Last Updated on November 1, 2021 by Stephen Paul Robertson
More than 1800 motorcycle riders were saved for wearing proper helmets in 2017, according to NHTSA. Can we take a moment to think about it? This often-ignored bike gear can save a life!
Accidents are not ever something anyone would be able to guess. And so, maintaining safety and wearing these essential gears are probably the most important concern any rider should have.
Now, we also know there are several types of motorcycle helmets with the basic goal of protecting the wearer. However, there are other areas to shine for these headgears as well.
And today, by exploring almost all types of motorcycle helmets, we would like to give you a complete picture of what options are there for you. So that making a choice, a sensible one could be possible. Keep Reading!
Chapter 1—Introducing 6 Most Popular Types of Motorcycle Helmet
We cannot take into account the numerous designs, styles, and shapes that existed till this date. As that would bring us to a lot of varieties of motorcycle helmets. And covering all of them would be, well, not practical.
But mostly, people are fond of using six sorts of helmets for their motorcycle. These are full face, modular, off-road, open face, dual-sport, and half helmet. And we’ve decided to go through those to give you an idea of what to expect in the market. Along with their good and bad sides, of course. Enjoy!
Full Face Helmets—The Safest Type of Motorcycle Helmet to Get
These are excellent at providing maximum coverage to not just your head but also the neck area. And you can say it’s the best type of motorcycle helmet to provide the ultimate safety!
Almost every style of rider prefers it over other types. As there is more than just one versatile factor about it. Getting great protection against probable impact is, of course, the main reason. But also, the fact that you can use it for any type of bike ride.
One thing that can feel a bit annoying, especially to those who live in pretty hot humid areas, is this type allows very limited airflow inside due to complete coverage. However, in wintery countries, this might become a positive thing. For example, it’s one of the most comfortable motorcycle helmets in the UK during winters.
If you must identify this one from all the other types of motorcycle helmet, then the chin bar can help. It’s by far the best distinguishing feature of a full-face helmet. And also, the reason behind why this type is so better at safety compared to other ones.
|Here’s a fact that might make you excited to grab a full-face helmet. During bike accidents, the area that faces almost 50% of impact (quite severe) is the chin. And the only type that can serve with max protection for both jaw and chin, is a full-face helmet|
Now, there are actually a few other types of full face motorcycle helmets as well. Yap, subcategories of this category. And these are:
- Dual Sport Full-Face Helmet.
- Off-road Full-Face Helmet.
- Street Bike Full-Face Helmet.
- Modular Full-Face Helmet.
Things That Are Good About It—The safest type, less probable weak spots, complete protection, very comfortable to wear, soundproofing benefits.
Things That Are Bad About It—Could feel hot on summery days, easy fogging.
Modular Helmets—Great for Those Who Hop In & Out Frequently
The next one we’ll talk about is the modular helmet, which is also known as the flip-up helmet. Another safe option to go for that actually serves a combo of full-face benefits as well as ¾ head coverage.
These are going to look like full face motorcycle helmet at first! But if you notice enough, the chin bar and visor come with the flexibility of opening the front area through flipping up. And that could be very helpful for those who don’t want to stay enclosed inside the helmet for the entire ride.
Usually, this helmet type would come with a visor. And the standard job of it is protecting rider’s eyes. This means sunlight cannot cause disturbance to the rider as well.
In areas that are of mixed climates, sometimes hot and other days cold, this type can work very well. Also, you might feel hot and cold throughout the ride. Flipping the front to open or close your face, that feature of modular helmet would be greatly helpful then.
Things That Are Good About It—convenient, no noise inside, great quality of protection, versatile enough.
Things That Are Bad About It—Usually heavy, less protection for chin area, and still less secure than full-face type.
Off-road Helmet—Well Ventilated, Lightweight & Meant for Kobby Tire Terrains.
Also known as the Motocross helmet, it’s one of the types of helmet that would go fabulous with certain terrain rides. Dirt roads could be one. Then the ones that require knobby tires. Basically, anything that goes away from the street. Off-road naming comes from this quality, actually.
