[System 4 image at BMW Germany site]

A response from Court Fisher to questions asked on the list ...

Subject: BMW: Re: System IV
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 1997 19:23:04 +0000
From: Court Fisher <>

> Date: Sat, 08 Nov 1997 22:35:10 -0700
> From: Joe Monenschein <>
> Subject: BMW: System IV Helmets
> I'm sure this has been covered before but ...

[It has...could somebody please archive or FAQ this?]

> I've heard about BMW helmets and how they're unavailable in the states.
> I've also heard (and read in the recent copy of owner's news) that there
> are sources for buying them anyway.  I've heard about them not being DOT
> approved and that BMW doesn't want to accept liability in this country
> etc. etc.  My questions are:
>   1) Why aren't they DOT approved?

BMW AG, NA, and Schuberth (manufacturer)'s concern for possible
USA legal liability, in the event a System IV (or predecessor System III)
wearer chose to sue if head-injured in an accident. Hence, manufacturer
chooses not  to submit to DOT for testing/approval.

>   2) Are they approved by any organization?

ECE [European Community] R 22/04 standard
BSI [British Standards Institute] standard
Australian SAA standard [similar to DOT]
German OMK [motorsport commission] for use in competition

(Above information from System IV owner's manual)

>   3) Who are these evil black marketeers and how can I contact one?

They're not evil black marketeers. This is a 'personal grey market'.
You can direct order a System IV for personal shipment to the USA
from any authorized Euro BMW dealer who stocks them in the
size/color you want. Some Euro dealer websites are listed on
IBMWR's website dealer page [Brit dealers not expecting to
stock System IV 'till Spring '88]. All authorized Euro BMW dealers'
tel & fax numbers are listed in BMW Euro directory, BMW part
# 01 99 9 787 367.d, available on order from any US BMW car or
bike dealer. German (and probably other Continental) dealers have
them already. You can also buy over the counter in Europe and ship
or bring home in personal luggage.

Court Fisher
Princeton NJ
all the usual suspect acronyms

Info from Court Fisher for ordering direct from Wüdo in Germany

Subject: BMW: System IV helmets/ordering option (longish)
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 20:21:37 +0000
From: Court Fisher <>


There's been some interest and a thread on how non-Euro riders can
order System 4 helmets, particularly in NA, where System 4 will not
be imported.  As posted earlier, a System 4 can be ordered from any German
or other Euro dealer who stocks or is willing to order the color/size you
want (and who is willing to take the time to do overseas
mail/paperwork, etc.).  Here's a specific option, received in response
to my email query, from the Dortmund, Germany BMW dealer, Wüdo,
who is also a respected supplier of BMW aftermarket parts, and--to my
knowledge at this time--the only German dealer with active website/
email access; they're also included on IBMWR's website dealer page.

----------forwarded post-----------------

>From: "Helmut Wüstenhöfer" <>
>Subject: Re: System IV helmets
>References: <>
>Organization: wüdo
>X-MIME-Autoconverted: from 8bit to quoted-printable by id
>Date: Wed, 19 Nov 97 07:40:14 +0000

SNIP (original query)

>  Hello,
>As we are an officiell BMW dealer, we can fill every orders of system 4
>We do keep most sizes and colors in stock.
>Prices    white and red    DM 606,96
>             antracite            DM 651,30
>            Yellow/grey        DM 781,74
>shipping cots are about DM 80,00. You do not have to pay Mwst!
>Order by mentioning your cr card no as well as date of expire. We'll
>harry to send out to you
>Helmut Wüstenhöfer
------------------------end forwarded post-----------

For those without net access, or who prefer to transmit credit card
data only by fax/tel or hard-mail, here is Wuedo's full contact info:
Att: Helmut Wuestenhoefer
Deutsche Strasse 98-100, D-44339 Dortmund, Germany
Tel +49/231 850091, Fax +49/231 806087
email <>, website (

The obvious advantages of  this ordering option are:

1) you can handle the entire transaction by email [if you're willing
to transmit your VISA/MC by email];

2) Wuedo's prices quoted above to NA customers (and, presumably,
to any non-EC shipping address outside Europe), is the 'net' German
retail price, that is, (-) minus the 15% German VAT (MwSt). Even
with an added DM 80 airmail cost, that means NA customers
can buy a System 4 delivered to your door for less than its
over-the-counter full retail in Germany.  Of course, if you happen to
be in Germany on a US or other non-EC passport, you can also get
a German VAT refund on your helmet purchase as you leave the
country, but that supposes you remember to ask the dealer for the
right papers, that he has them, and that you remember/have time to
find and go through the VAT refund office at the airport or border.

