Best Motorcycle Helmet – Reviews & Buyers’ Guide for 2018
Ahoy mate! How's the speed-driven adrenaline rush going on?
Hunting for the best motorcycle helmet? So did I, honestly, there are very few who are happy to kill themselves. Besides safety, a helmet is the ultimate style statement of a true biker. There's a LOT to tell you right after you've seen the top five safety mates:
(By the way, are you a biking gear devotee? Well, you might want to scroll till the end, scanning through headings and bold phrases.)
Full Face Helmet
Full Face Helmet
Street Bike Helmet
Full Face Helmet
Biking is more than riding a vehicle to me ( and to many other biking fanatics like me). Bike riding is all about feeling alive, triumphing the road.
With that being said, I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that suspending your senses at a top speed does come with a fair share of risk. Motorcycle riding without taking adequate safety precautions not only possesses a deadly threat to your own life but also to the ones walking on the footpath. Shielding your head with a solid motorcycle helmet is an inevitable part of road safety.
As soon as you put on one, you can actually feel the vibe and prepare your mind for the upcoming adventurous journey on your two-wheeler.
Motorcycle Helmet Reviews – Top Models for 2018
Table of Contents
- Motorcycle Helmet Reviews – Top Models for 2018
- Vintage Motorcycle Helmets
- Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets
- Helmets for Women (the Female Brigade)
- Kids’ Motorcycle Helmets (for Your Little Ones)
- Selecting the Safest Motorcycle Helmet
- Factors to Consider While Shopping for a Motorcycle Helmet
- Best Motorcycle Helmet Brands of All Time
- Bell Helmet
- HJC Helmets
- Arai Helmets
- Nolan Helmets
- Shark Helmets
- Different Types of Motorcycle Helmets
- Concluding this Motorcycle Helmet Madness
Full face bike helmets, according to the majority of seasoned bikers, are the best kind for protective gear for ADV riding. It covers you from head to neck and provides maximum safety from potential road accidents. General bikers often avoid full face helmets due to the heavy weight and poor ventilation which trigger discomfort.
HJC, a noted manufacturer of premium bike helmets rolled out a product that more or less resolves all the issues of full face helmets mentioned above. HJC CL-17 is a true mate for the passionate bikers.
The gorgeous design is packed with a number of exciting features that not only ensures desirable safety but also takes your style quotient to the next level:
- The shell of the helmet is structured from a sturdy polycarbonate material by using CAD technology for ultimate comfort.
- What about weight? These are light, they put minimal strain on your back.
- Shell liner is highly resistant to wind and impact.
- The USP of this head gear has advanced ventilation system facilitating additional intake vents close to the chin bar.
- Interior space features contoured cheek pads for easy fit.
- To be approved by both DOT and SNELL alone speaks for its genuine quality.
O’Neal’s logo embossed on a bike helmet alone is enough to attract a swarm of riders. This reputation has been built over the years by unflinching effort and integrity put forth by the company.
A stunning-looking O’Neal helmet can be yours even when you’re running on a budget. Perhaps that is why Fastrack II series sold like hot cakes as soon as it was introduced in the market.
Toughness and sturdiness of a helmet’s shell is the ultimate testimony of its quality. Fastrack II helmet has garnered positive reviews from every section of the userbase, ranging from skilled professional bikers to amateur trainees. It has a lot of features:
- Its fiber glass shell is DOT and ECE approved.
- The material is extremely impact resistant and durable.
- There's no nonfunctional weight to the equipment.
- By taking a glance over the smartly executed multiple ventilation systems, one could hardly guess that it’s a medium budget model. Multiple inlets and exhaust ports are created inside the helmet to facilitate unrestricted airflow.
- Coming to the mega highlight of the head gear, the built-in bluetooth system of this helmet is phenomenal in this budget. The dual multi-directional speakers incorporated in the helmet are of outstanding quality for the price you pay.
If you’re one of those who love to croon to groovy EDM while riding, O’Neal Fastrack II is just the right purchase for you.
This hefty head gear from the leading brand Shoei is by every means, a great bang for your bucks.
Shoei has taken the pain to analyze problems bikers usually face on the road. Then they sketched the design of this helmet. For example, the air vents efficiently facilitate airflow from front to back to guard the biker against heat.
- DOT and SNELL approved.
- The dual liner body is made from double layers of EPS for impeccable impact resistance.
