As passionate as I am about motorcycles, I find it impossible to dismiss the dangers associated with this hobby. Think about it, when you’re traveling at seventy plus miles per hour with so little separating you and the road that a cardboard box would be an improvement to your protection, risk is something you have to accept.
With that being said, doing what you can to preserve your life is the most important part of enjoying this lifestyle. A large part of this revolves around what helmet you choose. This is why I’ve created this site. My hope is that it will be a platform for motorcyclists to find unbiased information and motorcycle helmet reviews on some of the best helmets on the market.
So before you rush off and buy the first helmet you can find, take a look around, make use of the information compiled, and find the best helmet for you.
Our Top Recommended Motorcycle Helmet Comparison Chart
Motorcycle Helmet Reviews
Noise Reduction – On long rides, motorcyclists can just pull the shield down and enjoy a noiseless journey with this helmet, thanks to its advanced noise reduction feature. Noise reduction is a feature that also improves concentration on the road.
SNELL Approved – This helmet is approved from SNELL which makes it amazingly safe and quite sturdy. SNELL has quite stringent guidelines and doesn’t give away its approval easily. The shell construction is AIM+ and the shield is CW-1. There are 5 sizes available for the helmet and it would fit most heads comfortably.
Advanced Ventilation – The ventilation system of this helmet is so advanced that even after prolonged wear, humidity and heat are not felt by the driver inside the helmet. A breath guard and chin curtain is also included.
Dual Liner – The liner of the helmet is made from EPS and there are double layers of it. On top of that, Shoei has added a comfort system for the interiors to make the journey as luxurious as possible for the wearer.
Modular Design – The best thing about this helmet is its modular design. It gives the benefits of both open face and full face helmets and eliminates the disadvantages of both. The switch can be made with ease and without any hassles.
Advanced Aerodynamics – The aerodynamics of this helmet are as futuristic as its design with features like wind reduction, noise reduction and little wind resistance in the shell. This means saying goodbye to neck pains and shoulder aches even after long drives.
Great Visibility and Comfort – The visibility of this helmet is superior because of the internal sun shield that has UV protection. For even better visibility, the visor can be flipped up to make this helmet into an open faced short one. Comfort is improved by the removable and washable liners.
Variety of Sizes and Colors – The helmet is available in an astounding twenty three colors and designs. Plus, the sizes start from extra small and go up to double extra large – enough to facilitate the smallest to the biggest heads.
DOT Approved – This is one of the best short helmets available in the market today because of its CLC shell and unique oval fit. The helmet is also approved by DOT which makes it safe and reliable enough for rides on rough terrains.
Advanced Ventilation System – Arai always takes the ventilation of its helmets quite seriously. This model too has advanced ventilation system, with vents located along the brow area, rear, chin and multiple inlet and exhaust vents as well.
Comfortable Cheek Pads – The liner of the helmet is made from superior quality but what seals the interior comfort is the cheek pads which also help with optimal fit of the helmet. These cheek pads are easy to remove and wash so that the inside of the helmet always smells fresh.
Better Visibility Than Expensive Models – The visibility of the helmet is facilitated by the wider field in the design of this model. This is one of the most respected features of this helmet in most of the reviews.
Polycarbonate Shell – The shell of this helmet is made using polycarbonate and CAD technology which is designed to offer utmost fit and comfort. It is quite lightweight and because of the shape of the shell, wind resistance is kept to a minimum. The liner of the helmet is also resistant to impacts.
Advanced Ventilation System – The ventilation system with this model is quite advanced with an added intake vent near the chin bar. The vents are located strategically so that airflow is facilitated front to back. A further feature of anti-fogging is made possible by the vents located on the side of the chin bar.
Comfortable Interiors – There are pads for the cheek and crown area that can be removed and washed to keep the interiors smelling nice and fresh all the time. The pads are also contoured to offer great fit. There are special grooves for allowing glasses or goggles to fit effortlessly.
