Helmet is an integral part of a rider’s life. It not only protects you from falls but also showcases your personality. People who ride daily for commuting to workplaces even a few casual riders often neglect the priority of a good helmet. They either choose by its look or price. But there are several important factors like safety rating, shape, size, comfort, and many more what helps to decide the good or maybe the perfect helmet for you. Remember, helmets are equally as important as your motorcycle. It is meant to protect your most important organ, brain so don’t compromise. I would like to mention that a good helmet can save you but wearing a wrong helmet can be fatal. In these comprehensive and ultimate helmet buying guide, we will be discussing how to choose Good Motorcycle Helmet for you.
As a rider, I can’t ignore the fact that motorcycling is one of the most dangerous hobbies due to the unbalanced nature of two wheels. If you are wondering, how a good helmet can save you, I really insist you, read my personal experience, how helmet saved my life.
Different Shapes of Helmets
The shape of a good motorcycle helmet should always depend on your usage. There are different shapes available based on purpose and functionalities like Adventure, Racing/Street, Motocross, Modular, Half-face, and more.
Let’s briefly see the variations
- Adventure Helmets – Often referred to Dual Sport helmet, mainly used for long rides, adventure trails. It provides good ventilation, a broad field of view, and better comfort.
- Racing and Street Helmet – Broadly used in roads and racing tracks. It provides very good safety and best aerodynamics design but in initial days feels a little bit tight.
- Motocross – Although it looks similar to Adventure helmets, these are more lightweight and can house a helmet goggles to enhance your off-road ride. Generally, don’t come with an integrated visor.
- Modular – These helmets serve a dual purpose, a full face, and when you need you can flip-up the front to use as half face helmet.
- Half Face – As the name suggests, these helmets are missing chin guard. Hence should be used while city rides only.
- Kids Helmet – Almost all the above types of helmets are available for kids. They also deserve the highest safety possible.
Comfort, fit and size are important
This is one of the most important aspects of a good helmet followed by safety and shape. Most of the motorcycle riders tend to ignore a good helmet just because of these factors. In general, helmets are meant to be fit snug otherwise it won’t protect your head during an accident. You may get surprised to know that helmets also come in different sizes like clothes. Most of the manufacture produce M, L, XL while few good brands come in S, XXS, and much larger size also. You should check the below factors before buying a helmet and I always recommend to wear before you buy it. Don’t buy online until you are very sure about size, fit, and comfort.
- Motorcycle Helmet should not very tight or loose. It should fit snug means while wearing if you shake your head, the helmet should not move independently.
- Initially, a perfect sized helmet also feels tight because after a couple of days usage the inner padding gets loosen a bit.
- Inner liners should be hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial, removable, and washable.
Note: Almost every good brand provides removable inner padding so that you can keep them clean maintaining the hygiene. I will be posting a detailed guide on how to clean and maintain a helmet properly in a while.
Helmet strap types
We often overlook the significance of helmet straps. There are two types of helmet straps available in the market.
- Push or clip type or quick release
Although both serve the purpose, the later one prevents loosening or breaking in case of accidents. Over time generic push or clip type strap gets lose whereas D-ring with its simple mechanism continues to work longer. Also, using D-ring provides more tension adjustment (once you get used to) and considered to be the safest.
Helmet Visor plays an important role
Without discussing Helmet visor this how to choose a good motorcycle helmet guide will be incomplete. People do mistakes while choosing visor. There are two major variants, clear and tinted. While both have their own merits and demerits. Clear visor obviously provides clear vision during any condition but sometimes direct sunlight may cause irritation. Otherhand tinted visor is great for bright and sunny days. But at night it is impossible to see through. Although, very few brands have photochromatic visor which becomes tinted in bright sunlight.
Generally, the wise decision would be to go with dual visor helmets or use separate visors or use sunglasses with a clear visor. I personally like the first option, this way I don’t have to carry sunglasses or extra visor.
While you choose your visor type, I will like to introduce the Pinlock visor. Now, what is this? You may have noticed visor gets fogged up during winter and rain. Pinlock is a mechanism, provides scope to add an anti-fog insert. Few limited brands provide inbuilt anti-fog inserts attached with visor while most of the brands choose to sell as an additional accessory.
Note: Every reputed brand provides a polycarbonate visor so that it will come off in case of an accident rather than break into parts and damage your face or even eyes.
Ventilation does matter
The ventilation system in a good motorcycle helmet is a very important factor to keep you cool during the ride. Almost every helmet has an inlet in chin & forehead and outlet at the back & as breathe deflector (only a few breathe deflector works perfectly). The more ventilation inlet/outlet better. Inlet takes fresh air and the outlet exhales the hot air to remain you ventilated.