- To make your riding experience memorable, a sturdy noise reduction shield has been strategically fitted on the front. All you have to do is to flip down the shield and the hullabaloo of the outside world won’t reach your ear canals.
- The ventilation system of this helmet is worth a hundred appraisals.
- Even after prolonged wear, the interior doesn’t stink. You would not sweat or feel sticky.
- A breath guard and a chin curtain have also been included for stress reduction and comfortable unconstraint breathing.
Are you kinda' sick of your existing helmets that block the view?
Arai Vector 2 Solid Helmet’s out-of-the-box oval shaped design makes it a comfortable fit for all users. Vector 2 can come to rescue the viewport, without robbing you off all your cash.
The wide shield protects your eyes from precarious UV rays and automatically adjusts the brightness for undisturbed visibility.
The soft, comfy cheek pads spread on the inside is highly sweat absorbent and locks the sweat odour even after extended use. Apart from that, the pads can be removed and washed without any hassle.
From the location of vents near the chin, brow area and rear, it clearly seems that Arai has put a commendable amount of effort on the ventilation aspect. These vents, coupled multiple additional inlet and exhaust vents constitute an unrestricted airflow inside the helmet to keep the biker refreshed and recharged throughout the entire bone-chilling bike ride on the uneven stony roads.
If you’re okay with spending quite a bit for a badass, super-tough and ultra comfortable motorbike helmet, Shoei RF 1200 has a lot of surprise in store for you.
Not only in regard of appearance but also in respect of reliability and supreme protection from debacles, RF-1200 is an investment worth taking pride in. The compact shell design and highly comfortable interiors, made from quality absorbent liner, are exactly what a dedicated biker expects.
- The negotiable weight doesn’t amount to even the slightest compromise with the rigidity, toughness and safety albeit.
- A breath guard and a chin curtain are additionally placed to enhance the comfort level, steadiness and concentration.
- The futuristic ventilation system is the key element of this model. There are in total 10 vents visible at the top and bottom of the helmet.
- Being certified by DOT proves that the product has successfully passed rigorous quality test and completely safe for biking on and off the pavement.
Just look at them, aren't they awesome?
For the lovers of speed and sensation, GMAX GM54S is a solid motorbike helmet that can provide uncompromising protection. It is loaded with a host of jaw dropping features at a reasonable price, what else can a newbie bike-lover ask for?
Modular motorcycle helmets are the synthesis of the best of both words.
Its class apart modular design with flip jaw feature is the biggest selling point of this product.
- You can easily switch the helmet from full face to open face by adjusting the flexible flip jaw. Yup, reap the benefits and eliminate the disadvantages of both types.
- The DOT approved alloy-made thermoplastic shell adds a mean punch to the toughness without increasing the body weight.
- GMAX applies a dual exhaust ventilation system to allow little wind resistance and all-round coverage against humidity and heat.
- The chin vents are equipped with an anti-fog feature as well to eliminate view blockage in foggy weather.
When you have to drive your two-wheeler through the challenging roads, dizzying traffic, and inadvertent weather, you can’t afford to take your eyes off the road for even a second. Shoei Neotec provides a large and crystal clear viewing space that improves your visibility even during the changing light conditions.
It’s one of those highly sought after modular helmet models which provide double benefit of a full-face and an open face motorcycle helmet without being a burden on your head.
- This special shield with removable and washable liners is designed specifically to provide 100% protection against harmful UV rays.
- On long journeys, you can effortlessly convert the helmet from full face to open face by simply pulling the sun-shield.
- Having good aerodynamics is a critical aspect of any bike helmet. It goes without saying that the aerodynamics of Neotec is astonishing with maximum wind and noise reduction, allowing minimal wind resistance in the shell.
HJC helmets are economical and offer a variety of features to transform you from an ordinary bike rider to a true blue biker who can roll and swing the wheels like a pro. HJC CL-16 is one such budget model that looks no high end by conventional standards.
The dual approval of DOT and SNELL is a clear evidence of the ingenuity and dependability of the helmet.
- Anti-fog face shield is a show stopper by all means.
- The manufacturer claims that it can guard 95% UV ray which is quite rare in low cost helmets.
- Shield can be removed and washed without hassle.
- Another startling feature of CL-16 is the patented ACS venting system shrewdly utilized to ensure the interior remains odour-free and guarded against humidity under the scorching sun.
- The anti-microbial interior liners with moisture wick technology take your comfort level notches higher.
Icon has introduced biking fanatics to ample solid, dashing, badass motorcycle helmets in recent times.
