MOTORCYCLE HELMET REVIEWS
If we’ve learned one thing from all our years riding both on and off road motorbikes, it’s how much of a difference choosing the right gear can make for your journey. Factors like protection, extra features and safety ratings do often take a distant second to appearance and features when you’re shopping around, but it’s something that really should be considered as the main focus when buying any new gear for your bike. Especially helmets as protecting your head and brain if you happen to drop the bike is incredibly important.
These days most manufacturers are great with including safety features and as more technology is released we will see products become lighter and include even more options than we have today, which is why we started this site. Trying to traverse through countless brands and models is very time consuming, and rather than seeing you guys having to repeat that same journey again and again, we have created this site as a platform where all our testing and analyse of the latest motorbike helmets can be easily found.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF RIDING GEAR
Having a good quality product that fits correctly and feels comfortable is easily one of the top 3 things that contributes to your riding experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re riding down the highway on your cruiser or traveling across the city on your sports bike, a good helmet shouldn’t be something you even notice you’re wearing after a few minutes.
Ensuring that your head remains safe at all times while riding makes choosing the right one that suits you one of the most important items to consider and review when it’s time to start looking at what’s available on the market. There’s a whole range of products for different types of riding which we will get into later, but no matter what style is your preference, please make sure that you always do wear a good quality helmet when riding.
We really love our bikes and these days it doesn’t matter if we are enjoying a scenic ride along the east coast of America, riding enduro bikes in Phuket or even taking the scooter down to the local markets for dinner, we are always wearing our gear. This site will guide you through the latest brands so you can get the best one that suits your style of riding.
OUR MOTORCYCLE HELMET REVIEWS AND EVALUATIONS
Road Bike Helmets
Open Face Motorbike Helmets
The Best Motorcycle Helmet Brands
If you’re new to the world of riding, it can be difficult and sometimes expensive for you to find out which brands of helmets are regarded as some of the best manufacturers in the world. Even an experience rider might get a little lost if they haven’t kept up to date with the market changes for a few years.
The main purpose of this gear is to protect your head. That’s it. All the stickers, audio and communication features and everything else that’s available in some brands isn’t going to help you in a fall. In fact you won’t even be thinking of them if that time comes. This is important to remember as getting yourself a brand new Shoei helmet might sound cool and impressive to have, but it might not be the most suitable brand for your style of riding or head. Now that’s said, let’s go shopping!
There are hundreds of motorcycle helmet brands all over the world and we’d like to test them all, but most of the time you’ll always come back to a list of about 5 manufacturers that qualify to be considered one of the best motorcycle helmet brands in the world.
For years Shoei has led the way in providing high quality designs and countless breakthroughs in making sure the gear offers more protection and safety for the wearer. They were the first company to develop a design using carbon fibre, way back in 1976 and they haven’t looked back since. They are like the Samsung of the Smartphone world. Always making bigger and better things each year.
Bell have been around for a little longer than Shoei and their products are just as good when it comes to comfort, quality and safety features. Their creative team does some amazing work and the detail that goes into each of their designs really does make their products stand out from the crowd. Bell have a good range to choose from, including best full face, open face and modular helmets. You won’t go wrong picking up one of these.
Arai helmets are perhaps the oldest brand of motorbike gear and like a vintage wine, they have only improved with age. These are one of my personal favourites so I may be somewhat bias when it comes to Arai helmet reviews, but they are the only brand that always exceed the Snell Memorial Foundation safety ratings time and time again.
There are many other brands of motorbike helmets that deserve a mention here as well. Nolan, Shark, AGV and HJC are all known for producing high quality, top rated bike helmets that offer good value at the same time. There are some really expensive products out there too, but it’s important to remember the function of your gear, no matter the style or cost, is to protect your head.
In the next section we’ll cover a few basic point that will help you find the best motorcycle helmet for your head and your wallet.
MOTORBIKE HELMET BUYERS GUIDE
With so many brands, features and options that are available to you when we are trying to find the best helmet that meets all of your needs, it can be really easy to miss a few requirements along the way. Especially when there’s slick looking graphics and other ‘trick’ features that look fantastic. But, like we mentioned earlier, the importance on safety and comfort should come first. That’s why we created this simple list that you can use to step through to know which is the best motorbike helmet for you.
Pick the type of helmet
There’s basically 5 types of motorbike helmets to select from. Each have their place depending on your riding style. There’s the full face and open face motorcycle helmet styles which are probably the 2 most common designs. The half/short designs are quite popular and modular helmets are getting more market grab every day. Of course we can’t forget motocross helmets which are great for off-road riding or racing on dirt tracks.
