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A Buyers Guide to the 10 Best Motorcycle Helmets for 2021

Motorcycle helmets play an enormous part in the safety of motorcycle riders. Government studies show that they are effective in preventing fatal injuries in motorcycle accidents for both passengers and drivers(37-41%). Additionally, they are helpful in protecting you from the elements and any additional hazards from the road.

As you can see, the smart thing to do before hitting the road with your new bike is to buy yourself the safest motorcycle helmet you can find. Of course, there are several things to consider before you make your purchase, as each rider has different preferences according to their riding style.

The variety of helmets available may seem confusing, and there are different types and many innovative models. Some models may look like they offer full protection, but detachable parts show they are less than fully protective. The type of helmet you require is determined by the amount of protection you need. That, on the other hand, is determined by your riding habits and motorcycle type.

Although safety is your top priority, motorcycle helmets have come a long way, and many include extra features such as built-in headsets, GPS, music streaming, and many more. Today’s helmets have evolved from older models that offered inferior protection and now provide more safety and functionality as well.

Choosing the most suitable motorcycle helmet for you means figuring out the helmet’s style, size, and best fit. Beyond that, you will need to consider the extra features you may want. Don’t fret if this sounds complex and confusing because using this guide will help make things much easier. Keep reading to learn the best way to choose between the different types of motorcycle helmets and find the perfect one for you. Our guide should make the process of finding your perfect helmet relatively simple and straightforward.

Comparison Table

Name
Brand
Style
Buy on Amazon
ILM Motorcycle Full Face Modular ATV Helmet
ILM
Full face
GLX Unisex-Adult Size M15 Fiberglass Chopper Half Face Helmet
GLX
Half face
FreedConn Motorcycle Bluetooth Helmet
FreedConn
Full face
Bell Qualifier Full-Face Helmet
Bell
Full face
ILM Motorcycle Half Face Helmet
ILM
Half face
ILM Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet
ILM
Full face
ILM Open Face Motorcycle Helmet
ILM
Full face
YEMA YM-925 Moto Street Bike Racing Helmet
YEMA
Full face
GLX Unisex-Adult GX11 Lightweight Helmet
GLX
Full face
ScorpionExo Covert Unisex Matte Black Helmet
ScorpionExo
Full face

Product Reviews

These are the top choices for the top moto helmets available. Keep in mind that they are not arranged in any particular order. You may choose one of our recommended products or read the reviews to learn better what features are currently available.

ILM Motorcycle Full Face Modular ATV Helmet Best for touring

ILM Motorcycle Full Face Modular ATV Helmet

From one of the best motorcycle helmet brands, this full face modular helmet is unique and in line with the safety standard of both the US and Europe. Although it is a full-face helmet, it can be modified to suit your needs as the visor is removable and the chin bar can be opened.

The exterior shell of this helmet is made of very sturdy material (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and thus provides more safety. ABS is a commonly used material for the external shell of motorcycle helmets. However, keep in mind that this model is on the heavier side.

The interior padding of this model is fully removable and can be washed with ease. They really do a good job of keeping the helmet comfortable and the balance between warmth and breathability. The padding also adjusts well to the contours of the head to give a better fit.

Extra features include the Pinlock lens, an optional feature that adds anti-fogging to the visor. Even without this feature, the chin vent does a good job of ventilating the helmet with cool air to keep it from fogging up too much. The helmet is expertly designed to allow air to flow from the front of the helmet to the back smoothly.

More functionality features are available in this mode, such as pockets for your Bluetooth speakers (or other communications device), and space enough for comfortable use of sunglasses. You might not need to use them, though, because the visor has a built-in sun shield that can swiftly be activated by a switch that is large enough to be found easily. Another button can be used to easily flip up the chin bar, converting the helmet into an open face style.

Pros

  • Excellent Ventilation
  • Comfortable padding
  • Snug fit
  • Safety rating DOT and ECE

Cons

  • Heaviness can be uncomfortable

This motorcycle helmet is mostly suitable for use when going on long rides in the countryside on taking adventures on variable terrains. It is also useful for city riding or racing, but its heavy weight makes it less of a fit for dirt riding and other sports.