Variant product line has been acknowledged for its ideal aerodynamics, stellar optical clarity through the anti-lift visor. The shield also been geared with an extended eye port and zero distortion optics for improved visibility under poor light condition.
It is exclusively a dual-sports bike helmet that delivers great stability at a high-speed and reduces wind resistance to a minimum. The HydraDry wicking liner effectively absorbs sweat odour in order to keep the interior smell fresh all the time.
More brownie points for the Fiberglass shell with a dual-density EPS core. All in all, Icon Variant is an amazing innovation for the lovers of mountain biking and street racing and it doesn’t cost a fortune, either.
Scorpion is a big name in the biking accessories industry. Most of their products are easily affordable and lasts for years if taken care of properly.
The strength of EXO Solid is the fiberglass shell which is sculpted from two extremely sturdy yet lightweight materials namely, fiberglass and Kevlar.
- This model utilizes AirFit technology to allow the bikers enjoy customized fit.
- Cheek pads support the face muscles with tenderness and help to reduce sore after prolonged driving.
- The retractable visor is deliberately smoked to adjust the brightness level of the face-shield according to the external lighting conditions.
- This innovative anti-scratch face-shield is equipped with anti-fog feature as well to help you see the road clearly through the dense fog.
So, it’s definitely one of the safest motorcycle helmets out there in terms of visibility, even in extreme conditions.
Vintage Motorcycle Helmets
Vintage, old-school helmets are a delight for folks having a knack for retro-style head gears and bikes.
Owning one lets you time travel in the golden age of motorcycles and their evergreen aesthetics. The value of a helmet that bears a legacy of an entire bike-loving generation can’t be judged by its price or features. Vintage helmets were made at a period when we were too young to ride a bike, we used to look at our fathers tripping down the coast on a sunny Saturday noon and hoped for the day when we too will be able soar our way through the road on our two-wheelers. Retro style helmets bring back the nostalgia, find memories of our childhood.
When you have a clear idea of what you exactly want, looking for the best vintage motorcycle helmets becomes way fuss free for you. Choosing an ideal traditional helmet follows the same guide of choosing the best general helmet.
Having a SNELL or a minimum DOT approval is mandatory.
No matter how nostalgic a certain product makes you feel, you should be alive to experience it for a long while, right? The outer shell should have a decent impact resistance quality for safe driving. Nothing can be more retro than a vintage helmet with added vintage looking goggles. You can still see such helmets worn in many Hollywood movies.
Go retro in seasons with affordable Estmate Motorcycle Helmet with Goggles, I guarantee folks will die of envying you. Another model that instantly comes to my head is Hamni Leather Motorcycle Helmet displaying sporting a quintessential vintage style with those classy goggles, earmuffs, chinstrap. It is constructed from a high quality fabric and has been tested to meet the DOT standard. Among the other options, GLX Copter Style RED, Nolan N20 City Helmet, TORC T50 Route 66 deserve a glance.
Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmets
In the ever-evolving age of technology, if you’re going to spend money, it’s best to invest on the best product.
After ascertaining the safety element of the helmet is up to the mark, you can move to check out bonus features like Bluetooth and GPS connectivity. Bluetooth helmets are the big daddy of luxurious helmets that can make your rushing down the pavement memorable as ever. The biggest achievement of owning this kind of advanced model is that you’ll be hands free. This is a huge bonanza when you’re having a long weekend road trip with your co-bikers, it helps you stay in sync with their speed. Most Bluetooth helmets have a pre-installed headpiece which gives proper direction in every turn of road.
Finally, there comes GPS integration, no more jostling with dusty, confusing road maps or getting off the bike to ask a passer-by for directions.
When you’re going to shop for the best Bluetooth helmet in the store or online, your mind will be blown away with the humongous variety of designs different companies have in store. Bluetooth integrated helmets with in-built navigation system make tripping not only safer but it adds a whole new dimension to ADV riding.
If you’re going to a distant campsite along with your buddies for a weekend getaway, communication factor is imperative. When you have the technology, why not exploring it to the fullest? O’Neal designs some of the top quality Bluetooth helmets in the world. Their Commander and Fastrack II series are class apart. HJC IS-Max is also not far behind in the league.
Having said that, it will unfair on my side not throwing light upon the shortcomings of such helmets, which are, although very few in number. First and foremost, Bluetooth helmets can be pretty expensive. When you need a helmet for moderate riding, these additional features are just a luxury. A lot of motorcyclists prefer solitude and solo tripping over group biking.