If Wuedo ships to non-EC addresses minus the 15% German VAT,
presumably any German dealer is able to do the same. However,
you may have to make a point of asking, since not all dealers will
necessarily do enough overseas business to be aware of this option,
have the necessary internal [German] tax paperwork in hand, etc.

Court Fisher
Princeton NJ
all the usual suspect acronyms

The System 4 Helmet - An Initial Appraisal, from Cynthia Milton

Subject: BMW: System 4 Helmets
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 1997 13:44:10 GMT
From: Cynthia.Milton@UK.Sun.COM (Cynthia Milton - Telco Platforms Group Slough)

Here's a little thingy I wrote for the Journal of The BMW Club in the British Isles:

The System 4 Helmet - An Initial Appraisal

I had intended to pick up a System 3 Evolution on my hols, but lo and behold, the 4 was launched mid-September
(the dealer in Vienna had had them for just a week) so the search was on for the colour I wanted in my (very small)
size.  I finally tracked one down at Pevec, the dealer in Spandau, just round the corner from the BMW factory.
This appraisal is based on 2,000 miles of mixed riding, including in heavy rain and thick fog.

The Visor and Ventilation

Most importantly, BMW appear to have sorted the appalling visor problems from which the 3 suffered.  The (rigid)
visor no longer leaks, thanks to a flexible narrow rubber blade which seals against the top edge when the visor is
closed.  There is a raised edge on either side at the bottom of the visor, so it can be opened easily with thick

The misting problems have been significantly mitigated by a new ventilation system.  A small scoop can be opened
on the chinpiece, immediately below the visor, which connects to either two slits inside which direct air straight up
on to the inner surface, or through an adjustable vent on to your face.  Because the visor is double-currvature it will
not be possible to fit a Fog City, but given the venting and non-leakiness, the traditional coating of washing-up
liquid more than suffices.  The only problem I found is that my specs mist up instead.  Ah well.  I might add that
with the RT's screen in the fully-up position in thick fog, there was no misting either inside or outside the visor.
No, I didn't believe it either, but it's true.

The detents for visor positioning work properly, so no more heart attacks as the visor slams shut.  There are major
detents for the fully-open and just-cracked-open positions, and minor ones in between.

Scalp-cooling is dealt with by a sliding shutter over a vent immediately above the visor with an exit point in the
shallow spoiler at the back of the helmet - much the same as before, really.

The Front-Opening Mechanism

This has been much improved - there is now a single red bar under the centre of the chinpiece, so the front can, at
last, be opened one-handed and when wering thick gloves.  The aerodynamics have also been sorted, so it's
possible to ride at up to 70 or 80 with the front up in total comfort (I know it's probably illegal here, but not Over
There).  The continental version can be converted to a jet-style helmet, but the handbook states that the UK version
will have a different shell and will not be convertible.  So what's new.  Does anyone one know what BSI's
problem is?  Most people regard German standards as some of the highest in the world, and this helmet is
approved by their racing authority as well; I find it hard to believe that BSI standards are any higher.

The Fastening

As before, the continental fastening is of the seat-belt variety (good) and the UK version will have the double
D-ring (not so good).


There isn't any.  Well, not very much.  With the RT screen right up and the visor closed, I could hear my tappets
clearly at 3-lane autobahn speeds (the RT goes faster the BMW claim, even when you correct of the 5% fast


The helmet comes in the usual white, red or dark metallic grey, and a version colour-matched to the K1200
yellow/grey chequerboard pattern is available.  In Germany the metallic grey is DM749 (about 270 pounds), and
the white and red a little cheaper.  One assumes the UK version will be at least 100 pounds more, and weigh more
- mine weighs 1580 grammes (about 3 and a half pounds).  You also get a bag in which to stash the lid, which helps
minimise abrasion when squeezing it into a pannier.  I bet the UK one comes without.