GLX Unisex-Adult Size M15 Fiberglass Scooter Chopper Motorcycle Half Face Helmet Best helmet for female riders

GLX Unisex-Adult Size M15 Fiberglass Scooter Chopper Motorcycle Half Face Helmet

This beautifully designed helmet by GLX is very light, thanks to the material used (composite fibreglass). It may be a half-face helmet, but it has received DOT approval, and every last design detail has been taken care of. It has synthetic leather added to the chin strap, which adjusts the helmet to keep it snugly fit. Also, the chin strap comes in a quick-release style, to facilitate easier use.

The helmet is very lightweight, and comfortable to wear even for longer rides. We didn’t feel irritated by the chin strap, and it seems to be high-quality so we aren’t worried about it snapping or anything.

The interior of the helmet is padded and lined with a soft microfiber material, so you can be sure it will not be uncomfortable and itchy after a long day. Microfiber is great for absorbing moisture and staying odourless. Additionally, there is a retractable visor to protect from the sun or flying debris. Flipping the retractable visor is relatively simple, adding to the functionality of this helmet.

According to GLX, the helmet is handcrafted and modelled using 3D technology, but we don’t see any difference in this regard.

One thing we’ve noticed after using it for a few days is that the paint on the exterior shell is not very thick, and ours was easily damaged by debris. A custom paint job will fix this issue, but it was worth mentioning.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Lightweight
  • DOT safety standard
  • Adjustable chin strap
  • Retractable visor

Cons

  • Paint chips easily

This helmet was extremely light, stylish, and easy to use. We highly recommend this model if you are looking for some light riding or you have a scooter, cruiser, or other vehicles with lower speeds.

FreedConn Motorcycle Bluetooth Helmet, BM2-S Flip Up Modular Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet Best for motorcycle gangs

FreedConn Motorcycle Bluetooth Helmet, BM2-S Flip Up Modular Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet

This may be the best helmet overall, with numerous safety and innovative features. With DOT safety standard certification, it provides great shock absorption and protection in general. It is manufactured of ABS plastic, sturdy, and solid enough to withstand even major collisions. Don’t be fooled by the solid exterior, because it is lightweight. This is due to the sleek and well-crafted design of the helmet.

Adding to the comfort aspect of this helmet, the internal padding is very effective at cancelling out noise, and the design keeps everything insulated from any external noise or wind. Long rides with your gang (or alone) will not be disturbed by anything.

Also, FreedConn specifically designed this helmet with dual visors. Although it is a modular helmet, it provides the full safety features of a full-face helmet due to its innovative and smart design. The inner visor is retractable, with wide peripheral vision, and it is useful for keeping the sun’s glare out of your eyes. A second (external) visor is for protection against debris and for added safety and insulation. You may choose to use both visors, just one, or none at all. It all depends on your comfort and the situation you are in. All adjustments to the visor are smooth and require negligible effort. The only negative is that the visors tend to fog up slightly from breath despite the ventilation.

The convenience of this helmet doesn’t end there. There is a built-in Bluetooth system that can connect up to 3 riders simultaneously at a wide range. The system allows radio connection, GPS access, and music streaming. Of course, you could just connect it to your mounted phone or smartwatch because it connects via the latest Bluetooth technology (3.0). That will give you even more freedom of choice to access everything that your smartphone/watch offers. You may even purchase separate devices such as a GPS monitor that can easily be paired to the Bluetooth system.

At this point, you may be wondering how you’ll be able to hear anything through your Bluetooth headset with all the wind blowing in your ears and the revving engine below you. Well, the genius of this helmet is that it has a steady ventilation system (front to back), with strategically placed vents. Other than that, the helmet is almost air-tight with noise reduction. The speakers offer high performance and echo cancellation, so you won’t miss a beat when communicating on the road. This was truly the quietest experience we’ve had using a full-face motorcycle helmet.

Controlling the Bluetooth system is simple and straightforward, with volume control, and a multi-function button for bringing up virtual assistants like Siri. It also boasts a 120-hour standby time, and talk time ranging between 9 to 12 hours depending on the use. This makes the Bluetooth feature worthwhile. Of course, we are always looking for longer battery life, but couldn’t find any better option currently available.

