If you’ve decided to take up motorcycling, welcome to the club – you’re going to have the ride of your life!
And you’re going to because you’re going to make it safe to do so. Regardless of whether or not it’s illegal to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet in your State, you should always wear a helmet when riding because one nasty accident could end it all.
But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
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First, we’re going to show you our Top 5 motorcycle helmets for beginners, along with our reviews, and then we follow that up with a comprehensive buyer’s guide that will cover all the bases, starting right with helmet buying 101.
Finally, we have put together some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
For the purpose of brevity, this article will focus on helmets for adults.
Also, all of the motorcycle helmets in our Top 5 are unisex.
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Best Motorcycle Helmets For Beginners – Comparison Table
Best Motorcycle Helmets For Beginners – Reviews
Best Motorcycle Helmets For Beginners – Buyer’s Guide
Motorcycle helmet 101
A good motorcycle helmet does more than just protect you in the event of an accident. It will protect you from rain, wind, snow, dust kicked up off the road, and noise pollution.
A motorcycle helmet basically has 3 main components, the hard outer layer, also known as the shell, a softer inner layer for your comfort, usually made of polypropylene or expanded polystyrene, and finally the straps to hold it tightly in place on your head.
Motorcycle helmets may look big, bulky and heavy, but modern helmets are surprisingly lightweight thanks to new advancements in the industry.
They take advantage of such features as carbon fibre materials, improved optics, and special safety mechanisms like MIPS (more on that later).
Regardless of any fancy features you may have heard of in modern motorcycle helmets however, your first and foremost concern should always be safety. On this, there is no room for compromise.
First of all you must ensure that, at the bare minimum, your helmet passes your local regulations. In North America, it’s the regulations set by the Department of Transportation. If a helmet has passed a certain selection of tests, and is DOT approved, it will have a “DOT” sticker or painted symbol on the rear of the helmet.
More sensible and cautious motorcycle riders will want to take their safety measures a step further, however. To ensure your helmet provides maximum protection, you will also want to look for SNELL certification.
SNELL certification may be optional but the SNELL organization tests motorcycle helmets to a much more rigorous standard. Unlike DOT approved helmets, the label for a Snell certified helmet is found on the inside.
Fit and comfort
A good fitting helmet is absolutely critical, if it doesn’t fit correctly it does not provide the safety it’s designed to provide. And comfort means you can enjoy riding for longer. To ensure your safety, you must fit the helmet as tight as you can comfortably wear it.
A number of factors can influence the fit. Of course, there’s size. Helmet sizes, excluding junior sizes, start at medium, for head circumferences that start at 22.5 inches, right up to XXL, which can exceed 25 inches.
Large sizes generally encompass head circumferences of 23 inches to 24, and XL sizes will bridge the gap between large and XXL.
Then there’s head shape. Most people will have an intermediate oval head shape whereby the front to back measurement is slightly longer than ear to ear. The other types are round oval and long oval. Our recommendation is to determine your head shape. If yours is intermediate oval, then every motorcycle that’s passed the standards ought to provide the right fit for your head shape.
Then there’s the inner layer. The materials in the inner layer can be made from foam of different densities, which in turn affects how it feels on your head. Some helmets can also come with removable pads or inserts, which can have a significant impact on both fit and comfort.
The weight of the helmet will affect the comfort too, especially on longer rides. (And another benefit of lightweight helmets, is that they transfer less energy on impact, which means they are safer.)
Type of helmet
There are a variety of motorcycle helmets out there, each offering different levels of protection and cover. A full-face helmet, by its nature covering the head and all of your face, is the one that provides the most protection.
Since you’re reading this as a beginner to motorcycling, and you’re likely to prefer erring on the side of caution, so we’ve concentrated on full-face helmets in our Top 5.
An open-face helmet, on the other hand, does not have a chin guard, leaving that part of your face completely exposed.
Similar to an open face helmet, a half will cover the top portion of the head, leaving the remainder uncovered.
A modular helmet meanwhile is basically a combination of an open and full-face helmet, and it allows you to remove or flip up the lower section of the helmet.
Off-road or motocross helmets typically feature extra chin protection, sun visors and additional venting.
You can also get adventure helmets too, also known as dual-sport. They’re designed to be worn on or off-road. These tend to feature integrated visors, but not face shields.
How do I know my motorcycle helmet size?
On each of our Top helmets for beginners above, the Amazon page for each all have size charts. The best advice we can give to you is to measure around your head with measuring tape and use the size chart for the helmet you have chosen, to identify your helmet size for that particular brand. This is because sizes can differ slightly brand to brand and it’s a hassle having to return a helmet that doesn’t fit perfectly.
If you just wanted an approximate size, however, we went over it briefly in earlier in this Buyer’s Guide.
How tight should a helmet be?
At the risk of repeating ourselves, you must fit the helmet as tight as you can comfortably wear it. This is to ensure your safety and is critical in the helmet being able to effectively do its job in the event of an accident.
Unfortunately, in order to be safe, you do have to sacrifice some comfort.
It’s also important to note that if you lose or put on a little weight around your face then your helmet may become either a bit too loose or a bit too tight!
What are the safest motorcycle helmets?
We’re glad you asked. It’s an easy one to answer though as the safest motorcycle helmets out there are the ones that have been Snell certified. Snell is a non-profit organization which tests motorcycle helmets off the production line and if they meet Snell’s very high standards then they get certified and a Snell certification sticker gets placed somewhere on the helmet.
You generally have to pay considerably more money for a motorcycle helmet that passes Snell standards, but many riders swear by them, and wouldn’t be without theirs. If you’d like a Snell helmet for yourself, check out our Number 4 from Conquer!
If you haven’t seen anything you like or you’re on a tight budget and would prefer to buy used, we always recommend checking Ebay!Check Ebay
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