A URL (in German) to view the System IV, from Graham Smith

Subject: Re: BMW: System IV Helmet FAQ
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 13:09:57 +1000
From: Graham Smith <>

And here's the webb address for the URL link, but you might advise that it
is best viewable with a "German Translator" browser Plug-in ;-)

The same page (in English) to view the System IV, from Jeff Carpenter

Subject: BMW: System 4 FAQ addition
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 16:17:59 -0500 (EST)
From: JeffC <>

it's the english version of

Helmet size measurement information, from Barry Ferris

Subject: BMW: Re: helment sizes
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 07:56:11 -0800
From: Barry Ferris <>

Lifted from

HAT    INCH        SHOEI
====== ====== ==== ====== ====== ====== ====== ===== ======= ====== ======
6-3/8  20-1/4  51  XXS    -----  -----  -----  ----- -----   -----  -----
6-1/2  20-1/2  52  XXS    XS     -----  -----  XS    -----   -----  -----
6-5/8  20-7/8  53  XS     XS     -----  XS     XS    -----   -----  -----
6-3/4  21-1/4  54  XS/SM  SM     XS     XS     XS    XS      -----  XS
6-7/8  21-5/8  55  SM     SM/MD  SM     SM     SM    XS      XS     XS
7      22      56  SM/MD  MD     SM     SM     SM    SM      XS     SM
7-1/8  22-1/2  57  MD     MD/LG  MD     SM/MD  MD    SM      SM     MD
7-1/4  22-7/8  58  MD/LG  LG     MD     MD     MD    MD      SM     MD
7-3/8  23-1/4  59  LG     LG/XL  LG     MD/LG  LG    MD      MD     LG
7-1/2  23-5/8  60  LG/XL  XL     LG     LG     LG    LG      MD     XL
7-5/8  24      61  XL     XL/XXL XL     LG/XL  XL    LG      LG     XL
7-3/4  24-1/2  62  XL/XXL XXL    XL     XL     XL    XL      LG     -----
7-7/8  24-7/8  63  XXL    XXL    XXL    XXL    XXL   XL      XL     -----
8      25-1/4  64  XXL    XXXL   -----  XXL    XXL   -----   -----  -----
8-1/8  25-5/8  65  XXXL   XXXL   -----  -----  ----- -----   -----  -----
8-1/4  ------  66  XXXL   -----  -----  -----  ----- -----   -----  -----
To measure correct helmet size, measure around the head, like a headband, one
inch above the eyebrows and match inch measurement to chart.  If between sizes,
go to next larger size.

Barry Ferris  
Santa Cruz, Ca.

A Satisfied Customer: "I just received my System 4 from Wuedo!",
from Brian Rozema

Subject: BMW: I just received my System 4 from Wuedo!
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 18:41:10 -0500
From: Brian Rozema <>

After reading the list and following the helmet treads, I decided to put
my System 1 to rest and buy a new system 4. A few comments about buying
the helmet:

1) How did I buy it?

I read Court Fisher's review about buying a system 4 overseas. It is
posted on the BMW page at

I purchased the helmet via Wuedo in Germany. Helmut runs a secure WEB
page that allows secure purchases from him.
Point your browser to

2) How much did it cost?

With shipping, around $400. My card has not been charge yet.

3) How long did it take?

About 10 days after I placed my order via the WEB page. The paperwork
indicates it was shipped from Wuedo on 12/15. I received it on 12/22.

Editor's note: Brian lives in Indiana. Shipping time may vary depending on location.

4) Does it fit?

Yes, quite well. A little tight because of the 'cheek' pads.
(Something that my system 1 didn't have. ) I keep my hair short (okay I
going bald...) yet the fit was alittle tight but acceptable. If you are
blessed with a full head of hair, you might want to go up a size. I
feel that wearing the helmet will break it in to my profile.

5) Tell me about the features of the helmet.