Pros

  • Safe but light
  • Bluetooth connection with long battery life
  • Excellent ventilation but sufficiently insulated
  • Dual visor

Cons

  • No anti-fog on visors

We really liked the Bluetooth feature of this helmet, especially with the long battery life. The safety and design features are standard, which is sufficient for our purposes.

Bell Qualifier Full-Face Helmet Best budget buy for beginners

Bell Qualifier Full-Face Helmet

If you are still just beginning your journey as a motorcycle rider and haven’t really had time to fully understand every aspect of riding, you might not want to spend too much money at this point. This low-priced helmet is probably the perfect match for you. Although this motorcycle helmet is in the low price range, its offered features put it in the same category as higher-end motorcycle helmets. It is a durable option, and with both DOT AND ECE certification despite its lightweight polycarbonate shell. Meeting both of those safety standards makes this full-face helmet one of the safest available models.

The padded interior allows for comfortable long rides. This helmet is surprisingly quiet, and most riders report no discomfort from using it. To improve on its noise reduction capability, Bell added a padded wind collar. Of course, all the padding in this helmet is both removable and washable, for convenience. An extra feature is the pockets in its padding that make space for a music device to be inserted without causing discomfort.

The visor is equipped with fog and scratch-resistant technology. Also, the clear visor is UV protected, and an easy system to flip the visor open simply and without the need for any tools. However, we did notice that many people complained of the visor opening up if they are riding fast. Further testing may be required to confirm this because that constitutes a safety hazard in our opinion.

Ventilation in this model was excellent, with many air vents placed at specific spots for the perfect amount of airflow. Additionally, it can be minimized or decreased according to your needs and comfort. They’ve even added an air vent conveniently placed in the chin air to avoid building up humidity from your breath.

Bell has really gone out of its way to focus on both the safety and comfort features of this helmet. At such a low price, this motorcycle helmet is a steal.

Pros

  • Safe – DOT & ECE certified
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable
  • Light
  • Speaker Pockets
  • Sufficient Ventilation

Cons

  • No Bluetooth
  • The face shield lock mechanism is flimsy – opens during fast rides

For beginner riders, this is a very good introduction to motorcycle helmets because of the various features and great fit. Experienced riders may be able to withstand long rides with a heavier helmet, but this one is light enough to be comfortable for even new riders.

ILM Motorcycle Half Face Helmet Best for Cruising

ILM Motorcycle Half Face Helmet

The classic design of this helmet is best suited to cruisers like Harley-Davidson riders, and they wouldn’t be able to find a better helmet that can do the job of keeping them safe. With an exterior shell of ABS, the helmet feels lightweight, and even on long cruises, you would barely notice it’s there. Of course, it passed all DOT regulations and safety standards, so you would be riding assured of your safety.

One of the available designs is a patriotic USA flag style, which is perfect for cruisers. Other options include matte black or glossy black. Although the design is very badass, many people would say that with the helmet on, they look like a mushroom. This is probably because the helmet adds a thick extra layer, up to 3.5 inches, to the diameter of your head when worn.

The chinstrap is strong enough to withstand strong gusts of wind, and the helmet did not move (not even a little) when we tested it at high speeds.

We liked the padded internal lining, which provides sufficient comfort and allows for a better fit to the contours of your head. We would have preferred if the helmet has a retractable visor to give us more options, but that’s not a big deal.

Pros

  • Safety
  • Badass look

Cons

  • Significant mushroom-head when worn
  • No visor

 

Not much more can be said about this model because it does a good job of sticking to the point – it’s safe and good looking. As half-face helmets do not usually have room for extra features, we aren’t disappointed with this helmet.

ILM Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet Modular Flip up Full Face Dual Visor Best for extreme weather

ILM Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet

This contemporary designed helmet is a great product, with many features we loved trying out. Of course, it comes with integrated Bluetooth for connectivity with your phone, your pals, or any devices. The microphone and headphones built into the helmet are somewhat decent, and are very convenient – they even have a multi-function (waterproof) touch button for controlling your Bluetooth connections. You can expect the standard range for Bluetooth intercom as well as pairing between riders (up to 3).