DOT and SNELL Approved – The helmet is approved not just by DOT but also by SNELL. This is quite a stringent standard but most HJC helmets meet or exceed it.
Compact Shell Design and Comfortable Interiors – This model by Shoei is quite lightweight and compact. Yet, there are no compromises made as far as sturdiness, durability and strength are concerned. The breath guard and chin curtains further enhance the interiors.
Amazing Ventilation – The ventilation system of the helmet is advanced and is the reason behind the price tag. There are over ten vents, located at the top and bottom. The ventilation of the helmet is also improved by the absorbent liner material that offers great fit as well.
Noise Reduction With Aerodynamic Features – With aerodynamic features, this helmet is a class apart because it doesn’t cause any neck or shoulder strain during and post long rides. The vigorous testing of the noise reduction system makes for a smooth and quiet journey.
DOT Approved – This helmet is approved by DOT and is completely safe for a variety of biking adventures. Because of the superior design and shell material, it protects the head from collisions and accidents.
Modular Design With Flip Jaw Feature – The greatest feature of this GMAX helmet is its modular design. It offers the benefits of both open face and full face helmets and comes with an additional flip jaw feature that makes the switch easy and effortless.
DOT Approved Thermoplastic Shell – The shell is made from an alloy of thermoplastic which adds a certain amount of sturdiness to the helmet, keeping it lightweight at the same time. This helmet meets and exceeds the standards of DOT which means that it is completely safe and offers good protection.
Dual Exhaust Ventilation System – The dual venting system allows humidity and heat to be eliminated from the interiors during long journeys under the sun. The chin vents not only help to maintain a good airflow inside the helmet but are also equipped with the anti-fog feature.
Advanced Visibility – Because the eye ports of this helmet are fairly large, visibility is greatly improved on the road. For even better visibility, the flip jaw feature can be used to convert this helmet into an open faced one.
SNELL and DOT Approved – The helmet is approved not just by DOT but also by SNELL. This is quite a stringent standard and having this dual approval means that the helmet would protect the head of the rider against most things.
UV Protectant and Anti-fog Face Shield – The shield can be replaced without any special tools and is equipped with certain advanced features like 95% UV protection and anti-fogging capability. These features become even more impressive, considering the price of the helmet.
ACS Venting System – The patented ACS venting system is there to ensure that the flow of air inside the helmet is always humidity and heat free. During long journeys under the sun, riders would be thankful for the advanced ventilation system of HJC.
Great Interior Comfort – The interior liners are anti-microbial in nature and come with moisture-wick technology. They are also removable and washable. This means that the helmet would stay clean and fresh all year long, even after prolonged use. It needs little maintenance.
O’Neal is one of the medium budget brands that has introduced some amazing innovations in the helmet industry and has kept the price in check at the same time. Here are some top features of this amazing helmet by O’Neal.
Fiberglass Shell With DOT and ECE Approval – The shell is made using fiberglass which has a unique property of being extremely durable and strong without increasing the weight of the helmet. This model is approved by both DOT and ECE.
Multiport Ventilation System – The ventilation system is quite advanced, especially considering the price, and is facilitated by multiple intake and exhaust ports all strategically located inside the helmet.
Speakers – Dual multi-directional speakers are provided in the helmet and both these speakers are of great quality, as remarked by the reviewers. These speakers offer stereo sound and are for those riders who enjoy listening to music or talking to other riders and passengers via bluetooth during their journey.
Removable Comfort Liners – The comfort liners insider this helmet are made from technical fabric which allows them to be easily removable and washable. This ensures that the interiors always smell fresh and remain odor free.
DOT Certified – This helmet is certified by DOT and as such, riders can expect good safety while wearing this helmet. It would protect the head, face and neck during accidents and collisions.
Wind Reduction – The aerodynamic ABS shell is designed in such a way that it reduces wind resistance. This means that even after long drives, the rider would not have to suffer from neck pains and shoulder aches. The design reduces fatigue as well.
