GPA vs. Charles Owen Helmets

Hi everyone,

I am interested in a new helmet, priced around $300-$350 CAD. I have heard a lot about the CO GR8 helmet and the newer CO AYR helmet, but GPA helmets seem to be more expensive - so what is the difference? Are they drastically better? I am having ventilation issues with my current IRH helmet, even though I do not live in a hot climate, and it is time to move on. Also, are there any comments on the GPA Titanium Pro helmet?

Thank you!

Leave the brand name out of the descision making process and choose the one that fits the shape of your head the best. The CO AYR8 is the vented one in that line up.

They are two totally different head shapes so get whichever fits you. If you don’t have a store to try them on at, order the CO from smartpak and GPA from Dover and hope that the gpa fits so you can return the co for free.

as an FYI, the “venting” on the AYR8 did very little for me this summer, I use the helmet every day and haven’t felt any real difference [from the GR8]. but the brands differ on how much venting there is and also shape. For non-GPA vented helmets, I’ve heard good things about 1K and samishield.

I agree with hunterrider23 - COs and GPAs seem to be completely different fit-wise, at least for me. While they are both very nice helmets, GPAs are comfortable on me, but COs are not. That being said, I also really like the One K helmet. For me, the fit is similar to the GPA, but the price is much less. Here is a link to the site, if you are interested:

http://onekhelmets.com/

Good luck!

I think all helmets have ventilation issues. I bought a CO GR8 thinking it fit me but it really didn’t. As soon as I was showing multiple horses a day it started to squeeze my head. I went to Dover and tried everything they had and ended up with the GPA Speed Air Black/Black. It fit perfectly I mean perfectly. Well it darn well better for the money. Theoretically it has more ventilation but when its 100 degrees and humid who can really tell. It has a nice low profile look although it felt a little weird when I first got it because I was so used to seeing the brim of my other helmets and the GPA has better visibility… i.e. can’t see the brim of the helmet really. The moral of the story is buy what fits… secondary to that is ventilation and the look of it.

If you are looking for ventilation I would strongly discourage the purchase of the GR8. I love the fit and find mine very comfortable but it gets HOT. I haven’t owned a AYR8 but I can’t imagine the vents offering too much air since the material is similar and it is quite heavy.

I just purchased a Speed Air and it is much cooler. You can actually feel the air passing through it when riding outside. However it’s common knowledge that the fit of the two are very different. The CO is a very true long-oval while the GPA is round. The CO works better for me personally but I manipulated the padding so I can have the GPA’s vents :slight_smile:

One thing about Charles Owen Helmets- do not get them wet. Don’t use them in rain, or even heavy mist. It ruins the micro suede exterior! Not that that interferes with the protection that the helmet gives you, but it really does not look good. I guess that doesn’t matter too much, but I figure I should probably put it out there, since I didn’t know when I got my Charles Owen. It got wet, and it looks awful, but there is no way that I am buying another one anytime soon!

BUT- they are extraordinarily comfortable, if they suit your head shape.

[QUOTE=dreamingofdressage;7265986]One thing about Charles Owen Helmets- do not get them wet. Don’t use them in rain, or even heavy mist. It ruins the micro suede exterior! Not that that interferes with the protection that the helmet gives you, but it really does not look good. I guess that doesn’t matter too much, but I figure I should probably put it out there, since I didn’t know when I got my Charles Owen. It got wet, and it looks awful, but there is no way that I am buying another one anytime soon!

BUT- they are extraordinarily comfortable, if they suit your head shape.[/QUOTE]

…I have never had a problem getting my GR8 wet. In fact, once every couple months I dunk it in soapy dishwater to clean it.

I ride in rain frequently, as well, and have never had a problem.

The suede gets funky looking initially, and as it dries, goes back to normal and looks right as rain.

I always set it out to dry, however, and never put it away wet.

YMMV.

The CO seem to be the worst for ventilation. I have an Ovation schooler that is significantly better than any other I’ve had, surprisingly, and the new Troxel cinch-fit also seems better. It’s not just about the holes in the shell, but also about any air paths between the harness/liner and your head.

I really suggest you go to a tack store and try a bunch on. Very few people can fit into both. GPA doesn’t fit my head at all.