The battery life expectancy as per the manufacturer is 110 hours standby with 8 hours of talk time. Our testing revealed that battery life is lower than that, but nonetheless sufficient at a talk time of 6 hours and standby time of 100 hours. It may be sufficient for some, but we would’ve liked to see more.

Of course, no Bluetooth is worthwhile without noise reduction. The stereo sound system isn’t affected at all by even the strongest winds at our highest speed. This is because it is designed aerodynamically, and pairs with echo cancellation and noise reduction. Riding with your music blasting can’t get better than what this helmet offers.

If you’re a summer rider, and already feel suffocated – don’t worry either, because this helmet’s top-notch ventilation system allows you to adjust it according to your needs. The air vents can all be increased or decreased (even closed) as the weather changes and your requirements change.

Its modular design allows the external visor to be flipped open entirely to expose the face (and internal visor). The internal visor is suitable for sunny days and can be retracted if you prefer to wear your own shades. Both visors are scratch resistance and offer protection from debris and also offer full protection for you in case of collision. It is worth mentioning, however, that the helmet falls in the medium weight range. It isn’t exactly lightweight but we weren’t too tired of carrying it around after a long ride.

Pros

  • Safety
  • Stylish
  • Bluetooth
  • Noise Reduction
  • Dual visor

Cons

  • Battery life isn’t great
  • Slightly heavy

For extreme weather conditions (cold, heat) this helmet is a perfect choice. We liked the overall design of this helmet.

ILM Open Face Motorcycle 3/4 Half Helmet Best for ATV riders

ILM Open Face Motorcycle three quarter Half Helmet

This model by ILM comes with a few detachable parts, which offer additional safety without being called a full-face motorcycle helmet. First, the tinted visor may be taken out, or changed entirely. When attached, you can easily retract it temporarily into the helmet, albeit manually.

Another detachable piece is the chin guard, which can be taken off to use the helmet as a ¾ style helmet. We found that it wasn’t difficult to take the helmet apart or put it back together either.

As for safety, this helmet is DOT-approved and made of strong shock-absorbent material. Although the chin guard doesn’t offer the same protection as a full-face helmet, there is some level of extra safety with its use.

Additional adjustments that can be made include the rotation of the sun shield. You can rotate it to bring it to the optimal position offering you better shade. This cannot be done while riding, but rather requires a specific screwdriver. We found that at high speeds this sun shield may be pulling the helmet off the rider, so we recommend completely getting rid of it – which is relatively easy as well.

As expected, the padding can be removed easily for washing and can be replaced with different padded liners to help achieve a tighter fit if you think you need it. Also, the chin strap uses a quick release buckle for tightly adjusting the helmet for safety measures.

The removable chin guard is part of a system of vents that allow for efficient airflow through the helmet to provide ventilation and cooling. Adjusting the air vents requires minimal effort, and provides more convenience as you can adjust the ventilation while riding without stopping at all.

Pros

  • Easy to take apart/use
  • Good ventilation
  • Safe and solid material

Cons

  • Inconvenient to change between styles

Overall, we thought that this was a good helmet to purchase, and it offers enough features to make the price reasonable. The detachable parts allow for more options, but although it is easy to take apart, it may be considered inconvenient when compared to other models.

YEMA YM-925 Motorbike Casco Moto Moped Street Bike Racing Helmet Best for adventure riders

YEMA YM-925 Motorbike Casco Moto Moped Street Bike Racing Helmet

This is one of the best street bike helmets we could find, with many safety features and DOT certification. Made of an external shell of ABS, it provides a high level of protection to the cranial area. Also, it is bound to last you a long time as the materials are durable and sturdy. You can rest assured that in the event of an accident, this helmet will do its job safety-wise.

In addition to the strength in construction, YEMA gave this helmet an excellent aerodynamic design that is also visually appealing. Not only will you be riding in style, but the helmet fits comfortably on the head. It only weighs 3.7 pounds, making it very lightweight for the protection it offers. This lightness is beneficial for long rides. Also, a perfect fit is important in ensuring the safety features all function properly in the event of an accident.

