Last Updated on January 3, 2022 by Stephen Paul Robertson
Right after purchasing a motorcycle, what do you buy? That is right–a motorcycle helmet!
Motorcyclists are aware of the importance of motorcycle helmets. When faced with unfortunate events, helmets have the ability to make a difference between life and death. The risks of having your life scathed by head injuries and traumatic brain injuries are also decreased by 69%. However, this is not true for all motorcycle helmets, as not all will protect you properly.
What is the safest motorcycle helmet for you? Which type should you pick? What size should you choose?
We love helping out our readers! Hence, allow us to walk you through the process of purchasing a motorcycle helmet.
Which Is The Safest Type of Motorcycle Helmet?
When buying motorcycle helmets, users are presented with a sea of options to choose from. Trying to choose one can become extremely confusing and frustrating. At a time like this, you should start by selecting a type and narrowing your options down.
Below, we will name some types of motorcycle helmets that are considered being safe options.
Full Face Helmets
Outer shells cover the back and top of the head while chin bars safeguard the jaw. A little place is left open for the visors through which the riders can get a perfect view of the road. Users can also opt to get tinted visors, which will allow better vision during the day. The helmet ends at the wearer’s neck, but thanks to the vents, airflow is maintained perfectly.
When a full face motorcycle helmet is sported, wind noise is cut down gravely. As a result, users are kept away from hearing damage. The face is kept away from dust and debris, and the weather is unlikely to cause damage to one’s health.
One problem with such helmets though is the fact that they end at your neck. This makes them heavier than others and also more suffocating to wear. Many riders will choose to ditch the safety simply because of the feelings of claustrophobia that it brings.
Open Face Helmets
Unlike full face helmets, open face helmets have no chin bars or chin visors. The face is left completely exposed along with your jaw and neck. Nevertheless, it completely blankets the top and back of your head along with the sides. As it ends at the wearer’s forehead, many also tend to call such helmets ¾ helmets.
Although they are not as protective, open face helmets are approved by DOT and the law. Hence, they can be worn on the road. Such helmets are appreciated by the wearer for properly supporting ventilation. They let the air in and allow the riders to experience the unique feeling of freedom that motorcycle riding brings.
When such motorcycle helmets are worn, due to an open face, people are offered a full vision. The road can be clearly seen and you might as well get tinted face shields to avoid reflections. Inhaling and exhaling are made much easier as glasses don’t fog up, all thanks to the excellent airflow.
The problem with open face helmets though is they provide no protection in frontal smashes. Statistics have shown that they do little to prevent head or brain injuries. But, if you are willing to carry the risk to seek comfort, then you should choose them over other kinds.
Such helmets are known to be a blend between full face and open face helmets. They use a hinge system that allows you to lift the chin bar when needed. Riders are instructed to keep the visor down on the road and lift it during stops to communicate with others and allow better airflow.
Modular helmets bring along the benefits of open face helmets and full face helmets. The entire head is shielded during an accident. You can also lift the helmet at stops to communicate with others and access proper ventilation.
Despite eliminating the difficulties caused by full face and open face helmets, the modular helmet can be rather dangerous in some ways. The hinge system is known to be faulty and flips the helmet off the face when riding at a high speed. When this happens, wearers will end up facing ugly consequences. Getting into an accident is very likely as riders can get distracted. Their vision might also get blocked because of the chin bar flipping up. If the force applied to the head when the helmet lifts off is too large, the motorcyclist’s neck might even be twisted.
Dual-sport helmets are known to be a mix between off-road helmets and full face helmets. They are extremely stylish looking and often come in an aerodynamic style. This elevates the riding experience by making it smoother.
Face shields or visors on such helmets are large and so wearers have no trouble when it comes to vision. Several vents are available which allow maximum airflow and interior paddings offer a lot of comfort. Being lightweight acts as a big plus point since neck strain is reduced.
Just like with open face helmets, dual-sport helmets block out the wind. This prevents dirt from getting in and also cuts down harmful wind noises. It can be worn on both – the road and the track. Overall, it is as ideal of a choice as full face helmets.
Features of the Safest Motorcycle Helmet
To choose the best for yourself, you need to look into features that will keep you protected. Remember that you also need to seek a comfortable helmet. If your helmet causes aches and pains, it will distract you during the ride. Hindrances to a motorcyclist’s focus cause accidents.
Helmets can be made of different materials, each bringing in new features to the table. Some decrease the weight while others manage to absorb the shock of impact.
