Motorcycle Helmets: The Complete and Comprehensive Buying Guide

By Andy Stone | Motorcycle

Sep 07
Guide to buying a good motorcycle helmet

Introduction

Motorcycles are the method free spirits express themselves; it’s a part of the free-spirited lifestyles. Anyone who owns and rides a bike, loves each and every aspect of them, but understand the importance of safety and being a responsible rider. It’s important to own a good motorcycle helmet for the sake of protecting your life; it’s a basic necessity when riding motorcycles.

But, before you head right into traffic for the best adventure of your life, as a motorcycle pleasure seeker, here’s everything you need to know about buying the best motorcycle helmet.

Types of Motorcycle Helmets

There are several helmet types you’ll want to understand. Here are the helmet types available:

Purpose

In order to buy the best motorcycle helmet, you need to first understand the reasoning behind your helmet. What will the helmet be used for and what will you be doing with your motorcycle? Regardless of the reasoning however, your safety should never be compromised by other factors that may entice you to pick one helmet over the other.

  • Everyday commute? : If riding is your everyday transportation or you are taking weekly road trips, High-end, good quality helmets may also prove to be more comfy and provide better dynamics and decreased wind noise.

    It’s important to enjoy your trip and feel comfortable while riding, along with the versatility and luxury factor, which is crucial for travelling long distances daily, or riding for long periods of time. 
  • Riding with a group? Riding alone can be fun, but it’s always better to be in a group. Motorcycle helmets need to be optimized to ride with big groups so that communication between the groups can be easier. There are many different helmets that make communicating easier.

    One key element to organization driving is verbal exchange and you will need a helmet with built in verbal exchange provisions. You can install maximum Bluetooth systems in pretty much any helmet with some exceptions.

  • Are you looking to race or ride tracks?:  High overall performance helmets commonly ought to be Snell rated for tracks. Those helmets provide extra functions like tear off posts and competitive venting for riders within the "tucked position”. Ride tracks and racing requires very high-end helmets because of the higher risk of injury.  You may want the best motorcycle helmet for racing.
     
  • General Compliance?: Most states or jurisdiction require riders to wear motorcycle helmets. Please check with your local town to ensure your new helmet meets the requirements permitted by law.

Factors to Consider

A motorcycle helmet is as personal as the clothes you wear. They have to fit perfectly while also looking great. Modern day helmets have a bunch of safety ratings and protection features that allow riders with advanced head protection. Features like included sunshade, wind break measures and communication provisions all serve to enhance the riding experience.
Here is a set of guidelines and consideration factors that will help you make that choice a lot more easily.

  • Shell Material and Construction: The helmet shell material actually affects a lot of things in the helmet itself that is not limited to weight, it can impact comfort and protection rating. Most Motorcycle helmets are made of one or more of the following materials, Polycarbonate, Fiberglass composite and Carbon Fiber. along with a layers of expanded polystyrene foam.
    • Polycarbonate - flexes as it absorbs electricity (Less expensive)
    • EPS - foam fabric densely compressed into a surprise absorbing internal shell
    • Carbon fiber - distributes power upon impact (Lightest and expensive)
    • Fiberglass composite - flexes, crushes and splits because it absorbs electricity (Can be very expensive)
  • Comfort:  For maximum comfort, you helmet sizes matters a lot. It should be fitting your head, not too tight and not too loose; in either of the aforementioned conditions, it will be a safety hazard for the rider. For the most part however, getting the right sized helmet is extremely important.

    An uncomfortable helmet will take your focus away from the road and lead to the ironical situation of causing a crash. The ventilation should be proper and you should have a good field of vision.

    Some helmets also have customization options where you can add or remove certain parts to make it very custom for the rider.
  • Fit: This is where many inexperienced motorcyclists go wrong. They spend a lot of money on a helmet with all the necessary safety regulations but choose a helmet that is either too small or too large. A smaller helmet will be extremely uncomfortable and give you headaches while a larger helmet will move around and not protect your head properly.

