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There’s nothing like riding a motorcycle–it’s incredibly thrilling, fun and just a little bit dangerous, which just adds to its appeal. Being on the road alone, completely in control of yourself and your vehicle makes you feel truly free, and dare we say it –even peaceful. These are rare feelings in today’s jittery world that expects you to do and say things that are pretty much always at the service of something or someone else. It’s no wonder driving a motorcycle feels like a drug – it’s so different from anything you normally experience, you just can’t get enough of it!
But you know what’s not fun? Getting hurt – which is what will inevitably happen if you drive a motorbike without protective gear. A good motorcycle helmet while on the road is an absolute must, as the gear not only protects you from serious head injuries but is required by law in most countries.
Unfortunately, finding the right motorcycle helmet can be a bit tricky as the market is flooded with countless options with different specs, styles and price tags. But that’s why we’re here – to help you find the best motorcycle helmet, we’ve read hundreds of motorcycle helmet reviews, did our research and then read some more. The result is this Top 10 list that we hope will help you find the right protective helmet – today.
The Best Motorcycle Helmet
One of the best full face motorcycle helmets on the market, the Torc T14 helmet is not only highly safe and comfortable but features a Bluetooth integrated shell that allows the rider to listen to music without buying an additional piece of equipment. The helmet also comes with 400 meters intercom that you can use to speak with other riders, and a drop-down visor in the shape of sunglasses for those scorching, sunny days.
The Torc T14 is a heavy, durable helmet that provides a structural support so necessary for serious motorbike riders. In fact, thanks to its Thermo Polymer Alloy Shell that is specifically engineered to provide maximum protection, this helmet easily disperses impact energy in case of a crash. Equally important, it’s comfortable thanks to its inner liner that is thick and padded, as well as its adjustable flow-through ventilation system. Another huge bonus is that this liner can be removed and washed in a machine, which means you can say goodbye to dirty, sweaty helmets once and for all.
The helmet is also equipped with a drop-down visor and its optic shield is anti-fog and resistant to scratches. All in all, a great motorbike helmet that makes use of modern technology at an affordable price.
Thermo polymer alloy shell provides max safety
Drop-down anti-fog and anti-scratch visor
Dual density EPS liner is removable and washable
Fully adjustable flow-through ventilation
Bluetooth and speakerphone
DOT and ECE certified
- ModelT14B1 FBK FG L
- Weight4.95 lbs
The Ilm motorbike helmet is a combination of protection and comfort on one side and modern technology on the other. Featuring Bluetooth technology, built-in speakers and an intercom, as well as a durable, comfortable construction of the helmet, this protective full face helmet is one of the best ones on the market.
The helmet has soft inner pads that ensure not only stability but comfort too. They’re completely removable and washable, which is always a plus, considering most motorbike rides tend to be hot and sweaty. Although fully padded and tight, the helmet has good airflow. As for the technology it sports, the built-in speakers allow riders to receive GPS voice instructions (like all modern helmets) while the noise-canceling microphone allows phone calls. Bluetooth means great music wherever you’re driving, while the intercom communication allows talking with fellow bikers (only those who use the same brand, though).
This helmet comes with a handy visor, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s not fog-resistant so make sure you have a spare one, fog-resistant visor if you plan on riding during rainy, foggy days.
Strong, durable shell
Bluetooth and speakerphone
EPS pads are removable and washable
Has a normal visor
DOT and ECE certified
- Weight4.4 lbs
If you like your motorbike rides to be on the fast and dangerous side, safety should be your primary concern. That’s why you should definitely check out the Conquer’s Snell Approved Auto Race Helmet – one of the safest helmets on a budget.
The Snell SA2015 Approved motorbike helmet is designed to compete with top helmet models at an affordable price. Its shell construction is made from lightweight fiberglass composite while the thick padded interior is fire-retardant. The chin strap is made from Kevlar, heat-resistant, super-strong synthetic material, while the shield is designed to be not only anti-scratch but flame-resistant too – talk about superior safety!
