Last Updated on January 6, 2022 by Stephen Paul Robertson
Weighty motorcycle helmets are dreaded by all motorcyclists. They bring along sore necks that will prevent people from comfortably going along with their day-to-day activities. Such helmets also discourage people from wearing this awfully important head safety gear on long rides.
Why buy something that you despise wearing?
Instead, it is best if you look for a motorcycle helmet that is not too weighty. To do this, you need to ask yourself several questions.
How much does a motorcycle helmet weigh? Will lightweight helmets provide proper protection? Are weighty helmets better?
We will answer all these questions for you. All you need to do is stick with us till the end!
How Much Does a Motorcycle Helmet Weigh?
One cannot simply state a value to answer this question. This is because different types of motorcycle helmets are present in the world, which all have different volumes and weights. For example, full face helmets weigh a lot more than half helmets as they cover the entire head and thus, use more material. Other than these, visors and sizes also play a major role in determining the weight.
When it comes to talking about averages, open face helmets (also known as ¾ helmets) will weigh around 3 lbs. The weight of the visors or face shield along with the EPS foam and outer shell contributes to this.
- Off-road helmets and dual sports helmets weigh a little more than open face helmets but lesser than full face helmets. This is because they have a bigger face shield and very thin chin bars.
- Full face helmets tend to be weightier as they provide more coverage. Chin bars, outer shell, and built-in visors are present, which sum up to weigh something around 3 or 4 lbs.
- Modular helmets tend to have a weight similar to that of full face helmets. Sometimes, however, the weight will exceed 4 lbs due to the hinge system that connects the chin bar to the outer shell.
The lightest (while also being the least protective) of all are half helmets or beanie helmets. On average, they will weigh around 2 lbs, which often ends up preventing them from meeting legal requirements.
Significance of a Motorcycle Helmet’s Weight
An uncomfortable motorcycle helmet can increase the chances of getting into an accident. It gravely distracts and inconveniences the rider, causing them to lose focus on the road.
The weight of a motorcycle helmet can cause a major impact on the user’s experience. A motorcycle helmet that distributes its weight equally over the motorcyclist’s head causes no strain to the neck. It also prevents the creation of pressure points, which will otherwise leave red marks on the skin and cause a throbbing ache.
Many people think that a heavy helmet protects the head better. This, however, is far from the truth. A weighty motorcycle helmet manages to exert a bigger blow to the head during accidents. This increases the risk of head or traumatic brain injuries that can leave a permanent scar on your entire life.
This is why nowadays you will notice that most of the expensive motorcycle helmets are lightweight. Weighty motorcycle helmets, on the other hand, are considered to be cheaper.
Hence, while purchasing a motorcycle helmet, remember that the weight is not directly proportional to a helmet’s safety. Instead, what you need to look for is the load distribution.
A helmet that evenly distributes its mass will not cause an impact load. Impact load that is applied on a small portion of the head within a short span of time has the capability of increasing the fatality rate.
Things that Contribute to a Helmet’s Weight
We have already hinted that three factors affect a helmet’s weight. These include the materials used to manufacture the helmet, its size, and mass distribution. Let us elaborate on each topic one by one!
Motorcycle Helmet’s Material
A motorcycle helmet has several parts, which include the outer shell, a middle foam layer, the inner lining, visor or face shield, and a retention system. All of these contribute to its weight.
When it comes to a helmet’s outer shell, thermoplastics are commonly used; ABS is an ideal candidate. Such materials require a thick layer to meet the protection standards and thus, tend to be weighty. Polycarbonate is yet another weighty material that is often used to manufacture such helmets. These helmets are not as comfortable to wear, meaning they are sold at cheaper prices.
Expensive motorcycle helmets, in contrast, are made of composites. This consists of materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber, or Kevlar weaved together by hand. The resulting layer is always lightweight while providing increases protectivity.
One thing that both cheap and expensive motorcycle helmets have in common is the EPS foam layer. This does not add too much to the helmet’s weight but provides an excellent shockproofing ability.
A helmet’s interior consists of inner linings, cheek pads, and in some cases, speaker or headphone pockets. These are basically foams packed within synthetic materials. They contribute lesser to the helmet’s weight than the EPS foam layer while providing a lot of comfort.
Helmet visors and face shields are made of polycarbonate. Usually, helmet visors are not made too thick to avoid haziness. This also ensures that too many digits are not added to the helmet’s weight.
Motorcycle Helmet’s Size
As you probably know, motorcycle helmets come in a huge range of sizes to accommodate a wide range of customers. Sizes are denoted by letters and as you could have guessed, larger sized ones use up more material and thus, weigh more.
As somebody wearing a larger sized helmet has a big head, the weight is evenly distributed. This ensures that big-headed people are not exposed to more risks.
Read Also: What Size Helmet Do I Need
Motorcycle Helmet’s Load Distribution
A helmet’s load or mass distribution affects how the user feels about its weight. A helmet whose weight is evenly distributed throughout the rider’s entire head will seem lightweight. It will be comfortable to wear and cause no aches.
