same standards as the others.
Granted, a Nitro helmets won't buy you much kudos at your local bike hangout, but for racing, no contest. There are quite a few Nitro helmets in the paddock, I noticed.
Watch out, Arai and Shoei, your days may be numbered for over charging for lids, especially in this country!
[Edited on 30-7-2004 by Felix]