The less distraction, the better.
Issues with the Bluetooth speaker is a common complaint of many existing customers. Cheap helmets which don’t come with volume control feature can be a real pain for the ears as well as a distraction on the road.
Helmets for Women (the Female Brigade)
So, you think women can’t ride bikes as good as men can, huh?
Two minutes silence for your old-school assumption.
I tell you what, women who are passionate about speed, gears and the smell of burnt gasoline can blow your breath away like no one else does. The design structure of a women’s motorcycle helmet differs from a men’s product in terms of size. Since the bone structure of women’s faces and heads are narrower, these are strategically short in diameter to give a cozy fit. Don’t settle for the same old pinky cutie-pie designs. The best women’s helmets in the market allow you to explore the large variety of colors and stylish designs, teamed up with utilities to make your bike trip a lot more safer and fun.
Nexx XR1R is the go-to helmet for women not at all fond of girly designs (girly by conventional standards). This attractive bold black graphics shouts out your inner-calling to the world. For premium comfort and stability, there are 5 foam pads embellished on the inside of the helmet to facilitate hassle-free adjustment depending on the face structure and head shape.
For noise-free, blissful riding along the road, the noise reducing ear pocket liner near the ear pocket has been employed to reduce the entrance of outside noise inside the cap. Nexx deserves an extra cookie for the upscale air venting system comprising of 3 vents installed at the top and near the chin.
HJC CL-17 Mystics has a spectacular graphic design on the shell. The added bonus is the different size cheeks pads delivered alongside the helmet for customized fit. Among the other products consistently devoted at improving biking experience for females include WOW Street Bike helmet, Shoei Metallic Neotec, a gender-neutral classic piece from the reputed brand, then there’s Shoei’s Women’s RF-1200, Bell Vortex Monarch and a lot more. Compare all the products side by side, check out the essential features, pros and cons and finally the cost before taking the plunge.
Kids’ Motorcycle Helmets (for Your Little Ones)
You know the deal with parents, when it’s about children's safety, compromise is way out of question. Same goes with selecting the best motorcycle helmets for kids, you want to make sure the purchased product meets SNELL and DOT guidelines, the ultimate certification of genuine quality and protection.
If your child is into street biking, you, as a guardian need to be extra careful. After all, kids are kids and acquiring full control over a motorcycle takes a lot of time. It takes weeks of practice to polish their driving skill. Just be careful about speed limit. Make sure it doesn’t go overboard and proper safety precautions are taken before he or she starts the vehicle. Finding the right helmet for young kids require extensive research. There are different designs and different products.
Folks need to pay special attention to the first and strongest layer of safety in a helmet which is the interior padding. Cut to the testing and certification part, it is a bit hard to find a helmet satisfying the strict safety requirements of the SNELL ratings. There should be adequate padding around the cheeks coupled with a thick liner to prevent the upper from a sudden shock of an accident. Rest of the guideline follows the same pattern of choosing the best helmet for adults. One thing I’d like to add here is figuring out what purpose do you need a helmet for. There are separate models for street biking and normal off-road biking.
As the size of head grows rapidly in this stage of life, some parents tend to buy large size helmets. This is an absolutely wrong strategy. The helmet has to be well-fit for allow the person to move the head and face freely. Typhoon Helmets Youth Offroad Gear Combo, Razor Full Face Youth Helmet and Vega Mach 2.0 Junior, CKX 10113 TX-218 Whip are a few products that are good options for your kid currently.
Selecting the Safest Motorcycle Helmet
Let’s admit it, many of us get easily tired of rising temperatures in the summer. We hate to stay indoors in air conditioned rooms all day. In that moment, we think that motorcycle riding at a peak speed on highways or on crowded roads are cool, while it’s most definitely not. While it’s true and acceptable that ADV biking is all about indulging in the thrill, a responsible biker should never the importance of keeping the speed under control when required.
