If you’re the proud new owner of your first motorcycle, welcome to the club! Now that you found your wheels, it’s time to find your first helmet. We know the motorcycle helmet market bursts at the seams with every make and model at every price point. How can you possibly decide what to buy? Here’s the basic information you need to know in order to get closer to your decision and find yourself the best motorcycle helmet for the money.
- Top 10 Best Motorcycle Helmets 2016
- Motorcycle Helmet Reviews
- Fuel Helmets SH-FF0015 Full Face Helmet Review
- IV2 Helmets Model 901 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet Review
- IV2 Helmets JX-F01 Series Graffiti Street Art, Full Face, Dual Visor Motorcycle Helmet Review
- Daytona Cruiser 3/4 Motorcycle Helmet Review
- Vega X888 Full Face Helmet Review
- O’Neal 5 Series Wingman Helmet Review
- Triangle Helmets Full Face Motorcycle Helmet Review
- BILT Techno Bluetooth Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet Review
- 1Storm Motorcycle Full Face Helmet Review
- Bell Qualifier Motorcycle Helmet Review
- Right Fit
- Helmet Configurations
- Safety Ratings
- Which Helmet for Which Bike?
Top 10 Best Motorcycle Helmets 2016
Fuel Helmets SH-FF0015 Full Face Helmet
|(4.4 / 5)|
IV2 Helmets: Model 901 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet
|(4.3 / 5)|
Daytona Cruiser 3/4 Motorcycle Helmet
|(4.6 / 5)|
IV2 Helmets JX-F01 Series, Full Face, Dual Visor Motorcycle Helmet
|(4.3 / 5)|
Vega X888 Full Face Helmet
|(4.3 / 5)|
O'Neal 5 Series Wingman Helmet
|(4.5 / 5)|
1Storm Motorcycle Full Face Helmet
|(4.5 / 5)|
BILT Techno Bluetooth Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet
|(4.2 / 5)|
Triangle Helmets Full Face Motorcycle Helmet
|(4.9 / 5)|
Bell Qualifier Motorcycle Helmet
|(4.5 / 5)|
Motorcycle Helmet Reviews
Our editors selected their favorite helmets for riders like you and compared them on everything from fit to value, which you see reflected in the ratings above. However, if you want to know a bit more about some of these, then keep reading for our reviews.
Fuel Helmets SH-FF0015 Full Face Helmet Review
Take on the open road with confidence with this Fuel SH-FF0014 full face helmet! It has a duel vented diffuser that allows maximum airflow, which means you can feel cool even in hot weather. We think this is the best motorcycle helmet for hot weather. Cleans easily with removable cheek pads. This product is very light-weight, being only 4.5 pounds, making it easy to wear and travel with. Also, this DOT FMVSS N.218 approved helmet gives you the best quality protection at a price that won’t break the bank.
Pros: Thermoplastic shell makes it ultra light-weight. Has a quick release shield for a removable visor.
Cons: Helmet can feel tight when putting it on, but it fits.
Our Rating: (4.4 / 5)
IV2 Helmets Model 901 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet Review
Being safe on your bike is crucial, but a helmet should protect a lot more than just your head. It’s also important to have great visibility in all types of light. Fortunately, this matte black helmet has you covered. It comes with two types of visors, smoked and clear, to ensure you have great vision when you ride
Pros: easy to clean, two visors included, ventilation system
Cons: lining isn’t removable for cleaning, doesn’t feel quiet as durable as some other models
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
IV2 Helmets JX-F01 Series Graffiti Street Art, Full Face, Dual Visor Motorcycle Helmet Review
Being safe on your bike is crucial, but so is looking great. This graffiti street art helmet looks great and is designed to keep you safe. The sun visor has been designed to work with riding gloves, while the helmet itself is light and designed to be easy to clean.
Pros: easy to clean, easy to operate with gloves on
Cons: noticeable airflow when riding at high speeds
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
Daytona Cruiser 3/4 Motorcycle Helmet Review
If you are looking for a helmet that is not bulky but also meets all safety standards, then this is the option you have been searching for. It is the one of the smallest of its kind and it is available in three different sizes. It is made with moisture wicking fabric so you can stay cool and comfortable even on those longer rides in the sun. It is a 3/4 shell helmet so it will not provide as much protection as others on the market but it will eliminate the mushroom look and the visor can be easily removed if you do not want to use it.
Pros: Low profile. Comfortable.
Cons: Some complaints about variety of sizes available.
Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)
Vega X888 Full Face Helmet Review
This helmet is ideal for road use and is compliant with the standard US DOT regulation. It is backed by a one year manufacturer warranty for any defects. It has a great fit and it available in varying sizes. There are vents throughout the entire helmet for ventilation. The Vega X888 Full Face Helmet is made with wick-dri anti-microbial fabric and it designed for a comfortable fit. You can choose the matte black option or the gloss black option depending on your personal preferences. All in all, it is a helmet that is designed to keep you safe as well as comfortable no matter where your adventures take you.
Pros: Different shield options available. Meets safety regulations.
Cons: Sizes run small.
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
O’Neal 5 Series Wingman Helmet Review
This polycarbonate and ABS construction helmet is designed to look great, and keep you cool and safe. The padded liner is designed to wick away moisture, while the light materials are ideal for keeping you cool. The polycarbonate material ensures that you’re not sacrificing comfort for safety.
Pros: easy to clean, multiple sizes, lightweight
Cons: sizes tend to run small
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Triangle Helmets Full Face Motorcycle Helmet Review
Rain or shine, this DOT-certified full face dual visor motorcycle helmet has you covered. Manage visibility whenever desired with a drop down visor switch and dual extractor ventilation system. Its double PC anti-scratch visor comes with a quick change mechanism and removable DVS treatment. Includes a padded chin strap with quick release functionality and micrometric closure. For easy cleaning, the visor has fully removable and washable interior liners made from laser cut padding. Safety factors include an advanced ABS shell and a multi-density EPS liner. Comes in four sizes: small, medium, large, and X-large. We think this is the best full face motorcycle helmet for the money right now.
Pros: Quick release strap, washable pads, comes in 4 sizes
Cons: Can fog up even with vents open at low speeds, design paint chips off occasionally
Our Rating: (4.9 / 5)
BILT Techno Bluetooth Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet Review
This high-tech motorcycle helmet is the perfect way to stay safe and cool on your bike! The exterior is made of an injection molded polycarbonate shell, coated in metallic paint with a double layer of matte or lacquer finish. Inside, it features an integrated bluetooth system that allow you to connect your mp3 player and cell phone for hands free connectivity while you ride. A built in intercom also allows you to communicate with other riders or passengers.
Pros: multiple color and finish options, integrated Bluetooth
Cons: limited size availability
Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)
1Storm Motorcycle Full Face Helmet Review
Be prepared for any riding conditions with this helmet that has dual visors, sun shield, and full face coverage. Affordable helmet offers full range of protection for day and night riding as well as all weather. Helmet comes in six sizes and eight colors with comfortable padding that can be removed for washing. Lightweight and durable, it is made with a thermoplastic alloy shell for reliable protection.
Pros: shuts out street sound, flip up visor reduces having to remove helmet just to see or hear, versatile and affordable
Cons: sizes run small, straps seem a little cheap, and sometimes the Arizona sun is too much for the sun shield
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Bell Qualifier Motorcycle Helmet Review
A helmet that is easy to use and safe? Yes, please! This headgear is designed for the avid biker with an adjustable ventilation system that makes riding that much more comfortable and a ClickRelease shield mechanism that places safety at the forefront. The aerodynamic design of the helmet allows for a padded chin strap and wind collar along with a D-ring closure that further enhances security. This headgear weighs approximately 1500 grams and comes with a washable comfort liner that can be removed fairly easy.
Pros: lightweight, little to no buffeting at high speeds, comfortable fit, ventilation system
Cons: wind noise on the left side, outer structure is a bit large
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
The single most important factor in keeping your skull sealed in the event of a crash is the how well your helmet fits. After all, if it flies off your head, you may as well have been riding with a fishnet for a helmet. First, measure your head and compare your results to the manufacturers’ size charts. Have a friend measure the circumference of your head right above your eyebrows. This gives you the crown size. Then have that friend look down on the top of your head from above and report the shape according to the following:
- Round Oval. The crown of a round oval head is pretty much shaped like a soccer ball, as wide from ear to ear as from forehead to back of the head.
- Long Oval. This shape is considerably longer from forehead to back of the head.
- Intermediate Oval. Most heads are somewhere in between round and long oval and are, thus, intermediate oval.
Online reviewers can often give you a clue as to the best head shape for a particular model of helmet, if the manufacturer does not. A round helmet interior crammed over a long oval head will cause pressure on the forehead. Alternatively, a long oval helmet on a round head will cause pressure on the sides of the head. If you’re planning to spend hours on your bike, pressure on your head will become painful and eventually drive you nuts, so be sure to wear your new selection around for a couple of hours before you ride with it. If it fits poorly, return it, but remember, most stores will not accept a returned helmet if you’ve taken it on the road.