The helmet has three vents for your use. Two are located in the chin to
allow fresh air to your face. The mouth vent is located inside the chin
piece that can be closed independently from the vent for the visor. A
third vent is directly forward of your forehead. There exists a small
fin on the back side of the helmet for the exit vents. One thing that I
noticed about the helmet was the clean lines (not external push buttons
since the opening latch is a single bar under the chin piece.). It
really is a beautiful design.

The chin piece contains a wind blocking shield that fits nicely under
your chin. The chin strap is seatbelt type of latch instead if the
'double D' rings. One review I read somewhere said the vesion that
will be sold in England will be the 'D' style.

The fit and finish of the helmet is typical BMW - perfect workmanship.

The helmet shipped with a protective bag and owners manual.

3) Any regrets ?

Only one, not tell my wife about it first BEFORE ordering it. Oh well,
everytime I see and speak BMW stuff for my GS, my brain disconnects and
I act on impulse. (I tried to explain that it was included with my BMW
- direct from the factory. She didn't buy that one...

It was surprisingly easy to buy from Helmut at Wuedo. I suggest you
visit his WEB page and drop Helmut a line. On his WEB page he has a
builtin email address for your use. The usually disclaimers apply, I'm
just a happy customer of Wuedo.

More Info from Wüdo including prices, from Phil Rose

Subject: BMW: System 4 Helmet Info from Wuedo!
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 14:25:00 -0500 (EST)
From: Phil Rose <>

Fellow Presidents,

Below please find info about System 4 helmets that I just got from Wuedo!
The exchange rate is as of 1/13/98.

Cheers, Phactory Phil aka Phil Rose

Editor's Note: Prices and especially exchanges are subject to change, of course!
For current exchange rate, see: World Currency Exchange

Prices for system 4 helmet:

white or red            606,96 DM       =$333.50
antracithe metallic     651,30 DM       =$357.85
yellow/grey "K12RS"     781,74 DM       =$429.52

The sizes:

50/51 special order for you
52/53 all colors in stock
54/55 all colors in stock
56/57 all colors in stock
58/59 all colors in stock
60/61 all colors in stock
62/63 special order for you 
64/65 special order for you

Helmet Bags:

cloth bag                   16,35 DM        =$ 8.98
nylon bag with lock         49,75 DM        =$27.34

Decoration set:

orange, 12 parts            26,96 DM        =$14.81
blue, 6 parts               30,43 DM        =$16.71

Changing set enduro:

helmetshield                39,13 DM        =$21.50
side parts                  49,57 DM        =$27.23

Visor and parts:

antifog mar resistant       85,22 DM        =$46.82  (clear only, not tinted)
Various cheek up holstery   55,65 DM        =$30.57
Various neck up holstery    39,13 DM        =$21.50
chin spoiler                38,26 DM        =$21.02

The dispatch costs for a premium air mail will be 81,00 DM, as an economy air mail 52,00 DM for one helmet:

                            81,00 DM        =$44.50
                            52,00 DM        =$28.57

Spezial offer:

Baehr intercom from WÜDO
Baehr intercom for build in the motorbike   764,35 DM       =$419.97
Build in system 4 helmet, per helmet         89,00 DM       =$48.90
Build in system 4 helmet for two helmets    178,00 DM       =$97.80


$1.00 = 1.82DM  as of 1/13/98

Please order your part by web site: WWW.WUEDO.DE   Thank you very much.

A reminder about U.S. Customs Duty, from Court Fisher

Subject: Sys 4 duty?
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 21:25:55 +0000
From: Court Fisher <>

>Don't forget one needs to pay a customs duty when importing
>[System IV] into the US -- the Postal Service will collect at your
>door if coming from a foreign company. This hasn't been
>addressed in the FAQ or Court's article in the latest ON.

>Fran Grodek
>Cleveland OH USA
>(440) 926-2994


Thanks for the reminder.

