Choosing the best motorcycle helmet for you is not something you want to do haphazardly. A motorcycle helmet can be the difference between life and death – and in many cases has been – so you absolutely must choose the best you can afford. There are a lot of things you need to know if you’re going to make an informed decision when purchasing a new model, and the sheer volume of information out there can become pretty overwhelming for even the most experienced of motorcyclist. Don’t worry though, because we’re going to do everything we can to help you out and make the process a little it more enjoyable.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the things you should keep in mind when you choose and present you with a list of the finest motorcycle helmets available today.
- 1 Why Should You Wear A Helmet?
- 2 The best Motorcycle Helmets
- 3 Conclusion
Why Should You Wear A Helmet?
I can’t believe I actually have to include this bit, but a surprising amount of motorcyclists decide against wearing a helmet when riding. On top of this, there are a worrying number of articles online which detail the “benefits” of not wearing a helmet. Now, I’m not going to say that there is absolutely nothing which can be gained from not wearing a helmet while riding a motorbike, but I will say that any such benefit is vastly outweighed by the benefits of wearing one, which include not dying.
Not only it will protect your head in the event of a crash, but it will also keep your face shielded from pieces of stray dust and stones. A good model will come equipped with a ventilation system, so you can ride for long periods of time without fear of overheating under the sun. This is a pretty big risk for those who wear subpar helmets and those who choose not to wear a helmet at all.
It should be noted that a good portion of the motorcyclists who choose not to wear a motorbike helmet do so because they don’t want to spend another couple of hundred dollars after depleting their bank account on the motorcycle itself. While this will indeed save a little bit of money in the short term, it is an incredibly short sighted way to look at the situation. Should you find yourself in a serious crash while riding without it, you are likely going to wind up with months, possibly even years, of medical treatment and consistent medical bills which will ultimately far exceed the money you initially saved by not purchasing a helmet. In order to avoid such great expenditure, you should stretch your wallet just a tiny bit more and get yourself a decent model.
Choosing Your Helmet
So we’ve managed to convince you that you need to get a motorcycle helmet after all – which again, we really shouldn’t have needed to do – how do you go about finding which one is right for you? Obviously, everybody is different and there are helmets out there which some people will absolutely love but just won’t feel right when you put it on your head. That’s fine, everybody is different. That being said, there are a number of things which you should take into account when trying to find the helmet which is right for you.
Motorcyclists are an odd group of people and come from all walks of life. A surprisingly low number of motorcyclists ride everyday and in place of driving a car or walking; you’ll be hard pressed to find a dentist or a librarian who rides to work on a Harley Davidson. Many people who need to maintain a professional image in their day-to-day life may find themselves relegating their love of motorbikes to the weekend, meaning they don’t have time to do a whole lot of riding. If you’re one of these people, you probably aren’t going to need a heavy-duty helmet (unless you’re planning to spend your time off riding down long stretches of highway). There are many models which are designed for hobby riders which are relatively inexpensive but will provide you with all the protection you’ll need while riding for an hour or less.
Of course, more dedicated motorcyclists will need to splash the cash and go with a helmet which is designed to be worn for long periods of time. Many of these models are pretty technologically advanced and come equipped with heightened protection against UV rays and incredible ventilation systems in order to ensure your helmet doesn’t start to overheat after some time riding in the sun. If you spend a great deal of time on your motorcycle, you should consider springing for a bluetooth helmet. A bluetooth model can cost considerably more than a regular one, but it will allow you to listen to music and GPS navigation while you ride. It will also make it possible to take and make phone calls without removing your hands from the handlebars for so much as a second.
Buying a motorcycle helmet is not unlike buying a coffee perculator or a new television; you’re always going to have a budget to adhere to. I mentioned already that some people may have exhausted their funds when they purchased the motorbike itself and will be so eager to ride it that they do so before saving up enough money to buy a helmet. Of course, that’s a terrible idea and anybody who tells you it isn’t should be avoided like the Plague.