Although quite snug, the helmet allows airflow venting, which increases comfort and coolness even during super-hot rides. To increase flexibility and comfort even further, Conquer made the cheek pads inside the helmet removable. Of course, considering the affordable price of the helmet and its superior safety, it’s not a surprise the gear doesn’t feature any communication technology.
Lightweight fiberglass composite shell construction
Padded interior is fire-retardant
Shield is anti-scratch and flame-resistant
Cheekpads are removable
SNELL SA2015 Certified
- Weight4.9 lbs
If you’re looking for an affordable but reliable motorcycle helmet, we need to introduce you to the Fuel Helmets, and in particular, this SH-FF0016 Full Face model. Super-safe, comfy and convenient, this helmet may be basic but it has everything most bikers need – at a really, really affordable price.
The shell of the Fuel Helmet SH-FF0016 is made from lightweight thermoplastic material and the paint is UV clear-coated. There is a closable chin and forehead vent, as well as a snap that allows you to keep any excess strap away from your face. A dual vented diffuser (front and rear) is also present, which allows maximum airflow and coolness during hot temperatures. The inner cheek pads are comfy and removable, meaning you can easily clean them when necessary.
As for the visor, it’s there and it’s also removable, however, it’s not fog-resistant. There is no electronics present here – this is a simple, basic helmet, perfect for bikers who want a no-nonsense head protection.
Dual vented diffuser
Interior cheek pads are removable and washable
- BrandFuel Helmets
- Weight4.5 lbs
If you hate the feeling of too snug, heavy motorbike helmets, but you still want and need protection, why not try half-helmets, such as the VCAN V531? This half-helmet is safe as it can be, as it meets or exceeds all DOT standards. It’s also comfortable and stylish – quite a protective package, if you ask us!
The VCAN half helmet’s shell is made from top-quality ABS thermoplastic resin – it’s sturdy and durable and provides stability your head needs while on the motorbike. The interior padding is soft and dense, providing a comfortable fit no matter the size. Also, it’s completely removable and washable so you don’t have to worry about unhygienic protective gear – it won’t happen with this helmet. As for the visor, it’s a regular, removable part, meaning it’s not resistant to fog and scratches.
This is a simple, effective and lightweight half-helmet at a super-affordable price. It comes as no surprise that there are no electronics present – after all, not all riders want the extra stuff that come with modern helmets, and if that’s you, this is a perfect no-fluff helmet you need to check out.
ABS thermoplastic resin shell
Lightweight and compact
Interior cheek pads are removable and washable
- ModelV531 FBLK L
- Weight2.6 lbs
Can you really find a helmet that is super-safe and comfortable at an affordable price? Sure you can, and the Bell Qualifier Street Helmet is the proof. This protective gear is packed with safety features, is incredibly comfy and comes at a reasonable price. Plus, the design and styling are fantastic, making this helmet one badass-looking protective gear.
The Bell Qualifier helmet packs a bunch of useful safety features, including NaturaFog II, anti-fog and anti-scratch UV-protected shield, padded chin strap with D-ring closure and a padded wind collar that significantly reduces wind and road noise. The shell itself is lightweight polycarbonate/ABS, meaning it’s strong and durable, able to withstand some serious beating. To increase comfort, the Bell added a Velocity Flow Ventilation system which allows airflow and keeps your head cool even during super-hot temperatures. The cheek pads are contoured to provide maximum comfort and the entire comfort liner is removable and washable.
The helmet comes with a regular, clear visor and integrated speaker pockets, but there are no integrated electronics. This is expected, considering the price of the gear, which is very reasonable.
Lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell
Velocity Flow Ventilation system
Comfort liner is removable and washable
Normal, clear visor
- Weight4.85 lbs
If you prefer half-helmets for their comfort and convenience but you still want maximum protection while riding, we highly encourage you to check out the Torc’s T55 half-helmet. This protective gear is lightweight, comfortable to wear and convenient to clean, as it features a completely removable inner padding. All of this doesn’t take away from the helmet’s safety, which is DOT approved and guaranteed to protect your head even in nasty crashes.