The modular design gives you the option of choosing between ¾ face and full face. However, the brand does mention that it intended the design to be worn by an oval-shaped head, which may or may not be a problem. The release buckle provided isn’t always effective in fastening the strap to give the best fit.

A great feature of the interior padding of this model is the entirely removable lining, which is not only washable but already odour and bacteria resistant. This means you can go longer between washes, but still wash easily when you need to.

The double visor is also part of the safety features, as the external visor is compliant with the DOT rating, while the internal one shields the eyes from sun damage. The modular design not only allows manipulation of the visors, but the chin bar can also be lifted up and secured at the forehead level to make a ¾ face helmet. Even without lifting up the visor, you would enjoy a wide view and anti-scratch technology.

Adjustable intake and exhaust vents allow for a comfortable ventilation system that caters to the needs of the rider, which can be very important for street riding in specific. The adjustments can be made while on-the-go, but we did notice that the vents are less sturdy than the rest of the helmet.

Pros

  • Very light
  • Extremely safe design
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Sturdy design
  • Wide view

Cons

  • Made for oval-shaped heads
  • Vents seem to be made of lower quality material
  • Visors not anti-fog

Lightweight, and with a stellar safety profile, we highly recommend this helmet for anyone who is into adventure riding. It may only be uncomfortable if you have an exaggerated head shape, but for most people, this model will be snug.

GLX Unisex-Adult GX11 Compact Lightweight Full Face Motorcycle Street Bike Helmet Best for everyday use.

GLX Unisex-Adult GX11 Compact Lightweight Full Face Motorcycle Street Bike Helmet

When searching for the best full-face helmet, we came across this compact example. Complying with DOT safety standards, this model boasts a design that is both lightweight and resistant to impact. GLX really focused on making this helmet compact while also providing complete protection as per the latest standards.

Also externally visible are the various ventilation panels that allow for efficient cooling via airflow. To reduce the airflow, the largest ventilation panel may be closed off completely. However, as not all ventilation panels can be closed, it can still get pretty noisy in there.

Their particularly different feature is a new type of springs that are functional and rust-resistant. These springs function to enhance the helmet’s seal against environmental factors such as water or wind. Although the springs provide a better seal, they have no effect on noise reduction because the ventilation panels still allow for airflow. We couldn’t find these springs in any other model available at the moment (not even their own), so we could say it is specifically designed by GLX.

The visor is specifically designed (using 3D modelling) with a wide view in mind, to give the most peripheral vision possible without sacrificing safety. Also, the inner lining of this helmet is removable, making washing and cleaning an easy task. It is made of a breathable but absorbent material to avoid the accumulation of odours.

Another unique part we found in this model is the Removable Breath Guard. This is a piece that diverts breath away from the visor to keep it from fogging up. Although it worked efficiently, it isn’t secured well and could easily get lost relatively easily.

Instead of the usually D-strap design, GLX opted to use a quick-release system for a plastic chin strap. It allows you to put on the helmet easier and is convenient.

Pros

  • Safe design
  • Aerodynamic with great ventilation
  • Compact and very lightweight
  • Wide vision using the 3D modelled visor
  • Well sealed by special springs

Cons

  • Incomplete noise reduction
  • Breath guard not secure / may easily be lost

Overall we’ve noticed that it has a solid design, with all the different adjustable parts hefty enough and well built. On the visual side, the polished design.

ScorpionExo Covert Unisex-Adult Half-Size-Style Most versatile option

ScorpionExo Covert Unisex-Adult Half-Size-Style Matte Black Helmet

This DOT certified three-in-one helmet is relatively safe, comfortable, and sleek. Its modular design makes it convenient for a variety of uses. The sun visor can easily be adjusted, and it comes with two pads (back and top) that are both washable and breathable. The pads allow you to take longer rides comfortably. Also, they help to closely fit the helmet to your head.

One very unique feature of this helmet is its removable muzzle/chin bar. While it doesn’t offer the same level of safety as a full face chin bar, it is still a better option than a half-face helmet (no chin bar). It’s relatively easy to take apart, and attach. The back of the neck also has an extended section that can be removed/attached as needed. Keep in mind that the DOT rating considers this helmet an open face helmet, and does not consider the removable muzzle or neck extension as part of the rating.