    The good helmet manufacturers give clear instructions on how to choose the right size. Follow these diligently. A new helmet should be a little tight and if that is the case then do not panic and go for a larger size. This is because the inner liners will compress and the helmet will eventually fit snugly. If you go for a larger helmet then it might fit comfortable at the start but become loose with time. The head shape is also important and even that is usually nicely documented by all the major helmet manufacturers.

  • Weight:  Riders tend to place a lot of emphasis on the weight in their helmet. The lighter the helmet, the much less power it transfers upon impact. Plus, a lightweight helmet is much more enjoyable and comfortable to wear for longer interval rides.

    Helmets usually range in weight from 1400 grams (3lb) to 1800 grams (3.9lb). The key to weight is a well-fitting helmet so the burden is sent lightly around your head and shoulders.

    It’s important to have a helmet that suits your body type and the ability of your neck, since the wrong weight helmet may cause neck pain and possible neck injury over extended riding periods.

    If the center of gravity is off a lighter helmet can feel heavier and stress your neck. Modular helmets frequently weigh more than a full Face due to the equipment established to flip up the visor.

  • Innovative Technologies: When it comes to technology and innovation, its easy for us to first think about helmets that come equipped with bluetooth or other wireless speaker interfaces. But one important innovation worthy of keeping in mind when assessing your new helmet is MIPS. MIPS which stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, is a system designed to protect the brain against impacts that cause rotational motion. Basically, MIPS helps reduce the risk of minor or severe brain injuries by absorbing and redirecting impact forces that can be lethal to the brain during an accident.

  • Looks and Aesthetics: While not as important as the other criteria listed here, it should also be taken into consideration. After all, the color and design of the helmet should match the rest of your wardrobe and your motorcycle.

  • Value for money: There is no point shelling thousands of dollars on a helmet unless you are a professional racer. All helmets need to be replaced after a crash and it is best to go for helmets that offer a decent bang for the buck.

  • Safety Adherence :  This should be your biggest concern. Make sure that the helmet is DOT certified. If it is Snell certified then that is an added benefit. This will ensure that your helmet will be able to withstand the forces that will be encountered in the event of a crash and carry out its most important job which is to protect you.

    Safety standards for motorcycle helmets have improved significantly over the last two decades. While searching for your new help, please make sure it complies with your local laws but most importantly, make sure it adheres to or is approved by an industry safety rating standards such as DOT, ECE22.05, Snell (M2015), or SHARP. Refer to the chart Safety Ratings Standards chart below for more details. Some standards are specific to US, North America, Europe, and the UK.

Safety Rating Standards

The United States branch of Transportation sets a minimum standard stage of safety for helmets.

The U.N. economic commission for Europe units a well-known stage of protection for helmets in Europe.

A UK quality rating system that was established in 2007 for improving motorcycle safety.

The United States branch of Transportation sets a minimum standard stage of safety for helmets.

Motorcycle Helmet FAQ

Which type of motorcycle helmet is the best?

The best motorcycle protective gear is a full face motorcycle helmet. It not only protects your heads and eyes from impact and flying debris, it’s a complete safety gear for your head and can be worn for off-road, on road, etc.

Which helmet is the safest?

There isn’t a single, universally accepted helmet that can be deemed the safest. Different countries and different government / governing law makers have different safety protection schemes (mentioned above) according to those schemes, the highest quality helmets are also the safest helmets.

You will have to check individual motorcycle helmet safety ratings in order to get one which is good for you.

At the end of the day, your helmet will help save your life, in one way or another; if you can’t afford the most expensive helmet ever, you should get something in your budget at least.

Which motorbike helmet should I get for long rides?

The bike helmet for lengthy rides is one which suits you the great, feels lightweight on your head, and gives excellent safety from impacts in addition to the elements. When it comes to lengthy motorcycle rides a helmet that doesn’t fit properly can motive complications, rashes, stress points, or flop and slip down over your eyes as you ride. Most riders decide on an amazing becoming complete face helmet for long rides as those helmets offer the most comfort and excellent normal protection.

