Charles Owen vs IRH Helmets
Posted on October 16 2015
Searching for a new helmet is never fun, but add that to it being entirely done online and you have a recipe for hopes dashed and a few misses. After asking around and then searching reviews on both Smartpak.com and DoverSaddlery.com, I narrowed it down to the Charles Owen JR8 or an IRH XR9.
I like that both were considered to be low profile (let's be honest- is there really such a thing in riding helmets?). I personally love the look of suede and both of these styles had that clean, classic look that I've seen from the Hunter Jumper ring to the Dressage arena. Both helmets are ASTM F-1163-04a/SEI Certified.
After checking all these boxes it was time to place them on my melon. I tried both helmets on in a size 7, as that is what my previous Troxel helmet was and what my head was still measuring. As some of the reviews had stated, the Charles Owen JR8 immediately was uncomfortable due to pressure on my temples. So I sized up to the next largest size, but even with it now being too loose I could still feel an odd pressure in my temple area. I had read that the Charles Owen was a much better fit for an oval shaped head, and thus causing the ill fit around my forehead. I did like the apparent quality of the construction and of course it is a very stylish looking helmet. But I knew none of that would matter if I had a headache 10 minutes into my ride.
I was pleasantly surprised at the equally quality construction and style of the IRH XR9. Other than the branding I felt they were very similar. The IRH helmet was more comfortable from the start. The size 7, after adding one of the provided cushions, fit like a glove. The IRH sat relatively the same on my head, but the roominess in my forehead area is what ultimately made this the helmet of choice for me.