Sweat Absorbent Liner – The liner is made using high quality material that tends to absorb sweat and keeps the interiors dry and comfortable. The EPS lining of the helmet is resistant to impacts and adds another level of safety to the helmet.
Clear and Smoked Visor – There are two visors provided with this helmet. One is the clear visor for utmost visibility and another is a smoked visor for those days when the sun is beating down hard and the driver needs to reduce some glare during rides.
Fiberglass Shell With DOT Approval – The shell is made using fiberglass and Kevlar, both of which are extremely durable and strong but do not increase the weight of the helmet. This model is approved by both DOT. Another layer of safety is added by the chin bar that is lined with EPS.
Customized Fit – Because of the AirFit technology, the fit of the helmet is exquisite and the riders can enjoy a customized fit. The cheek pads are extremely comfortable and this fit is also helpful to those people who never manage to get the right sized helmet.
Retractable Visor – The visor is lightly smoked and easily retractable. The smoked feature reduces eye strain as the rider maneuvers the motorcycle through conditions of different lighting. The face shield is equipped with anti-scratch and anti-fog features.
Tool Less Shield Replacement – The shield can be replaced in under 10 seconds without any need for special tools.
What Are the Best Motorcycle Helmet Brands?
Sure, you can find some great helmets that are made by brands you’ve never even heard of, but as a whole, these eight brands have been making high quality helmets for year after year. If you want to be guaranteed the best, consider purchasing from one of best motorcycle helmet brands available:
Every single motorcycle helmet that Arai, a Japanese motorsport giant, produces meets SNELL safety standards, the highest form of safety certification a helmet can have. Besides this, they’ve been making motorcycle helmets since 1926. Consistency and legacy such as this is both appreciated and remarkable. If you want the best, Arai is an excellent brand to consider.
AGV was founded in Italy by a man named Gino Amisano, originally focusing on producing leather seats for motorcycles. In 1947, however, they transitioned to making motorcycle helmets, and they’ve been one of the most recognizable names in the industry ever since. One of the most popular helmet choices among world champion competitors, AGV is an equally great choice for ever day riders.
Established in 1954, Bell produces a wide range of motorcycle helmets, providing gear for many world and national champion competitors. One of the factors that has allowed them to be so successful is their continuous effort to put the functionality of their helmets as the primary focus. This, combined with a world class attention to detail has made them one of the most distinguished brands in the industry.
HJC has been making quality motorcycle helmets since 1971, combining unbeatable prices with top of the line functionality to produce a line of helmets that has propelled them above the competition. With innovations and designs that most other companies could only dream of producing, HJC’s control over the motorcycle helmet market is expanding still.
At a little over twenty years old, KBC is one of the younger brands to make the list, but this hasn’t impacted their ability to come up with some of the best helmet designs on the market. With expansive attention given to researching and developing new models and ideas, KBC helmets are always on the cutting edge of the industry.
With origins in Italy and a firm grasp on over 50% of the European market, the Nolan brand is especially popular among European motorcyclists. Even still, Nolan is an incredibly recognizable and reliable brand on this side of the pond as well. Choosing from their full line of DOT certified helmets is a safety conscious and stylish choice no matter where you live.
Another European brand, Shark has been making helmets out of their headquarters in France for the past twenty-five years. Started by motorcycling professionals that demanded the best in helmets, Shark’s attention to detail and focus on innovation has made them an incredibly popular choice among motorcycling competitors across the globe.
Founded in 1959 in Tokyo Japan, Shoei has remained true to their roots as a small, specialized company. Despite their size, Shoei has become an important and respected player in the motorcycle helmet industry. With a large line of helmets that vary in price enough to fit any budget, Shoei is an excellent brand to consider if you want the best quality helmet available.
What are the Best Bluetooth Helmets?
