Actually I never washed it. At first I thought it was a problem with my helmet alone but then while in correspondence with Brian Van, owner of sportbiketrackgear.com, he told me that my experience with HJC was actually quite common, something they’re known for, and that is why they refuse to carry HJC brand helmets. It was enough to tell me I shouldn’t bother giving them a second chance.
That’s not to say everyone who buys one will experience that. The Ford Taurus up until its late-90s redesign was known for being one of the most unreliable vehicles on the road, but there were quite a few Taurus owners out there who didn’t have problems with theirs.
Overall I would be very very weary of many low-end helmet manufacturers. Some are great yes but others are not. Some are comparable to higher-end helmets and some are not. Me personally, based on what I’ve learned from doing the research I’ve done and corresponded with reps from all the online manufacturers, I would say this:
If you’re not willing to spend more than $200 on a helmet then your selection is very limited. Stick with AGV, Shark, Scorpion, Icon, and Bell. Otherwise, hold off until you’re willing or able to spend more to enter into the realm of higher end brands such as Shoei. Those brands are all known for producing very high quality helmets at low prices.
That being said, if you’re willing to stick to the closeout/sale items, you can easily find premium high-end merchandise at a price point you would normally reserve only for low-end stuff, which kind of makes this whole point moot. Look hard enough and you can find closeout Shoei TZ-Rs and even RF-1000s for a price you would expect to say for a cheap HJC, and, well, the answer then becomes obvious.
Just FYI, The AGV Stealth/S-4 (same helmet just with different venting) is the only sub-$200 helmet to score a 5-star safety rating in the SHARP test.