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The Way To Use Your Head On The Farm


15 Jun 2016

Just like wearing a seatbelt in a motor vehicle, there is perhaps nothing more important for a motorcyclist or ATV rider than strapping on a helmet, even if your area of work is off-road, on the farm and a long way from highway traffic.

Yamaha-Motor Australia and New Zealand have it perfectly sorted for the bike and ATV community and it's an exciting development that is head and shoulders above the rest, has farm and off-road use in mind, and is coming your way soon.

The new Shark X16 ATV ROV helmet is new on the market and will be key among the new and exciting products being unveiled at Fieldays at Mystery Creek, near Hamilton, this week (June 15-18).

The Shark helmet will be unveiled at 11am today at Fieldays, on the Yamaha stand, E12-E18, and this will be the Global Launch of the new generation of Shark helmet, which offers great benefits for the New Zealand agricultural sector.

Pre-production units have been brought over under lock and key from Shark global for the launch, and inclusion into the Fieldays Innovation Awards.

Yamaha Motor Australia/NZ has a long history of utility vehicle product development and farm safety. This began in 1973 when factory engineers were invited to Queensland to discover the needs of local farmers. The result was the world's first AG bike.

As well as product development, farm safety has always been a key issue, with YMA/NZ introducing the ATV Safety Institute in 2003 to ensure the safe operation of utility vehicles. YMA/NZ and industry partners have continued to promote ATV and ROV safety through a nine point guideline that highlights adequate training and protective clothing and in particular the 'Wear it or park it' approved safety helmet campaign.

That focus on safety and knowledge of local farmer requirements was the driving force behind the all new X16 ATV ROV helmet. Up until now, existing lightweight utility helmets have offered minimal protection, are not rated for high speeds and are not approved for road use.

On the other hand, approved helmets do not take farmer requirements into consideration and tend to be too heavy with poor ventilation and their designs make it difficult to hear cattle. So faced between a choice between minimal protection and unsuitable headwear - many farmers currently choose to not wear a helmet at all.

To address this, the ATV/ROV industry undertook a 12 month survey at rural shows and model releases in both Australia and New Zealand in order to develop a helmet that farmers would wear and so drastically improve the safety of all farm vehicles.

Through Yamaha's accessory subsidiary Ficeda, the ATV and ROV industry commissioned Shark Helmets to design and build a helmet that addressed utility users concerns while providing the maximum protection possible. Shark is one of the world's biggest motorcycle helmet manufacturers and so an ideal partner for this safety initiative.

Following 18 months of development, Shark created the X16 ATV ROV helmet which includes all the features demanded by working farmers.

The globally certified helmet has a unique ventilation system that allows maximum airflow at low speeds. It's lightweight at only 1200 grams and has unique removable ear-pods to allow the user to better hear what's happening around them, particularly useful in mustering situations. The helmet is also Bluetooth ready for phone or rider to rider communications.

X16 has a removable inner lining for easy cleaning. The new micro lock buckle system allows the user to operate the buckle while wearing gloves and the design of the lining means users can easily wear glasses or sunglasses.

Across New Zealand and Australia the climate and conditions vary massively and the Shark X16 has optional packs to adopt to the environment.

The sun pack has a visor extension and a rear neck protector to protect against sun damage. There is also a dust pack option that protects against wind and dust and a fly pack when those flies just won't give up. Finally the noise pack offers ear pod inserts for users that require additional protection from wind or industrial noise.

The Shark X16 has all this and is fully approved to certification standard ECE 22-05 and DOT which means compliance with global on road standards.

Andy McGechan