You can’t live without your head, so you need to protect it with the best motorcycle helmets. However, shopping for a motorcycle helmet has never been a walk in the park. Sometimes you have to weigh up cost versus comfort. Should buying a helmet leave your pockets empty? Of course not!
Do you need a full face, modular, custom or adventure motorcycle helmet? Let’s delve into the best motorcycle helmets in 2020 in this guide to choosing a motorcycle helmet.
Best Motorcycle Helmets
1. Shoei RF-SR Helmet
The Japanese Shoei RF-SR carries the day on our helmets list. “You get what you pay for” has never been more true than with this full face helmet. From the blending of style to safety, the Shoei RF-SR is one of the best motorcycle helmets in the market. This is a premium helmet, but it’s worth the money.
Quality is never an accident. The Shoei RF-SR helmet is engineered with Advanced Integrated Matrix Plus technology (AIM+).
This Shoei helmet is made up of five fiberglass layers. It is tried and tested by Snell, and has attained the elusive M2015 certification.
The Shoei RF-SR also features an Emergency Quick Release System (EQRS). The EQRS is designed to automatically pop out the cheek pads in case of an accident. Inside the helmet is a multi-density shock absorbing liner. The EPS liner absorbs even the most micro of shocks a rider may encounter.
The Shoei RF-SR takes pride in its ventilation capabilities. The chin vent is the star on this hard hat. The chin vent is V-shaped at the bottom with two vents on the upper façade. A pair of vents is also conscientiously placed at the brow. The vent sliders are impressive, with the metallic cuff and click.
Towards the shield, the hard hat comes with a breath guard to direct fresh air to the rider. Remember the EPS liner? Air flows through the holes in the ship from the upper air vents.
The Shoei RF-SR helmet comes in six sizes. Extra-large, Large, Medium, Extra-small, and Extra-extra-large are all available for his armor. The EPS lining is scourable and antimicrobic. The XX-L helmet weighs only 1780 grams. The close to lightweight design is superb for its aerodynamics and thrust.
More vents, more noise? You’re wrong! The upper and lower vents have minimal noise infiltrating through them. The cheek pads also deter a substantial amount of noise around the neck area.
The Shoei RF-SR helmet is available in seven shades; Basalt Grey, Black, Matte Black, Matte Blue, Tangerine, Matte Deep Grey, and White.
2. Arai XD4 Helmet
This Arai helmet is among the best adventure motorcycle helmets. With the Arai XD4 helmet, the shield and peak are detachable. Improved aerodynamics and large cowl vents characterize this monster hard hat. The Arai XD4 helmet can be used as a motocross, adventure, or full face helmet.
The American Arai XD4 masterpiece is fully certified by Snell, as well as ECE 2015 and DOT endorsements. The helmet is lined with multi-density polystyrene liner for magnificent shock absorption. The Arai XD4 shell is engineered with a Complex Laminate Construction. The CLC is made of high-quality fibers to offer you maximum head protection.
The Emergency Quick Release System is also incorporated in the Arai XD4 hard hat for a quick abrupt response. In the SHARP helmet tests, the Arai XD4 scored 3.5/5. Not too bad for a multipurpose helmet.
The Arai XD4 has five vents: two brow vents and three at the chin bar. At the top, there are several vents as well. All these vents are slidable. The top and front vents are quite brittle. The chin vents are mesh-reinforced to deter fogging. The rear vents on top of the helmet refresh the helmet by exhaling the air inside the hat.
The Arai XD4 is generally oval molded. The X-large helmet weighs 1640 grams—ideal for drag and thrust. The Arai XD4 comes in four sizes: Small, Medium, Large and Extra-large. The cheek and foam pads are washable and easy to dry.
With more vent holes that its predecessor, the Arai XD4 has higher noise levels. Nevertheless, the amount of noise solely depends on how fast the rider is pushing as well as the prevailing wind conditions.
The Arai XD4 is not fully streamlined hence offers some drag resistance. The adjustable chin bar, however, reduces the noise up through the rider’s neck.
All in all, the Arai XD 4 helmet can be tweaked to your type of track. For a motocross/off-road experience, some level of noise will spruce up your thrust and revs.
The Arai XD4 is available in four colors: Frost Black, Frost Red, Frost Orange, and Frost White. If you are after aesthetics, there are the Mesh, Desert and Route designs to select from.
3. AGV Unisex-Adult Full Face K-1 Motorcycle Helmet
The AGV K1 Helmet is a basic sports bike helmet with immense aesthetics and a thermoplastic shell. The AGV K-1 helmet can be tweaked into a modular helmet, full face helmet or open helmet. The AGV K-1 helmet is the entry-level hard hat of the AGV racing technology.
The AGV K-1 helmet as it is made of a thermoplastic shell and scored four stars in the UK Thermoplastics rating. Engineered to a broad shield, the AGV K-1 gives you a wide-angle of vision. The face shield is fitted with an anti-fog lock for a crystal-clear view.