The US Customs duty on a System 4 can be estimated:

The duty tariff category is '6506.10.30 Motorcycle Helmets of reinforced or laminated plastics'. According to the US Customs Duty Assessment Office in New York City, the 1998 duty rate on this category is 1.8 cents per kg + 0.7% [that's 7/10ths of one percent] of commercial value, per helmet. Assuming a Sys 4 weighs 2-3kg (4.4-6.6 pounds), and assuming an invoiced/declared commercial value of US$400, total tariff would = 6 cents + $2.80 [$400 x 0.007], in other words, about $3.00 total in duty.

To this, the US Post Office can add a $5.00 fee for collecting the duty from you on behalf of US Customs.

In other words, _if_ your particular System 4 helmet shipment goes through the Customs process, (and not all do), you'll pay an extra $8-10.00 in duty & fees.

If anyone has experience different than this, please let us know.

Court Fisher
Princeton NJ
all the usual suspect acronyms

System 4 is NO LONGER AVAILABLE from Wüdo, from Ted Vance

Subject: System 4 is NO LONGER AVAILABLE from Wüdo
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 09:49:03 -0800
From: Ted Vance <>

I have an update for the System IV Helmet FAQ Web Page.

I contacted the dealer in Germany (WUDO) that has supplied
the helmet to USA customers in the past.
They informed me that BMW will NOT allow them to ship the helmets to the
USA any longer.

Below is the text of the email:

> Dear Mr. Vance,
> thank you very much for your e-mail that we unfortunatly can´t
> reply as requested.
> BMW pointed out to us, that we are not allowed to deliver the
> system 4 helmet to the USA. We feel very sorry not being allowed to
> reply to your inquiry in the requested way.
> With pleasure we would like to deliver our WÜDO accessoires for BMW
> motorbikes to you and we would be happy, if you would like visiting
> our internet-pages:
> There, you will get the latest informations about the available
> WÜDO accessoires for your BMW at any time.
> With best regards
> Christopher Salzmann

I just thought you might like to update the Web Page accordingly

Ted Vance

A private offer to ship System IV from Norway, relayed by Court Fisher

Subject: Fw: System 4 - look no further [longish]
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 00:26:14 -0400
From: Court Fisher <>


For those in the US stymied by BMW AG's embargo of System 4 helmet shipments direct from Euro dealers, who (1) can't wait or won't be able to pick one up in Canada this Fall (since Canadian dealers will likely also be embargoed from US shipments), (2) can't travel to Europe or elsewhere overseas to buy one personally, (3) don't already have a friend in any legal venue to buy/ship one to you, and (4) don't want to wait for any still under-consideration change in BMW policy to allow US DOT approval and legal sale in the US, here's another offer to consider:

For those who might not know, O.T. Dovik founded Nordic Bike Adventures and organizes the Norwegian tours for Beach's Motorcycle Adventures. I will personally vouch for his honesty and integrity, but you'll need to contact him directly to make your own arrangement and, as he says, be a little patient.

For those who need more background on this issue, or help with sizing, etc., see the List file at [Editor's note: Pssst! You're reading it now!]

And of course any US prez who wears a non-US DOT System 4 in the States must acknowledge that they assume all risk and responsibility for helmet use, and forever waive all rights to product liability suits against BMW by themselves, their heirs and assigns. [(^_^) That's a joke, but lies at the heart of why the corporation must continue to try to protect itself from even personal grey-market distribution to the litigious USA, unless/until BMW itself opts for DOT certification (^_^.]

Court Fisher
Princeton NJ
all the usual suspect acronyms

System 4 to be available in USA, from Erik Miner

Subject: System 4 helmets to be available in the USA
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998 17:52:36 -0400
From: Erik Miner <>

I was at the grand opening of Cross Country BMW last weekend and I overheard (from a pretty good source) that BMW will be making the system helmets availble in the US prolly around March. It seems that the reason that they have not been availble is of course due to the liability issues. >From what I understand the manufacturer Shurbert (sp) has found an insurance company that will cover their ass so to speak. The insurance will add about 50-60 DM to the price of each helmet. Projected US retail between $400-$500. What I heard was that the open face helmets will be the first to come. This will coinside with the release of the K12LT my guess is that BMW will make these helmets available with optional built in headsets for the optional intercom system on the K12LT. I guess they also want the wingers to be able to have color matched (to the bike) helmets. The full face system helmets will follow shortly there after.