Note: The ventilation system’s functionality is to remove hot air outside not to flow air like a fan. In winter you can keep these vents close.
Helmet Graphics reflect your personality
Helmet graphics do reflect your personality. Thankfully most of the brands provide stunning graphics to choose from. But from my personal experience, helmets with reflectors and colorful graphics help a lot during a night ride. It helps to spot you from a long distance. Although most of my helmets are matte black, only the last one has a fluorescent green lining.
Note: Don’t try to paint your helmet later because most of the paints react with a polycarbonate or fiberglass shell and reduce its impact resistance properties.
Certification is mandatory
Certification ensures the safety and durability of a helmet during a crash or impact. As it is directly related to your brain’s safety, never ignore it. There are different certifications for a helmet in different countries.
- India – ISI (Indian Standards Institute)
- United Nations of America – DOT (Department of Transportation)
- Europe – ECE 22.05 (Economic Commission for Europe)
- British Standard to enhance impact rating over ECE 22.05 – Sharp (Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme)
- Private Certification: SNELL
SNELL and Sharp are considered to be the best Helmet Certification of the world. Whereas DOT and ECE are also doing well but ISI certification really falls behind compared to others in terms of safety, hope ISI cope up this gap real fast. If you want to know more about certification, comment below, I will share a detailed post for you.
Choose the best certifications you can effort.
Brands play an important role
Choosing a good brand is an equally important factor in how to choose a good motorcycle helmet guide. In India, generic helmets of approx INR 200-1000 don’t even provide any protection. Although most of them carry ISI certifications, personally I doubt their authenticity. Few National brands like Studds, Steelbird, Vega, etc are quite famous for low range helmets with a bit upscaled quality and safety. These days budget-range brands look quite promising about their helmet lineup. Mid-range Brands like MT, AXOR, LS2, SMK, SOL, and high-range brands like HJC, bell, etc many are doing extremely well by providing adequate safety, style, and features in mid-range INR 4K to 7K and high-range INR 10K to 15K respectively. The high you go, the more you get with premium brands like AGV, Shoei, Bell, Schuberth, Arai, etc are top of the line, ensures world-class safety certification, best comfort, and more advanced feature.
Note: As of now, most of the international brands do not come with ISI certification but it should not matter until it protects you.
This article is not sponsered by any means, the brands I have showcased just because of my personal experience.
Price is not everything
Price is the most important factor while purchasing a helmet. Many compromise safety over price. But truly speaking, nothing can be more valuable than your head. Always consider as,
Helmet is an investment for your safety not an expense.
I am not saying that you must purchase the most expensive helmet. But buy the best you can effort and eventually upgrade to better when pocket permits. The basic sweet spot will be INR 4.5K to 7K.
P.S. – In the city and long rides never compromise the safety of your pillion, they also deserve the best safety even your child.
One of the most common reasons for not wearing a helmet is hair fall, it is true that due to compressed, sweaty, and hot surroundings, hairs are likely to get damaged especially in long rides. So always wear bandanas or a large handkerchief to safeguard. Your head is of more value than your hair or even money. Also please ensure that your kids wear a good helmet before start riding. If you are still wondering, how important a good motorcycle helmet is, I will really insist you, read my personal scariest experience, how helmet saved my life.
As a gist of this ultimate guide on how to choose a good motorcycle helmet, you can follow the below and choose the right helmet for you.
- For city rides: Any budget or mid-range reputed branded full-face or modular helmet with ISI, DOT, or ECE will do fine. Try to avoid a half-face helmet as your chin not remains protected.
- For long rides: If you are riding at highways, street or racing helmets from any mid or high range reputed brand will be the perfect fit. If you are likely to ride adventure trails and highway, Adventure or DualSport will be the best choice. Don’t compromise on reputed brands and certifications like ECE, DOT, etc. (better if snell certified).
- Track racing: If you are learning racing, then the top of the line, premium range racing helmets are compulsory as your speed will be very high and that momentum will impact exponentially during a crash.
- Off-road: Any mid or high range motocross helmet with good quality goggles should work fine.
Currently, I am using MT Thunder3 SV Storke Matt, HRO 512 DV-CYBORG along with basic Steelbird SBA. I will do a review of all the helmets soon. Also, comment to let us know which helmet you are using. You can also help your rider friends by sharing this How to Choose Good Motorcycle Helmet guide, I hope they will find it useful too.
You can visit the below link, to know more about my Rynox Urban Riding Jacket here.
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