Driving on a motorcycle is not that easy. It takes skill and balance with a bit of timing to move the bike the right way. Because there are so many factors a bike driver should take care of, they should wear a proper set of protective gear. Most countries today require bike drivers to wear helmets, which can save their lives in accidents. One question most people ask about helmets is what to look for in a motorcycle helmet?
When buying a new helmet, most people check these things:
Types of Helmets – What kind of helmet do you want?
Safety standards for motorcycle helmets – What safety standards do a helmet follow.
The fit of the helmet – Size of the helmets
Customizations of helmets – Customizations and colors are available for helmets.
Helmet materials – A look at the materials that make helmets? More durable, the better.
Cost – Which ones are affordable to buy?
If you are thinking of buying a helmet, these are the main factors you should know. First of all, you should decide about the kind of helmet you want?
Types of helmets
Buying a helmet isn’t tricky. But, first, you should select the one you like. You can choose from six different types of helmets. Here they are:
This helmet is considered the safest of all as it has the most coverage around your head and neck. The best feature that most other helmets lack is a chin bar. Although some half helmets have a chin bar, they are not as safe as the full-face helmet.
Regardless of the riders’ type of bike choice, the versatility of full-face depends on the rider’s preference. Its aerodynamic design makes it the best choice for all kinds of bike drives and driving conditions.
Another feature to look for in full-face helmets is ventilation. Because this helmet covers the whole face, it has carefully designed airways that keep the airflow inside the helmet when driving. As a result, it keeps the visor from fogging, which reduces vision. In addition, ventilation can be closed to control airflow as needed. Not only that, in recent years, new features have been introduced in full-face helmets. Bluetooth-capable speakers, high visibility color options and designs, and visors that tint based on light conditions are a few notable innovations.
Also called flip-up helmets, modular helmets are a mix of full-face and open-face helmets. These helmets have a chin bar that opens with the visor. Furthermore, this helmet may sometimes have an additional second visor for extra protection against sunlight. So if you are still thinking about what to look for in a motorcycle helmet, then maybe a modular helmet is for you.
Today modular helmets are popular among tourers, cruisers, and adventure riders, especially among drivers that drive sitting in an upright riding position. In addition, these helmets come with the option of Bluetooth speakers and a dual anti-fogging visor, making it a cherry on top.
As the name suggests, this helmet is for sportspeople who engage in dirt bikes, motocross, or MX. Its design is a bit different from other helmets because of their use. It has a large opening in place of a visor. Because it does not have a visor, if possible, wear large goggles. These helmets provide maximum protection. They also offer minimum weight and flowing ventilation favorable in warmer months. Unfortunately, these helmets don’t come with lush comforts like Bluetooth speakers.
Some people also wear body armor, neck brace, or both based on the rider’s activity. When buying this helmet, make sure the helmet fits the armor. Helmets and armor should have the same color, if possible.
Half helmets are not the most favorable helmets out there. They only cover the top of your head area from your forehead to your brows, providing just minimal protection. Although some helmets may have coverage at the back of the head, it leaves the rest of the head exposed. Airflow in this helmet is maximum, though, still is not safe for driving conditions. Since most helmets don’t even have visors, having some eye protection like goggles or riding glasses. I would say this is not what to look for in a motorcycle helmet.
Open face helmet
Open face helmets are often favored in warmer areas around the globe. These helmets are commonly referred to as ¾ helmets as they cover ¾ of the head.
It covers the top back and sides of your head, leaving your face exposed. Scooters, café racers, tourers, and cruiser riders prefer open-face helmets. The reason behind it is that they like to feel the air on their skin.
Dual sport helmet
What’s a crossover of the full-faced helmet and off-road helmets? It’s this one. Dual sports helmets are sporty helmets that most professional dirt bikes, motocross, or MX riders prefer. Its exterior styling is similar to an off-road helmet, giving it a full-face helmet’s features like chin bar, interior padding, and comfort. Dual sport helmets are for both on-road and off-road drivers.
Although dual sport helmets have a large eye protection visor, the rider could wear goggles too.
Furthermore, it has good soundproofing but not much airflow.
Helmet Buying Guide
The buying guide include the factors that should influence your decision of buying helmets. You should keep these factors in mind before buying a helmet.
Safety standards for motorcycle helmets
Each country has its safety regulations they follow. Some even have unique tags that govern the best helmet everyone should buy. For example, in the United States, D.O.T (department of transportation) governs helmet standards. Similarly, in Europe, your helmet should be ECE 22.02 regulated, where E.C.E. stands for U.N. economic commission for Europe. These safety standards and requirements verify the safety (effectiveness), giving it a rating specific to the region of the world you will be driving in.