Biking without putting on a helmet results in numerous fatal bike crashes every year. Owning a helmet that utilizes a strong multilayer defense doesn’t guarantee 100 % protection from collision albeit, it does reduce the risk of death or head injury by up to 95%. By understanding the components that goes into building the layers of protection in a helmet, it will be easier for you find the safest helmet for your specific requirement. My personal recommendation for the strongest and safest helmets would be Shoei Qwest, Shoei RF-1100 and 1200 and HJC CL-17. Below I’ve illustrated the factors that come to play in the construction of a solid helmet:
DOT and SNELL Certification
High end, customized or advanced Bluetooth helmets may look uber cool and make you look like a pro biker, but these are only the secondary qualities and come to no use if you’re not alive (smirk!). Helmets that come with a dual approval by both DOT and SNELL have been tried and tested several times under grueling conditions to ensure full coverage of your front from accidents. DOT (Department of Transportation) approval doesn’t guarantee cutting edge safety. They set a minimum standard that each helmet has to match to pass the quality test. SNELL approval is rare because the helmets have to meet a stringent standard in order to obtain the certification. Only the top quality products achieve SNELL certification. Therefore my suggestion would be to eye for a product that has either exceeds or matches the standard of both DOT and SNEL safety ratings. Each model I’ve reviewed in this article belongs to the line of DOT, SNELL and ECE approved helmets.
This is the first and undoubtedly the most critical line of defense of a protective head gear. The heavy-duty outer lining of the helmet is usually sculpted from either fiber-reinforced composites or thermoplastics. The main function of the shell is to reduce the impact of the collision and absorb the fatal force. The quality of the outer shell determines the level of protection your head gets against the deadly shock. Check the material of the shell thoroughly to make sure you reach home alive when a nightmare scenario comes to life.
Inner-liner and Chinstrap/Retention System
The inner liner of a helmet is usually built from a material used in the packaging of fragile items. During a collision, the impact-absorbing liner compresses the impact and absorbs the shock to safeguard your front part from getting injured. The element of safety in the liners becomes nullified after one accident which is why vital to replace the inner-liner even after a minor crash. Also don’t forget to check out if the rivets of the chinstrap are reliable or not, if it feels loose, move on to the next item.
The cheek pads spread around the inner part of the shell is primarily designed to provide comfort and reduce the strain on your neck. Besides that, having a soft padding system is an integral feature in terms of safety as well. Quality cheek pads provide good support to the face muscles and head bone structure, therefore the helmet doesn’t come off easily and can be worn for long hours.
Head Size and Shape
Finding a helmet that is perfectly contoured to fit the shape of your head is of utter importance, especially you love long rides. In order to pick the most suitable helmet size, you got to figure out the size chart of the different helmets and if possibly, give a trial to a few as well. Make sure the helmets fits snugly, it should neither feel too tight to too loose.
Factors to Consider While Shopping for a Motorcycle Helmet
SNELL, Dot or ECE stickers on a helmet might be a tell-tale sign of its high standard but certification alone doesn’t contribute in determining the functionality and credibility of a helmet. Here are some more important aspects you should take into account:
It’s absolutely imperative to find a helmet that allows proper protection of your eyes against sunlight, debris, dust and UV rays. While meandering through the highway or turning a corner, you can’t afford to take your eyes off the road for even a moment. During winter, fog creates a lot of visibility issues, opting for a transparent cover with anti-fog features comes very handy on such occasions. Most open face and half helmets providing the best in class visual clarity incorporate Plexiglas shield known for its great anti-scratch and anti-fog properties. Some helmets allow a space to put on goggles if desired.
Ventilation and Aerodynamics
A rightly designed helmet will definitely feature an advanced ventilation system that is going to help you stay fuelled and replenished in summer days. Poor airflow in a helmet may cause heat exhaustion in humid weather, plus the stink of sweat becomes so unbearable that after a point of time that you’re compelled to put the helmet off. The number of vents also demands attention. The more the number of vents, the more noise will enter inside the helmet. If you want to enjoy a peaceful, noise-free driving, pay close attention to the location and number of inlet and exhaust ports. A good motorcycle helmet should allow a very little resistance to the wind. This feature is referred to as aerodynamics and is worth emphasizing upon because you don’t want to feel fatigued after driving for a while, do you?
How do you like to ride your bike?
Choose a helmet that will keep you alive after facing a terrible road accident. What kind of riding you prefer plays a crucial role in determining what kind of helmet will be suitable for you. If you are the type of biker who indulges in racing or off-road riding, you need a full-face head gear to offer maximum protection against bike crash and eliminate the risk of death by up to 95%. On the other hand, if you’re fond of tripping for long hours through your favorite roads, a modular design will be the safest option as it can be effortlessly converted from a full-face to open-face helmet for desirable comfort.
