Today most motorcycle owners not only love their rides but they care about their safety on the road. Don’t let looking good on your motorcycle have you sacrificing the quality of the helmet you’ll wear. You can have both! Here you’ll find detailed information on some of the best looking and safest helmets of their kind.
We have researched and compiled a guide so you can make an informed decision in choosing the best motorcycle helmet to fit your needs. We have featured those that are not only rated the safest with DOT, Snell, and ECE ratings but are also chosen by the most seasoned riders who like to look good and feel safe while they ride.
After all, most of us know its not the rider we have to worry about but everyone else on the road.
Motorcycle Helmet Comparison Guide
|Shoei - RF-1200||Full Face||3.5 lbs||X-Sm,Sm,Med,|
|Nolan - N90||Modular||3.7 lbs||X-Sm,Sm,Med,|
|Arai - Corsair V||Full Face||3.6 lbs.||X-Sm,Sm,Med,|
|Shoei - Qwest||Full Face||3.10 lbs.||X-Sm,Sm,Med,|
|Shark - Evoline 3||Modular||5.5 lbs.||X-Sm,Sm,Med,|
Want to check out more Helmets? Click Here to See Our Full Comparison Guide
What Makes A Motorcycle Helmet the Best ?
Motorcycle helmets have been around since the mid 1930s to early 1940s after a doctor did some extensive research on head injuries obtained by motorcycle accidents. Early helmets were made out of material similar to early football helmets which were leather and padding.
We have come a long way since then and now our helmets are typically much stronger and safer. Helmets today have multiple levels of protection from the shell itself to the liner and padding. They are typically made out of fiberglass or, on higher end helmets, even carbon fiber along with various other materials designed for safety and comfort.
Safety Ratings and Testing
Most helmets go through rigorous testing before they are released for public sale and use. The three most common standards that are used in this testing today are known as DOT, Snell, and ECE which is a European standard for motorcycle helmets.
To sum all of this up, the things that make up the best motorcycle helmet are its safety feature because after all, all helmets are made for our own safety. The second most import thing is comfort. Helmets should be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and they should make us want to wear them instead of some that we don’t want to use.
Last but not least you also want to look at the helmet design. You do want to make sure its something that looks good and makes you feel good when you wear it. While this has less to do with safety than looks, it does have to do with comfort. You also want to make sure the design is something that you feel safe wearing.
Guide To Choosing A Motorcycle Helmet
We all want to look good while being safe and a good looking helmet makes you or the person wearing the helmet want to wear it that much more! Sometimes choosing a motorcycle helmet can be a frustrating experience. It no longer has to be as we will guide you through a few main things to look for when picking your perfect motorcycle helmet. These Factors are ordered from most important to not as important.
- Head Shape
- Protection or Shell
- Visor or Shield
Style or Helmet Design
Most people make the mistake of choosing a helmet by the look and graphics on it. This is one of the biggest mistakes that can be made when choosing a helmet and should be saved as one of the last choices. One of the first questions to ask yourself when choosing a helmet would be regarding the style of helmet you are looking for.
Helmets come in some different styles such as Full Face Helmets, Modular Helmets, Open Face Helmets, Half Helmets (aka. Shorty), and Off-road/Motocross Helmets. A brief description of each is included below.
- Full Face Helmets A helmet that covers the full head and face of the rider. Generally this type of helmet will have a chin bar that cannot be moved or removed and a Visor that, when closed, will close off the helmet completely. A full face helmet is the most important helmet to look for good ventilation quality and cooler padding in.
- Modular Helmets Modular is a helmet design that can be modified to act as a full face helmet or and Open Faced Helmet. The modular design has become very popular because you are getting two helmets in one.
- Open Faced Helmets These types of helmets do not have a chin bar across the face but do in fact cover the rest of the head. The open face helmet design allows high ventilation and visibility while still protecting the head. Keep in mind that this type of helmet lacks protection of the facial and chin area.
- Shorty or Half Helmets The half helmet design was created to protect the top portion of the head without restriction in all other areas. This is the least protective but popular helmet design. This helmet type is still legal in most areas of the United States.
