Motorcycle Helmet Buying Guide
Searching for motorcycle helmets near you? Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, these noggin protector necessities aren’t available everywhere. And if they are, you are typically severely limited in selection options. The good news is that it is 2018 and the internet now provides a safe and convenient shopping experience with a plethora of motorcycle helmet options for all types of riders. And so I implore you, fellow rider, to read through this brief buying guide before you set off to your local motorcycle shop and save yourself from the disappointment that is sure to follow.
Of course the helmet is going to protect your head and skull from getting scraped up and bashed open should you have the unfortunate luck of tipping over your bike or getting in an accident. But it does far more than that!
Your helmet will also protect you from all of the earthly elements, expected and unexpected. It will work to keep the wind, rain, snow, rocks and other debris from getting at your pretty face. Some helmets will even help you deal with noise pollution and have the ability to stream music!
The most essential and important things to look for though are the helmets ability to protect your head, have a certain level of comfort, and affordability. In other words, you want a helmet that meets USA protective law standards, will feel good when strapped securely to your head, and won’t break the bank.
Safety is the obvious and most important factor to consider first. And the helmet industry today makes much, much safer helmets than it did even 10 years ago. It’s fairly easy to detect what makes a safe helmet because all helmets sold in the US must pass local regulations and be marked with a DOT (Department of Transportation) certification seal. So if you see it is DOT certified, you can rest assure that motorcycle helmet will keep you as safe as possible.
Once you know the helmet is safe and meets US DOT standards, the next thing to concern yourself about is its’ comfort level. The one drawback of ordering helmets online is that you just don’t know what a helmet feels like without having the ability to try it on first. With that being said, the more common and known brands typically make all of their helmets to be comfortable and you really can’t tell a difference between one and another.
The most important thing to consider in regards to comfort is the size of the helmet. When buying online, you’ll want to know the circumference of your head first. Then use that measurement to select the right size. Typically they will tell you to measure the circumference about 2cm above your eyebrows and ears, and then measure the longest distance all the way around your head.
It helps to already know your size when ordering online and most stores will allow you to return helmets that don’t fit properly. You can also buy inserts and padding to place in helmets that are a little larger, so it always makes sense to buy a helmet that is a little bit bigger vs one that is a little bit smaller.
Different Types of Helmets
Full Face: These helmets are obviously the safest for a reason; they protect your entire face. If you’re not an experienced rider you might be surprised to learn about all of the dirt and debris that gets kicked up and finds your face, like a magnet. A full face mask motorcycle helmet is the only thing that will protect you from this debris.
Open Face: Typically this helmet will cover only your head. Most riders using an open face helmet wear some kind of eye protection aside from the helmet as well.
Modular: These are the helmets that allow you to flip the face mask up or down based on your preference, which is always nice.
Off Road: These helmets are made specifically for motocross or dirt biking off road. They feature a large sun visor, extra chin protection, and more venting for cooling.
Half Helmet: This is just as you would imagine, a helmet that covers half your head. Some riders like these because they don’t necessarily ride dangerously or far and don’t want the discomfort of a full helmet.
Dual Sport: These are helmets that can be worn for both off road and on road. They typically have larger sun visors and most of these do not have face shields.
Price point will be influenced by several variables; materials used, technology, certifications, style and brand. And mass produced helmets will of course be cheaper than custom made or specialized limited quantity helmets.
The average price today for a decent full face mask helmet (which we recommend for all beginners) is around $300. When you shop locally, this is about the price point you will often see. However, again with the internet, luckily you don’t have to pay that much to get a quality helmet that is safe, comfortable and looks nice with plenty of color options.
Our favorite is the LS2 FF358, available at GnarlyNinja.com. DOT certified and affordable, you’ll find this checks all the boxes and comes in a variety of different designs and colors. You just can’t go wrong with this as a helmet option.
Trying to find a great helmet locally is certainly possible but the fact remains that you just won’t have the options you do online. Shopping online not only gives you an unlimited amount of options, it also gives you the ability to find a quality helmet at a more affordable price.
Before you pull the trigger on a purchase, always make sure you are getting a helmet that is safe, comfortable and certified. Be sure to read through all the reviews on a helmet to make sure you are getting a quality product.