December 9, 2008 by Rohan Kini
a pack of masks and extra filters
A quick review by a fellow biker, Nagaraj, who commutes to work and gave TOTOBOBO a shot.
What he liked
1. Simple and largely effective design – at the same time forms an very good seal on your face and nose thereby cutting out a lot of crap (essentially sub micron particulate matter) which otherwise you would breathe. There is no other mask made in India which does this. A mask should form a very tight seal for it to be useful. The filters on the TOTOBOBO mask do a very good job. Claire mask in this regard is a piece of crap, essentially for me it has no design at all. Probably it is the best known mask of Indian make.
2. Light weight
3. The breathing resistance you experience is very little. Which means your efficiency of riding/breathing is largely not affected by it.
4. It is reasonably priced, the filters are very cheap.
what he was not too happy about
1. does not cut out CO and other harmful gases (it does not have a Dynamically Activiated Charcoal filter)
2. It takes a little bit of time to get the fit right – the only way what you breathe out gets out of the mask is through the boundary of the mask with your facial skin. This happens if you wear the mask tight enough so that the pressure built up in the mask from your exhaust pushes the mask out just enough from the skin so that the exhaust escapes out. If you wear it a little too loose, then you defeat the very purpose of wearing it.
3. The filters get dirty (they turn black) with about 3 to 4 hours of usage in Bangalore.
Thank you Nagaraj for the valuable feedback. I have used these masks over the last month or so with a pretty consistent experience. Would not dream of commuting in Bangalore without a mask.
Some points to remember about the mask
- The preferred breathing pattern is Mouth in – Nose out. The TOTOBOBO filter is much more efficient to filter out fine particulates than our nose. Breathe in with the mouth is less resistance and opening the mouth further improve the face seal- it gives a bigger margin for the strap tolerance to achieve the one-way-valve effect as you describe here
- TOTOBOBO filter currently don’t have an active carbon version.
- Turning dark is a signal to change filter – the filter won’t change color by itself, turning dark is a pretty solid indication that it has done it’s job.
If you commute on a bicycle in the city its high time you get a mask and check out the difference yourself !
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