- Off-road or Motocross Helmets This helmet design is one of the most unique in appearance and hard to mistake. Typically the Motocross helmet is designed with an elongated chin bar and features a sun visor that’s also elongated. This helmet is shaped so dirt and debris are channeled away from the face in an off-road environment.
You can also find helmets that are made and styled for different types of motorcycles and conditions. Some of the different types produced today are Racing Helmets, Street Helmets, Touring or Long distance Helmets, and Motocross Helmets. As these helmets are self-explanatory we have not included a description of these styles but can elaborate more via comments or our Contact Us Page.
Head Shape, Size, and Weight
One of the most important aspects of choosing the correct helmet is your head shape. The graphic on the right displays the most common head shapes. Round, Round Oval, and Oval. Generally your head shape will fit into one of these three categories.
Don’t worry if you know your head shape is different from what is displayed here. 99% of helmet designers take this factor into account. Most manufacturers will form their helmets to fit one of these three categories but will make minor adjustments to accommodate the other head shapes. Make sure your helmet fits your head shape comfortably that way you are not uncomfortable on long rides.
Sizes and Fit
Size is another factor to take some consideration in. Some manufacturers only make helmets in limited sizes and possibly even one size. If you can find a helmet in your size we recommend doing this because it will add to the comfort of the helmet. Also if the manufacturer of the helmet you choose only makes one size you can always try out different padding on the interior to increase or decrease the firmness of the fit.
One last thing to account for is the weight of the helmet. Generally, motorcycle helmets have come a long way in decreasing the weight but you do still want to make sure the helmet you choose is not too heavy. Again this can be very uncomfortable when riding for long periods of time.
Shell and Liner
When it comes to the shell and liner there can be no exact way to measure this while choosing helmet.
Keep in mind the liner of the helmet is not the padding. Most helmets today are made with expanded Polystyrene or Polypropylene foam called the EPS layer.
Thicker is not always better when it comes to the liner and shell of a helmet because some companies have developed their own liners that have been tested and proven to be more impact resistant even though they are thinner. This is something to look for in the manual when choosing the helmet to see what type they are using. Shells found on helmets were typically composed of fiberglass or a polycarbonate plastic.
Today advances have been made in helmet technology and you can now find helmets that are made with stronger impact resistant materials such as Kevlar, Carbon Fiber, and Patented Manufacturer Materials. The requirements are met and approved by the Regulators of DOT and Snell in the US and the ECE in Europe.
Ventilation is another important part of choosing a helmet. A helmets sole purpose is protection so this metric is not considered as important as the features that create its protective components but should not be overlooked.
When choosing a helmet you can look at the outside of the shell and see the different methods of venting they provide. Again manufacturers are creating vent open and close functions of their own so you can control the flow of air into the helmet. The best thing to look for is the number of vents and their positions.
If you like more airflow you will want a helmet with more vents and vice-versa. Remember to look for airflow channels in the liner and padding as well to ensure proper airflow will be maintained with the helmet on.
Moving to the interior of the helmet consider padding that’s consistent with how you want to feel with your helmet on. If you like a looser fit you will want less padding but not so much the helmet lifts and slides while riding.
Also take into account the padding material used on the interior. Some manufactures have created padding designed to cool while others will not and can make it hot inside the helmet.
One of the most important factors to consider for direct sight and peripheral vision is the Visor. Visors are created to protect your face from wind and objects at high speeds, like the windshield of a car.
Checking the visibility on a visor is paramount to determining the type you will want. To do this just look through the visor and make sure you have a clear direct line of sight in front and a peripheral view that’s not blocked.
You can swap most visors in less than five minuets and some even have a quick swap mechanism. Most swappable visors come in different shades and types of tints as well.
When it comes to graphics this is certainly not something that should be overlooked. You will pay more for a helmet with graphics than a solid color so its smart to check the quality of the graphics on the helmet.
The biggest mistake made today when buying a motorcycle helmet is choosing one based on graphics alone. Most of the helmets you will find come with A LOT of different graphic choices available so this is not something to worry about before those listed above.