Some safety standards recommend using helmets with some safety seals to prove that the helmet is safety compliant. These printed tags or stickers are what you look for in a motorcycle helmet.
The fit of the helmet
You bought a helmet, and it’s loose. That is not good. A helmet should fit the wearer’s head. An open helmet will come off during an accident, even if it’s the safest. Also, a moving helmet causes fatigue and tension in your neck, which could worsen in the long term. Now, you don’t need the helmet rotating around either.
Your helmet should be a comfortable fit, not tight enough that you feel suffocated and not loose enough that it keeps rotating. How to see if a helmet is a fit? The inner paddings of a helmet will restrict the helmet from moving around on the head. If it’s loose, then that’s no good. It is estimated that an open fit helmet reduces protection level by 30%.
A street environment is far more dangerous than racing, so investing in a safety-approved helmet is good. Also, a loose-fitting helmet increases noise level that is distracting while driving, resulting in hearing disabilities.
While selecting a helmet, look for spots that could cause discomfort. Wearing a helmet for some time in the shop should help. Just remember, the helmet should fit in your head, not your face. Depending on usage, a good helmet can last 3 to 5 years (8 years at most). Ensure to avoid second-hand helmets because they cannot fit as the new ones and could be harmful in accidents.
Customizations of Helmets
Bikers love black color or darker shades. Because of that, most bikers use fluorescent tapes or customizations on helmets giving them a unique look and improving their visibility for other passersby in the dark. Other common modifications and customizations include color-changing visor, L.E.D. The strip on helmets, Bluetooth speaker inside helmets, camera spots for helmets, speed meter on visor extension, and many more. It is another thing to look for in a motorcycle helmet.
Commonly, fiberglass composites make helmets. However, high-end ones are available in carbon composites and Kevlar, both of which are durable. On the other hand, their interiors cushion with air mesh to soak up all sweat and keep the insides clean and breezy. Never purchase the plastic ones as they will break from a single fall. The helmet should be comfortable to wear for a long time. Additionally, see if the inside can be removed for washing or not. Remember that most helmets last 3 to 5 years, so choose wisely.
Today, you can easily find affordable helmets; however, some helmets get too expensive. What’s the difference? The basic difference is their material. Carbon fiber or Kevlar full-face helmets can be costly. Spending a little extra cash on getting a good helmet is difficult to pull off, especially in summer.
In hot or humid weather conditions, it is essential to stay calm. For this reason, most full-face helmets have built-in ventilation. These ventilations are controllable, giving you an option to close them in winters or rainy days.
Another nice feature to look for is removable liners. You can imagine that sweat, dirt, and weather conditions could dirty the insides of the helmet. If your helmet can remove liners, you can easily wash them in a washing machine. It is a must for what to look for in a motorcycle helmet.
They are the lens or sheet in a helmet that covers your face. It comes in different colors and tints. In case you have a visor damaged, it’s easily replaceable.
Fogging up of visor
Visors can fog up in certain weather conditions, no matter what the claims may say. Against that, the pin-lock anti-fog system is a good choice for anti-fog visors. Fitting your helmet is a good investment if yours does not come pre-fitted.
You can't test a helmet in the shop
Getting to know the helmet you’re buying may not be that easy, as it is not much you can do in-shop. The best way to counter this is to read product comments online. The more detailed, the better. Those reviews tell you all you need to know about the helmet, its advantages, disadvantages, everything.
BEST SELLER HELMETS
ILM Motorcycle Dual Visor Flip up Modular Full Face Helmet DOT 6 Colors (XL, Matte Black)
Motorcycle Modular Full Face Helmet DOT Approved - YEMA YM-925 Motorbike Casco Moto Moped Street Bike Racing Helmet with Sun Visor Bluetooth Space for Adult,Youth Men and Women - Matte Black,M
LS2 Helmets Bagger Motorcycle Half Helmet
$69.22 - $89.98
GLX GX11 Compact Lightweight Full Face Motorcycle Street Bike Helmet with Extra Tinted Visor DOT Approved
$59.07 - $64.95
ILM Bluetooth Integrated Modular Flip up Full Face Motorcycle Helmet Sun Shield Mp3 Intercom (L, Matte Black)
Duke Helmets DK-120 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet Matte Black