As you can see, you can use this helmet as a full, half, or open face helmet, and switching between them is fairly easy. It is made of polycarbonate, so it is lightweight as well. The visor has integrated sunshade, so you’ll never worry about forgetting your sunglasses.

Also adjustable is the ventilation system, which only requires the addition or removal of some pieces. With the visor closed, it feels like it would be a good replacement for a full-face helmet, but there are still two ventilation holes that can’t be entirely sealed. In short, the airflow is generally considered good, but in extremely cold weather there isn’t enough insulation to keep you warm.

Pros

  • The 3-in-1 model is convenient and gives more options
  • Great ventilation system
  • Comfortable fit due to modular design
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Half face style reduces the overall safety of the helmet
  • Not as quiet or sealed (compared to full face)

Buying A Motorcycle Helmet

There are essentially three factors that you need to consider before purchasing a motorbike helmet: safety features, size, and riding style. Each of these will determine your choice of helmet. It is best to have a complete understanding of the types of helmets available.

A variety of stores that sell motorcycle accessories offer helmets as well. Others exclusively sell helmets and may offer more choices. For the best range of helmets to choose from, you should be doing your motorcycle helmet shopping online. Search online for different shops that deliver in your area, and research the various models available. Additionally, you can compare prices after you’ve decided on a specific model, or find your size from a different seller if needed.

Safety Features

It is a good practice to only purchase helmets that comply with safety standards (especially if there are requirements by your local governing authority). Industry-standard certifications for motorcycle helmets include DOT (Department Of Transport – USA), ECE (Economic Commission of Europe), Snell (Snell Foundation Inc., USA), SHARP (Safety Helmet And Rating Program, UK).

Beyond that, you should understand the construction of a motorcycle helmet to better choose the safest option. They are usually composed of an outer (harder) exoskeleton, an interior shell, and padding. Remember that you should always replace your motorcycle helmet after any type of accident it is involved in, even if it seems minor. More often than not, the exoskeleton of the helmet appears intact, but the helmet is damaged internally. This results in malfunctioning of its safety features, such as reduced shock absorption. Also, never purchase a secondhand helmet, as you cannot trust its safety features to be entirely intact.

Size and Shape

Many of the safety features of motorcycle helmets depend on fitting them correctly.  Aside from that, an improperly fitted helmet; even if it’s the best motorcycle helmet; can be very uncomfortable to ride in. It can be itchy, heavy, or too tight. Therefore, you must learn to properly choose the size of your helmet by measuring your head. This is especially useful when looking for helmets online, where you aren’t allowed the opportunity to try a helmet on.

Using measurement tape (the kind you would see seamstress use), you can measure your head accurately. Around the largest circumference of your head, wrap the measuring tape and note the measurement. For many people, this is a centimetre (half an inch) or so above their browline. Of course, it would be better if someone else is measuring your head for you.

Head shape is important, especially if your head is exaggerated. However, the only remedy is to try different helmets to find the best fit for you.

Riding Style

A good question to ask yourself when shopping for a motorcycle helmet is “what do you plan to do with it?”. If you are usually riding for longer periods of time, such as on a daily commute, comfort will be an important factor to consider. For this type of motorbike riding, you will need a more versatile helmet that can help you ride in different weather conditions for a long period of time. So, you will need options such as adjustable ventilation and wind noise reduction, as well as a comfortable design.

If you are riding as a sport, there may be extra provisions you need to take to ensure your safety. For group riding (motorcycle gangs are fun, don’t be intimidated), you will need to communicate with them often, so think of built-in Bluetooth connections and noise reduction.