You can have your cake and eat it too by picking a helmet for its safety then choosing the design. If you cannot find a helmet graphic you like there are services available that will design custom graphics on your current helmet based on what you want it to be.
Features and Accessories
Every helmet manufacturer out there creates their own features and accessories that you can purchase. Also other companies exist to market their own version of motorcycle helmet features and accessories so there is no shortage. If you cannot find a specific feature that your helmets manufacturer makes chances are someone else has designed one for your helmet and you can probably find it on Amazon.com.
Do not make the mistake of choosing a helmet based on looks and accessories alone. These are things that you can add to any helmet after determining its the best helmet for you and the safest!
Our Top 5 Helmet Reviews
We have gone over some of the things that make a motorcycle helmet great so, now we want to feature some of the helmets we feel are at the top of their class. These helmets are some of safest and highest quality you can find on the market today.
Arai Corsair V
One of the most agreed upon, all around best motorcycle helmet, is the Arai Corsair V. Arai has certainly surpassed most of the others in its class, including their own Rx-7, with the Corsair Vs superior ventilation, widened eye ports, and easily removable inner padding for safe removal during an emergency. We cannot forget the structural integrity of the shell, after all what good is having a helmet without it offering you the protection you’re looking for.
To start the Corsair V has 3 vents on the top of the shell that deliver fresh air directly to the rider contained within it. Among these 3 vents you will find a nice scoop system that increases airflow to the rider. Also there are two exhaust vents on the rear sides of the shell and comfortable shield vents directing air to the temples. These vents can be triggered with the vent toggles, for opening and closing, that make them even easier to operate with a sizable pair of gloves on.
Getting to the visor, Arai has widened the shield by 10mm to increase the feeling of having more room inside the helmet as well as a better view on peripherals. One great aspect of the visor is that its fit is much flusher to allow a tight seal and this makes it water tight for those rainy days.
Another great improvement in the padding on the Corsair V is the Arai Dry Cool liner. This padding has been placed inside with the liner to create a more secure fit without being uncomfortable. The neckroll is also now removable and replaceable with vents to create even more airflow. If any mishap should occur the cheek pads can be quickly and easily removed.
For the shell of this helmet Arai has made sure this is one of the safest parts of the overall structure with the belt system thats incorporated into the construction of the shell. When it comes to safety the Corsair V is Dot, Snell, and ECE rated. Arai has created a model that cannot be surpassed and, while somewhat costly, you cannot put a price on your safety.
Shark Evoline 3
The Shark Evoline 3 is another helmet thats at the top of its class when it comes to safety, ventilation, comfort, and quality. With a modular design the Evoline 3 brings a unique feature to the table. Modular is the ability to have the chin bar positioned in front of the face for full face coverage and also moved to the back of the shell to make it open faced. When moving the chin bar to the back of the shell, Shark has made this even easier because theyve added a feature to move both the visor and chin bar at one time. The Shark Evoline 3 is the best helmet out there that includes the modular design.
Getting to the topic of the visor the Evoline 3 is equipped with a superior visor that, while scratch and fog resistant, virtually locks into each position. This makes riding with the visor fully open a great experience because its made to stay in place at high speeds. Its designed to be aerodynamic even with the shield open at any position. The visor itself seals into place when closed and eliminates any water penetration through the shield.
Just inside the visor you will find yet another scratch and fog resistant, UV380, sun visor that can be easily raised and lowered and has been modified to cover more area. For those who wear glasses the sun visor has been positioned to specifically ensure comfort for you as well. The neckroll on the Evoline 3 has even been increased to reduce noise while still keeping a comfortable fit. Along with the neckroll, all of the padding on the interior is removable and washable.
The vent system on the interior of the Evoline 3 includes chin vents, top vents, and deep airflow channels incorporated into the liner and padding for optimal closed face airflow. Increasing the ventilation of this helmet is not difficult because of its modular capabilities allowing it to be worn open faced or with the visor open.
Another great feature of this model is the ability to add Sharks shark tooth system that will allow easy communication. With a DOT and ECE rating there is no question about this helmets safety. The Shark Evoline 3 is an amazing value because you get everything in one package with this design.