However, it’s not one of those types of motorcycle helmet you can use on city or highways comfortably.
The great thing about this type is that there’s a range of composite options here. This includes carbon fiber, fiberglass, and also Kevlar. If you are not already familiar, these are great at offering not just strength but also help to keep the weight lighter on your head and neck.
|So, you hardly need to worry about fatigues from long days of riding with off-road helmets. To get the deal sealed in the best way possible, pair it with nice goggles set. That would just be perfect full-face protection.|
However, do keep in mind that this one won’t give much support for everyday rides. Usually, there’s no visor and lack of insulation could also make colder days hard inside it. Soundproofing is also an area this type usually doesn’t do good at.
Things That Are Good About It – comfortable breathing, suitable off-road protection, enough ventilation, lightweight.
Things That Are Bad About It – Not great for cold days, only meant for off-roading, no visor usually.
Open Face Helmet – Scooter Riders & Low-Speed Bikers Love It!
Rides that allow the breeze to go all over your face are what some of us love. And that’s why most scooter riders as well as bikers who go with low speed prefer open-face helmets. It’s a classic in the helmet world!
|You have complete coverage on the back of your head. The same goes for the sides as well as the top of the head. However, the face is exposed and so you can enjoy the intimacy of wind throughout the ride. Lovely Right?|
Well, one thing is for sure that is not very lovely is that it lacks a structural chin section. So, if there’s a crash that takes place, your chin won’t have any sort of protection from it, even with the helmet.
Most open-face helmets come with an adjustable strap. And this goes right around the chin of the rider. To basically keep the helmet in place, one adjusts this fastener. Another great thing about this type is that the weight is very light.
Also, keep in mind, in areas that are pretty dusty, the helmet won’t be very helpful to keep you protected. You can buy a separate visor for protecting eyes. Some models, however, do include them.
Things That Are Good About It – Fabulous for enjoying the breeze on rides, feels light on the head, and comes with vintage aerospace concepts usually.
Things That Are Bad About It – No crash protection.
Dual Sport Helmet – Best of Both Off-road & Full-Face Needs.
Some people also call it the Adventure helmet, as with this one you basically cover more than just a few sorts of helmet usage. It falls somewhere between a full-face and off-road helmet. Full-face ones usually don’t come with a very large eye-protecting visor. But with this type, you are probably getting the facility.
And to use goggles without any problem, it also comes with a snap into up position feature. With an off-road helmet, the visor sometimes gets lifted due to wind. But that’s not the case here as it involves an aerodynamic one.
Another thing that makes a dual sport helmet better than an off-road type is that it does not have a protrusive chin bar. So, soundproofing would be great but don’t expect much airflow.
It’s also one of the types of helmets that comes with internal padding. So, comfort is there quite like a full-face helmet. Just the fact that it plays a perfect halfway point between both full face and off-road styles makes it fabulous for both off and on-road rides.
Things That Are Good About It – Great adaptability, safe, serve with multiple configurations, perfect road-to-trail type.
Things That Are Bad About It – Usually costly.
Half Helmet—When in Need for Minimal Head Protection but Excellent Air Flow
The Pudding Basin, or half helmet, is one of the affordable motorcycle helmets and it’s the last type on our list. Your head’s top section stays covered with this. However, the forehead to brow area would be exposed. And hence the naming.
Now, this already sounds like minimal protection. Why do people get it? Because it serves with great airflow. A few models might be a little extra generous with covering the neck back as well as ears. But mostly, the face is uncovered.
Compared to the full-face type, the protection is specifically low. But gladly, some of the half-helmets are DOT-approved. Due to less protection, the price point is also usually low.
Things That Are Good About It—Excellent airflow, very affordable.
Things That Are Bad About It—Low protection.
What Type of Motorcycle Helmet Should I Get—Let’s Help You Sum Things Up.