Important Features To Look For

  • Anti-fog visors to avoid fog build up either from the environment or your breath
  • Noise and ventilation control to adjust for your comfort
  • Multiple safety certifications are an added safety measure

Different Models Of Motorcycle Helmets

Especially when shopping online, it can be incredibly helpful to learn the jargon used in describing the different types of helmets. Generally speaking, these are the standard types:

  • Open Face Motorcycle Helmet, also known as the ¾ helmet, is the type with nothing covering the face. You may like the wind on your face as you ride, but this might be an issue in colder weather. Also, when you are at a significantly high speed you risk bugs and debris splatting into your face. Most people who opt for this type of helmet are cruisers. Note that these helmets do offer protection for the back of the head and neck. However, open face helmets have a lower safety rating when compared to other options.
  • Full Face Motorcycle Helmet is the type that completely covers the entire head, with a portion of its exterior shell covering the chin. This type is considered to be the safest option, especially due to the extra protection in the chin area. The visor is not adjustable, so you will need to consider your line of vision when riding using this type of helmet.
  • Modular Motorcycle Helmets allow for the rider to switch between two options: open and full-face helmet. They usually have a weaker chin bar that can be flipped upward with the visor according to the preferences of the rider. Although they are convenient, there is a compromise in safety in favour of design features. Like open face helmets, they are preferred by cruisers. However, they are unlike open face helmets because they offer more eye protection, and may include some noise reduction and communication systems.
  • Off-Road Motorcycle Helmet, also known as a dirt bike helmet, is the type used by motorcyclists on dirt roads, and anywhere that isn’t paved with asphalt. Off-road helmets are lightweight and need to provide more protection for riskier riding involving stunts. The style of these helmets is easily recognizable: no eye protection, wide visor, protruding chin bar, and increased airflow. Superior airflow is important for dirt riding because it is usually a summer sport, and riders might get exhausted by the heat caused by the weather and the strenuous activity. Airflow allows for better cooling in this case.
  • Dual Sport Motorcycle Helmets are a hybrid, crossing between off and on-road helmets, to allow the rider more options. At first glance, they look much like an off-road helmet because they also have a lower muzzle and big visor area. However, they have added padding to allow for more comfort (as a full-face helmet would). The airflow is also reduced, which is an advantage when city riding but unsuitable for dirt bike riding. Riders who prefer this type of helmet may regularly switch between terrains and need to adjust accordingly.
  • Half Shell Motorcycle Helmets are the least safe option available, only providing protection to the upper head. The entire neck and chin area is exposed so they are obviously less protective than a full face or open face helmet. Do not expect many extra features either, as these are made to be the most basic form of a helmet. Airflow is great, but that’s as much as you’ll get.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are the most commonly asked questions when purchasing a motorbike helmet.

How tight a fit should my helmet be?

Measuring your head is the best practice to find the correct size, but many people will ask about how snug the helmet should be against their head to help assess which type is the better option.

The general rule is that the helmet should fit as close as possible to your head, with no pressure points. This means that no part of the helmet is pressing too much into your head, which will be very painful after a long ride.

Remember that a loose helmet is a safety hazard, but an overly tight helmet can be uncomfortable to wear (especially for longer periods of time). Of course, given the choice between risking injury or discomfort, anyone would choose the latter. However, always browse for more models, you don’t need to feel any discomfort because there is bound to be a style that feels better. You may even find that adjusting the chin strap helps in keeping the helmet fastened but not too tight. The point being, try different styles before committing to one helmet.

Is head shape important when selecting a motorcycle helmet?

There are five commonly accepted head shapes: round, egg, reverse egg, oval, and earth. Generally speaking, most people can’t tell the shape of their head visually and thus require measurement to find out. Measuring head shape is a complex process and it involves comparing the width and circumference of the head.

Most people’s heads will be somewhere between round and oval. Figuring out your head shape can help find the perfect fit for you, but this is not overly important. Helmet manufacturers are increasingly designing their helmets to potentially fit heads of any shape, in an attempt to increase their sales.

Unless you have an overly exaggerated head shape, this may not be a major concern for you. If it is, you can always try on different models and find out your head shape. Keep it in mind, and when searching for a new helmet you will need to find out the manufacturer’s recommendation on head shape. To be extra thorough, you might look through customer reviews to find out if it truly is as the manufacturer claims.

The takeaway is that you should be aware that head shapes aren’t fixed categories that helmet manufacturers design, and there may be significant variation among helmets from different brands. There may even be variations between models from the same brand, so experimentation is best.

Which safety standard is best?