Figure out what size you need
Perhaps the most important step. You can learn your helmet size by checking with one in store or even trying on a friends one will give you a good gauge of what’s needed for you. A new helmet should feel really snug on your head and cheeks. After 1-2 rides you’ll notice that the padding becomes softer so make sure you allow for that when figuring out which size helmet you need.
Check the overall weight
Remember that you will likely be wearing the bike helmet for long periods of time, depending on how serious a rider you are it could be hours. Making sure there is no unneeded weight will make your journey so much more enjoyable. There will also be times that you need to carry the helmet with you, so picking something you can manage is important.
Which helmet material is the best
There’s 4 main types of materials that helmets are made of. Each have benefits and disadvantages. A thermoplastic helmet is made from liquid plastic that’s been moulded as it cooled. These generally need more internal foam to offer a good level of protection. The same goes for fibreglass designs, they are cheap motorcycle helmets but can still save you in a fall. You can also find some really good quality advanced fibreglass designs too.
The clear winner when it comes to weight and protection is the Kevlar and carbon composite shells which are made using the same process as the fibreglass versions, but are much tougher and lighter.
Helmet safety and certifications
Every time you put on a helmet you should be checking that it has been safety checked and met some minimum requirements in terms of safety. A sticker from DOT, SNELL or the ECE22.05 means you’re going to be in safe hands if something goes wrong while during your ride.
Keep within your budget
For me, this point is always hovering around the #1 and #2 positions when we are looking for the best motorbike helmet, but I don’t apply it until the end. Everyone has their own personal financial situation to consider but don’t compromise on safety. Make sure you get the best motorbike helmet that you can afford, while keeping some left over for your other safety gear and bike running costs. The reviews on this site cover all levels of helmets so don’t worry, you’ll have no trouble finding the right one for you.
Different types of Motorcycle Helmets
It’s worth knowing more about the various types and styles of bike helmets that are available and used for different styles of riding and the conditions in the area. If you’re anything like us you’ll need a few headgear to cover all the different types of riding you do. Having the right design for your riding style is an important part of the process for finding the best motorbike helmet.
The best full face helmet for road and track riding
This is the design that comes to most people’s mind when you start talking headgear. They offer the best protection for your head as it covers the top, back front and sides of your head. Almost all full face gear include a visor so your eyes and face are also kept very safe. The only drawback with these designs is ventilation. Make sure your new full face bike helmet has lots of air ducts so you’re always comfortable.
Where open face motorcycle helmets are good
Open face products are great for bikes where the rider is a bit more upright. Riders of bikes like Harley Davidson’s and other cruising or touring bike models are synonymous with wearing open face helmets. They offer great protection for the top, back and sides of your head, but do leave your face exposed to wind, bugs and environment conditions.
Best modular helmet for all riding types
Modular gear are a combination of a full and half face design. The chin area has a flip-up feature that allows you to open the gear when needed. These are excellent for adventure riding or long tours where you might want to have a snack quickly without removing the gear. The safety level of these designs is still quite good, however the flipping action does present a new risk factor that a full face helmet does not. They are still a great choice for a casual rider.
These are the 3 main models of headsets that can be used in helmets. The more detailed information is below and in our motorcycle headset reviews which are always being added to.
Half Helmets for Motorcycles
Very popular with the vintage riders as well as scooters, streetfighter and even touring bike riders the half gear models are obviously going to have less protection than the previous designs, however they still DOT approved and can be worn legally on most roads. Being able to feel more of the wind as you ride is a huge benefit with these types of products.
What about off road helmets
Up until now we’ve covered products that are designed for use on the road or racetrack. The off road helmets are designed to be more durable and offer protection from dirt and rocks that might be flung from other bikes riding nearby. They are always a full face design but have a more angular style compared to the full face gear used on road bikes. Off road, or motocross products are designed to provide light weight protection to riders who are often out in high temperatures and exerting a lot of energy.
Dual Sport Helmets
These types of motorbike helmets are a combination of features from the full face and motocross designs. They work reasonably well for both off road and on, but from our experience it’s better having a purpose built gear for each activity. For those on a tight budget a dual sport helmet would provide a good balance for both areas, and still keep your head safe.
The Safest Motorcycle Helmet
It would be great if we could say that all products are created equally. For now, the best we have is that they are the same, up to a certain standard and have passed a set of stringent tests to receive the DOT or other certification. Protecting your head and brain the best you can is the number one goal, so having the safest motorcycle helmet available needs to be at the top of your list.
We get to use a lot of different style gear in our reviews and picking just one as the safest was a very difficult, and somewhat impossible task with so many great manufacturers and helmet brands available on the market. What we did instead was to select a product that goes above and beyond the standards in safety on paper and put it to the test for a few weeks on the road and on the track. We present you with the RF-1200 by Shoei.
