Types of Motorcycle Helmets
Along with the evolution of motorcycles, helmets have also come a long way. Through time they got different names and were categorized into different categories according to their use and functions. You do not ride a motorcycle without a helmet, period. Motorcycles are intimidating machines; you have to be one with the machine to make your ride worthwhile. Moreover, there is very little room for error during rides and it is very important and mandatory by law that you wear a helmet to protect your head from serious injuries.
With different types of motorcycle helmets on the market, choosing the right one can be challenging. Whatever type you choose, make sure it meets any safety standards i.e. ECE, DOT or ISI. A sticker is an assurance that the helmet meets any kind of safety standards. The helmet should also fit snugly without causing discomfort. Be sure to do the chin strap up to ensure the helmet won’t be pulled off your head while you are on the road. Finally, while purchasing the motorcycle helmet be sure to look at the benefits and drawbacks of the different helmet options. Today we will have a look at 6 different types of helmets that exists in the industry today.
1) Full Helmets:
Let’s face it, full face helmet is the king of all helmets, it has it all! It covers your head from all sides and angles, and face shield is always there to protect you from any collisions. This is a choice of the race drivers, and it is quite understandable. A full-face helmet is a versatile choice for all riders, regardless of the type of motorcycle you ride or where you ride it. A full-face helmet varies depending on the type of riding that you do. Sports riders have a crouched riding position and need a helmet that prevents it from lifting at high speeds, therefore, they usually opt for a helmet with a higher chin bar and a visor opening angled slightly towards the top of the helmet. However, tourers, cruisers, and adventure riders tend to ride with an upright riding position, so the helmet would have to accommodate it with a lower chin bar and a visor opening that is more direct and straightforward.
Usually, these helmets have ventilation holes across them. Aside of that, such helmet is looking much better than other helmet types. With such variety of designs you can get something really interesting for yourself. While it is quite expensive, it is also better to pay additional 20$ now, than paying 10 times more for a surgery later.
2) Half Helmets:
Half helmets only cover the top of your head and the area from your forehead to your brows and provide minimal protection. Some may offer a bit more coverage on the back of your neck and ears but leaves the rest of your face exposed. Although the helmet provides great airflow, evidently, they offer significantly less protection than a full face or ¾ helmet, yet, you can still find half-helmets that are DOT approved.
Most half helmets do not come equipped with a visor or face shield, so you need to purchase eye protection in the form of riding glasses or goggles. There are minimal technological features, such as Bluetooth speakers, found on the helmets, as there isn’t any space for the features to be added to. Therefore, there are minimal upgrade options for the helmet.
3) Open Face (¾) Helmet:
A three-quarter helmet also known as a half face helmet covers the head of the rider leaving the face open. The face is covered by the visor and will give you a complete view of the field. However, with an open face helmet, you are more prone to facial injuries at the time of an accident. Wind and noise will also come into the helmet offering more wind resistance. The open face helmet offers the ease of riding with sunglasses, while communicating with the helmet becomes much easier. You also need not remove the helmet during smaller stops to sip in water or wiping your face. If full face helmets suffocate you, this is the helmet you should opt for.
4) Modular (Flip-up) Helmet:
Modular helmets are equipped with chin bar sections that pivot upward on rear hinges. So, when you need to take a quick break to make a phone call, eat, check GPS, or discuss events of the trip, a quick flip of the chin bar transforms what’s essentially a full-face helmet into an open face one. Modular helmets range in shape from round (ideal for lower speeds and more upright riding styles) to slightly elongated (more aerodynamic for faster riding). It’s important to note that modular helmets do not have the strength and crash integrity that full face (one-piece) helmets do. While lower chin sections are reinforced for strength, they are separate pieces from the rest of the helmet – causing them to respond differently in a crash.
Because of those strength reinforcements found in chin and other areas of the helmet, and because of numerous components used in the heavy-duty pivot hinges, modular helmets typically weigh more than full-face helmets.
5) Motocross (Off-Road) Helmet:
Off-road helmets are designed just as their name suggests, to ride away from the streets and on dirt roads. They aren’t the best option for city and highway use, but ideal for places where knobby tires are a requirement. It has a different design than full, half and other helmets, equipped with a larger visor and more accentuated chin bar for better airflow. They typically are designed for maximum protection, minimum weight, and flowing ventilation for riding during the warmer months, so don’t expect lush creature comforts like Bluetooth speakers.
Off-road helmets are limited to the ones who choose to travel where there are no roads. Off road helmets look very cool and are specifically designed to counter the dirt and debris that gets kicked towards the face. Dirt bikers choose to ride with goggles instead of using the visor to protect their eyes. For city use, off road helmets are a good option but will provide more wind resistance straining the rider’s neck. Also, the off-road helmets are designed with air vents to keep the head cool, which make them very comfortable during long rides. However, the lack of a properly covered visor can be less comfortable compared to full faced helmets.
6) Dual Sport Helmet:
It is hybrid between full-face and motocross helmets. It has most functions of both – detachable sun-visor, increased ventilation and the face shield. Basically, it’s used for off-road riding, however it can be used anywhere, due to modern looks and great protection. It is also better choice for motocross if you wear glasses (because wearing 2 glasses at once will be quite tricky and uncomfortable).
The dual-sport helmets offer a larger eye protection visor that a full face, but it can also snap into an up position for use of goggles. The visor is aerodynamic; therefore, it does not lift in the wind like a true off-road helmet. The chin bar is not a protective as an off-road helmet, so there is better soundproofing and not as much airflow. That’s a great option when you mix terrain on the same riding day. Use the visor in the down position on the street to the trail, then snap it up for goggles and maximum airflow.
Helmets are designed for your protection, so do remember you are investing in your life when riding with a helmet. Do make that purchase worthwhile when you choose to buy a new one and opt for the best quality ones at a shop instead of bargaining for one with a roadside vendor.
Blog by: Rupesh Dulal