The inside of the AGV K-1 consists of four polystyrene liners for a great fitting on your head. The cheek pads are pulpy to cushion you in the event of an accident.
The AGV K-1 has five slidable vents: three on the forehead and two at the chin bar. The double rear exhaust vents exhale the air inside the hat. The AGV K-1 is one of the best motorcycle helmets with the Integrated Ventilation system (IVS). The IVS ventilates fresh air into the helmet and around the polystyrene liners. The EPS liner has four openings that duct air onto the rider’s head.
The AGV K-1 helmet comes in six sizes: Extra-Extra-Large, Extra-Large, Medium-Large, Extra-Small, and Medium-Small. The Extra-Extra-Large hard hat weighs up to 1520 grams. It is relatively light. The thermoplastic shell much attributes to its superior drag and aerodynamics.
The thermoplastic shell is exceptionally aerodynamic, thus truncating wind resistance. Reduced wind resistance, in turn, cuts down the amount of wind noise. The chin curtain at the front façade of the K-1 helmet eliminates turbulence motion, thus creating a quiet riding experience.
However, with the open face tweak on, the amounts of noise increase significantly.
Black, White, and Matte Black options are available. The AGV K-1 isn’t particularly attractive, unlike some of its successors, which have a touch of glamour. The AGV K3 and K5 have a stunning graffiti theme.
4. Bell Qualifier Full face Motorcycle Helmet
The Bell Qualifier DLX is made of a polycarbonate shell with a sleek, meticulous design. The Bell DLX takes pride in its unique color schemes as well as a light-reactive shield. Not to forget, the Bell Qualifier DLX comes with a Double-D ring fastener.
A great forte of the Bell Qualifier DLX is its light-reactive shield. The shield has a natural anti-UV and anti-fog coagulant infused—no more obscurity at low temperatures. The Bell Qualifier polycarbonate hard hart has bagged in the elusive ECE and DOT recognition globally.
On Snell’s test, the Bell Qualifier lost narrowly on the side-impact tests.
The Bell Qualifier is exceptional when it comes to ventilation. The Bell Qualifier is equipped with a couple of vents, both the chin, brow, and top vents. What else could you ask for? The lower chin vents are slidable for the humid climates. The chin vents open into the horizontal chin bar blowing a load of air inside the hard hat.
The four brow vents gush air into the top of the helmet. The double top vents rush air into the polystyrene liner into the biker’s head. The Bell Qualifier is also crafted to four exhaust vents at the rear of the helmet. These exhaust vents serve to exhale the dense air inside the helmet. The exhaust vents are also mesh-covered.
The Bell Qualifier comes in seven size variants: XXX-Large, XX-Large, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large. Bell Qualifier’s EPS Liner is also washable and moisture-wicking. The XX-Large weighs 1596 grams.
The Bell Qualifier helmet is a bit noisy due to the open top and rear exhaust vents. On the flipside, the cheek pads and the taper mitigate the noise across the lower part of the helmet. Towing along some earplugs will do the magic for you on this helmet.
The Bell Qualifier helmet outshines all other helmets you could think of on matters aura. The 13 hues in the market are a bang. The Flare Gloss Black/Red, Flare Matte Black/Grey, Honor Matte Titanium, Integrity Matte Black, Orange Camo, Raid Matte Black, Gold Flake, Stealth Camo Matte Black, Solid Black, and the Stealth Camo Matte White simply define the Bell Qualifier’s theme.
5. GLX Unisex-Adult GX11 Motorcycle Helmet
GLX has proven to be a hard nut to crack on its rivals, the Arai and Shoei helmets. The GLX GX11 helmet is very pocket friendly and when it comes to performance, it rivals the best in the market.
This is a very safe helmet. The GLX GX11 offers a lot of great safety features, and has Snell and DOT certifications. The GLX GX11 shell is made of polycarbonate. The polystyrene liner (EPS) on the inner of the helmet provides superb shock absorption. The GLX GX11 helmet also incorporates the Emergency Quick Response System for a better accident reaction.
The GLX GX11 is fully armored on the top with vents. The top vents ventilate the rider’s head furnishing a cooling effect. With these top vents, forget about sweating on your skull. There are two pairs of exhaust vents at the rear façade of the GLX GX11 hard hat. These exhaust vents exhale the dense air on the inside of the EPS liner.
The cheek padding also permits some air into the inside of the helmet. This padding is fully washable and moisture-wicking.
The GLX GX 11 is available four sizes: Large, Medium, Small, and X-Large. The GLX GX11 weighs, on average, 1587 grams.
The GLX GX11 is prone to noise through the exhaust vents, owing to the fact that the rear vents are not lockable. However, the GLX GX11 has an inflated face shield that blocks substantial noise from infiltrating into the rider’s ears. The face shield is fog and scratch-resistant.
