If you’re a motorcycle rider, you know that having a good helmet is essential for your safety. But with so many different types of helmets on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the various types of motorcycle helmets available, their features, and the pros and cons of each type.
Motorcycle Helmet Types
Full Face Helmets
These helmets are a popular choice among motorcycle riders who prioritize safety and protection. They offer complete coverage of the head, including the chin and face, and come equipped with a full visor for clear vision. These helmets are aerodynamically designed and provide superior protection, making them an ideal choice for sportbike riders who engage in high-speed riding. Full-face helmets are also lightweight and offer good ventilation, making them comfortable for long rides in hot weather. However, some riders may find them claustrophobic, and they may not be suitable for slow-speed riding or hot climates.
Modular helmets, also known as flip-up helmets, are a hybrid of full face and open face helmets. They feature a chin bar that can be flipped up for convenience, making them ideal for touring riders who need to communicate with other riders or stop for food without removing their helmet. They offer good ventilation and noise reduction, and the chin bar adds an extra layer of protection. However, modular helmets may be heavier than open face helmets and can be less aerodynamic than full face helmets, making them unsuitable for high-speed riding.
Open Face Helmets
These helmets, also known as 3/4 helmets, are a classic design favored by cruisers and vintage riders. They cover the head and ears but leave the face and chin exposed, providing a comfortable fit for long rides. Open-face helmets are lightweight and offer good ventilation, making them ideal for hot weather. They also come equipped with a wide visor for clear vision and minimal wind noise. However, open-face helmets do not provide as much protection as full-face or modular helmets, and they lack a chin bar for added safety.
Half helmets, also known as skull caps or beanies, are the least protective of all helmet types. They cover only the top of the head and leave the face and ears exposed. Half helmets are favored by riders who prioritize style over safety, but they offer minimal protection in the event of a crash. However, half helmets are lightweight and offer good ventilation, making them comfortable for short rides in hot weather. People also look for the mips helmet that are compact in design and are light weight.
Off-road helmets, also known as motocross helmets, are designed for riders who engage in off-road riding or motocross racing. They feature a unique design that provides superior protection and ventilation, with a chin bar that extends further than other helmet types for added protection. Off-road helmets also feature a sun visor and a wide opening for goggles, making them ideal for extreme riding conditions. However, off-road helmets may not be suitable for on-road riding, as they may not provide the same level of aerodynamics as other helmet types.
Dual Sport Helmets
Dual sport helmets are a versatile design that can be used for both on-road and off-road riding. They feature a hybrid design that combines the features of a full face helmet and an off-road helmet, providing superior protection and ventilation. Dual sport helmets also come equipped with a sun visor and a wide opening for goggles, making them ideal for extreme riding conditions. However, dual sport helmets may be heavier than other helmet types and may not be as aerodynamic as full face helmets for high-speed riding.
Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards
Motorcycle helmets are an essential piece of safety equipment for any rider. In order to ensure their effectiveness, motorcycle helmets must comply with specific safety standards set by organizations such as the Department of Transportation (DOT), Snell Memorial Foundation, and the European Economic Community (EEC).
The DOT sets minimum safety standards for motorcycle helmets sold in the United States. These standards include impact attenuation, penetration resistance, retention system strength, and labeling requirements. To meet DOT standards, helmets must be tested and certified by a DOT-approved laboratory.
The Snell Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization that sets voluntary safety standards for motorcycle helmets. Snell certification is a higher standard than DOT certification, as it requires helmets to pass more rigorous impact testing. Snell certification also requires helmets to be tested for retention system strength and shell penetration resistance.
How To Find Your Motorcycle Helmet Size
Finding the right size motorcycle helmet is crucial for safety and comfort. A helmet that is too loose or too tight can compromise protection and cause discomfort during long rides. Here are some steps to help you find your motorcycle helmet size:
Measure your head
Use a soft tape measure to measure your head at its widest point, which is usually just above your eyebrows and ears. Make sure the tape measure is snug but not too tight.
Check the sizing chart
Each helmet manufacturer has their own sizing chart, so make sure to check the one provided by the manufacturer of the helmet you’re interested in. Compare your head measurement to the chart to determine your size.
Try on different sizes
It’s important to try on different sizes to find the one that fits best. Make sure to try on the helmet with the chinstrap fastened and adjust the fit using the interior padding and straps. The helmet should feel snug but not too tight, and should not move around or slip when you shake your head.
Check for proper fit
Once you have the helmet on, check for proper fit. The top of the eye port should be just above your eyebrows, and the cheek pads should be in contact with your cheeks. The helmet should not press on any pressure points or feel uncomfortable.
Ride with it
Finally, take the helmet for a test ride to make sure it’s comfortable and doesn’t shift or move around while riding. If you experience any discomfort or fit issues, try a different size or model.
Remember, a properly fitting helmet is essential for safety and comfort while riding. Take the time to find the right size and model for you, and always wear a helmet when riding. It is also important to clean your helmet regularly.
Choosing the right motorcycle helmet is crucial for safety while riding. It’s important to look for helmets that meet safety standards set by organizations such as DOT, Snell Memorial Foundation, and the EEC. These standards ensure that helmets provide adequate protection in the event of a crash.
In addition to safety standards, riders should also consider factors such as fit, comfort, and style when choosing a helmet. A properly fitting helmet should be snug but not too tight, and should not move around or slip when the rider shakes their head. It’s also important to choose a helmet that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time, and that reflects the rider’s personal style.