Graphics and Design
Prioritizing the safety doesn’t mean you can’t look edgy. The good news is, there’s a wide range of DOT and SNELL certified stylish designer helmets available at affordable prices in the market to suit the individual taste of everyone. The best choice would be the one that reflects your personality. If you think full face helmets offer very limited option, you haven’t yet come across the latest models of Shoei and HJC. People who demands a more personalize touch on their accessories may opt for customized helmets. You can either create custom design on your own with the help of airbrush, decals or hire a professional artist to do it for you.
The design of a helmet should a beautiful blend of stunning graphics, appropropariate weight and comfort. The material used for manufacturing the product should have minimal load on the head and back. Para aramid synthetic fibers such as Kevlar have become an ideal replacement of steel helmets. It’s tough as steel, yet way lighter than it.
If you are not yet aware of the existence of helmet laws, it’s high time you should be. Laws and regulations for motorcycle helmets vary from state to state. Make sure the one you’re planning to buy follow the regulations of your state to avoid compensation for breaching the safety code. Simply take the help of internet to get detailed information on the helmet law of the state you’ll be riding in.
Value for Money (VFM) Factor
At the end of the day, no matter how promising the product appears, the main deciding factor becomes the price tag attached over it. It’s normal to get wooed by a high end, feature-packed model and ending up finding it to be way out of your league. As long as you are able to afford an expensive piece, surely go for a helmet loaded with utilities and customized graphics. But in reality, helmets are only meant for keeping you alive, nothing beyond it. The added attractions are just a bonus and nothing to fuss about. The price of the product should rather be controlled by the quality of the mechanical components and interiors. Read my unbiased taken on some of the best helmets of this decade, compare the quality of top brand models side by side to get the best bang for buck.
Best Motorcycle Helmet Brands of All Time
Japan is synonymous with futuristic technology. Shoei, a Tokyo-based veneered manufacturer of word class motorcycle helmets, is a name to hit your mind instantly whenever you talk about full face, tough and stylish full face helmets. These guys are specialized in sculpting premium bike helmets available in various shapes, sizes and colours. Innovation is the key of their overwhelming popularity worldwide.
You can observe a touch of novelty in each product line of this brand. Shoei pioneered in making feather-light yet super-tough carbon filter helmet in the year 1976. With a wide range of products to fit any budget, Shoei makes it to the top of my list of the best motorcycle helmet brands of all time.
Bell Motors are the proud innovators of world’s first full face helmets in 1971. Most of the helmets under this label are approved by DOT and SNELL, the highest form of safety certification for bike helmets. The models are rafted to perfection, offering a jaw-dropping variety of designs to choose from. Apart from full face helmets, Bell also manufactures half and 3/4th head gears, purchased by ace motorbike racers in the overseas. The ventilation system used by bell is what actually makes stand out in the competition. A fascinating construction coupled with a quick release shield and comfortable interiors is the signature style of Bell Helmets.
HJC has been making bike riding safer since 1971. Back in 1992, it was ranked as the no. 1 helmet brand in North America. HJC has a large line of products available at different prices, all guarantying unbeatable performance and extraordinary comfort. Uniqueness is the trademark of this company, needless to say, their collection of mid to high range helmets enjoy huge popularity in many countries. HJC has its own wind tunnel testing laboratory to test pivotal features like aerodynamics, ventilation, noise reduction and impact resistance. The makers are devoted to bring new, improved technology in the manufacturing of premium helmets. HJC Solid CS-2N Half Shell Motorcycle Helmet, HJC solid Men’s CL-16 and ACL-17 are the star products of this label.
Like Shoei, Arai is also a Japan-based helmet manufacturer, which started out the venture in 1926. You’ll be surprised to know that these state of the art Arai helmets are manually sculpted by expert craftsmen. Each product has to go through a stringent quality test in each stage of production. Most Arai models meet SNELL memorial foundation safety standards, the certification means these helmets are absolutely safe and deliver high functionality. The air ventilation system and comfort of wearing has been consistently top of the line.
Nolan, originated in Italy, makes some of the toughest and safest motorcycle helmets I know. If your main concern is all-round protection from accidents, look no further. With incredible consistency and innovation, Nolan has been ruling the European market like a boss. Pick any product from their full line of DOT and SNELL certified products and you’re sure to pat your back for the decision. To ensure complete customer satisfaction, all Nolan helmets are covered by an extensive warranty. Several eminent bike racers like Ricardo T. have used Nolan helmets in their careers.