Feel sorted yet? Or are you still scratching your head wondering, what type of motorcycle helmet should I buy? Well, let’s summarize the whole point and try to solve your confusion, this time more specifically. Focus on the pointers given below.
- If your priority is getting a maximum safety-providing helmet that also excels in fewer hinges and does not lack comfort factor, then full-face helmets can be a great choice.
- Having to stay enclosed inside the helmet throughout the ride sounds too much. But ignoring safety is also not a preference. If that’s you, then route for a modular or flip-up helmet.
- You enjoy off-roading mostly and that’s the type of ride that you go for with the motorcycle. In that case, well ventilated off-road or motocross helmet would feel light on your head and fit perfectly for your needs.
- Rides with breezes could be your favorite and the open face helmet with its lightweight concept will fit perfectly for such needs. Just make sure you don’t need crash protection, which we wonder if anyone would deliberately excuse for tricky terrains (please don’t!).
- The dual-sport or adventure helmet would fit the requirement of those who wished to have some goodness from the full-face helmet and others from off-road type. It’s a great blend of both.
- Not the most flattering one in terms of protection, but still an affordable type for those who need airflow more than anything while riding.
Chapter 2—Importance of Buying the Right Helmet & Using It.
There are several places that don’t legally require you to wear a motorcycle helmet. But despite that, you should not skip wearing it. And the matter is so important that we cannot help but dedicate a whole section to convince anyone who is thinking otherwise. Just give us a few minutes and read the reasons.
Reportedly, you’ll have better chances of saving your life during crashes.
According to SCDPS’s reports, severe fatalities that were caused by motorcycle crashes had 66% of riders not wearing helmets. This tells how significant for the rider to stay prepared for a road crash is. And that is hardly going to be any close to complete without wearing a helmet.
Fewer risks of head injuries from accidents
At all costs, you must avoid a head injury because that often leads to coma, paralysis, and even death. And according to NHTSA, head injury risks can be reduced up to 67% if you chose to wear a proper safety helmet that got approval.
Sometimes a minor bump or blow can also result in serious consequences such as TBI (traumatic brain injury) and concussion. Not to mention the cognitive, physical, and emotional damage that accompanies the events.
It can safeguard your face, teeth, and even eyes.
If you take the initiative to find a motorcycle helmet that specifically target covering facial features, including eyes and teeth, then minor accidents can also be avoided.
Roads have flying gravel and dirt as well as rocks that can hit you in these delicate areas of your face. And that is not good news for obvious reasons. A helmet, however, would be able to protect you against all those flying stuffs as well as things such as tree branches and other objects.
Safe riding along with help in vision & hearing.
On the road, many sorts of sound can make it distracting for you to focus on riding. Such as winds as well as traffic noises. A helmet that comes with soundproofing will keep those unnecessary distractions low.
Also, not to mention the sun hitting your eyes, making it hard to see forward. Something that also can cause accidents. A proper helmet to deal with that issue can be a savior.
Because you want to be a good example to another motorcyclist as well
Wearing a helmet will not only keep you safe but also help in terms of other fellow rider’s security. Simply being an example to other riders will be a good deed from your side. And if someone gets encouraged to wear due to you, it’ll be a nice feeling, right?
How Do These Types of Motorcycle Helmet Keep You Safe from An Accident?
Helmets come with crushable foam layers. And this basically makes the gear capable of facing major crashes. As soon as a rider wearing a helmet hits a hard surface due to a crash, the foam layer would face the impact. This makes the foam crush and eventually, the energy from the crash comes under control.
It even extends the stopping time of your head. And it’s by 6 MS so that the peak impact on the brain can be lessened. To bear the foam together, helmets would come with a skin that is made of smooth plastic. And it helps in easily skidding on the surface of the crash. This prevents your head from jerking towards a stop.
We have two special suggestions for you to avoid crash resultant damage:
- Rough pavement and forward speed, if that ever is the scene, you must involve in making sure you wear a rounder helmet. These are usually better at skid.