Helmets can be pretty expensive, with some models going well beyond the thousand dollar mark, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a high quality model for an affordable price. If you set yourself a budget of $150, you will be able to find a sturdy and comfortable product within your price range. In fact, you will likely find the helmet for you for significantly less than the amount you set aside. We will detail some of the less expensive models on the market a little later on in this article and show you that there is no reason you can’t protect your head and your wallet at the same time.
Once you’ve decided on what kind of helmet you should go for, it is important to take the time to figure out what your size is. The importance of choosing the right size cannot be understated. Failure to do so is not like getting the wrong size in any other article of clothing. If you choose the wrong size of jeans, you can either wear a belt or maybe just go with it and hope you don’t embarrass yourself while going up for Communion; the worst that could happen is your ego will take a hit. Go with a poorly fitted motorcycle helmet, however, and you’re leaving yourself open for potentially life altering injuries.
Motorcycle helmets come in a variety of different sizes and generally begin at XXS and go all the way up to XXXL, so no guy can use that tired old excuse about being too big to use protection. To give you an idea of how the sizes work, a medium one (which a lot of people find themselves purchasing) comes in at 57-58 centimeters and 22.4/22.8 in inches.
Experienced motorcyclists may be tempted to forgo the measuring process and just buy the same size as the last helmet they purchased, but such a move is ill-advised. You can never be too careful when it comes to purchasing a motorbike helmet, so you should take the few minutes to make sure you have not gone up or down a hat size since your last helmet.
You ever try to fit a glove onto your foot? It’s pretty difficult, impossible even. This is the best way I can explain the necessity of considering the shape of your head before making a final decision as to which t is the one you want to spend your money on. Some motorcyclists may see this as a minor issue, but if you choose a helmet which goes against the shape of your head, you’re going to have a very uncomfortable, borderline painful riding experience. But if you get a helmet which compliments the shape of your head, you can be assured of pleasurable rides for years, safe in the knowledge that your helmet is resting tight on your head like a jigsaw piece finally placed in the centre of the puzzle.
If your head shape is somewhat unconventional, you may be a little less than enthused about searching for a helmet which suits it, but there really is no need to worry. Whether your head is round, narrow, or even reminiscent of Easter Island, there is a product which which fits it. The challenge is finding it.
The best Motorcycle Helmets
|4.||HJC IS-MAX II||88%|
|5.||1Storm Motorcycle Street Bike Modular||85%|
|6.||Fuel Helmets SH-FF0016||83%|
Now that we have discussed the factors which you should take into account when you set out to find the best full face motorcycle bike helmet for you, we can take a look at some specific models you should consider purchasing. In order to compile this list of the top motorcycle helmets, we have scoured the internet for reviews and the brands behind them, and have tapped into an extensive knowledge of motorbike helmets to determine which products may still be viewed as above average a decade from now.
Now, here are eight of the best motorcycle helmets on the market.
1. Shoei RF-1200
If you have done any research on motorbike helmet brands before coming to this article, it’s a safe bet that you are somewhat familiar with Shoei. If you’re not, let’s take a minute to discuss why you should be. Operating out of Japan, Shoei has been in business for half a century and is one of the foremost manufacturers of motorcycle helmets in the world today. Despite its global presence, Shoei employs only a small number of people, all of whom are experts in what they do and as a unit have been responsible for some of the most memorable products of recent years. One such helmet is the RF-1200.
The RF-1200 is one of the most durable models on the market, with the shell comprised of near impenetrable materials to ensure total piece of mind while riding. This can withstand a level of impact which was almost unheard of prior to its release.
While the RF-1200 does offer a fantastic ventilation system in order to allow air to pass through the model, it has not eliminated sweating entirely. To combat this, Shoei have fitted this product with a 3D Max Dry System II Liner, which is basically a buzz word loaded way of saying the inside of the model absorbs sweat so you don’t have to worry about it dripping down your face and obstructing your vision while you ride. While this is no doubt a bonus for those who will be wearing the product for long periods of time, Shoei did little to deal with the inevitable odor which comes as the result of a build up of sweat. For this reason, the product can develop quite an unpleasant stench, so you’ll have to stay on top of cleaning if you want to be able to enjoy wearing it.