One of the best motorcycle helmet brands available
For almost 40 years the team at Shoei have dominated the headgear market and one of their latest designs continues the same dedication to delivering safety and comfort to all riders. The Shoei RF-1200 made it to the top of the list as being the safest motorcycle helmet because of its long list of features, comfort and the versatility which is brings to the table.
A Real All rounder
The full face helmet design is perfect for sport riding but with all the extra comfort features the RF-1200 is a great choice for touring and even commuting to the office each day. The design and placement of air vents and face shield keeps the gear feeling stable at higher speeds. Another big plus the interior padding being shaped to create a 3D style environment that’s great for your motorcycle communication and audio systems.
Light Weight Material
Made from an extremely light weight Multi-Ply AMI Shell, the product comes in at just over 6.8 pounds and there’s still a really good amount of noise reduction that can be noticed while riding on the road. We felt this was one of the best features. The Shoei RF-1200 is great at blocking almost all of the ambient road noised out.
Sizes & Styles
With four shell sizes to choose from, along with the custom fitted dual density liner you’ll feel a more compact fit around you head, while still having some really impressive ventilation flow along with features like the breath guard and chin curtain. There’s several colour and sticker options available with the RF-1200 too.
Emergency Quick Release System
Perhaps the number one reason the Shoei RF-1200 got the slot for being the safest motorbike helmet is due to the E.Q.R.S that allows for emergency personal to easily take the cheek pads from the product and provide treatment without needing to remove it completely.
If you’re on a limited budget and need one gear to take care of everything, the RF-1200 by Shoei over delivers on safety, comfort and style. You won’t go wrong here.
One of the best rated motorcycle helmets
The SNELL certification on the HJC CL-17 model ensures that it’s passed some really tough testing procedures, but there’s so much more included in terms of safety and comfort features that made us place this model at the top of the list when we were looking for the best rated motorcycle helmets on the martet.
Weighing in at just over 5.6 pounds and coming in a large range of sizes from extra small to 2 XL, the CL-17 from HJC is made from advanced polycarbonate shell with a multi-density EPS liner. It’s extremely tough and lightweight at the same time. Perfect for those longer rides.
Ventilation and anti-fog system
We could always feel a really strong amount of airflow when wearing the CL-17. Even when riding in slow traffic it never became uncomfortable like some brands do. The full front-to-back ventilation system design forces hotter air upwards and out of the helmet really effectively. There’s also chin bar and additional side vents that contribute to the great airflow system as well.
Inside the CL-17 wasn’t something HJC overlooked during the design stage. In fact it was one of the most comfortable motorbike helmets we have ever worn. The supercool moisture wicking interior system is really soft and gives a lot of support. The cheek pads are completely removable for easy cleaning and there are also grooves in both sides to accommodate those riders who wear glasses.
Easy face shield replacement
The HJC CL-17 comes with a HJ-09 face shield that has an anti-scratch coating and offers 95% UV protection. The pin-locking system makes it super easy to remove or replace the helmets face shield in just a few seconds.
Last thoughts on the HJC CL-17 helmet
Overall we were quite impressed with the helmet. It feels really sturdy and exceeds the certification requirements by a long way. The protection provided in a fall would be great and all of the features, vents and moving parts are designed with novice riders in mind. Everything works well and is perfectly located for easy access and use. If you do wear glasses, you might need to try a few pairs to get them sitting properly. We did find not all glasses were comfortable when riding.
Matte flat black full face motorcycle helmet
There’s a lot of artwork and styling options available when it comes to motorbike gear. Some people enjoy having really bright stickers and decals while others prefer the simplicity of having a full matte flat black theme for the bike, clothes and helmet colouring scheme.
Knowing which is the best matte flat black full face motorcycle helmet is one of the most common questions we are asked by readers and our friends, so we decided to run a review on that topic and came up with a really extensive list with some strong competition. In the end, it was IV2 Helmets that were a clear winner with their model 901 full face helmet.
The aim was to find a good quality helmet for under $200 that offered the same protection as more expensive brands. The IV2 901 came in well under that price and delivers some impressive safety features.
Includes all the bells and whistles
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a huge budget, the IVS model 901 is a great choice. It’s packed with a really streamlined ventilation system that kept us cool in almost all conditions while blocking most of the ambient road noise.
The model 901 is very light and DOT certified. The sticker is not removable which a great feature that not all manufactures provide in their designs.
Comfort and Style
Of course being a somewhat less expensive helmet we had expected to notice a big difference with how the model 901 felt while riding compared to other designs we review. Overall it does feel a little less sturdy but it still felt like it would provide be more than adequate protection if we happened to have a fall. The visor was a little fiddly to install but very easy to use once it was.
Overall review of the IV2 Model 901
We had a really positive test with the IV2 901 motorcycle helmet and believe it’s a great choice for a beginner or someone who needs a simple secondary helmet.