August 8, 2011 – See what’s coming from behind

Thanks to a new helmet that features a reflective surface above the driver’s eyes, motorcyclists can have greater peripheral vision than ever before.
Taking off across the U.S. and Canada, this helmet is “the first of its kind — it’s a game-changer,” said David Altman, owner of distributor Altman International in Toronto. “It’s the future.”
Great Britain manufacturer Reevu has been working on the technology for the new RV MSX1 (MSRP: $399.95) for a decade.

How it works
In front of the driver’s forehead is a reflective surface, similar to a mirror. “We don’t like using the word ‘mirror’ because it usually means glass,” Altman said. “Everything is plastic with a reflective surface on it.
“If you look at it, you can see light that bounces up to a polycarbonate mirror that bounces around your head. It’s like three angles,” he added. “The light bounces off the reflective surfaces from one angle to another angle around the circumference of the head in the helmet and allows you to see behind you.”
The purpose of this helmet is simple. Drivers no longer have to turn their heads 90 degrees to see what is behind them, Altman said.
“Peripheral vision is really strong in picking up movement,” he said. “If you’re looking forward, you’re going to see a flash in the mirror above your eyebrow. Your brain picks it up. It’s just like if you’re sitting in front of the computer, and you have your cell phone off to the side of you. If you get a text, you’ll see that it’s flashing out of the corner of your eye. You see it, and you’re not even looking at the phone. It’s the same idea with this mirror. You’re going to start picking up images, and you’ll get an idea of what’s going on around you.”
Rider Peter Schobel says he uses the RV MSX1 every day.
“It has exceeded my expectations,” he said. “It didn’t take long before I started wondering how I ever lived without it. I like that I can pan my head from left to right and look right into my blind spots.
“I have a lot more confidence in my traffic maneuvers now, and I have a better sense of everything that’s going on around me.”
The mirror does take some getting used to, however, because riders have to look in the opposite direction of the side of the motorcycle they want to see.
“You’re going to be looking forward and you turn your head the opposite direction slightly,” Altman said. “Then, you’ll catch your peripheral vision. After awhile, you don’t even look at the mirror. You forget that you have it, and you have a feel for what’s going on. It’s just like the rearview mirror in the car. You’re not driving and staring at that mirror. You’re glancing at it.”
The mirror also allows the driver to see behind him or herself.
“I like the fact that I have complete visibility all around me,” Schobel said. “The more I become accustomed to wearing the Reevu, the better I get at using the mirror. I’m starting to notice that I use my side view mirrors less now, and I’ve also realized what limited visibility I get from the side mirrors.”
To fit each driver, the mirror is adjustable, depending on the height of the user’s forehead. The helmet doesn’t require batteries, as the adjustable mirror is all mechanical, Altman said.
The RV MSX1 also features a tri-composite full-faced shell, removable liner, quick-release interchangeable visor, and it is DOT approved.
To get the new helmet, dealers can go through the sole distributor, Altman International.
Altagear has begun shipping helmets all over the country.
“They’re really popular in California,” he said. “New York, Maryland, Illinois, a little bit everywhere. We’re just getting this started.”

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