- A crash sequence might not allow your head to stay inside the helmet. Unless it comes with proper straps. Make sure you invest in a well-fitting helmet that keeps your head on level.
Chapter 3—Other Essentials Apart From Types of Helmet To Know About.
Just information on the types of helmets won’t be enough. You must ponder over a few more things. Basically, what this chapter will be all about.
Things You Must Consider No Matter What Type of Motorcycle Helmet It Is
- Make sure the specific helmet type you chose meets the safety requirements. It should be recognized by anyone out of the three globally accepted safety ratings. DOT, ECE, and Snell.
- There are so many types of motorcycle helmet, but one thing that makes all useless would be lacking proper comfort and fitting.
- In the middle of a long ride, you suddenly get this annoying headache and who is to be blamed? That poorly fitting helmet with no comfort. So, keep exploring different types of motorcycle helmets that serve the purpose as well as blesses with max comfort and proper fit.
- Don’t miss checking on the inner foam material. Look at its quality, must be great, and justify the price of the helmet. Also, if it’s hypoallergenic or not, in case you have issues. Last but not least, laser-cut can maximize the chances of a fabulous fit. Having removing flexibility would make it easy to wash, so maybe consider that as well.
- A sudden crash just took place, and instead of hugging your head, the helmet slipped and fell. How vulnerable? But there are some motorcycle helmets that might make it happen. Unless your priories have a D-ring strap. Please do! And yes, you can ditch buckles and go for it. These are better at serving the purpose.
Never Understate Proper Motorcycle Helmet Size.
And for that, you need to measure your helmet size. Quite similar to how hat sizing works. Use a fabric measurement tape for that. Let it go across the forehead. And make sure the tape stays slightly above the eyebrows, around one inch should be good. Then just get the measurement and refer to manufacturer-provided conversion charts to find your size.
Keep in mind that not all motorcycle helmet brands follow the same size chart. So, make sure you ask for the chart and then choose the size according to where you’re buying from.
Here’s a general sizing guide for an idea:
- 63 to 64 cm = Double Extra Large.
- 61 to 62 cm = Extra large.
- 59 to 60 cm = Large.
- 57 to 58 cm = Medium.
- 55 to 56 cm = Small.
- 53 to 54 cm = Extra Small.
- 51 to 52 cm =Double Extra Small.
How Tight Is Too Much Tight—Proper Fit Key!
The helmet is too tight and not the right fit if:
- it is not comfortably snug.
- causes pressure points.
- there are side-to-side movements while riding.
- there are up and down movements while riding.
The Anatomy of the Safest Motorcycle Helmet
Different types of motorcycle helmet would slightly differ in individual anatomy. However, if we have to imagine the world’s safest motorcycle helmet, then it should contain anatomy like such:
- A well-made outer shell that can keep the head safe from any impact as well as abrasion. No outer objects shall penetrate through it, such as insects or rocks.
- Shock and impact absorbing liner that help the outer shell to prevent any object from entering the helmet.
- Head resting comfort padded layers that are often seen in cool motorcycle helmets allow airflow and sweat reduction.
- Chinstrap included in a retention system that consists of dual d-rings. These are usually seen in several motorcycle helmets for keeping the chin area safe from crash-related injuries.
- Visor or shield for face to keep debris and bugs away during rides.
- Additional protection provides cheek pads that comfortably rest against the rider’s cheeks.
Most Recognized Helmet Safety Standards.
Different types of motorcycle helmet would carry varying safety standard recognitions. However, mostly it is one out of these:
- The DOT-certified ones are confirmed to perform on the basis of most basic as well as least margin features for safety. It focuses on skull safety, not face or chin, by the way. Most ADV or full-face types come with DOT certification.
- Helmets that contain the ECG 22.05 sticker are meant to guarantee safety from fatal events. It’s an extensive test resultant assurance and usually targets integrated safety features.