Inexpensive motorcycle helmets tend to be made out of thermoplastic. Manufacturers will use thick layers of these materials to make them more durable and impact resistant. If you are looking into helmets with a thermoplastic outer shell, then check out the ones made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). They offer resistance against dents and thus, safe-keep your head better.
When looking into helmets made of composites, you have various options to look into. Fiberglass, carbon fibers, and Kevlar are commonly used and some helmets will even weave all three materials together. Such materials are expensive but offer better protection. They distribute the energy received when the helmet faces force by flexing.
Always make sure that beneath the outer shell of a helmet, EPS foam is present. EPS–expanded polystyrene–is a thermoplastic foam that manages to absorb shock better than any other material.
When a part of the helmet faces pressure, the EPS foam absorbs the energy transferred to it and collapses. This causes a grave decrease in the energy transferred to the wearer’s head and reduces the fatality rate.
If your helmet does not stay on your head during a crash, then is it really protecting you?
So, before purchasing a helmet, make sure they have a good retention system. Some will have D-rings that will help in keeping the helmet strapped, while others will use quick release systems.
A weighty helmet will cause you discomfort. Your neck will be strained after a couple of days of usage and long rides will seem extremely draining.
As a helmet’s material affects its weight, make sure you pick the right kind. Helmet outer shells made with thermoplastic weigh more than those weaved out of composites.
Generally, helmets will weigh between 1400 to 1800 grams. Try to find something within this range to make sure the helmet is the right fit. Doing so will evenly spread out the weight on your upper body and decrease the burden on your neck.
Safety and Comfort Features
Paddings on the helmet interior seem like God’s gift from heaven. They will cushion your head most comfortably and prevent any pressure points from building up. However, it is best to look into helmets that have a removable lining. These can be swapped for new ones whenever required or washed to remove bad odors.
Paddings also make the helmet removal process a lot smoother. Although this might not seem important on a regular day, when you are in an accident, it can prove to be rather useful. Whilst removing the helmet from the injured head, you are a lot less likely to cause damage.
Tinted visors are another feature that you should consider spending your money on. These visors manage to keep UV rays out of your face and also make it easier to say. On extremely sunny days, reflections will cause no issues to your line of sight. However, if you are a night rider, then tinted visors might not be the best option for you.
Vents are a feature that will prevent suffocation upon wearing your motorcycle helmet. A good ventilation system will prevent the visors from fogging up and the insides of the helmet will seem a lot less humid.
Wind reduction systems are also gravely important. On extremely cold days, they prevent your face and neck from becoming numb. Less wind also equals to decreased wind noise, which will cut down hearing loss. Keep in mind that wind noise can be over 80 decibels, that means exposure for a long time may cause permanent ear damage.
Bluetooth systems installed into helmets can also be very useful. They will allow you to make proper communication with other riders and navigations systems can also be connected for a better riding experience. Motorcyclists can listen to music and podcasts to block out wind noises too.
Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) is a new functionality that is very beneficial. It consists of a slip-plane technology that will prevent your head from spinning and twisting upon impact. Rotational forces are decreased meaning injuries to the spinal cord or neck are cut down.
Choosing the Right Helmet Size for Yourself
Before purchasing a motorcycle helmet, you must identify which size is suitable for you. Start by measuring the circumference of your head using a measuring tape. Make sure the tape rests on your forehead to receive an accurate value. Once you are done with this, look into a motorcycle helmet size chart and find the perfect size for you.
Your motorcycle helmet should not be too tight or too loose. No pressure points should be built on any part of your head and it must not come off easily. There are several fit checks that you can perform before buying a perfectly sized motorcycle helmet. Check this out to learn about “how snug a motorcycle helmet should be“.
Is Snell or ECE better?
Both Snell and ECE have thorough testing systems. However, the ECE has updated tests that make it approved in most countries and states.
Is Snell safer than DOT?
Yes, DOT simply assures the motorcyclists that the helmet meets the standards. Snell, on the other hand, goes to extreme lengths to identify weaknesses and strengths.
Which type of helmet is safe?
Full face helmets are always considered to be the safest option. They can decrease the risk of injury by about 69%.
Are more expensive motorcycle helmets safer?
Expensive motorcycle helmets tend to be made of materials that have greater tensile strength. This makes them the safer option. However, in some cases, helmets are simply expensive due to the branding.
You are now aware of how to choose the safest motorcycle helmet for yourself! Use all the information provided to the best of your ability and protect your head at all costs.
Safety always comes first, but often enough, we are too short on money to pursue it. If you are looking for a low-cost motorcycle helmet, here are some amazing options for you.
With all necessary information being relayed, the time has come to bid you goodbye. 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