The helmet’s outer shell is made of Thermo Polymer Alloy and engineered to protect the wearer by minimizing the weight of the shell on one side and dispersing impact energy on another. Its inner comfort padding is not only removable and washable but made from anti-microbial technical fabric. It’s the same with the gear’s cheek pads which are completely removable.
The helmet has an integrated drop-down sun visor, which does a great job at protecting the rider’s eyes from harmful UV rays and blinding vision. Although there are no integrated electronics, the helmet comes with spots for headphones, which are quite handy.
Thermo polymer alloy outer shell
Lightweight and comfortable
Removable and washable inner padding
Drop-down sun visor
- Weight3 lbs
If you were into Sons of Anarchy show, you’ll love this helmet. Lightweight, stylish and super-safe, this helmet is a perfect protective head gear for bikers who prefer minimalistic designs and no-nonsense helmets.
The Crazy Al’s helmet features an Ultra Low Profile design, meaning it sits really low and snug on your head. It’s made from fiberglass, so it’s really sturdy and durable. In fact, it meets or exceeds D.O.T. FMVSS No.218 standards, so there’s no doubt it’s safe and protective. It comes with adjustable quick-release straps which allow for quick and easy helmet removal. It’s also really comfortable as it’s so lightweight and small – in fact, this helmet doesn’t even feel like a helmet on your head, it’s that comfy!
This helmet, being one of the most minimalistic helmets in design you could find, has no visor or removable inner paddings. But that’s doesn’t mean it’s not convenient – to clean it, just use water and scrub a little and you’re done.
Made from fiberglass
Lightweight and compact
Easy to clean
- Weight1.32 lbs
A crash helmet that looks powerful at an affordable price? Yep, the Yema’s motorcycle helmet is super-safe, versatile and undoubtedly one of the best looking modular helmets on a budget. Whether you’re looking for protective head gear for your street bike, or your racing motorcycle or your scooter, the Yema is definitely worth checking out.
The helmet features good-quality materials all around: aerodynamic ABS shell and multi-density EPS. There’s also a ventilation system for consistent and slight flow of air that helps keep the rider cool and comfortable. Speaking of comfort and convenience, the helmet comes with a reinforced chin strap and quick-release buckle. As for the interior liners, they’re comfy and fully removable and washable, which is always a plus as it allows you to keep your gear clean and hygienic.
The Yema is a women’s motorcycle helmet as much as it is men’s, as it’s unisex-designed. It comes with a sun visor system which helps protect the wearer from harsh sunlight. Although the helmet doesn’t feature any electronics, there is extra space present for glasses and Bluetooth speakers, which many riders find convenient.
Aerodynamic ABS shell
Removable and washable inner padding
Sun visor system
- Weight3.75 lbs
Last but not least, comes the Bell Qualifier DLX high-quality motorbike helmet. This head protective gear is sturdy, comfortable, safe and has an integrated communication system – all at a reasonable price.
The helmet features a lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell construction and fully-padded interior, including contoured cheek pads and removable and washable inner padding made from an anti-bacterial material. The chin strap is also padded and comes with a D-ring closure, and so is the wind collar which helps reduce wind and road noise. As for the helmet’s communication system, there is a communication port that is suitable for Sena and Cardo Bluetooth stereo headset and intercom systems. Of course, there are integrated speaker pockets as well.
The Qualifier DLX also has a Velocity Flow Ventilation system with FlowAdjust that ensures proper air circulation that helps cool the rider even during scorching hot temperatures. A dark smoke shield is also a part of the package, which is anti-fog and offers UV protection.
