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What Motorcycle Helmet Should I Buy?
The most important thing to consider is fit; all helmets on our site have a size guide, so you’ll need to measure around the widest part of your head and select the appropriate size. Many manufacturers now do multiple shell sizes and removable internal padding to customize the fit. On new helmets the fit will be tighter, so wear it in and in no time you’ll have a perfectly fitting and comfortable lid. Generally the more expensive the helmet the better the aerodynamics and ventilation are, you’ll also find them to be lighter so look out for carbon-fibre shells as this will greatly reduce the weight. There are 2 usual types of chin strap; buckle and ratchet and DD ring, these fastenings in the EU will be red for the emergency services. Look for the “E” mark inside your helmet, this shows that the helmet meets EU standards and can be important in an off when claiming compensation. In the event of an off it’s really important to have your helmet checked out for damage and replace immediately if not fit for purpose. The expected lifespan of a helmet will generally be 5 years.
This is the most common type of helmet you’ll see, the design has been around since the early 70s and is great for preventing facial injuries in case of an off. The integrated visor gives protection from road dirt as well as rain and other external elements. Ventilation systems are important as helmets can get hot, ventilation systems will draw in cold air at the front of the helmet, pass it around the head and push out hot air through the back exhaust. Some helmets will also have ventilation at the chin to keep the face cool and to stop the visor from misting up; a common problem in the UK. Our preferred method of keeping the visor mist free is to look for Pinlock in the helmets we buy which is essentially a dual layer visor.
Nice extras you’ll see are integrated, flip-down sun visors which are perfect for changeable conditions, you can easily flip it up and down whilst on the bike, you more often than not be able to switch out the entire visor for a different tint of your choice, most come with a clear one. Noise levels are also greatly reduced when wearing a full-face helmet, manufacturers are testing their helmets in wind tunnels to minimize noise as much as possible because as we all know prolonged exposure to loud noises can affect hearing, and of course we’d always recommend wearing ear plugs as well.
Flip-front helmets will have a push button allowing you to lift the entire chin bar out of the way, this capability is great for when you’re riding around town at low speeds when it’s warm, or stuck in traffic giving you a wider field of vision or stopping to buy petrol, you won’t need to take the helmet off. Interestingly you’ll find that flip-front helmets tend to be the most quiet because of the lifting chin bar, manufacturers are able to cut the neck mould much closer as they don’t have to allow the whole head to pass through. Some helmets you’ll see will allow you to still use the visor whilst the chin bar is up rather than having to slip on a pair of goggles or sunglasses, other added extras will be things like an integrated sun visor as well.
Race helmets you’ll find have different needs to road helmets, aerodynamics and ventilation are the most important aspects with quietness and comfort coming second. You’ll find these helmets are more aggressively styled as well. It’s not recommended that these helmets are used on the roads even if they do look great with your bike! Off road helmets are open face and designed to be worn with goggles. They tend to have a big peak for keeping the sun off your face, a protruding chin bar for facial protection in the event of an off and plenty of ventilation to keep you cool.
Open face helmets are great for around town use, they’re light and compact and often have a visor or are to be worn with some sort of eye protection. These helmets of course have great air flow around the face as well as a wide angle of vision. A lot of people prefer these type of helmets because of the “freedom feeling” they give. We’d recommend that these helmets be used at lower speeds as without a chin bar the front of your face will not have much protection. These type of lids are great looking and complement the more classic 70s super bike or café racer style bikes perfectly.