Charles Owen fits oval heads better than round heads. I moved from the GR8 to the Ayr8 about 2 yrs ago, and it is better ventilated- though not hugely better. That said, in Fla. in summer unless helmets came w/ fans, nothing much helps.

I’ve also gotten mine wet in various situations, not a problem. let dry, soft brush.

[QUOTE=2tempe;7266463]Charles Owen fits oval heads better than round heads. I moved from the GR8 to the Ayr8 about 2 yrs ago, and it is better ventilated- though not hugely better. That said, in Fla. in summer unless helmets came w/ fans, nothing much helps.

I’ve also gotten mine wet in various situations, not a problem. let dry, soft brush.[/QUOTE]

I’ve had both the AYR8, GR8, and the Speed Air, and none ventilates like the speed air. AYR8 is meh for ventilation, and there is none whatsoever in the GR8.

[QUOTE=Mac123;7265998]…I have never had a problem getting my GR8 wet. In fact, once every couple months I dunk it in soapy dishwater to clean it.

I ride in rain frequently, as well, and have never had a problem.

The suede gets funky looking initially, and as it dries, goes back to normal and looks right as rain.

I always set it out to dry, however, and never put it away wet.

YMMV.[/QUOTE]

Agreed. My helmet regularly gets soaked (courtesy of showing in Saugerties and Vermont) and although it looks kind of funny mid-drying, it always dries fine.

I’m on about my 7th GPA. Ventilation is drastically better in a speed air or first lady than a titium (pro or not).

However, I have had only GPA helmets because they FIT. Charles Owen just doesn’t work for me. The one that’s the ‘right’ size refuses to sit straight on my head.

Get what FITS or it won’t matter how much you spend because it won’t protect you.

[QUOTE=Laphrena;7264852]Hi everyone,

I am interested in a new helmet, priced around $300-$350 CAD. I have heard a lot about the CO GR8 helmet and the newer CO AYR helmet, but GPA helmets seem to be more expensive - so what is the difference? Are they drastically better? I am having ventilation issues with my current IRH helmet, even though I do not live in a hot climate, and it is time to move on. Also, are there any comments on the GPA Titanium Pro helmet?

Thank you![/QUOTE]

As someone else mentioned, GPAs fit round heads, COs fit a more oval head. COs are probably the worst helmets on the market, ventilation-wise. Several models have no ventilation at all. The Speed Air has the best ventilation of the GPAs.

Best ventilated helmet on the market? The Samshield. Starts around $550 though, so may be out of your budget. The Speed Air starts around that price, too.

Ditto getting my soaked and just setting out to air dry. No worse for wear. But agree they are VERY hot, my head gets pretty sweaty.

[QUOTE=nelson;7265495]I agree with hunterrider23 - COs and GPAs seem to be completely different fit-wise, at least for me. While they are both very nice helmets, GPAs are comfortable on me, but COs are not. That being said, I also really like the One K helmet. For me, the fit is similar to the GPA, but the price is much less. Here is a link to the site, if you are interested:

http://onekhelmets.com/

Good luck![/QUOTE]

I would like to “ditto” every aspect of this. GPAs fit my head wonderfully, CO’s just… don’t. And I too am getting a One K. I love the fit and I love the price. My GPAs are both 10 years old and I’m very much past due for a new helmet.

To the OP please get what fits your head the best. IMO the worst fashion faux pas is wearing a helmet that doesn’t properly protect your skull.

This is exactly what I was told – forget the brand and price and get the one that fits best. You only have one head and people still get head injuries wearing helmets; an English eventer just died of head injuries yet was wearing one, I’d like to know the brand. People were raving about Lami-Cell on another site discussing the same topic. I just ordered a Lami-Cell on-line (there are great deals) in a 6 5/8 but it ran big so I’m re-selling (just shows you must try all helmets on!) Nice helmet though (I am an oval).

How to fit a helmet:

http://www.equisearch.com/tack_apparel/english-tack_apparel/eqheadgear118/

COs fit me, which makes them a much better helmet than anything that doesn’t fit for any price :slight_smile:

I’ve never had any issue with the microsuede. I’ve worn my CO in nearly every condition imaginable and while it’s beyond ready to be replaced, it could pass for brand new (on the outside).