Lightweight polycarbonate/ABS shell
Removable and washable interior padding
Velocity Flow Ventilation system
Dark smoke shield
- ModelBell Qualifier DLX Helmet – Blackout
- Weight4.85 lbs
Best Motorcycle Helmets Buying Guide & FAQ
So there you go – our top list of motorcycle helmets in 2018. Hopefully, this list alone will be enough to help you purchase the right helmet for you or your friends and/or family. But, if it isn’t, and you’d like more information on what makes a good motorbike helmet - have no fear, as we’ve not only prepared this handy little buying guide, but we’ve also answered some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) down below. So read on, inform yourself and find the best motorcycle helmet today.
Things to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Helmets
Buying a motorbike helmet is like buying anything else – there are multiple factors you should consider before you even think about purchasing a specific product. For instance, if you enjoy the latest trends in technology, you probably want to focus on helmets that feature at least some aspects of technology, such as integrated communication systems. On the other hand, if you’re more of a traditional biker, you may want to concentrate on finding the best basic helmets. In any case, there are things you should consider when buying a motorbike helmet, and your preferences are just a part of the picture.
- Protection Features
The main purpose of a helmet is to protect you against potential crashes and falls. Of course, motorcycle helmets also help protect you against elements, including rain and snow, but also road noise and pollution. To do all that, a helmet needs to be made of certain kind of materials and engineered in a specific way. For example, if you’re into races, you want to go for maximum protection, meaning full-face, durable helmets that are made from energy and shock-absorbing materials. They should preferably be SNELL certified.
If, on the other hand, you’re using your motorcycle from time to time and always on safe roads, you can go for half-helmets that are usually a bit more comfortable. Still, these helmets too need to be able to protect your head against potential falls or crashes, so they most certainly need to have their certifications.
If there is anything you take from this buying guide, take this – NEVER buy non-certified helmets. In order to be able to protect riders, helmets need to go through certain testing and pass local regulations. They have to have DOT, ECE, AUS or SNELL certification.
A good motorbike helmet should not only protect you but also fit comfortably – if it doesn’t, it probably isn’t the right size. Sometimes, no matter how good a helmet is, it can be a wrong fit for your head – even if it’s a perfect size. If you run into this problem, our advice is to look for another style or even a different brand. Some helmets simply work better with certain head shapes. It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. What’s important is not to force yourself to wear an uncomfortable helmet as it can lead to headaches and neck problems.
So, what does a comfortable helmet feel like?
- Snug around your forehead and skull, but not uncomfortable
- Comfy around your cheeks
- Lightweight on the entire skull
And what should a comfortable helmet never do?
- Pinch your temples
- Wiggle around your chin
- Push hard on the crown of your head.
Basically, a comfortable helmet, no matter if it’s a full-face, half-face or any other type, will protect you while sitting tight, but not too-tight on and around your head.
Besides these basic things, a helmet can also help circulate air, thereby keeping you cool and more comfortable, have extra thick inner linings to help keep your face comfortably snug, and come with various straps and additions, such as chin straps, wind collars, etc. So, don’t forget to look for specific features if want a specific level of comfort.
While price doesn’t always equate quality, when it comes to helmets, it’s important to understand that usually a price is influenced by important things, meaning you don’t want to buy the cheapest helmet you can find – ever. Here is why - a price of a headgear is a result of:
- Materials used
- Technology integrated
- A name/brand.
Obviously, if you don’t care about technology and you just want a no-nonsense helmet, you’ll pay less then someone who does. It’s the same thing with the brand – if you don’t care about wearing a famous name on your helmet, it’s likely you’ll pay less than those who do. Saying that, it’s always a good idea to purchase from reputable (not the same as famous) brands.
But when it comes to materials and certifications, you do not skimp. If you’re into racing, you absolutely should be prepared to pay more for a good-quality helmet that will be able to protect you against potential falls or crashes (a helmet made from carbon fiber, for example, although super-protective, is also more expensive). As for certifications, as we mentioned before, a good helmet needs to pass certain regulations. In North America, you’ll see DOT certified, in Europe ECE. If you’re looking for maximum protection, go for SNELL certified helmets.