We live in a constantly connected world, and while some people may begrudge that, it does come with some undeniable benefits. If, however, you would like to safely stay connected with fellow riders, family, and others while you’re on the road, you’re going to need to invest in a Bluetooth enabled helmet.
These helmets allow you to communicate entirely hands-free, letting you be connected and safe at the same time. Besides this, however, another main benefit to these helmets is their GPS integration, saving you from ever having to make a roadside stop to pull out and try to understand an old, outdated map ever again.
Lastly, Bluetooth helmets allow you to listen to your favorite music on your trip as well, adding a final layer of peaceful enjoyment to an afternoon ride.
If you think a Bluetooth enabled helmet would benefit you, there are a few high quality helmets that I would recommend. These are the O’Neal Fasttrack, the HJC Sprint, and the HJC IS-MAX. Along with being some of the best Bluetooth helmets available, these three helmets are also some of the safest, most comfortable, and quietest motorcycle helmets too, making them the best helmets to consider if you’re in the market for a Bluetooth enabled helmet.
What are the Best Full Face Helmets?
Besides being the safest option available, full face helmets are also the most popular choice among most riders. They are lighter and less expensive than modular helmets, more protective than open faced helmets, and, if ventilated correctly, are quiet and comfortable as well.
Because they are the go to choice for most racing competitors, full faced helmets are also designed to be lightweight, comfortable, and aerodynamic. The protective padding on the inside of the helmet ensures a snug fit as well as protecting your face from bone-crushing collisions. As an added plus to full face helmets, the acrylic visor that most all of the models come with keeps debris and insects out of your eyes and mouth.
While full faced helmets are a little heavier and restrict your vision a bit more than open faced helmets, their ability to protect against both the elements and collisions has made them the go to choice for most motorcyclists. Unsurprisingly, the three helmets I listed as the safest helmets available are all full faced helmets, subsequently making them my recommendation for the best full face helmets as well.
The Shoei Qwest, the HJC Cl-16, and the Shoei RF-1100 are all excellently reviewed, comfortable, and, stylish, with an unmatched focus on safety. If you are in the market for an open face motorcycle helmet, you cannot go wrong with one of these three.
What are the Best Modular Helmets?
|GMAX GM54S Modular Men's On-Road Motorcycle Helmet|
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
|Shoei Neotec Modular Helmet|
Click Here for Pricing, Pictures and Reviews on Amazon.com
With a modular helmet, you’re basically getting two helmets in one. Flip the visor up and you’ve got the open-air comfort of an open faced helmet. Flip it down and you’ve got the protection of a full-faced helmet. While this convenience comes at the cost of a little added weight and a little higher cost, modular helmets are still incredibly popular among motorcyclists who demand the best of both helmet styles.
If you are going to be doing several different types of riding, buying one modular helmet may be a much simpler and cost effective choice than purchasing two different helmets. If you do decide a modular helmet is the way to go, you’ll want to consider carefully which helmet you choose. The mechanical components of these helmets are just one more thing that can malfunction, making it important for you to find a high quality helmet in order to secure your investment.
Personally, my three favorite modular helmets are the Nolan N104, the HJC IS-MAX, and the Bell Revolver EVO. Each of these helmets are very well constructed, have cool and functional designs, and, as a major bonus, the HJC IS-MAX is also a Bluetooth enabled helmet.
If you’re searching for the ability to alter the style of your helmet with just a flick of the wrist then any one of these three are an excellent helmet to consider.
What Are The Best Motorcycle Helmets For Women?
If you are looking for the best motorcycle helmet for women and your starting point is the look and design of the helmet, you are doing it wrong. Remember that the helmet would be the only thing protecting your face, head and neck when you get into an unfortunate accident.
You can never have a helmet that is only good for cruising because accidents come unannounced. During your purchase and research, you have to keep this factor in mind. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on a nice looking helmet completely.