2. HJC CL-17
The folks over at HJC have a pretty good track record. So good, in fact, that they could pretty much charge whatever they want for one of their helmets and sit back, safe in the knowledge that people are going to blow their savings on it due to the name alone. Thankfully, they haven’t done that, and have instead opted to focus on producing high quality products and selling them on for a fraction of the cost.
The HJC CL-17 offers incredible protection from the elements and the unthinkable, as well as an impressive number of bonus features. It boasts the same safety rating as some of the most popular motorcycle helmets around, but often sells for several hundred dollars less.
If you’re trying to keep your spending to a minimum but want the pride of owning a HJC product, the CL-17 is the one for you. You should also consider it if you are searching for a model which comes fitted with a state of the art ventilation system.
The CL-17 is equipped with one of the finest ventilation systems ever included in a motorbike helmet. The Advanced Channeling Ventilation System means this product offers full front to back airflow, which pushes heat right out of it.
As well as keeping you safe from heat, the HJC CL-17 offers protection from its source with a face shield which provides 95% protection from UV rays.
3. Shoei Qwest
The Shoei Qwest is the second model produced by Shoei to appear on this list and it only makes sense, especially when you consider the fact that Shoei has been responsible for a countless amount of high quality products. This model carries on Shoei’s tradition of quality and attention to detail.
In designing the Qwest, Shoei put a great deal of effort into making the product as lightweight as possible, which is no easy task if you want to ensure it can still withstand the impact of the most devastating of collisions. However, it seems that Shoei has managed to do it and the Qwest provides a near perfect balance of sturdiness and size (or lack thereof).
The Qwest boasts an aerodynamic shell design with a dual layer EPS liner in order to increase shock absorption. It also comes fitted with an enviable ventilation system which is intricate though simple to maintain and operate.
This product offers a level of protection against UV rays which is almost unheard of in motorcycle helmets, or even sunglasses for that matter. Those who choose to go with the Shoei Qwest can be assured of 99.9% protection from harmful UV rays.
4. HJC IS-MAX II
I like to have a bit of variety, so I don’t want to keep this list limited to just two brands, but we said we’d detail the very best bike helmets in this article, and it just so happens that a lot of them have been produced by Shoei and HJC.
This next product, the IS-MAX II, is of the HJC brand and it really isn’t hard to see why it is considered to be one of the best one on the market today.
The IS-MAX II is a modular helmet and brings together a number of advances in helmet technology in order to offer a variety of features, all of which are designed to make your riding experience more pleasurable than ever before.
The product comes equipped with a ventilation system which works together with an incredible moisture-wicking liner in order to ensure neither sweat nor foul odors build up inside the model.
It also boasts a drop down sun visor which will keep your vision clear and unobstructed during those particularly sunny days (it also promises 95% UV protection).
The IS-MAX II is a lightweight product, though the security which it provides is second to none.
5. HJC CL-16
Okay, just one more product from HJC and then we’ll start looking at helmets from other brands (and I don’t mean more from Shoei).
If you liked the HJC CL-17, the HCJ CL-16 will probably appeal to you also. While it is relatively inexpensive, this model offers a wide variety of features which a bike enthusiasts will appreciate and novices will be amazed by. For example, the HJC CL-16 boasts an Advanced Channeling Ventilation System which allows air to pass through the product while pushing the heat out of it.
The product is fitted with a Pinlock prepared face shield which offers protection from UV rays at 95%, which when combined with the ACS allows for a great riding experience even on the hottest day of the year.
The HJC CL-16 is Snell approved and is quite possibly the best product which you are going to find at this price. Seriously, you’re going to have your work cut out for you trying to find a brand new motorcycle helmet which offers the features of this one for a lower cost.