AGV was founded by an Italian Gino Amisano, initially aiming at producing leather seats for motorcycles. In 1947, the company stepped into the business of making helmets and excelled in the art in no time. Since then, AGV has been one of most trusted and recognizable names in many countries around the globe. The brand first came under the spotlight when World Champion motorbike racers Valentino Rossi and Giacomo Agostini endorsed AGC helmets by wearing them in their tournaments. AGV’s premium quality helmets meet DOT and ECE safety ratings.
Shark is a top-of-the-line European brand, rolling out some of the most visually striking and solid helmets since 1986 from their headquarters situated in France. Shark has a dab hand at combining advanced technology with super cool helmet designs which no biker would want to miss. The company was started by a group of professional racers (Oliver Jacque, Scott Reading, Raymond Roche, Randy de Puniet and the likes) whose unflinching focus towards detailing and functionality helped Shark reach to the top. Shark has achieved a firm grasp on international market with total 5000 outlets around the world.
KBC is a relatively new kid on the block and has proved its mettle in a short span of 20 years. Extensive research and attention on detailing is the foundation behind the company’s unprecedented success. The models are designed to cater to the taste of young bikers who demand something out-of-the-box. The company has always kept their prices in check to make their products affordable for every section of consumer. Most of the products match the DOT safety standard, hence can be counted on without any hesitation.
Different Types of Motorcycle Helmets
One of the most problematic parts about finding out the best motorcycle helmet for individual use is the vastness of options. Even though, to an uninitiated, it may seem there are plenty of styles to select from, in reality, there are only basic types of helmet designs. Each comes with its share of pros and cons. A brief illustration of each style is going to help you figure out which suits your need the most.
Full Face Helmets
Full face helmets are the Brock Lesnar of protective head gears, tough as steel and unbeatable. For the adventure biking fan base out there, full face helmets are a go-to option. The only trade-off in this kind of helmets is troubled ventilation due to the full coverage of the head section. To resolve these existing issues, leading brands like Shoei have launched a whole new set of full face gears with improved and highly advanced ventilation system inside the helmet. Breathtaking design, ultra soft padding and solid shell come together one helmet to safeguard your upper body in the worst case scenarios.
For these particular reasons, full face headgears are mostly used by street bikers and professional bike racers. The latest models by top companies have gone quite popular among the youngsters for their unconventional forward leaning full tuck position, solid aerodynamics and enhanced ventilation. MotoGP racers performing dare-devil bike stunts would want to make sure no one including their own lives are harmed while spinning the bike at a blazing speed.
The outer shell of these helmets is the cornerstone of this strength. The hard shell, generously padded on the inside fits your head snugly and provides great comfort, minimize neck sore during extensive ride in cruel hot weather. The shell extends its way down the face, sealing up to the neck area to create a firewall protection against collision impact and debris. There’s also an acrylic visor on the front to build an extra layer of protection of your mouth against dust and debris. Study the material used in the construction of the helmet as full face gears are notorious for putting unnecessary load on the head. Nevertheless, when you come across a make or break situation while driving, full face helmets might help you come out alive. While looking around for the best full-face helmets on the web or in shops, include models like HJC CL-17, Arai Corsair V Helmet, Shoei Qwest, HJC Cage MC-1, GLX Carbon, Shoei RF-1200 in your checklist.
Modular or Flip up Helmets
Modular head gears have a hybrid design combining the best features of both full face and open face helmets and resolve the cons of both. Much like a full face helmet, it covers your head and provides all-round protection to your face and jaw as well. During extended rides, if you wish to convert the helmet to an open face model for better airflow and breathing, all you need to do is to pivot the chin bar upwards or remove it. Bikers who wish to wear goggles to protect their eyes will find this mobile chin bar particularly for the bar can be slide up and settled over the top section of the helmet with the press of a single button.
Modular helmets are easy to fit and fuss free to put on over a long duration. The helmet also features a face guard which can be raised up when you want to communicate while riding. Folks who complain about the heavy load of full-face helmets yet demands full coverage should definitely go for modular helmets. It’s considerably low weight is a result of using latches and contraptions in the structure. Some of the highly reputed modular helmet models are Shark Series 3 Evoline, Nolan N104 and Shoei Neotec.