The GLX GX11 is currently available in Matte Black shade. Much detail has been paid to the paint quality. That matte finish is impressive.
How to Choose a Motorcycle Helmet
When choosing the best motorcycle helmets, attention to detail matters. Deciding on the ideal helmet for your head has always been an uphill task. There are several factors that you need to pay attention to when buying a motorcycle helmet.
What type of helmet do you need?
The six main types of helmets are: Full faced, Modular (flip-up chin bar), Half shell, Open-Faced, Off-road, and Dual-Sport helmets.
A full-face helmet shields the whole head and features a fixed chin bar to protect your jaw.
An open face helmet leaves your face open. They cover the sides, top, and back of your head. Open face helmets are deprived of the chin bar. Scooter riders often open-face helmets.
The modular helmet is a hybrid of the full and free face helmets. The visor and the chin bar can flip up, opening the front.
The half shell helmet (or half helmet) only shields the forehead and the top part of your head. With these helmets, you are assured of excellent airflow.
Off-road helmets are engineered for dirt use i.e., motocross and dirt bikes.
Dual Sport helmets are a hybrid of full face and off-road helmets. Examples include the ADV, Enduro, and Crossover. Akin to the off-road helmet, the dual-sport offers a large visor but enhanced padding on the interior.
Before buying a helmet, acquaint yourself with its safety ratings and certifications, if any. Snell, DOT, and ECE rated helmets offer more excellent protection to your head and chin. Rated helmets are often expensive, but guarantee you ultimate safety.
The material forming the helmet’s shell also contributes to its safety performance. Is the shell made of fiber or polycarbonate? A hard shell is desired to provide maximum protection. The best motorcycle helmets are often safety certified by Snell or ECE.
Cost of Motorcycle Helmets
The cost of a helmet solely depends on its materials and design. Should buying a helmet leave a big hole in your pocket? No! There are affordable yet high-quality helmets you can choose from.
The price of the helmet also depends on its size. X-Large and XX-Large helmets are often dearer. For a harder shell and better interior fabric, you’ll need to invest more.
There’s nothing as unpleasant as riding in a stuffy helmet. When selecting a helmet, scrutinize the type of vents available thoroughly. Does the helmet have top, brow, and rear exhaust vents? If so, proceed and get your hands on it. Probe thoroughly on the vents, especially the top vents. Some designers just fix aesthetic vents that run nowhere.
A visor that can be rolled up a few inches comes in handy in ventilating you as you ride.
Size and Fitting
You don’t need an under-sized helmet just to save a few bucks. A helmet should fit on your head precisely, with minimal coercion. To get the right fit for your head, measure the circumference on your head, and find a suitable match. An over-sized helmet could be lethal in the case of an accident. The cheek pads and chin bar will not optimally protect you from fracture.
An extra-taut helmet, on the other hand, imposes undue pressure on your skull. Therefore, it’s best to fit out the different helmets at the store before making a purchase.
What will you use the helmet for? Is it riding for leisure? Track racing? Dirt riding? For bike racing purposes, you might need to consider a full face crash helmet. The full face helmets are often padded and made up of hard outer shells. For leisure riding, the open face helmets will do the magic. As you cruise around, you’ll need to enjoy nature’s beauty as well as some relaxing air, hence the need for the open face helmets.
If you are going the open helmet way, look out for the three pushbuttons. These three buttons at the front aid in hooking up a visor at a later time. Peruse through for other features such as Bluetooth compatibility, microphone hookup, dash camera slot, and pin-lock peaks.
In case you need to wear earplugs, survey for a helmet with a recessed façade around the ears. A cap clasp is also vital to deter your cap from blowing off. You should also audit whether the inner EPS liner and cheek pads are washable and moisture-wicking.
A lightweight helmet favors aerodynamics such as thrust, drag, and lift. A helmet should not impose a substantial loading on your head. You should be able to move your head optimally with zero strain. The scantiest of the shift of gravity would have lethal effects on your spine and cervical vertebrae.
What material is the interior of the helmet made from? A good helmet should be padded with a washable liner. The EPS liner and cheek pads should also wick moisture. The helmet’s interior ought to be comfortable and relaxing to the skull.
The top vents should also be waterproof. The fastener type should never create strain around your neck.
Warranty and Aesthetics
Any helmet should have an agreement that spells out the terms and conditions of aftersales service in case of malfunction. When dissecting the warranty, be keen to scrutinize the scope and maintenance policy.
Matters color, bright helmets make more sales due to ease of visibility at night. Themed helmets are more expensive than their ugly twins.
Helmets not only provide safety to your skull but also protect you from excessive wind. Burn rubber, not your soul. We hope you found the perfect product for you in this roundup of the best motorcycle helmets. Before purchasing a helmet, scrutinize it meticulously against the above checklist. Safety comes first!
(Contributed post for our North American readers)