Types of Motorcycle Helmets
When you are the type to take on new challenges, motorcycle riding serves as the ultimate adventure. Whether you ride most often on the street or the track, there are all types of injuries and risks that can ruin a perfectly good day. One injury you do not want to succumb to is a head injury. Sprained ankles and broken wrists will heal, but brain injuries can last a lifetime. As the speed limits rise and fellow motorists get more distracted on the road, now is a critical time to invest in adequate head protection. In this guide, we explore all types of motorcycle helmets and safety markings to choose from when shopping. With a little bit of know-how, you will be able to find the perfect helmet in no time at all.
Types of Motorcycle Helmets
Sharing the road shouldn’t be an impossible feat, but cellular devices and other distractions have made the road an unsafe place for motorcyclists. That is precisely why you need to invest in a quality helmet that will protect you from traumatic brain injuries and other risks you may encounter on the road. Most motorcycle helmets have the same principal protective components:
a hard outer shell and a soft inner liner as well as comfort padding and a good retention system. However, there are several types of motorcycle helmets and you will need to decide which type is right for you.
Full-Face: A full-face motorcycle helmet covers the back, front, and top of your head. What separates a full-face helmet from three-quarter helmets or half-helmets is that it usually comes with a chin bar, which might be higher on a sportier helmet. Riding position is something to keep in mind when looking for a full-face helmet. If you ride a sports bike, you are often hunched over and require complimentary ergonomics. If you ride in an upright position on an ADV, a cruiser, or a tourer, the helmet you need will have a slightly different shape. The chin bar will be a little lower and the eye port will be angled straight out. These types of helmets focus more on comfort and soundproofing. Look for good ventilation!
Modular (Flip-Up): A modular helmet also covers the back, front, and top of your head, but the chin bar flips up or it can be removed to become an open-face helmet depending on the circumstances. These types of helmets are growing in popularity amongst adventure and sport touring riders, because the versatility comes in handy when wanting to grab a bite to eat, consult a map, or talk to your fellow riders. Although it is not advisable that you ride with your helmet in the open-face configuration, this feature can be handy on long rides and when you need to take a break at rest stops.
Open-Face: An open-face helmet, also known as a three-quarter helmet, has become a popular choice for cruiser and scooter riders. This type of helmet is structurally equal to a full-face helmet in terms of safety components, but it provides substantially less coverage. Open-face helmets are only meant to cover the back, sides, and top of your head, but not your face, and they usually don’t come with chin bars or face shields. Some big benefits of choosing an open-face helmet include better visibility, more airflow, and less weight. You might also want to invest in a pair of riding goggles.
Half-Helmet: A half-helmet, also known as a “brain bucket,” is one of the most minimal lids you can buy. These helmets are only designed to cover part of the head, from the top of your forehead to about halfway down the back of your head. Brain buckets are popular amongst cruisers and vintage motorcycle riders, because they pay homage to the early days of motorcycle riding. Some riders make up for minimal coverage by investing in sunglasses, goggles, and bandanas.
Dual-Sport: A dual-sport helmet lands somewhere between a full-face helmet and the type of helmet most often used in motocross or off-roading. This type of helmet features a sun peak and great ventilation, but it might also provide a little more warmth and soundproofing for on-road riding than you might like. With a dual-sport helmet, the visor typically flips up so you have the option to wear goggles. If you like to diversify your riding between on-road and off-road terrain, a dual-sport helmet may be just right for you.
Quality Testing and Safety
No matter which helmet you choose, you want to ensure that it meets minimum safety standards. In the United States alone, most quality-tested motorcycle helmets will have either DOT, ECE, or SNELL markings.
DOT: a standard determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
ECE: a standard determined by the Economic Commission for Europe.
SNELL: a standard determined by the Snell Memorial Foundation.
Now that you know more about the different types of motorcycle helmets, don’t let yourself go unprotected the next time you decide to hit the pavement. Invest in a helmet today! Please feel free to contact us with any questions.