In any case, if you’re a beginner and you’re buying your first helmet, it’s reasonable to spend between $150 to $300.
Benefits of Using a Motorcycle Helmet
Did you know that driving a motorcycle is around 26 times more dangerous/more likely to result in a driver’s death than driving a car? It’s true, and the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes are head injuries. But you know what can protect your head even in crashes or serious falls? Motorcycle helmets.
A helmet has one main purpose – to protect you against injury and death. It’s no small feat, clearly! But helmets are very efficient at what they do– in fact, it’s estimated they’re around 37% effective at preventing fatal injuries to motorcyclists. So make sure you always, always have your motorbike helmet on while on the road.
Nothing compares to the thrilling experience of riding a motorcycle – unless it’s raining or snowing of course, and then it’s just frustrating and you’re counting the minutes ‘till you’re at your destination. But with a good helmet on? It’s a breeze. Motorcycle helmets help protect you against the elements, including extremely high temperatures as most have some forms of ventilation systems that enable proper air circulation. With a good helmet on your head, you can say goodbye to wind-caused headaches, face sunburns and wet, cold hair.
Last but not least - let’s just face it, riding a motorcycle adds that cool factor to any personality. And if you also wear a sleek, fashionable helmet that allows you to listen to your favorite music (and if we’re being honest, act like you’re in your own music video)? That cool factor gets multiplied. A good-looking helmet instantly makes people more confident, and as a result, better-looking!
Motorcycle Helmets Types
Helmets come in various shapes, sizes and styles, making it easy to find the one that is just right for you specifically. There are six main types of helmets, including the full-faced ones, open-face ones, half-helmets, modular ones, off-road helmets and dual-sport helmets. But how is one supposed to pick the right type? First, consider your own needs – where do you plan to ride your motorbike and how often? What style do you prefer? How much are you willing to pay?
To help you find the right type of helmet, we bullet-pointed these six types, explaining each in a little bit of detail.
- Full-face helmets
These are probably the most common types of helmets. As their name suggests, they cover all of your face, which makes them the most protective of the bunch. Obviously, these helmets do not cover your eyes, so they come with visors – some are clear, others are anti-fog and offer UV protection. Also, some full-face helmets have integrated electronics, such as communication systems, Bluetooth, etc. The more elaborate the helmet, the more expensive.
- Open-face helmets
Just as their name implies, these helmets do not cover the face of the rider, which makes them less protective than full-face ones. Of course, if you’re a scooter rider or a cruiser, this type of helmet is all you really need. They’re lightweight and comfortable during regular sunny days, but since they don’t provide eye protection, you’ll sometimes need glasses or goggles depending on the season and weather.
- Modular helmets
Modular, or flip-up helmets are basically a combination of full-face and open helmets. They allow the rider to remove the lower section of the helmet, thereby offering great versatility. You want to grab a bite but not bother with removing a helmet? Just flip up the lower section and there you go. Although really convenient, these helmets are considered to be less safe than full-face ones because they have a flexible (flip-up) mechanism in an otherwise solid, sturdy structure. Also, they’re more heavy.
Similar to the open-face helmets, the half-helmets cover only a small, but the most important part of your head-brain. But they’re even smaller than open-face types, as they cover the rider’s head from the top of his or her forehead to about halfway down the back of his or her head. They’re comfy and compact, very popular among vintage and cruiser riders.
- Off-road helmets
Off-road helmets or motocross helmets look similar to the full-face ones. However, since they’re designed for dirt riding, they’re quite a bit different – for one, they maximize ventilation while minimizing weight, and two, they’re not exactly soundproof, which makes them uncomfortable for highway riding. Also, they typically don’t come with built-in shields, so you have to use glasses or goggles while riding.