6. 1Storm Motorcycle Street Bike Modular/Flip up Dual Visor/Sun Shield Full Face
The 1Storm Motorcycle Street Bike Modular/Flip up Dual Visor/Sun Shield Full Face Helmet may be a mouthful – I’m not going to lie, I’m going to put a lot of effort into carefully avoiding mentioning this product by name again – but it is an extremely popular model among motorcyclists in 2016 and is the perfect choice for anybody just getting started.
Though the price is not so expensive, this helmet is DOT approved and offers a number of features which you would expect to find on a far more expensive model.
The thermoplastic alloy shell of this product is aerodynamic and lightweight, but is also extremely durable and can hold up in some of the most intense collisions imaginable – though if you plan to crash head first into things with any degree of frequency you should probably seek a more expensive model (along with professional help).
This product from 1Storm is equipped with lenses which will protect the wearer from the sun and wind, but loses nothing in terms of clarity.
Like I said earlier on, there are helmets for hobbyists and helmets for people who ride motorbikes for long distances on a daily basis. This product may be better suited to the former, but if you’re a regular motorcyclist and are looking for a model which you can donn for shorter trips to avoid your main helmet being worn out, this is as good a secondary one as any.
7. Fuel Helmets SH-FF0016
The SH-FF0016 from Fuel Helmets is another product which is perfect for bike novices and those who have to squeeze in their riding in the evenings and on the weekends. It is inexpensive (usually retailing at the fifty dollar mark), but is nonetheless sleek, sturdy, and hi-tech.
The SH-FF0016 comes with a fantastic ventilation system, which is pretty rare to find in a product of this price – in fact, it is nothing short of miraculous that a model in this price range has any sort of ventilation system at all. A dual vented defuser means there is a constant flow of air throughout the helmet and heat is handily expelled.
The wearer of the SH-FF0016 will never have to worry about sweat spilled in the helmet causing an unpleasant smell as the cheek pads can easily be removed and cleaned, as can the visor.
This product is available in a variety of different sizes and, like a violin allows for fine tuning, can be adjusted in order to fit your head like a custom made suit. This is a huge benefit as you will never have to worry about the helmet becoming even the slightest bit loose while you ride.
To bring you further piece of mind, Fuel Helmets’ SH-FF0016 meets or exceeds DOT safety standards.
8. Vega X888
The Vega X888 could be considered a dark horse among the best products, but it is arguably one of the top helmets available today. Most experienced motorcyclists like to stick to their favorite manufacturer as if it were a brand of cigarettes, so it can be pretty difficult to convince them to go with a different brand when it comes to buying a new one. The Vega X888, however, has managed to convert a great deal of HJC and Shoei devotees by offering an abundance of incredible features at an affordable price.
The Vega X888 has the ventilation system of a much more expensive model and the level of air flow can be easily monitored and controlled using the mouth and top vents. Vents at the cheeks and the rear of the helmet pull in air and push it throughout, while a vent located at the forehead helps to ensure a constant flow of air while you ride. All vents are sold separately and can be easily replaced. This also goes for the product’s face shield, which can be handily replaced by one of nine other tined face shields available.
Many who have tried the product have raved about the comfort which it provides. It is fitted with an anti-microbial liner which promises a snug fit and pleasant wearing experience regardless of how long you keep the helmet on for.
The Vega X888 is approved by the US DOT and comes with Vega’s usual one year warranty.
As you can see, there is no shortage of helmets vying for the title of Best Motorcycle Helmet. Obviously, we cannot simply pick one and say “This is undoubtedly the absolute best motorcycle product available and you should go out and buy it right now”. This article, however, is a fairly accurate list of helmets which are considered by motorcycle enthusiasts to be the best models on the market, so you can choose any one from here and know that you are purchasing a quality product.
That being said, there are other products out there which people are just as crazy about that we just couldn’t list here for time and length reasons, but we encourage you to go and check them out yourselves. Whatever helmet it is you go with, just make sure it fits and that you wear it every time you venture out on your motorcycle.