A complete face helmet is the nice preference for lengthy bike rides because your face and eyes could be blanketed from the rain, wind, sticks, rocks and other debris. A full face motorcycle helmet is likewise exceptional for situations when you get into bloodless climate conditions, and with multiple vents they can be exact for warm weather using as well.

Do motorbike helmets ACTUALLY save lives?

Yes! Sporting a motorcycle helmet simply saves lives. Much like a seat belt or air bag in an automobile, a motorcycle helmet is an important protection gear designed to help guard you from impact. In the event of a crash, just like a having a seat belt or air bag in place, carrying a motorbike helmet adds a shielding barrier between your head and the floor, a tree, some other vehicle, or any other object. Wearing a bike helmet can significantly increase your odds of reducing trauma in case you are struck or crash your motorcycle in an accident.

Do I need a full or half face helmet?

Deciding among a complete face or 1/2 helmet is a matter of preference. a few human beings want to wear 1/2 helmets due to the fact they need that outside feeling as their experience and love that “wind in their face” revel in. other humans like full face helmets because they provide greater head and face safety than a half of helmet and a complete face helmet enables block the wind for a quieter trip.

How much does certification measure up against actual incidents?

Checking the safety certification of helmets in the real world is important. While lab checks take place in a managed surroundings and are very consistent and specific. In the real world, accidents are chaotic and unpredictable.

Which standards do I have to comply with?

In the U.S. and in most states, you must go along with a helmet that is, at a minimal, DOT certified. Different countries or jurisdictions look at safety with different measures and standards. Snell certification for example is voluntary in jurisdictions that mandate DOT certifications. While there are many standards and certifications tied to a specific helmet and its manufacture, it is important to confirm with your local laws which supersedes all other requirements.

How long do motorbike helmets last?

The general rule is to replace your bike helmet every 5 years, but what in case you drop it, sweat closely or put on it every day? The biggest fantasy is that in case your helmet falls off your motorbike whilst it is parked, you have to change your helmet

Am I able to put on a football Helmet On a bike?

You could wear a football helmet while riding a motorcycle however you’re going to run into a couple problems. To start with, football helmets aren't DOT, ECE, or Snell approved, so if you plan to experience someplace wherein a bike helmet is required through regulation a soccer helmet isn’t prison shape of head safety. Secondly, football helmets aren’t designed to withstand the excessive-pace affects that bike helmets are in order that they received offer proper protection in a crash.

Why do some motorcycle helmets have a pointed chin?

Some motorcycle helmets have a pointed chin as it lets in for more airflow to reach up into the riders face, assisting to maintain them cool at the same time as exerting energy as they race or ride. 

Motocross riders especially, use a lot energy which leads to increased heart rates and heavier breathing. With the pointed chin bar design on these helmets being similarly far away from the mouth than widespread helmets, it makes it less complicated for the rider to breathe closely and for the expelled air to go out the helmet and now not get caught up within the riders face or fog up their goggles.

Are there any difference between male and female motorcycle helmets?

For the most part, the helmets are the same. The difference is mostly aesthetic and is left up to the rider to decide but for the rider ladies that have inquiries on sizing and how to pick the right helmet, please read our women's guide to picking the right helmet.

Conclusion

You and your motorcycle have a purpose, whether it be basic transportation to and from work, racing down the tracks on a nice sunny day, or simply just joy riding with your friends, a good helmet can provide the added protection needed for you to enjoy every exhilarating moment you have your hands gripped to its handle bars. A good helmet is there to compliment your bonding journey beyond what a neck tie could do for you while your in your best suit ever. Now that you know what to look for in a helmet based on your needs, check our awesome helmet reviews that will help pair you up with the best match. 

For more detailed information and reviews related to helmets, check out these other expert posts:

For the dirt bike enthusiast looking for a helmet checkout the: The Best Dirt Bike Helmet in 2018 (The Comprehensive Buying Guide).

For the lady riders looking for a complete helmet guide checkout: The ABC's of How to Find the Best Motorcycle Helmet for Women.

For overall best motorcycle helmet review checkout: Best Motorcycle Helmets.