- Dual-sport helmets
These helmets fall somewhere between full-face and off-road helmets, as they have great ventilation but also come with a sun visor and have some sound-proofing abilities. For this reason, these helmets are quite versatile – they can be worn both on and off-road, and are a great pick if you’re into dirt riding and some regular highway riding.
Best Motorcycle Helmet FAQ:
Q: How do helmets work?
A: With their strong, durable shell, and thick comfort paddings, helmets are able to protect riders from serious injuries and even death. Obviously, there are many types of helmets, and some are better at protecting the wearer’s head than others, but all helmets are designed and built with some basic principles in mind:
- Hard, rigid outer shell, whose function is to protect the rider’s head from hitting the pavement.
- Crushable layer, which is a layer most helmets have, is a thick foam sitting right under the hard outer shell and whose function is to scatter the energy and shock so it doesn’t directly impact the rider’s head.
- Comfort layer, which most helmets also feature, is a thick, cushion-like interior that makes the helmet snug and comfortable.
Q: Why should you replace your helmet every five years?
A: A helmet has one main purpose – to protect your head and brain from injury. It’s like an eggshell in that aspect – a hard shell that protects the valuable cargo inside. But what happens when that outer shell cracks? You know the answer to that question, and it’s not fun. Suffice to say, you do not want your helmet to have any cracks, no matter how tiny.
That’s why most helmet manufacturers recommend replacing helmets every three to five years – because that’s how long they can guarantee their product will remain strong and in good condition. But that’s only if you haven’t been in a crash – if you have, you most definitely want to replace your helmet, even if you bought it yesterday. Sure, your helmet may not have any visible cracks, but even microscopic cracks, those invisible to the naked eye, can pose a serious safety risk if you end up in a crash again.
Q: How can I test a helmet?
A: Wear, age and damage can all affect your helmet’s ability to do its job. That’s why it’s important to:
- Check your helmet’s birthday – even if it hasn’t been in any accidents, replace it after 5 years
- Closely inspect the outer shell for deep scratches, tiny cracks and other signs of trauma
- Remove and inspect the inner liner and also check for EPS damage
- Inspect all straps, especially the chin strap
- Check the visor for serious scratches or cracks.
Q: How does a helmet help prevent brain injuries?
A: Trauma to the brain occurs as a result of an impact, whether it’s from a fall or crash, it doesn’t matter. A good helmet will not only protect you from such impact, but absorb and disperse shock and energy from directly impacting your head and brain. The helmet is able to do that thanks to its hard, rigid outer shell, crushing layer and interior padding.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 39% and the risk of head injury by 69%.
Q: What should I do to take care of my motorcycle helmet?
A: Like all things, helmets need proper maintenance to be in top shape and good at their job. Luckily, it’s easy to take care of a motorbike helmet, independent of its type or age (unless it’s older than 5 years, in which case it’s time to toss it). Here is how:
- Clean it often – the more you use your helmet, the more often you should clean it.
- Clean it properly – use only what the label indicates, and if it doesn’t say anything, use only water and a mild soap.
- Store it smartly – never put your helmet near excessive heat, harsh cleaning fluids or fuel.
- Don’t accessorize it – certain glues, adhesives and straps can damage helmets so it’s best to keep it simple and clean. If you must accessorize, at least skip action cameras and never stick anything on your visor.
Our Top Pick
All the helmets featured in our Top 10 list are good-quality protective helmets that come at reasonable prices. But one product stands out – the TORC T14 Bluetooth Integrated Helmet. This helmet has it all – it’s super-safe (DOT and ECE certified), comfortable to wear, comes with a drop-down anti-fog and anti-scratch visor and it features some pretty neat integrated electronics. It’s a perfect motorcycle helmet for most bikers, even the really picky ones. Also, it’s affordable – a real winner in our book!
- Head Injuries: Why Motorcycle and Bicycle Helmets Should Be Mandatory – HuffPost
- The Do's and Don'ts of Bike Helmet Care – ConsumerReports
- Choosing the best motorbike helmet style – DrivingTests