Thanks to the variety of options for girl motorcycle helmets available in the market, you can now rest assured that you would not be making any compromises on your personal style and safety when you go out to buy a helmet. Here are a few key factors to watch out for when you compare female motorcycle helmets:
Safety – The best safety rating is SNELL because it is an independent rating awarded to only the safest helmets in the market. However, if you go for DOT and ECE approval, you wouldn’t be losing out on too much. These standards are basic and most of our recommended helmets exceed or meet their criteria.
Lightweight Shell – The shell can be made from any material that is strong and durable but it should be lightweight in nature. Otherwise, it would become impossible to remove and wear the helmet at a short notice. A heavy helmet would also cause neck pain.
Head Shape – This is the one factor that separates men and women’s helmets. Women have a different head shape from men. As such, they cannot find the right comfort and fit with male helmets. Women’s helmets take care of this factor during the design process.
Ventilation – Ventilation is important because during long rides, the interior of the helmet must stay free from heat and humidity. The more advanced the ventilation of a helmet, the better it would be during the ride. The material of the interior also helps to absorb moisture and keep the ventilation efficient.
What Are The Best Motorcycle Helmets For Kids?
Do you know the basic purpose of kid motorcycle helmets? It’s not so that the child looks good while sitting on the motorbike. It is also not for ensuring that the entire ensemble is appealing to the eyes. The reason why parents try so hard to get the best toddler helmet is so that they can be worry free when their child is on the motorcycle.
They don’t have to worry about accidents and collisions, and their child’s face, head and neck being unprotected. When parents spend their time researching about the best kids helmets and ensure that they are not pinning their child’s fate on a cheap and flimsy helmet, they can heave a sigh of relief.
Here are some pointers to watch out for when buying a child’s helmet. They are discussed in detail later on.
Safety – The safety of the helmet is determined by the approval rating of the helmet. The helmet must adhere to the DOT standard for maximum safety.
Looks – If the helmet doesn’t look appealing enough, your child would not be excited about wearing it. Thus the color and design of the helmet are especially important for kids helmet.
Comfort – The comfort of the helmet is decided by the lining inside it. This lining should be removable, washable and durable.
Despite their best intentions, parents still have to choose a helmet that their child will actually wear. They are also riddled with a budget that is limited and constrained. So, what is the solution to this massive problem?
It’s not that simple – parents have to buy a child motorcycle helmet that would be within their budget, would appeal to their child, and would be safe enough to protect them in the event of an accident. Even the idea of finding an element that meets all these requirements would make most parents laugh in disbelief.
Thankfully, the top motorcycle helmets are now listed for you. You can go through their feature and find out the best choices to make an informed decision. As a tip, you should always buy the best helmet you can because your child’s safety might depend on it.
What Are The Best Vintage Motorcycle Helmets?
Old school motorcycle helmets have a special appeal of their own. They remind riders of their childhood and, in some cases, their first bike ride. Nothing can replace that feeling of riding pillion or holding on to the handles of the motorcycle with your grandparent, father or mother controlling the bike, and the wind whistling in your hair.
This is the nostalgia that people wish to replicate when they go for classic motorcycle helmets. However, there are some things to keep in mind while buying vintage helmets because despite the nostalgia being strong, safety comes first.
Most Vintage Helmets Are Shorties – There are many vintage helmets out there but they are all invariable open face helmets. As such, your face would be exposed to debris when you are wearing them. Your neck and shoulder would be completely exposed and would not be protected in the event of an accident.
As such, you should remember that these helmets should only be worn on terrains that are clear and you can use them for light cruising around the block, not for long drives. A lot of people use the leather covering of the helmet to customize the look of their own, modern helmets.
DOT Approval Is Rare – Even the best retro motorcycle helmets would rarely be DOT approved. This is especially true when you are going for an actual vintage model. If you go through our list, you will find that all the helmet are DOT/ECE approved because they are relatively modern vintage helmets.
Buy Accessories Like Goggles And Scarf – You might find many vintage models that come with the accessories. In that case, you don’t have to spend any extra money. Most models, however, just include the helmet and then, you have to buy the accessories yourself.