When thinking about the best motorcycle helmet you dont have to think long to visualize the name Shoei. With the RF-1100 they certainly have not held back in the fight for the best. This model comes in five different sizes so you may select the fit that best suits you.
Ventilation is something that the RF-1100 does not lack. With 3 intake vents, 6 exhaust vents located near the top of the shell, and deep air channels found in the liner and padding, they have found the perfect positioning to create the best airflow for the rider. The variable ventilation system will also allow you to choose the type and strength of airflow and noise levels that are best for your comfort.
Shoei has also improved their visor making it wider, fog resistant, and protective of the person wearing it from the suns most harmful rays. As far as protection goes the shell of this helmet has also been made to protect more while being lighter with more impact absorption.
The liner inside the shell of the RF-1100 has been created to give you the best protection and impact absorption. With removable padding that’s completely washable, the padding also comes in 5 different thicknesses so you can have the most comfortable fit without movement at high speeds. Included on the inside is a removable breath guard and chin curtain to improve the already great interior of the helmet that will protect you from wind and noise.
Shoei has placed a 5 year warranty on this model and its Snell rating guarantees its protection and quality. This is one of those helmets that will speak for itself when it comes to value and quality.
Now that we have mentioned Shoei we wanted to bring forth another of their models that compares and is very much alike to the Shoei RF-1100. The Shoei Qwest is another helmet thats performing at the top of its class. With most of the features that the RF-1100 includes, the Shoei Qwest does have some unique features of its own.
One of the main differences you will notice on the Qwest is that its a solid helmet through and through. This design does not have the modular function that the Evoline 3 has yet people have come to love both modular and full faced designs. Shoei has created value in the overall design of their helmets because they truly provide protection and safety when it comes to motorcycle helmets. Furthermore because this design is a full face model its unique in the fact that it allows a much lower decibel of sound from various sources while still allowing the noises on the road to be heard.
While the vents are not the same they are just as effective. The vents on this shell are made to reduce noise while still providing the airflow that will allow you to feel very comfortable while riding. One great aspect of the vents on this model are their positioning. With one large lower chin vent and one upper front and upper rear vent the movement of air in this helmet is optimal.
The overall protection here can be considered great because there is no modular movement that could allow failure and it comes with Snell and DOT ratings. Comfort is another department that has not been left out of the equation. The Qwest also has comfortable padding that’s fully removable, washable, and well fitting.
If you happen to be looking for a full face helmet that’s safe, secure, comfortable, and a great value the Shoei Qwest is the one for you.
HJC is another well known provider of helmets that are quality and very protective. With the RPS-10 they certainly have gone to great lengths to provide this in their product and this allows it to stand up to their reputation.
At a first glance the RPS-10s features that stand out are the large visor for optimal sight range and the unique vents that provide the great flow of air we look for when choosing a helmet. Not only does this model look good on the outside but the features of the interior are also noteworthy. The RPS-10 is designed for a more narrow type of head than wide but will still be a great fit for any rider.
The placement and design of the vents on this models shell are what make this a great choice when it comes to ventilation. With 3 chin vents, 2 top vents, and a rear exhaust diffuser a high quality of airflow is pulled through the interior of this helmet. When deciding if the airflow would be too much vs. noise level HJC has designed the RPS-10 to be particularly quiet, drowning out most of the non-important outside noise.
Another great detail on the RPS-10 is the 5 year warranty that covers this helmet so you can rest assured knowing its covered. When it comes to the protection of your head, the warranty, along with a Snell and DOT rating prove its built to protect. Also included with the standard features are the chin and breath guards to further reduce noise and fogging of the visor.
If you are looking for a quality helmet at a reasonable price the RPS-10 should be one of your top choices. Keep in mind it comes in different colors and graphics to personalize the outside with as well.
Of course all of the helmets listed here are customizable as far as color and graphics go. Most of them also have different sizes available and additional features and accessories that can be added for additional functions, comfort, and convenience. Another great thing about having choices is that you get to locate the best motorcycle helmet for all of your needs and safety. Not only will you have a helmet that gives you the protection you need, but it will look great and satisfy all of your desires that are not necessarily required and those that are.