Alternatively, helmets that have poor weight distributions do nothing but frustrate the wearer. They apply pressure upon certain areas and cause extreme strain. People who go on long rides or wear helmets regularly dread having to wear such headgears.
Anatomy of a Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
A lightweight motorcycle helmet is bound to be made of certain materials. The outer shell should be weaved out of composite fibers like fiberglass, carbon fiber, or Kevlar. These need to be done by hand and usually, a combination of fibers is used to enable the individual plus points of each material.
When it comes to light thermoplastic, ABS is commonly used. You can simply melt the material, place it in a mold and then wait for it to harden. As the process is easier and the material is more available the cost of manufacturing is reduced.
In a lightweight motorcycle helmet, after the outer shell comes the foam layer. This is filled with polystyrene foam or expanded polystyrene. They prevent the penetration of any sharp tips during an accident.
Lastly, there is the inner padding layer. This layer is made of foam and is usually interchangeable. Different sized linings are available, letting the wearer choose whichever they deem to be suitable.
If you are looking to invest in a motorcycle helmet that will cause you no strain, then these are the materials you need to look for.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Lightweight Motorcycle Helmet
Motorcycle helmets are pretty much the only road safety gear that has managed to make a decrease in fatality statistics. Hence, while choosing one for yourself, seek all the right elements to access unlimited protection!
Finding the right size
A motorcycle helmet that does not fit does more damage than good. So, before you get on your ride and visit stores in search of motorcycle helmets, find the helmet size that is suitable for you. To figure this out, you need to find out the circumference of your head.
Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your head. Make sure it is leveled around your head and take the reading in inches or centimeters. You can now use this reading and run it through size charts provided by manufacturers to identify your helmet size.
Choosing the Right Type of Motorcycle Helmet
One should refer to their usage in order to choose the right type of motorcycle helmet. If you are a user who rarely rides their bike on busy roads, then a half helmet or open face helmet will serve you well. As chances of getting into an accident are less, you can prioritize comfort.
However, if you are a regular rider who often uses a motorcycle on busy roads, choose full face helmets. These minimize the risk of injury by 69% and thus, offer more protection.
Before choosing, you also need to look into the laws of your state. Some places will not allow half helmets or even ¾ helmets so wearing them will get you fined.
Performing Fit Checks
Once you have chosen a helmet, try it on and make sure that it is snug and cozy. As we stated in several of our other articles, a motorcycle helmet should not be tight or cozy. Check this out to learn more about how snug a motorcycle helmet should be.
You can perform several fit checks like moving your head around, trying to widen your jaws, chewing gum, etc. Take time to identify helmets that seem ideal and make sure none of them create any pressure points. The helmet should also not be loose enough to move around on its own.
Expensive and cheap motorcycle helmets are both capable of protecting the heads of motorcyclists. So, there is no need to splurge on a motorcycle that you cannot fully afford. Here are some of the best budget motorcycle helmets that you can check.
Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards
Looking into types and materials all together can get a little confusing. If you are struggling to understand which helmet is safe for you, then simply check out the tests they have passed.
DOT-approved helmets are the ones that are considered to be safe enough for usage on the road. They are thus also legal to use in all states. To be more thorough though, you need to look into helmets that have passed the tests set by the Snell Foundation or ECE. Such tests are rigorous meaning helmets that get good scores are more likely to decrease risks for you.
If you have managed to find a lightweight helmet that passes all these conditions, then go ahead and make a purchase!
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a light motorcycle helmet weigh?
Weights of light motorcycle helmets will range somewhere around 1200 to 1600 grams. Keep in mind that helmets of size XL, 2XL, 3XL, etc. are going to be heavier.
Is 4 lbs heavy for a helmet?
Yes, 4 lbs helmets can be considered heavy by some. This is because many full face helmets come in weights that are around 3.5 lbs.
How much do Arai helmets weigh?
Arai helmets usually have a weight that will range between 1400 to 1800 grams. Their full face and open face helmets are the lightweight options that you can choose from.
What is the best motorcycle helmet brand?
Bell, Arai, AGV, Shoei, HJC, LS2, etc. are some of the best motorcycle helmet brands. They each bring helmets to the market that have innovative protective technologies to protect customers.
Are more expensive helmets safer?
A helmet’s safety does not depend on its worth. Many cheap motorcycle helmets manage to pass safety standard tests proving to be as safe as their expensive counterparts.
Learn more: Expensive vs. Cheap motorcycle helmets
Now you know the answer to how much does a motorcycle helmet weigh. We have tried out best to provide you with all the necessary information, so take your time going through the article before a shopping spree. That way, you can bag the most lightweight motorcycle helmet for yourself. Have a safe ride!
Paul, a graduate from the University of California, has been a Safety Advisor for over 5 years in USA. Along with his other 2 partners, who are professional bikers, he has been the chief of the headsafetyguard.com to create mass awareness on an often neglected issue: HEAD SAFETY