These accessories are not just important for the look and finishing the ensemble. They would also offer additional protection. For instance, one of the most common accessories to buy with vintage helmets is goggles. The goggles protect your eyes from debris and dust. Make sure that your best vintage motorcycle helmets would not be uncomfortable when you wear goggles.
What About Custom Motorcycle Helmets?
If you’re willing to drop a hefty amount of change, then you get a helmet that looks like anything you want it to. Rather it’s an Iron Man mask, a HALO helmet, or any other design you can dream up, there are companies out there that will make it for you. While the idea seems novel, you’re much better off spending that money on a helmet that will keep you comfortable and alive.
With that being said, you do have the option of having a design airbrushed onto a helmet you’ve already bought, giving you the option to alter the design of any helmet you purchase should you so choose. This allows you to purchase any helmet you want and alter the design any time you want to, giving you near limitless ways to let your creativity flow.
What is the Safest Motorcycle Helmet?
If you’re a responsible rider that values your health and life, this has got to be the question you’re asking yourself. It’s certainly a question I wish I had considered more carefully a few years back. If you don’t believe this is an important issue, take a look at these statistics:
In 2011, more than half (59%) of the fatally injured motorcycle riders were not wearing a helmet in states without all-rider helmet laws, compared to only 9% of fatally injured riders in states with an all-rider helmet law.—(NHTSA, 2012)
A recent study has shown that motorcycle helmets are 69% effective in preventing brain injuries and 42% effective in preventing motorcyclist deaths.—(Lui, Ivers, Norton, Boufous, Blows and Lo, 2008)
When crashes occur, motorcyclists need adequate head protection to prevent one of the leading causes of death and disability—head injuries.—(CDC, 2012)
While none of this is meant to scare you away from riding, after all few adventures in life come without risk, it is meant to illustrate the utmost importance of wearing the safest motorcycle helmet you can afford. To do this, the best place to start is to consider the factors I’ve already covered that makes up a helmet’s safety features and also buy helmets that are DOT or SNELL certified.
With these things in mind, my personal recommendation for some of the safest motorcycle helmets on the market are the Shoei Qwest, the HJC Cl-16, and the Shoei RF-1100. Each of these helmets are both DOT and SNELL certified, and have some of the most cutting edge safety features to be found, ensuring that you can come home from your ride safe and unharmed.
Motorcycle Helmet Importance:
Components that make up a helmet’s protection
When it comes to the protection that a helmet offers a rider during a crash, motorcycle helmets operate off of a multilayer defense. Understanding each of these layers is important in determining which helmets are capable of saving your life and which ones are simply not. Before you even consider buying a particular helmet, take a look at each of these components:
- Outer Shell. This is the hard, outer lining of the helmet, usually made from thermoplastics or fiber-reinforced composites. While most people would think this first line of defense would be made so that it entirely resists impact, much like a solid steel helmet would, the truth is that the outer shell is designed to compress upon collision, allowing it to better absorb the deadly energy of the crash.
- Impact-Absorbing Liner. This is the most crucial layer of a helmet’s defense. During a crash, the impact absorbing liner, usually made from Styrofoam, is designed to crush and compress, protecting your head from shock the same way Styrofoam packaging protects fragile contents. Because this liner is designed to fail after a collision, it’s always important to replace your helmet even if you’ve been in a minor accident.
- Comfort Padding. While the comfort padding’s primary purpose is exactly what the name implies, to provide comfort, it is also an important feature of a helmet’s protection for two reasons. One, an uncomfortable helmet is not going to be worn, nullifying all of its other safety features. Two, it’s important that your helmet fits snugly to keep it from flying off during an accident.
- Retention System. Put in less complicated terms, this is simply the chin strap. Even still, it’s important to find a strap that fits well both for comfort and to ensure that your helmet does not come off during impact.