Snell is generally considered to be the highest safety standard you can get for motorcycle helmets. However, many brands cannot justify paying for the certification even if they think they meet the criteria to be certified. Most importantly, check out what your local governing authorities require you to comply with. Also, you may need extra certification if you’re playing for a competition such as a tournament or race.

Although certification is important, don’t make a habit of blindly following the standards and calling it a day. When searching for a helmet read reviews and ask around to get a full understanding of the safety features. A low rating (that passed) might not always be the safest option. If you’re trying to be extra safe, a helmet’s safety score can easily be looked up. In this way, you can ensure that not only has your helmet passed certification but with flying colours.

Is a full-face helmet absolutely necessary?

While many riders prefer to wear a full-face helmet, it is not considered necessary. Cruisers, scooter-type motorcycle riders, and many others often choose other types of helmets such as half-face and ¾ face. The important thing to remember is that a full-face helmet offers the maximum amount of protection, hence its popularity.

Half or open face helmets do not protect the face area at all. Technically speaking, that makes them less safe. Also, full-face helmets allow you to listen to music and make calls while riding easily, especially if the helmet has significant noise reduction.

Many riders choose to forgo a full-face helmet thinking that it will be suffocating, but most helmets are able to provide sufficient ventilation to prevent this problem. Other riders choose different helmet types for more aeration, simply because they feel more comfortable in that way. They enjoy feeling the wind in against their faces.

Are military helmets suitable for bike riding?

A common misconception among many people is that any hard-shell helmet (such as a military helmet) will keep you safe when riding a motorcycle. Nothing could be further from the truth. Military helmets are designed to protect against flying debris from blasts. Motorcycle helmets are specifically made to protect the head against high collision impact. Because their intended use is different, they do not serve each other’s purpose.

Never ride without a motorcycle helmet, and never ride whilst wearing a helmet not designed with the relevant safety features for motorcycle riding. Some types of motorcycle helmets are safer than others, and more suitable for certain riding styles (dirt riding vs street riding). However, a half-face helmet (made for cruising) is still a better option for dirt riding than a military helmet. This is due to the internal padding and shock absorption that the manufacturer so diligently designed and installed.

So keep the military helmet for the army, and search for the type of motorcycle helmet best suited for you. Choose according to your riding style to ensure maximum safety and comfort.

Final Advice

Motorcycle helmet shopping requires a little knowledge (which you now have) and some experimentation. Especially if this is your first purchase, give yourself the time to search for the perfect model and the best fit. Also, try to purchase from sellers that have a return policy so you can be sure to return it if you find it uncomfortable after trying the helmet out.

Follow the above guide, or choose one of our recommended options, but you must inevitably wear a helmet. In some states and countries, helmets are a requirement by law for all motorbike riders and passengers. Besides the legal implications of not wearing a motorcycle helmet, they are often the only line of defence in case of a serious accident. Motorcycling is significantly more dangerous than other transportation methods, so always stay on the safer side. Never purchase uncertified helmets, even if they claim to be pending certification.

Understanding the type of riding you intend to do, is important when choosing a helmet. It may seem like most helmets are the same, but different helmets focus on different features depending on their intended use. Look for safety first, a great fit, and then think of the extra features. Many people simply look at a “DOT” sign at the back of a motorcycle and feel that is sufficient. It is always advisable to look further into determining how safe a chosen helmet is, to ensure maximum protection from injury.

Finally, always put on the helmet properly: with all the straps buckled. Misuse of a helmet can quickly lead to malfunction, so always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to steer clear of injury.

About Roy Ford

Roy Ford
Roy Ford is a biker and is part of a group of riders who own similar motorcycle models, while there is so much fun and thrill that comes with cruising with your motorcycle, Roy’s concern is on the must-have motorcycle accessories. For the new motorcycle owners, it could not be obvious how much they need things like the motorcycle GPS, but for Roy, these are some of the critical accessories that should have been incorporated in the motorcycle. The above notwithstanding Roy has stood in the gap and shared knowledge on the relevant motorcycle accessories. Roy recently tied the knot with his old lady; loves to research and spends the weekends with his motorcycle boys club.

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