You want to be sure your helmet fits snugly without pressure points. If it feels loose and slides when you turn your head, it’s too big. You should be able to slide your sunglasses on but not stick your whole hand in and scratch your ear.
If all you plan to do on your bike is fetch milk and bread, you probably won’t need a feature rich, expensive helmet. But if you’re going to be spending hours touring or learning how to engage in the racing sports, you may consider a helmet with all the bells and whistles a great investment. These are the types of helmets on the market and their typical features:
- Modular: These helmets have full face protection where the helmet extends around your chin. The front lifts with the chin bar. They’re perfect for cruising or touring, which is to say, for long road trips. Some even come with a flip-down sun shade under the wind screen.
- Racing: Also known as a sports helmet, these are modular helmets shaped with aerodynamics in mind. They’re the ones that remind you of the movie Alien with their elongated crowns. They’re often full of nifty features designed to keep racers as cool and comfortable as possible.
- Dual-sport: This helmet takes the adventurer and the cruiser into consideration. Shaped for speed but with air vents that allow good circulation whether you’re sitting upright or bent forward. They’re a good style for adventure touring, or riding in the full tuck position (laying over the gas tank).
- High-visibility: A hi-viz shell has the sides scooped for much better peripheral vision. One thing you’ll notice while riding is that ordinary helmets tend to restrict your side vision quite a bit, and that takes some getting used to unless you get a hi-viz helmet. But you’ll sacrifice some safety for a little less shell and padding.
- Full face: A full face helmet is best for sports riding. Much like a modular, the full face helmet has a flip-up windscreen but the chin bar remains fixed.
- Open Face: Open face helmets have no windscreen at all, although some models provide the option for a snap-on screen. These helmets allow you to feel the wind on your face and are tolerably safe for casual, around town riding. But be sure to wear eye protection because there’s nothing more wretched than taking a grasshopper hit to the eyeball. Mosts state laws require eye protection anyway. The open face models have the retro look to them, if you like throw-back gear.
- Half shell: Just as the name implies, these helmets extend only enough to cover your ears, if that far. The most comfortable for summer riding, the half helmet allows the most air flow and the least safety. But if you get a white one, people will think you’re a cop and pay extra special attention to your location relative to theirs, until they find out you’re not really a cop.
Safety ratings may be less of a concern than fit; however, because some overseas manufacturers may be happy to build a plastic-coated mixing bowl and call it a helmet, it’s wise to ensure your helmet bears a genuine rating sticker. Here’s the scoop on safety ratings.
- DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation): The U.S. government requires some level of safety, but they don’t require testing. Largely voluntary, their endorsements come with minimal standards.
- ECE 22.05: This is Europe’s version of the DOT with similar standards.
- AUS 1698-2006: This is the DOT and ECE equivalent for Aurstralia. Again, minimal standards appy.
- Snell and Sharp: These private, third-party testers aim to actually rate helmets and subject them to maximum standards, much like Consumer Reports or Underwriters Laboratory. Manufacturers submit their helmet models for rigorous testing. If they pass, the manufacturer pays the testing company and receives approval stickers for the helmets. If safety ratings rank high in your buying criteria, make sure you go for one rated by Snell or Sharp.
So, why wouldn’t safety ratings be your first priority? Because no one helmet can protect you from every conceivable crash type. Some will fare better in slides, others in tumbles, and others may serve you better in full-on impacts. If you know how you’re going to crash, get a helmet rated for that type of wreck. Better yet, don’t crash.
Which Helmet for Which Bike?
- Touring or Cruiser: Upright position — touring helmet.
- Sport-Touring: Forward leaning position — dual-sport or race helmet.
- Sports Bike: Full tuck or full forward lean — sport or race helmets for best ventilation and aerodynamics.
While a good helmet will cost you, they’re well worth the investment. Besides, you already spent thousands acquiring your motorcycle, why would you skimp on your head gear? If your budget allows, you might want to buy more than one helmet so you have options for more than one type of riding objective. Most seasoned riders own a collection of helmets. Not only can they match helmets for their goals, they have spares on hand should they find themselves in the unfortunate situation of actually needing one. Once you’ve put the helmet to its ultimate crash test, it’s no longer serviceable and should be converted to a baby swing or planter.
We hope this buying guide helps your head stop spinning as you shop for the best helmet for your riding plans. Remember, keep calm and ride on.