Picking the right motorcycle helmet can be easy
Welcome to one of life’s greatest adventures. No matter if you ride a sportbike or a cruise as a pleasure seeker or commuter, riding on two wheels is a phenomenal experience designed to give you years of enjoyment and satisfaction.
Before you fight traffic with cars or plan that weekend excursion on backcountry roads, you will need to invest in some very important equipment – namely riding gear. Body protection is a must when riding your motorcycle or cruiser so that you are going to want to do same before grabbing any ‘ole helmet.
You will probably notice a motorcycle helmet looks way much different from a dirt bike or motocross helmet. Helmets designed for motorcycles and cruisers are more round without the extended chin protection needed for dirt bike riding. In addition, you have a variety of choices depending on your preference:
- Full Face
- Dual Sport
- Half Shell
- Open Face
More info, you can find on our best motorcycle helmet page. No matter if you are a seasoned rider looking to replace or upgrade an existing helmet or you are just kicking off – Outdooractivityaccessories’ motorcycle helmet buying guide is designed to provide you with more info and take some of the heavy lifting out of finding the right helmet for you. Let’s start.
What will the helmet be used for?
Are you a beginner?
If you are new to motorcycle or cruisers, a high-end, high-priced helmet loaded with features may not be the best purchase. Getting your feet off the ground and adapting to the bike is important so as to decide whether riding on two wheels is the hobby and transportation method for you.
Do you plan on riding a lot or commute to work?
If riding is your everyday transportation or you take weekly road trips, higher end helmets may prove to be more comfortable and offer better dynamics and reduced wind noise.
Are you going with a group?
Many bikers join riding groups and if you have not already done so eventually you will pal around with others and find group riding improves the overall experience. One key element to group riding is communication and you will want a helmet with built in communication provisions.
What features are you looking at?
- Helmet Weight
Helmets typically range in weight from 1400 to 1800 grams. The key to weight is a properly fitting helmet so the weight is distributed evenly around your head and shoulders. If the center of gravity is off a lighter helmet can feel heavier and strain your neck. Modular helmets often weigh more than a Full Face because of the apparatus installed to flip up the visor.
- Helmet Construction
What the helmet is made of influences a number of factors including weight, comfort and safety rating. Polycarbonate, Fiberglass composite and Carbon Fiber compose most helmets.
- Optional features
Today’s helmets offer numerous technological advances. Features like integrated sunshade, wind reduction measures and communication provisions all serve to improve the riding experience.
Consider Helmet Safety Ratings
DOT – The United States Department of Transportation sets a minimum standard level of protection for helmets
ECE22.02 – The U.N. Economic Commission for Europe sets a standard level of protection for helmets in Europe
Snell 2010 – A non-profit in the United States founded after the death of Pete Snell, a sports car racer who died from head injuries.
You can frind myriad of articles debating the merits of Snell’s stringent standards over the government’s guidelines and whether or not a helmet with Snell certification is better than DOT or ECE. The bottom line is every helmet Motorcycle sells meets or exceeds the standards set by DOT. We also introduce helmets certified by ECE as well as helmets manufactured to meet Snell Standards.
Helmet Size and Head Shape
How to measure your helmet size
A properly fitted helmet can play a major role in the outcome of an accident. The first step in finding a motorcycle helmet is deciding your head size.
- Wrap a soft measuring tape around your head about a half inch above your eyebrows, above your ears and around the back of your head at the largest point. It is best to have assistance when measuring.
- Compare your head size with the specific motorcycle helmet manufacture?s size to find a match. Each motorcycle helmet manufacture provides different sizing charts for their helmets so you will need to compare your helmet size to each brand’s sizing.
- Try the helmet on before using it. The helmet should sit squarely on your head with the top of the helmet’s eye port just above your eyebrows. A properly fitted motorcycle helmet will not go on easy at first but loosen slightly as it is broken in.
- If the helmet moves or your fingers fit easily between your head and the helmet you’ll likely need a smaller size.The helmet should fit snug around your head and face with no pressure points. If desired, the check pads can then be adjusted for better fitting.
Additionally, you MUST determine your head shape. A perfectly sized helmet may fit snuggly on one rider but loose or uncomfortable on another. Head shape is just as important as head size. Some manufacturers factor in the following shapes when making their helmets:
- Long Oval – This shape resembles a more oblong head that is longer front to back and narrow side-to-side
- Intermediate Oval – This shape closely resembles a round head with a shorter front-to-back and wider side-to-side than the Long Oval. Most companies make their helmets Intermediate Oval.
- Round Oval – This shape resembles an oblong head that is longer side-to-side rather than front-to-back like the Long Oval.
Helmet shape contributes to overall comfort and safety. A correctly-sized helmet that doesn’t fit right is cumbersome and does not offer the same protection as a correctly sized and fitted helmet. For more info, please visit our best motorcycle helmet buying guide page.
What Type of Bike Do You Ride?
Riders on these bikes typically prefer Modular helmets which allow you to raise the face shield and some incorporate elements to raise the entire front of the helmet.
Cruiser riders generally enjoy the breezy style in the Half Shell helmet. This is a minimalist helmet for the casual rider.
Old School Bike
These riders hearken back to yesteryear for the old days of motorcycle riding using an Open Face helmet. It offers more protection than a half-shell and provides a big nostalgia factor.
A full face helmet is the norm for sportbikers. Full face helmets offer elite all-around protection with a solid chin bar and flip-up shield. These are the safest helmets.
Price is likely one of the first things you?ll consider especially if you are a beginner. Price does not necessarily mean a better helmet or even a safer helmet. Price is often reflected in the materials used and the number of features. For example, a helmet constructed of carbon fiber will typically cost more than a polycarbonate helmet. An Open Face Helmet with a face shield option costs more than an Open Face without a shield option and so on.
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