Open Face or 3/4th Helmets
Open face helmets are an ideal choice for those who are keener on obtaining good comfort than full-face coverage. As the name implies, 3/4th helmets only shield the head portion, the face, chin and eyes are still exposed sunlight, rain, fog, insects and debris. Folks who are more into low to medium speed biking for hours end love the sound of gushing wind into their ears, this is when the advantage of owning an open face model comes to play. You can enjoy the wind rushing past your face while strolling around your favourite spot on your two-wheelers.
The most cherished feature of open face motorcycle helmets are clear, unbarred visibility. You can have an obstructed glance of the road. The disadvantages on the other hand can’t be dismissed. First of all, since only 3 out of 4 parts of your head will be left covered, you won’t be able stop bugs and debris from assaulting your eyes. To sort out this issue, you can try sporting smart sunglass. Many new age models are packed with a sun shield that can be slide down when you feel like to enjoy some fresh air. This shield adds a much needed layer of safety against weather elements and road debris. If you ask me, my vote for the best open face helmet will go to Shoei Platinum R RJ anytime.
Off Road/Motocross/Dual-sports Helmets
Off road or dual-sports helmets are equipped with the most hi-tech technology and features and are widely preferred by bike-stunt hobbyists and street-racers around the world. Biking off the road involves high risk factor and one needs to acquire a tremendous skill to perform these deadly stunts. Hitting the race-track without wearing one mighty, mean-looking bike helmet can cause fatal accidents or even death. The most unique feature in such helmets is the vents which are specially designed to allow the heat to escape. They facilitate the airflow to ensure the temperature and humidity level inside the helmet is comfortable for the rider. The absence of a face shield might trigger problem in foggy conditions but enhances a visibility to a great extent. The sun visors installed in these helmets are also worth throwing light upon. It safeguards your eyes against UV rays up to 90%. My personal favorite motocross models are Vega Viper and Scorpion VX-34.
Half face Helmets
The inglorious “skull cap” I refuse to recommend to any motorcyclists. These types of helmets go fine with scooters but at an exhilarating speed of a motorbike, this little fellow is sure to jump off your head, forget protection. Half face helmet, in terms of design, are similar to that of open face helmets. These are so light that you don’t feel any pressure on your head. The open frontal design adds to superior optical clarity. The wind resistance exceeds beyond limit and the users end up feeling extremely fatigued after a long ride. If you really value your life, give this one a skip.
Custom Designed Motorcycle Helmets
Biking is also about expressing yourself, the kind of accessories you use speaks a lot about what you are as a person. For a hefty amount of money, you can tailor make a helmet that reflects individuality in every inch of it. Brainstorming quirky designs for my biking accessories has fascinated me since my younger days. If you’re not that great with paints and airbrush, you can always hire a mural artist or a company specialized in making custom designed helmets. Tailor-made sculptures on classy vintage or edgy modular helmets are worth drooling for. Neatly encrypted initials, quotes, patterns and color combination make these helmets appear extraordinarily beautiful. Go to any helmet collector, you’re sure to find at least one customized model displayed on the board.
Custom Painted Motorcycle Helmets
This is the most basic and old school form of customizing helmets, with the help of paint and paint brushes. The paint used in the design is weatherproof and adds a nice shimmering touch on the helmet. If you want to get intricate patterns, dot work with detail, the goal can be achieved only by a seasoned hand of a talented artist. Even you can also let your artistic-self take over the command and create a design coming straight out of your heart.
Custom Airbrushed Helmets
Airbrushing on a blank wall is fun. Many of us have done tried our hands at making cool graffiti on walls, T-shirts using this. The best part about airbrushed motorcycle helmets is that the paint is even sprayed all over surface, giving a smooth and glossy touch and finesse, making it look more like a factory-made product.
An airbrush is basically an engine that blurts out the paint through a tube using air pressure. Plus, operating an airbrush is relatively easier than handling a paintbrush unless you’re Pablo Picasso. You can ask a car-modifier agency or professional airbrush artist to design a fully personalized helmet for you.
Concluding this Motorcycle Helmet Madness
Going to the store or ordering a product online without having any solid knowledge about it is downright stupid. Selecting the best motorcycle helmet ain’t a joke. One wrong move amounts to risking your life. No matter how cool or expensive the helmet is, your first priority should be safety, after all, that is what helmets are meant for. Always stick to a trusted brand when purchasing something as vital as a bike helmet. Buying a helmet from an unrecognized brand doesn’t guarantee maximum safety, you can’t really afford that much of negligence when you’re riding at a speed of 90 miles per hour, trust me. Last but not the least, ride responsibly to keep both yourself and people around you safe. Happy biking!