Looking for a new motorcycle helmet? You’re in the right place. Motorcycle helmets have drastically evolved over the last few decades. There are many types of helmets to choose from. It may seem overwhelming at first but there are certain qualities you may be looking for that will help narrow down the choices. Additionally you’ll need to make sure you have the right fit and features to meet your personal riding needs. This guide will help break down everything about motorcycle helmets so you can make an informed decision before purchasing.
Anatomy of a Motorcycle Helmet
A motorcycle helmet is made of three important parts, the shell, expanded polystyrene also known as EPS, and the comfort liner.
- The main job of the shell is to protect the wearer from penetration and to disperse energy from impact. A motorcycle helmet shell can be made of differing materials including but not limited to polycarbonate, fiber glass, and carbon fiber. Polycarbonate shells are typically thicker and less expensive than the other high end materials. Higher end materials like carbon fiber and fiber glass require less material but are stronger while remaining flexible making these materials better at dispersing energy.
- The EPS liner is what actually absorbs the forces caused from an impact, it is essentially the most important part of your helmet. In the event of a crash the EPS will crack and crumble as it absorbs impact, this is why all helmets are disposable. Once the EPS has done its job the helmet is toast, throw it out or keep it for your scar memorabilia. Many top of the line helmets today now utilize a multi-density EPS liner which allows the helmet to efficiently absorb a wider range of impact forces.
- The comfort liner is there for just that, comfort. Most liners now have materials that wick away moisture and keep you cool. They are a soft buffer against the uncomfortable parts of your helmet that keep your noggin safe. The cool thing about a comfort liner is in most cases you can actually swap out sizes in cheek pads and the crown to have the helmet shaped perfectly for your unique head.
Types of Helmets
First step to finding the helmet for you is to ask yourself what you want from a new helmet. What kind of key features stand out to you and what type of riding you do will help you decide which helmet is the best choice. So whether you are into all day touring comfort or trying to achieve the perfect retro style to go with your Flat, Knuckle, Pan, or Shovelhead we have a helmet for you.
- If you’re looking for full protection the full face helmet is the style for you. The new generation of full face helmets offer the most protection than any other styles without sacrificing comfort. With aerodynamics and ventilation becoming a big priority of helmet manufacturers the riding public can enjoy full face helmets that don’t feel suffocating but still offer full impact protection.
- If you want something more protective than a three quarter or half shell but more dynamic than a full face helmet the modular is the helmet for you. While a modular helmet is arguably not as protective as a full face helmet it still offers more face protection from the elements and impact than a three quarter or half shell. If you have a hard time wearing glasses with a full face helmet try a modular, they are easier to put your glasses on while the front of the helmet is open.
Open Face Helmets
- An open face or three quarter helmet can come either with or without a face shield option. This type of helmet offers more protection than a half shell by offering extended coverage to the back of your head. With an open face helmet you can enjoy more protection than a half shell and still enjoy the therapy of wind on your skin.
- A half helmet is easy to store and comfortable to wear. They are stylish and never feel bulky on your head. While they offer the least amount of protection compared to all the other helmet styles above they are still better than wearing nothing. Currently there is a new generation of half helmets that offer key comfort features like internal sun shields and special fit systems.
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The human head is a unique form. Not all heads will be the same shape. Fortunately most helmet brands have a unique fit as well. You can always modify most helmets of today with different sized cheek pads and comfort liners but you’ll find that certain brands will probably fit your head better. The best fitting helmet is the safest helmet.
Notable Helmet Features
As our technology progresses so does everything else with it. Motorcycle helmets have evolved so much in just the past few years it can be hard to keep up with all the new and improved features.
Internal Sun Shield
- An internal sun shield is one of the best comfort features. You never have to carry around a second shield if you have a built in dark smoke shield already! No more fumbling with extra shields. Although if you’re looking for a helmet that is Snell approved you’ll have to opt out of the internal sun shield option as Snell is not a fan of them. One popular helmet utilizing an internal sun shield is the Speed & Strength SS1600
- Half helmets can be difficult to get just the right size and thankfully Bell recognizes this problem. If you’re helmet is too big you’ll notice it wants to fall back on your head at highway speeds. With the fit system offered in the Bell Pit Boss you won’t have to worry about your helmet flopping around on your head. Additionally it makes it easier to have two sizes in one so you can wear a wrap underneath your helmet if you want.
Photochromic Face Shield
- An even cooler option than the internal sun shield but still fairly new to the market, a shield that changes on its own from clear to dark based on how much sunlight is reaching the helmet. The Qualifier DLX from Bell Helmets actually comes equipped with this shield already, and at a fair price. Bell additionally sells this shield separately Bell Transitions Photochromic Shield so you can enjoy new technology on your Bell helmet.
Always remember you only have one brain and it’s worth protecting. We live in a world of drivers distracted by technology so it’s better to gear up for any scenario. Stay safe so you can keep enjoying a life on two wheels.