System 4 possibly coming to US, from Bill Shaw

Subject: System IV possibly coming to the US
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 06:37:09 EDT
From: Bill Shaw <ArmoredVeh@AOL.COM>

  I stopped by Bob's BMW a few days ago to drop the Airhead off for service, and saw Ed Robinson, BMWNA VP, and Dr. Ganal, THE man in charge of BMW motorcycle operations for the whole world (they were being escorted around the new facility by Bob Henig - which is under roof across the street and rapidly progressing). Dr. Ganal came to the US to speak to HD's CEO, and to visit a motorcycle-only dealer, as well as a multiline BMW retailer in the US. Bob's was chosen as the example of a dedicated US BMW motorcycle retailer. Dr. Ganal & Ed Robinson were throughly impressed and excited by the "professional team" at Bobs, which was in direct contrast to the visit to the multiline BMW shop (not identified) in Wisconsin. He was reportedly very displeased with his visit to the multiline shop and the attitude towards BMW presented there.

  In any event, Dr. Ganal seemed to confirm what Bob had learned from Klaus Becker at the K1200LT introduction in Germany; that BMW will probably import one version of the System IV helmet to the US next year, color-matched to the K12LT. Bob didn't know if the helmets would be the modular style, or the open face design. As I've said before, if Bieffe can get DOT approval for their junk modular helmet, BMW certainly can.

  Bill Shaw
  Oak Hill, VA

Confirming System 4 coming to US, from Steve Anderson

Subject: Re: Sys 4 to US
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 21:19:07 -0500
From: Steve Anderson <>

Ted Verrill writes:

> For the K12LT, I bet they complete the Goldwing Hunt
> by offering an open-face version of the Sys 4 helmet pre-cut for whatever
> communications system they will be offering on the bike.

That's a pretty safe bet. Ed Robinson called today to congratulate us on reaching the 100 new bike sales level -- so far -- for the year, and he, Jeff, and I chatted about a number of issues. The helmets were one of the things he and Jeff discussed. My understanding is that Mr. Robinson pretty much confirmed what has been rumored for some time, that the new helmet pictured in the K12LT brochure will be coming in followed by the System IV.

Steve Anderson
Morton's BMW
Spotsylvania, Virginia

Repair kit for side holding plate, from Court Fisher, Art Hechler, and Don Faichney

Subject: Re: Sys 4 parts (repair kit for side holding plate)
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 00:21:29 -0400
From: Court Fisher <>


Thanks, that's very useful info for US folks that have had holding plate glitches.

Can you specify which Euro dealer told you they could ship these parts to US addresses?

If any US prez tries to order these parts from any Euro dealer (e.g.,, or whomever), please let the list know if the dealer will in fact ship to the US.

Somebody might also inquire of Wolf BMW in Canada,, whether same parts are available from Canadian dealers, and can be shipped to the US.

Court Fisher
Trenton NJ

Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 21:25:47 -0400
From: Art Hechler <>
Subject: BMW: System IV parts

Just got back from Europe and now BMW is offering repair kits for the System IV side 'holding plate'

BMW Part #  72 60 7 653 714  is for the right side
BMW Part #  72 60 7 653 713  is for the left side

Helmets manufactured before 7/98 will need to use the template provided in the kit to cut a hole in the helmet to get to the 13mm nut that holds the plate in place. Helmets manufactured after that date have a plastic plug under the liner that pops off to get to the 13mm nut.

Smoked visor for the IV is BMW # 72 60 2 342 594

In talking to the dealer, these parts can be shipped to the US without a problem, it's the helmets that can't be shipped.

Art Hechler
Newtown, CT

Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 09:19:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: Don Faichney <>
Subject: BMW: System IV parts

Art et all: You can get these parts in Canada, a friend of mine from PA got these same parts in Whitby ON from my dealer here. If anyone requires them let me know and I will get you the price and shipping should be no problem (you pay postage) remember the Canadian $ is at about .67 of a U.S.$.. You can buy the system 4 in Canada Eh!

The Kiltmeister
In balmy Downtown Port Hope

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