- The most respectable, SNELL M2015 ratings ensure that the helmet has golden quality standards for safety. It’s by far the best one and also because of such value, the helmets tend to cost more.
Deciding the Practical Budget—Don’t Spend Too Little on Your Safety.
Don’t make the mistake that a lot of beginner riders make. And it’s spending too little on this really important piece of safety gear. You should know by now why, after spending this much time reading on the safety relevance.
Now the question could be, how much exactly is a sensible budget for buying a decent quality motorcycle helmet for safety purposes. Here’s what we think.
|On average, the price of a motorcycle helmet would fall between 200 to 400 dollars. Beginners should invest in helmets ranging between 150 to 300 dollars as that budget pretty much ensures good quality. If you are really feeling it, and don’t mind investing in slightly expensive but confirmed above average quality features, then consider a budget between 400 to 750 dollars.|
However, there are also the basic ones that are as low as 80 dollars, but you cannot expect a great quality performance from them. While those who spend 700-750 dollars on helmets are often found never going back to the cheaper options. And you can only realize the reasons after actually using and experiencing one.
Chapter 4 – Frequently Asked Questions.
What type of motorcycle helmet is most comfortable?
The most comfortable type of helmet would be dual-sport helmets. As these are meant to come with extra padding, like the full-face type to allow your head to rest. Also, you can enjoy the breeze by flipping the front in case of limited airflow.
What is the safest type of motorcycle helmet?
Full-face helmets are one of the best & safest motorcycle helmet out there. If you get a model that includes complete had neck coverage, reduction of potential impact, and proper foaming, then it would be the safest helmet to get.
What type of motorcycle helmet is the best for beginners?
Modular, as well as full-face helmets, are two of the most beginner-friendly motorcycle helmets out there. These are great at protection as well as less restriction.
What type of motorcycle helmet is lightweight?
Off-road as well as open head helmets are two types of motorcycle helmet that are usually pretty lightweight. You can also find helmets of other types that are less heavy on the head though. The ones that don’t include dual visor design as well as chin bar reinforced are usually lighter.
What type of motorcycle helmet is the best for ladies?
Hard shell included ones are usually the preferable motorcycle helmets for ladies. However, some might prefer lightweight ones. It’s actually not about gender when choosing helmets. The characteristics one needs for a comfortable ride are what should be the focal point.
What type of motorcycle helmet is the best for a long ride?
The ones that come with good built-in quality, would feel light on the head, provide isolation from wind noise, and of course, comfortable is the perfect long-ride helmet to get.
How many years does a motorcycle helmet last?
Most of the well-made helmets should last you around 5 years. However, some manufacturers do suggest buying a new one every 3-5 years.
Does dropping a helmet ruin it?
Most of the motorcycle helmets are meant to withstand crashes, so no, dropping won’t ruin it. However, if that keeps happening frequently, then the performance shall degrade eventually. So, you should try to avoid drops and falls.
Is a motorcycle helmet still good after an accident?
If during the accident, you had your head stuck on anything, then most probably the helmet absorbed impact shock. You cannot tell how much though. And so, the effectiveness of that helmet will drop.
So, if it is possible, then go for a replacement. In case the protective layer has lost its integrity, then it won’t be very helpful at protecting your head in case of another accident.
So, you now know the 6 most common types of motorcycle helmet, the importance of wearing one, other choice-making essentials, practical budget deciding strategies, and a lot. Did it help? We really hope so!
The best type of helmet for motorcycle that you can get should be something fulfilling your riding necessities. And those are going to be also the key deciders of which type specifically you should buy. However, also think about the riding situations, weather, and terrains.
If there’s one thing you must take from this writing, then we feel it should be making sure the fit is right! That one thing often makes the potential best helmet work like poor disappointment due to continuous wobbling and uncomfortable feel. Hope that never becomes your case.
And on that note, we would like to take your leave. We will be back with some other essential riding pieces soon. Take care!
- Full Face vs. Modular Helmet
- Benefits of Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet
- How to Choose A Motorcycle Helmet
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