While these components are not the only factors you will want to take into account when buying a helmet, (we’ll get to the rest a little later) I can assure you they are the most important ones. To understand just how important they were to me, take a look at my bio.
Put briefly, I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for this multilayered defense. Find a cool motorcycle helmet that offers maximum protection and comfort in each of these areas and you’ve got a keeper.
Motorcycle Helmet Types Available
One confusing thing about finding the best motorcycle helmet is all of the different styles available. While it may seem like there are many more, there are really only five basic types of helmets to choose from. Take a look at each one and decide which one works best for you.
Open Face Helmets (3/4 Helmet)
Open face helmets cover the crown of the head, back of the head, and the base of the neck, leaving the face entirely open (though many models will have a Plexiglas shield here). One advantage to these helmets is they are lighter and offer more ventilation than many types, though they do not offer the same level of protection as a full face helmet.
These helmets are much like an open faced helmet except that they cover almost only the crown of the head, leaving the back of the head and the face exposed. The primary advantage to these helmets is that they are light and comfortable. Though they don’t offer nearly as much protection as models with more coverage, wearing a half helmet is still infinitely better than not wearing a helmet at all.
Full Face Helmets
The outer shell on these helmets extends most of the way down the neck and wraps back around the face, offering the most protection from debris and collisions. The only tradeoff for this added protection is that full face helmets can veer on the heavy side and also have less ventilation than open face helmets. Still, if maximum protection is important to you or if you are riding in a colder environment, a full face helmet is the best way to go.
Modular helmets are very similar to full face helmets in protection and coverage except that they allow the rider to flip up the facial portion of the helmet with a single hand. The tradeoff for this added convenience is a little extra weight and cost, however, these helmets are becoming increasingly popular among motorcyclists today.
Dirt Bike or Off-road/Motocross Helmets
This type of helmet is exactly what the name suggests. Due to the increased likelihood of collision in extreme riding sports, these helmets offer maximum protection to the rider. Generally, this is achieved by an elongated chin bar that protects against face-first impacts.
Factors To Consider When Buying
Now that you know the components that allow a helmet to offer maximum protection as well as the different basic types of helmets that are available, I want to spend a little time talking about a few other important factors to consider. Compare the helmets you are considering against this list to narrow it down to the best, safest motorcycle helmet for your specific needs.
Tested and Certified
Motorcycle helmets can look incredibly stylish, fit well, and be extraordinarily comfortable, but none of that matters if they don’t do their job and keep you alive. To ensure that your helmet will perform should a nightmare scenario ever come to life, you will want to buy a helmet that has been thoroughly tested and certified safe. Look for qualifications like “DOT Certified”, “Snell Approved”, and/or “ECE 22.05” in the product description, and never purchase a helmet that doesn’t have them.
What Type of Rider Are You?
I’ve already talked about the five different types of motorcycle helmets, but now the question is which type should you consider? The answer to this really comes down to what type of riding you will be doing. If you are going to be involved in high risk riding such as racing or off-road, you’ll certainly want to consider a full face helmet or an off-road helmet for their maximum protection.
If you are more into long distance, safer riding then an open face helmet or a half helmet may be a wise choice due to their comfort and decreased weight. Lastly, if you can afford the cost, a modular design is a very cool motorcycle helmet with a convenient design that can be comfortably used for long rides and offers the same protection as a full faced helmet.
Evaluate what type of riding you’ll be doing and choose your helmet accordingly.
Fit and Comfort/Figuring Out Your Head Size and Shape
Particularly if you’re going to be riding for long periods of time, finding a helmet that fits you comfortably is of high importance. In order to find a helmet that fits you well, the first thing you will want to do is check out a sizing chart. Correctly consulting a sizing chart should leave you with a helmet that fits snug enough to stay on yet not so tight as to be uncomfortable.
Here is a video on proper helmet fit:
Visibility, Shields and Goggles
No matter which helmet you choose, you’ll need to find one with proper protection for your eyes. Rushing wind and debris can all make visibility an issue, meaning that you’ll have to have some sort of transparent covering to defend against this.
Most helmets achieve this via a Plexiglas shield, but with some helmets, particularly open faced and half helmets, you may have to purchase goggles to go with the helmet. Either way, protecting your eyes is highly important. Along with this, shields and goggles that offer UV protection, anti-fogging, and anti-scratching are a nice bonus.
Trust me, proper ventilation can be your biggest friend in summer driving conditions. A few years back, I was doing some pretty hard riding with a poorly ventilated helmet in Southern Texas. By the day’s end, I felt like I was going to collapse from heat exhaustion.
While extra vents means extra noise, it’s a worthwhile tradeoff, particularly if you are doing some strenuous riding or if you’re riding in warmer climates.
Being comfortable and safe always takes priority, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look like a bad ass at the same time. Everyone has different tastes, and there are more than enough different helmet designs to reflect your personality.
Choose a helmet that will keep you alive first and foremost, and then pick a design that looks amazing.
Additional Features and Accessories
Besides protecting you against a crash, there are a lot of different accessories and features a helmet can have. I’ve already touched on how modular helmets allow you to lift up the face plate and on how some goggles and face shields have anti-UV, anti-fog, and anti-scratch technology.
Beyond this, many helmets are equipped with a microphone and speaker system, allowing you to listen to music, receive GPS instructions, and talk on the phone while you are riding. While some of this technology may not be for everyone, it can be nice to have, and many helmets do make it available.
Yes, in many states helmet laws do exist, and nothing can be more frustrating than getting a ticket for what you are or are not wearing on your head. Trust me, I’ve been there. Before you buy any helmet, make sure that it falls within the required regulations of your state and any state you’ll be riding in. A quick internet search should tell you all you need to know to avoid those blue lights and the hit to your wallet that goes along with them.
Helmet laws vary from state to state, here is good resource to help you sort it out.
Pricing/Value For Your Money
Like most everything, you can find motorcycles helmets that cost as much and more than you’d ever want to spend. Expensive, limited edition helmets with custom graphics and copious amounts of features are there if you want them, but it’s important to analyze how much value you’re getting for your money. After all, a helmet’s one and only job is to keep you alive.
Anything beyond that is just a bonus. While some types of helmets are simply more expensive than others (In example, modular helmets due to their mechanical components) you can still get a quality, safe, and comfortable helmet on most any budget. Figure out how much you are willing to spend, and try to get the most possible value out of that amount.
What About Used Helmets?
Buying a used helmet may seem like a great way to save a little cash, but it’s not something I would recommend. As is the case with many used items, hidden damages to a helmet can cause a significant decrease in the helmet’s performance, and, in a worst case scenario, this decrease in performance could cost you your life.
Even if the impact absorbing liner of the helmet appears undamaged, small compromises in the EPS can render it nonfunctional. For invaluable peace of mind, buy a new, tested and certified helmet and always replace your old ones after five years of use.
Helmet Buying Guide From Revzilla
If you ride a motorcycle, even on occasion, the question isn’t whether you should buy a helmet, it’s which one you should buy. Even if your state doesn’t require you to wear one, you should think of it as an imperative. Statistics have shown time and time again that nothing saves motorcyclist lives better than a quality helmet. Besides, there’s no better way to complete the look of a cool bike than an equally cool looking motorcycle helmet.
So shop around a little, read a few Amazon reviews, and most importantly, evaluate what you want to get out of your helmet. Whether you are searching for maximum protection, Bluetooth capability, or an awesome custom design, there are helmets and services that will give them to you. On this site, we’ve looked at some of the best helmets and brands with these features and more.
Choose one of them and you won’t be disappointed. Or strike out on your own and find the helmet that is perfect for you. Just always remember to never purchase a helmet that isn’t DOT certified and always look for helmets that are SNELL certified as well if you can find them.
Whichever helmet you choose to wear on your next trip, stay safe and enjoy the ride!